Breakfast Sliders, Three Ways

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

Yes, because this happened.

Breakfast sandwiches are my undoing. My. Undoing.

They also happen to be one of the easiest things to throw together if you’re hosting a big brunch. Why put together a giant, meticulous meal if you all drank a little too much the night before and all you need is a hangover cure? Hold the grease.

One of my biggest qualms with the breakfast sausage they sell at my Safeway is that the patties are a little too small for a normal English muffin. So this time, I figured, you know? Why not cut biscuits and eggs to fit the sausage perfectly? And that is how the breakfast sandwich sliders were born. I’d recommend prepping all of the ingredients first, and setting up a breakfast sandwich slider bar — with the bases, proteins, and toppings all there for everyone to make on their own.

That’s what we did, anyway :)

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

From left to right:

{ the classic }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, cheddar

{ onion jack }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, pepper jack, caramelized onions

{ the california }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, spicy tomato mayo, avocado

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

Breakfast Sandwich Sliders, recipe after the jump Continue reading “Breakfast Sliders, Three Ways”

Labneh Breakfast B.L.T.

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Last week was rough. Isn’t it horrible how your short work weeks can be the absolute worst? Sometimes, the world just wants you to work extra hard as punishment for having a day off.

Unfortunately for me, I spent most of my Memorial Day weekend with the flu — not fun. And being the optimist that I am, I convinced myself that I was not as sick as I actually was. So on Sunday, I went out for a few beers on a DC patio. There may or may not have been copious amounts of fresh donuts. And a $25 pig’s head. On a platter.

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The consequence of tricking yourself into feeling healthier than you actually are, of course, trickles down over the course of a few days. Or a whole week. So throughout the entire week, I suffered the sick-enough-to-be-tired-all-day but not-sick-enough-to-not-be-at-work illness.

I pretty much couldn’t hold a single solid train of thought until Friday. And we all know how Fridays go.

(They don’t.)

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I made up for the lethargy of last week with a super productive Saturday — I got back into my gym routine, cleaned my entire apartment, knocked out a few freelance tasks at a coffee shop, and then spent the afternoon and evening biking across DC to the Tour de Fat — a little hipster New Belgium beer festival at Navy Yard. It was too hot to take photos (in my mind), so my apologies for the lack of imagery. But the waterfront is gorgeous, and I got to explore my own personally unchartered territory of DC by bike.

Needless to say, I crashed into my bed the instant I got home, with the AC on full-blast. And I slept in, wandered to Whole Foods, where I eyed a container of labneh — a college staple when all of my friends were Lebanese.

The perfect cross between cream cheese and Greek yogurt does well on sandwiches. It was a good start to the end of the weekend.

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Labneh Breakfast BLT

Whole grain sourdough, sliced
1 fresh heirloom tomato
Arugula
1 egg
A few strips of bacon, baked or fried
2-3 tablespoons labneh

Heat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with foil. Arrange your bacon on the foil, and bake for about 30 minutes, until crispy. When you remove the bacon from the oven, promptly drain each piece on paper towels on a separate plate.

Fry an egg to the yolk consistency you prefer, and toast two slices of whole grain sourdough. Generously spread one slice with labneh, and then top with your tomato, bacon, arugula and egg. Season with salt and pepper if you like — but the bacon and lebnah are pretty good on their own. I went without.

Bacon, Egg, Cheese, Avocado.

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Living in a group house comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros: there is always someone to hang out with, younger roommates always make room for the best stories, and rent is pretty darn cheap.

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Cons: sharing fridge space, sharing cleaning responsibilities, and dealing with noise and scheduling in general.

Needless to say, I love my house, but I’m more than ready for my own refrigerator and an office right next to my kitchen. Maybe even an awesome cat.

I never thought I’d catch myself aching for a studio, or wanting to live alone. I used to say that I’d just live in a group house until I was making bank, and then I’d just buy a two bedroom apartment to have on my own. A design studio/guest room really would be my end-all be-all.

Anyway, I’m toying with that. And the idea of not moving into a new apartment in DC at all, because… well, New York City maybe closer than it appears.

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Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:

Bacon (1-2 slices per sandwich)
Brown sugar
English muffins (or croissants)
Avocado
Eggs
1/4 cup mayonaise
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (jarred is fine)
Garlic salt to taste
Red chili pepper flakes
Cheddar cheese, sliced

Instructions

To prep the caramelized bacon, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil — this makes cleanup easier. As illustrated in the photos above, line the strips of bacon about an inch apart, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Make sure to waste as little sugar as possible, because we’d rather have everything on the bacon.

