Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bacon Jam PopTarts with Maple-Chipotle Icing

savory, flakey & delicious!

I have two life changing words for you: Bacon. Jam.

I'd heard about bacon jam on Top Chef, and found a picture of a bacon jam PopTart on Pinterest, but it had no recipe. After some interneting to learn more about this meatalicious jam, I came up with a recipe.  With a brunch on the calendar for this morning, I thought this would be a fun contribution to the spread.

The process is actually SUPER easy - it just takes awhile to cook down to the right consistency, and it is not something that can be rushed.  The end result is a savory, meaty, smoky, rich & spicy taste of wonderfullness that really has no comparison.

Bacon Jam

  • 1 lb high quality bacon 
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Cholula hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa poweder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Black Pepper

In an enameled cast iron pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat renders out.  You don't really want to brown it, just get the fat to render.  This will probably have to be done in a few batches. Once cooked, let cool, finely chop, and set aside.

Discard some of the fat, leaving just enough for a thin layer on the bottom of the pot. Add your onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat until translucent but not browned.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, stir well. Add in the bacon, and bring to a simmer.  As soon as the mixture is simmering, reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.  You want it to end up as a somewhat dry and deep brown chunky paste.  If it looks to oily, push the mixture to one side of the pot, tip it, and absorb the oil with a paper towel.  If it starts to dry too quickly before reaching a nice deep color, just add a bit of water.

When done, you can either purée it in a food processor till smooth, or just keep it chunky (that's what I did).  Remove from heat, and put into a jar.  The jam will stay good for at least 1 week in the fridge.

Bacon jam is great as a sandwich spread, burger topper, or addition to scrambled eggs. If you want to make it into a PopTart, read on!

Best Flakey Pastry
This is an excellent pastry dough to use for anything from Rugalach to Empanadas!

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2 T sour cream.
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor just until mixed.

Then add the butter, and pulse until a coarse meal is formed.

Add in the cream cheese and the sour cream, and pulse just until a rough dough starts to form.

Remove and put onto a floured surface, push together into a cohesive dough, and divide into 3 portions.  Make a flat-ish disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 minutes (this can be made ahead and left in the freezer, just refrigerate until unfrozen but still cold before using).

Let this freeze while you prep the icing, then you're ready to assemble your PopTarts.

Maple-Chipotle Icing
Perfect for a little touch of sweet and spicy!

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Real Maple Syrup
  • Half & Half
  • Pinch of Chipotle chili powder
So I don't have measurements here - this is easy enough to 'eye' it.  In a smal mixing bowl, add about 3/4 -1 cup of powdered sugar.  Pour in some maple syrup, and stir.  Start with a little bit, and add more as needed to get it to a very thick frosting - basically just wet enough so there isn't any dry sugar left. Once you reach this point, add some half & half, a tiny bit at a time, just to thin the mixture into a drizzle-able consistency. Add in a pinch of the Chipotle chili powder to give it a little kick and to add some color. 

To assemble the PopTarts:
Roll out the pastry dough into a nice thin piece (think the thickness of a store bought pie dough)

I chose to make circular pop-tarts, so I used a 3" circle cookie cutter (the bacon jam is very rich so you don't want to make these too big). You could also cut the dough into little rectangles to be more authentic looking.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, place half of the pastry pieces.  Spoon some of the bacon jam onto the top of the pastry and pat down into an even layer, leaving at least a 1/4 inch border on the sides.

Whisk together 1 egg white and a couple Tablespoons of milk to make an egg wash.  Using your finger, rub some of the egg wash around the edge of the jam topped pastry.  Then, take a pastry top, and do the same thing on its edge. This will help the halves stick together. Put the top on, and then pinch the edges together.  Place back on the cookie sheet, and then crimp the edges with a fork.  Brush the top of the PopTart with the egg wash, which will make a beautiful shiny golden brown finish.     Finish by using the fork to do a single punch into the top of the PopTart to let the steam vent while it bakes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and golden brown.

Let cool slightly, then drizzle with the icing and serve. If you want to make them ahead of time, wait to ice them until shortly before serving.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Spicy Chipotle Carrot Soup and Bunless Turkey Burgers with Slaw

So satisfying, you don't realize it's low fat and low carb!

Okay.  So I haven't blogged for awhile.  The hubs and I were on the Master Cleanse last week, and there is absolutely nothing about surviving on lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne that inspires you to post on a food blog, let alone do anything other than miss food.

I'm back now - and with a very crazy work and life schedule, the last few meals have been 'throw togethers' with no measurements.  Sometimes, those throw togethers are the best - you just combine the things that you like, and more often than not, it comes out great.

Here's tonight's throw together, with my best guess at measurements!

Spicy Chipotle Carrot Soup
  • 5 lb bag of carrots, peeled and rough chopped (don't worry about making it pretty - it all gets puréed in the end!)
  • 1 red onion, rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1.5 T Chipotle chili powder (the newest addition to my spice cabinet, and I love it! It's very spicy though, cut down if you don't want the heat)
  • 1 T Pasilla chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 boxes of Swanson's vegetable broth
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • 1 individual portioned container of nonfat Greek yogurt.
Sauté the onions over medium heat with a little bit of S&P until translucent.  Add the garlic, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the carrots and all the spices, season with some more S&P and continue to sauté until very fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the broth, cover the pot, and turn to medium low.

Let simmer until carrots are fork tender.  When tender, use an immersion blender to purée the soup to a smooth mixture.

Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Mix in the greek yogurt, and let simmer on low for 5 more minutes, or until ready to serve.  If the soup is thicker than you like, just thin with some more broth, and let it heat through.

Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt on top if you like!

Bunless Turkey Burgers
  • 1 package of ground turkey meat
  • 2 tsp Pasilla chili powder
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 scant tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Mix the turkey meat with the seasonings, and form into patties.  Cook with whatever method you like.  Since it's freeeezing today I opted to cook them on the stovetop.  Just make sure that you cook them thoroughly since this is poultry and you don't want it rare!

I finished ours off with a little sprinkle of cheddar cheese, which always makes the hubs very happy. Serve over Slaw (recipe below) with a little Pico de Gallo, Guac (thank you Holy Guacamole!) and a dollop of plain greek yogurt or sour cream.

Red Cabbage & Cilantro Slaw
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 3 scallions, whites and half of the greens sliced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 T light mayonnaise
  • 3 T skim milk
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • S&P
Whisk all ingredients except for the cabbage and bell pepper together, and let sit for 10 minutes to allow flavors to marry.  Add the cabbage and bell pepper, and toss well to coat.  Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Toss again, and serve.

Happy eating!