Tag Archives: bacon

Wild Rice Soup

Dear Reader,

I staged another upo squash battle, so stay tuned for another installment of the upo trials soon. But for now…

Here’s a first for the blog: a recipe trial based off a magnet! Specifically this one, which I bought from my home state long ago and always meant to use. With Autumn in full swing, the slight chill in the Pacific Northwest air puts me in mind of the Midwest Fall, with its brilliant, last-ditch burst of colors before the real cold sets in. With that, comes the impulse to make hot mulled cider (which I brought to spectate a Spartan Race the other weekend), and making tons of soup.

Nothing quite like a fridge magnet to remind you of your roots.

You will note there are some vague parts in this recipe, like, you can use 10 slices of bacon, OR and indeterminate amount of chicken. Continue Reading

Pasta alla Carbonara

I needed to whip up a nice backdrop for an easy but satisfying Sunday night dinner with a treat of seared scallops.* I had turkey bacon and egg on hand, and picked up some bucatini.

This one from Nook and Pantry has been sitting at the ‘bottom’ of my Evernote recipe box for a while, since the first time I tried my hand at carbonara with pancetta my arteries could hardly take it. However, turkey bacon took some of the punch out of it (so I could swap it out for butter & olive oil for the scallops).

Pasta alla Carbonara
+Optional Turkey Downgrade

Makes 2 servings for some one trying not to gorge, but only if you pack half of it away for the next day before you start eating.

Ingredients:
Approximately 2 slices of thick-cut turkey bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch wide strips, chopped
1 eggs, beaten
1 ounce finely grated parmesan (or pecorino romano)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces bucatini

Steps:

  1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a piece of paper towel.
  2. Bring a large pot of water, salted generously, to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until it is al dente.
  3. Temper the egg thus: with one hand beat the egg and with the other slowly drizzle approximately 1/8 cup of hot pasta water with a measuring scoop or cup into the egg mixture. Set aside.
  4. Before draining the pasta, set aside about 1/4 cup of the boiling pasta water to loosen the pasta if needed.
  5. Quick! When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta then return back into the hot pot. Keep the pot off heat. The residual heat in the pot and pasta will thicken the sauce. Add the drained bacon, ground pepper, pasta and with one hand, stir pasta while pouring in the tempered egg mixture.
  6. Keep stirring to mix the cheese and egg evenly and the sauce will be thickened and silky smooth. Add a bit of the pasta water if needed.
  7. Optional: top with extra freshly ground pepper and grated cheese before serving.

Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
5 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 85%
The richness is definitely toned down with turkey bacon rather than pancetta, decide for yourself if you want that or not, of course..
Lesson Learned: How did I go so long without cooking bucatini all the time? The hollow noodles give the perfect al dente chewiness! Nom nom nom nom nom. This blends well with seared scallops, too. Due to the speedy timing, it’s definitely best to have everything else you want to eat ready before you sear scallops the Alton Way.

*I recently became allergic to some shellfish. The great news is, the allergist said to keep eating scallops regularly, to help prevent my body from identifying it as a foreign body. Most enjoyable medical advice worth following, ever!

Corn & Potato Chowder with Seared Scallops

one of 4 wines encased in a cellophane tower.
one of 4 wines encased in a cellophane tower.

My friend Jenni, of Lasagna Cupcake fame, expressed a burning desire to find out what I made the other night when I sent her a thank-you photo of my dinner with the single-serving tower of wine she kindly gifted me last month. It was perfect for being able to cook with, and have a few modest sips -especially on a day when I wanted to avert a cold but still relax for the weekend!

Shred some scallions?
Shred some scallions?

The critical tip here is: watch those scallops closely! No more than 3 minutes searing total (90 seconds per side)!

If you read the last post and haven’t tried ribboning scallions, here’s your chance. I was too impatient with the icing, which is why you don’t see any scallion curls in the photos here.

Turkey bacon, yukon gold potato, veggie bouillon for stock, white wine, sweet corn, scallops, lite coconut milk.
Turkey bacon, yukon gold potato, veggie bouillon for stock, white wine, sweet corn, scallops, lite coconut milk.

Original source (pre-substitutions): from Real Simple Magazine.

Corn & Potato Chowder with Seared Scallops
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: ~45 mins
Serves: 3

A filling soup with a meaty seared scallop garnish.

Photo Mar 11, 4 41 47 PM
Seared scallops + turkey bacon sizzling.

Ingredients:
3 slices bacon, cut into small dice (I used turkey bacon this time)
2-3 sea scallops, patted dry
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 lone but large yukon gold potato, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk, in my case)
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh (from 2 ears) or frozen
1/4 of a sprig of scallion, diced or julienned into curls
Optional: 1/2 cup canellini beans, rinsed

Directions:

    1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes, a little more for turkey. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
Potato city.. too much potato, not enough liquid!
Potato city.. too much potato, not enough liquid!
  1. If you don’t quite have 1 tablespoons of bacon drippings; supplement with olive oil and butter.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high.
  3. Season scallops with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook until golden brown, about 90 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the onion to the drippings in the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes, sear for 2 minutes.
  6. Add beans (optional), wine, broth, and cream/coconut milk; cover partially and reduce heat. Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  7. Add the scallops and corn and simmer gently to heat through. Sprinkle with the scallions and bacon.
Soup with a little white wine pairing!
Soup with a little white wine pairing!

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
I don’t make a lot of creamy soups, so this was delicious, yet not as painfully heavy (or later as unhappy for my stomach) as using cream.
Likelihood of Repeat: 65%
Lesson learned: next time chop the potatoes even smaller, almost pea-sized. When I divided the original recipe proportionately, I ended up with a wet pile of potatoes with corn, and had to add more liquid mix after the fact. I have altered the proportions here for a more soup-like mix. Doesn’t really look like the original recipe’s picture, but whatever. I think I’d use real pork bacon next time, and regular coconut milk rather than lite.

2nd day iteration: canellini beans in the bottom before reheating made it really super filling.
2nd day iteration: canellini beans in the bottom before reheating made it really super filling.

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