Bake for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on what parts of the bacon are cooking faster — your oven probably has some hot spots. Be sure to rotate the sheet as necessary. When the bacon is finished, drain for a few minutes on paper towels, but remove once they drain because the paper will stick.

In a small bowl or jar, combine the mayonaise, tomato sauce, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix until smooth, and set aside.

Slice your avocado. Set aside.

Spray a small frying pan lightly with olive oil over high heat. We want the pan hot — hold your hand an inch or two over the surface to make sure it’s pretty hot. Then, crack an egg onto the pan. With a silicone spatula handy, delicately monitor the egg, keeping it as round as you can. Once the sides are solid enough, slide the silicone spatula under the egg, and gently flip it over. Cook to the desired consistency of the yolk, and only cook one egg at a time! Unless you want them to all cook together.

Lightly toast your English muffins before assembling the sandwiches. Spread a generous amount of the chile mayo on the bottom half, then place the egg, bacon, and avocado. Finish with a slice of cheddar cheese. Then, put everything in the oven or toaster oven until the cheese melts.

Hangover special, enjoy.

Capellini alla Carbonara


EDIT: First things first.  I entered a recipe contest, and would be honored if you’d vote for me (if you like my recipe best, that is).  MOTIVATION FOR YOU: If I win, I’ll purchase something beautiful from Sur La Table with the prize, and give it to one of you wonderful readers.  Please vote for me here: http://www.saveur.com/RecipeContest/contestant.jsp?ID=42456342.

Ok, back to the regular post.  Thanks for that.

You guys.  Bacon.  It’s growing on me.  Call the newspapers.  Get on the radio!  Wait.  Hang up the phone.  I know, I know.  It’s not that big of a deal.  Is it?

Am I late?  Did I miss something?  Maybe it’s part of the aging process.  Oh, who am I kidding — I’m twenty-three.  It’s about time I got my taste buds together.  We didn’t eat bacon very much in my parents’ households.  And my friends ate it way too much in college.


But I think I’ve reached a healthy level of moderation.  I’ve spent the past couple of weekends in my new house, cooking French dinners.  Coq au vin starts off with bacon, and if you’re in my kitchen, an explosion. This carbonara, inspired by the lovely Angela at The Spinning Plate.  I actually didn’t even know what carbonara was, until she started documenting her love affair with food.

Hers is so romantic.  I don’t have a love affair with food.

Perhaps, food and I exploit each other.  Actually, scratch that — I just exploit my body.   It’s a one-way thing. My poor, confused body, that alternates from running five-plus miles to  savoring the delectable, questionably hazardous, cuisine that will steer me towards a satisfyingly long and healthy life (or a heart attack).  Both my body and I are betting on the former.  Hoping.  Wishing.  Eating.  Running.

And it goes on and on.

I’ve already run ten miles this week.  I made this last night.  So. Good.

Recipe and more photos after the jump.



Pasta alla Carbonara

WHAT YOU NEED:

Pasta — if you’re cooking for people (or for lunch this week), I’d go ahead and cook one pound.
4 egg yolks
4 or 5 slices of good slab bacon
2 to 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, sliced very thin
2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese to top
Fresh pepper to crack
Salt to taste


WHAT TO DO:

First, boil a pot of water to cook your pasta.  Don’t skimp on the salt — this is your chance to really strengthen the flavor of the pasta.  I used capellini (angel hair), so the pasta did not take very long to cook.  Those of you who choose penne, rigatoni, or any thicker pasta should keep an eye on it.

Boil the pasta until al dente — that is, slightly firm.  If you like your carbonara al dente, then cook your pasta slightly less.  You will be throwing the pasta back on the stove later.

While the pasta is cooking, begin frying your bacon in a large skillet, until it’s brown and crispy.  When complete, remove the bacon, and pat down with a paper towel to minimize the grease.  Then, dice the bacon to your preferred size.  I like it in chunks.

When the pasta is ready, drain it.  Eat a little as you go — to taste test, of course.  Definitely not because you can’t wait to eat.  Who does that?

Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan, saving just more than 2 Tablespoons.  Then, drizzle the olive oil in. Replace on the heat, and sautee your onions.  Traditionally, the onions are cooked until translucent, but I like to brown them — it strengthens the flavor.  Add your minced garlic, and let cook for one, maybe two more minutes.

