Posted: June 18, 2011 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

You should all know by now that I love a challenge, especially in the kitchen.  My sister sent me a text the other day presenting me with such a challenge and immediately the wheels started turning.  She sent me a picture of a cookie one of her coworkers had made.  It was an Oreo cookie, INSIDE a chocolate chip cookie.  Now of course I couldn’t just recreate this and be on my way, because I’m an obnoxious pain in the ass.  I had to figure out how to make it better.  By a show of hands, who knows what ingredient will make ANY recipe better?  Anyone?  Thats right…


Some of you may be rolling your eyes, some of you may (sadly) be gagging, and some (hopefully most!) are throwing up your arms in joy.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you…

Oreo Stuffed Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Start with a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe a package of Oreos and 5 slices of thick cut bacon.  End with a mouthgasm.

While you are putting the cookie dough together, cook the bacon in the microwave until very crispy.  Crumble/dice the bacon when its done and cooled and add it to the dough with the chocolate chips. 

I had some trouble trying to figure out the best way to “stuff” the Oreo inside.  First I tried to sandwich the Oreo between mounds of cookie dough, and that worked out pretty well, but I wanted to try some other methods.  So then I greased up my hands and totally engulfed the Oreo into a ball of dough.  Again, pretty good, but I tried one more method just because I could.  The third time around I stared with an Oreo on the cookie sheet then just mounded the dough on top.  All three methods are acceptable and effective, it just depends on which one you feel like. 

Just like regular cookies, bake them at 375, for about 7 minutes. 

The best of both worlds

Posted: April 14, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

During a recent conversation with my oldest sister, she presented me with a challenge.  We have all had chocolate chip pancakes, or blueberry pancakes, but how many of you have had BACON PANCAKES?  This was the challenge my sister set out for me, and I must say I rose to the occasion nicely (because its just as easy as any other kind of pancake :) ).

My parents didn’t have the full set of ingredients for making pancakes, so I had to use a mix for my test run, which was kind of frustrating but worked out fine.  Normally I use this pancake recipe though, which is super easy and delicious.

All you have to do is make the pancake batter, and cook the bacon to your desired crispiness.  I like mine really crispy, so I tend to cook it longer.  Once the bacon is cooked, cut it into roughly bite sized pieces, saving all the little crumbly bits that break off.  Pour the batter onto the griddle, and once the pancake sets enough to slide a spatula under, but not quite at the point where you are ready to flip it, add the bacon pieces.  Just sprinkle them on the top and poke them down a little so they settle into the batter.  Flip the pancakes and viola! you have bacon pancakes.  I recommend butter and maple syrup to finish them off because what could be more delicious than pancake, bacon, and syrup all in one bite?  These were super delicious and really easy to make!

I have promised that the next time I’m visiting I will make this for the family, so I think I will have to keep practicing in the meantime…somehow I don’t think I’ll have trouble finding some people to help me eat them :)

Yankee Galette

Posted: January 28, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’m going to come right out and say that if you are a vegetarian, you might want to just skip this entry. If you’re observant Jewish, you should probably test this with turkey bacon, to see if the taste is similar. In fact, maybe I’ll test it out with turkey bacon, and tell you how it goes.

Recently, I went to a Pie Party at the home of my friend Erin’s lovely cousin Emily. The basic jist was that everyone was to bring a pie – sweet, savory, family recipe, just wingin’it…. whatever. There was a judging, and a prize for the best sweet and best savory recipe. It was really fun, and it was excellent to meet and talk to new people, while gorging on pie (or, as Erin says it, “paaah”).
Since our invite was very last minute – as in, Erin and I were in the middle of a 6-mile run, when she suggested I throw something together and attend – I had to make do mostly with what was in my refrigerator. I had half a bag of cranberries left from some jam making, and decided to go with an apple cranberry galette.
While perusing the internets, I came across a few great recipes for such a galette, as well as a recipe that legitimately made me whimper when I read the title: Maple Bacon Apple Galette. In the end, I couldn’t decide, so I combined them.

Yankee Galette
1. Make a single recipe of your favorite pastry. My favorite is the recipe of another friend named Erin’s mother: 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup shortening or butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 3-5 tablespoons of ice water. Chill the pastry in the fridge while you do the rest.
2. Chop or cut 4-5 slices of thick-cut smoked bacon into 1/4-1/2″ pieces, and brown the pieces. You’re not looking for totally crispy, because you’re going to bake the cooked bacon. But cook it till it’s brown and has rendered some of its fat.
3. While the bacon is browning, peel, core, and slice 3-4 medium sized apples. I used the amazing apple peeler/corer/slicer that I received as a Christmas gift last year, which sped up the process greatly. Toss with roughly 3/4 cup of fresh cranberries and 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon each cardamom and nutmeg.
4. Remove the bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and drain. Then, put the drained bacon pieces in a non-stick pan with 2-3 tablespoons of
real maple syrup
(NOT Aunt Jemimah or Mrs. Butterworth or whatever else.) and turn the heat on to medium. The syrup will simmer, and this is exactly what you want. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, which should be just enough time to pick yourself up off the floor after you faint from the gorgeous smells coming from that non-stick pan. After 3-5 minutes, scrape the bacon/syrup concoction into the bowl of apples, cranberries, and spices.
5. Take your pie crust out of the fridge, and roll it out on a lightly-floured surface. You want to roll it out into a BIG, uneven roundish shape. No worries about making a perfect circle or making it even, since this is supposed to be a rustic, peasant style dish. Transfer the pastry crust to a baking sheet, and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
If you want, trace a circle onto your pie crust lightly with a sharp knife, so that you know how big your finished galette will be. I used an upside-down plate. Pile your apple-cranberry-maple-bacon mixture on the crust, and begin folding and crimping the sides up and over the fruit. You don’t need to stress about making it beautiful – when it comes out of the oven all golden and baked up, it will BE beautiful.
6. Brush the folded-up edges of the galette with either melted butter, an egg wash, or (if you’re me) bacon grease. Sprinkle turbinado or sanding sugar along the crust edge if you’re feeling fancy, and bake for 35-40 minutes.

I love this galette, and combining apple pie with cranberries, bacon, and maple syrup reminds me of New England, of all the things that make me think of home, of Thanksgiving and my heritage foods.
Plus, it’s delish. I didn’t win the contest, but I got some good encouragements, and I ate some delicious pie, and in the end, that makes everybody there winners. :)

Gourmet Unbound: December

Posted: November 30, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Gourmet Unbound, Johanna | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Gourmet Magazine’s closing has affected many people in many different ways. An unexpected impact appears to have been that it has brought some of the food blogging community closer together. Or at least, it’s spawned a great idea, and a way to review old copies of Gourmet and pull out ideas.

Baked Chicken with White Beans and Tomato
One of my favorite things about Gourmet was that among all the recipes that were fancy, there were the ones you could cook from what was in your cabinet. For example: Baked Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes. My parents did not know, on Saturday, that I would be cooking dinner. But when I asked, they said ok. They didn’t have time to go shopping, so the dish got hacked a little. But in the end, what’s the difference between a kidney bean and a cannelini bean? What’s the difference, really, between a can of crushed tomatoes, and stewed tomatoes with juice? In fact, what ARE stewed tomatoes?

Baked Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes Chez Johnsons
via Gourmet December 2004

6 pieces of bacon
4-6 pieces bone-in, skin on dark meat chicken
1 huge shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, 1 can pinto beans

Preheat the oven to 350
Cut the bacon into roughly 1/2-inch pieces, and brown in a skillet, reserving the fat. Scoop out the bacon pieces, and brown the chicken (probably in 2 batches), which you’ve seasoned on each side with salt and pepper, about 4 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken to your casserole dish, and scoop out 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Pour out the rest, and wipe out the pan.
Put the bacon fat back in the pan, and saute the shallot. When it is getting soft, add the garlic. Stir and saute until the garlic starts to smell amazing. Then, add the tomatoes, and rinse and drain the beans. (If you’re using cannelini beans, that would be 2 cans of them). When the tomato liquid comes up to a simmer, stir in the bacon pieces, and the drained cannelini beans. Stir to heat the beans through, and combine with the chicken in the casserole dish.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
Parent-ApprovedThis recipe is warm and comforting. My parents loved it, which is always nice. A major benefit is being able to check the comments on Epicurious – I knew that the dish could be kind of bland, and added some garlic as many of the commenters suggested. I also threw in a splash of white wine, even though deglazing in a nonstick pan is kind of…. silly.
And best of all, my parents had basically everything, or a reasonable facsimile of everything, in their house already. If you have any kind of pantry, you probably do too.

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.