Then, throw in your pasta.  Swirl it around, and let it absorb the moisture and flavor from the pan.  Crack fresh pepper to taste.  Keep the pasta hot.

When just about ready to serve, remove the pasta from any heat source (including the pan itself), add in the egg yolks, and toss until the pasta is evenly coated.  Drizzle with cheese and salt to taste.  To really impress your guests, garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.  Then savor.

Bacon… jam?

Types of jams in my life:

  • Traffic jams. Street or shopping-related.
  • Copier jams. Bane of my professional existence.
  • Jammin’. A cookie rager without Ke$ha or Cee Lo?  Blasphemous.
  • Jammed. As in my schedule. I don’t have time for anything these days…

And now, bacon jam. To tell the truth, I actually don’t even like bacon. Well, I only really enjoy bacon over French toast, doused in maple syrup… which I haven’t eaten in years. Years! But even then, I’d order turkey sausage over bacon any day. Hmm… just thinking about this makes me want to cook a French toast breakfast — a real one, where you soak thick slices of homemade brioche overnight in eggs and vanilla, and then, rather than ruin it with fake maple syrup, top it with confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, and strawberries. Gah! I’ve gotten so off-track. And I’m revealing potential blog posts. Where’s the fun in that? Back to bacon.

The idea came from gchat (where all good ideas begin). My snickerdoodle recipe source, who has since moved back to California – so lame, I know – suggested doing our own cookie exchange. He and I also happen to be members of a bacon list-serve, started by another college friend. [Side note: to this day, I can’t remember how I became swallowed by the bacon- thread, but it’s entertaining, ridiculous, and a great way to keep in touch with those friends, so the carnivorous anti-kosher thread continues to feed the black hole also known as my inbox.]  Interestingly enough, Martha highlighted bacon recipes in one of her magazines last month. The only one that looked remotely appealing to me happened to be the one about bacon jam, probably because it involved maple syrup. As you can imagine, the combination of these three things – gchat cookie exchange conversation, bacon list-serve, and Martha’s recipe – fell perfectly into place.

But really, few things are more disgusting to me than frying bacon. The smell, sight, and texture of it trigger gag reflexes. Seriously. Just editing the pre-jam bacon photos made me feel sick to my stomach. I was also about one-hundred percent positive that I would be disgusted by the jam, and that I’d happily jar it and send it across the country. And then leave all the windows and doors open to air out the house as soon as scientifically possible.

I apologize to bacon-lovers out there for the bacon-bashing. But it’s how I truly feel; I don’t choose to be this way. I’m sure you feel the same about something that I may very well love (possibly goose liver pate or something from the spectrum of Filipino food).

Anyway, as shocked as I was, the jam turned out to be quite delicious. As in, I had to scrape up every last bit of self control to keep myself from going to town on the jam with a spoon.

Patrick, you are so welcome.

WHAT YOU NEED (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food):

2 lbs. lean bacon

1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced

2 to 3 cloves of peeled garlic, quartered
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¼ cup white vinegar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup brewed coffee

1 teaspoon cinnamon

WHAT TO DO:

Martha called for a slow cooker. I don’t have one of those, so I improvised. I also didn’t have cider vinegar, which I’m sure would have been great, but I improvised and changed quantities, and added some cinnamon.

First, slice the bacon into one-inch strips. Yes, all of the raw bacon. Usually, I’m slightly perturbed by the texture of raw meat. I might just be scarred from man-handling raw chicken livers. But the bacon was harmless, and somewhat satisfying. Bacon fat is not nearly as gooey as other types of meat – perhaps because of the curing process.

Anyway, slice up the bacon, and fry it in a large skillet until browned. Remove from heat, and let the bacon pieces cool down on a few paper towels. There’s no need for unnecessary grease when you’re going to be simmering bacon in a vat of syrup.

In a medium-sized saucepan, take 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, and combine with the diced onions and the garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Then, combine the vinegar, sugar, syrup, coffee, and cinnamon. Heat on high until the sugar dissolves, and the solution boils. Add the bacon pieces into the pot. Stir, cover, and simmer on very low heat for 3 to four hours, until the mixture is syrupy. Then, remove from heat, let cool, and pulse grind in a food processor. Taste, then jar, then ship to California.