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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Ok, let me start by saying this. This recipe is kick-ass easy and awesome, assuming you like eggs! I made it this past weekend and will be making it again this coming weekend. I love baked eggs and this improves on my last recipe. How can you go wrong, bacon, cheese, cream, eggs and toast all in one lovely package.

Second, for those of you who enjoy the restaurant stories, below you will find one…It is not a happy one, not particularly funny and I might be whining a bit, so if you are not in the mood skip down to the recipe. If your are, this is a good example of why not to own a restaurant unless you like to clean, don’t mind working long hours, have money that you might never see again and most of all love people and customer service. Well of course you need to love food and have a passion for being the best!

I’m sure you know that restaurants, unlike many businesses, need a ton of equipment to operate. We have stoves, multiple refrigerators, ovens, multiple freezers, prep tables, a very expensive espresso machine, drink display refrigerators, food processors, mixers, etc. Each of these items with the exception of the small stuff runs from a couple of thousand dollars on up.

Like all things, the stuff breaks and needs to be fixed, occasionally it has to be replaced. Fortunately or unfortunately most of our equipment was in the restaurant when we purchased it six years ago and it was already old then. So what does old equipment do? It breaks.

The worst is when it’s refrigeration. First off we are small, we don’t have much refrigeration and what we have is usually full to the brim. Imagine playing Tetris with food. That’s how it works around here. The worst is on Monday and Wednesday mornings when we get the bulk of our deliveries.

We are closed on Saturday and Sunday and sometimes we don’t have caterings on the weekends so there are times when we don’t have to step foot in the place for 48 hours. Most of the time this is a good thing (yes we love the business, but everything in moderation), unless of course one of the refrigerators fails and you come in to warm food. This sucks, plain and simple. You end up throwing product away and then usually have to pay to have someone to make repairs.  I can do the accounting, mostly the taxes, marketing, cook some stuff, sell ice to an Eskimo, but I can’t fix anything mechanical.

Well guess what, wouldn’t you know, one of our fridges went down. It happened to one our our refrigerators that we have been nursing along, which happens to use an extinct refrigerant, R-12. We fixed it almost a year ago, but we knew that next time it went down we would be screwed, for lack of a better term.

We call our repair guy, he of course verified our findings and told us we could buy a new compressor, rebuild the thing and keep nursing it along or just buy a new one. Cost difference, not much.  We needed it and we needed it now.

$1,978 later, sweaty, dirty and tired after picking up a new one, moving the old one out and moving around half of the other 400 pound equipment that was in the way, we had a brand spanking new refrigerator. Blah, how fun is that? I could have bought a 50-inch LCD tv or put lawn in our back yard, which is still half dirt and weeds, or traveled or done something fun. Let me tell you, buying a new refrigerator is boring.  I like spending money as much as anyone else, but spending it on a refrigerator, well is quite anti-climatic!

Oh and since I’m complaining, to top it off our refrigerator at home, only two years old, LG brand, (don’t ever buy an LG) is broken and is randomly freezing everything in the refrigerator section. Imagine four cans of Diet Coke exploding and freezing to everything in the refrigerator.  LG has been out to fix it three times and every time they do, the same part breaks…but, well, it’s out of warranty. Sorry folks, nothing we can do, nothing at all. In fact at this point we really can’t even fix it because we can’t figure out what is wrong. DOH!

Oh well, life is actually damn good and most of the time I love the restaurant, but there are days.  On to baked eggs recipe adapted from Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Bank Dean.  Adjust as you see fit.  There were only three of us and I was running out of bread.

Baked Eggs, Toast and Bacon in One Package (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thin bread – I used a local multigrain bread and flattened it a bit with a rolling pin
  • 3 pieces cooked bacon or use prosciutto or ham
  • 8 farm eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Heavy cream or half and half
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • Grated cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano or your favorite cheese
  • Butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter your muffin tin.  Cut edges off each piece of bread to form a square about four inches by four inches. Butter the bread slices.  Press each slice gently into the bottom of the muffin cup so that the four edges are pointing up like in the picture.  Bake for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bread, until it is starting to crisp.

Remove tin from the oven, place the bacon, prosciutto or ham on the bottom of each cup.  Crack an egg into each cup.  Season with salt and pepper, pour a bit of cream on top and cover with cheese to your liking.

Place the muffin tin back into the oven and bake for 10 to 14 minutes until the whites are just set, or to the desired consistency. With a fork or an offset spatula, remove the bread cups, garnish with chives and devour!

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Until this past weekend I had never made cornbread. Is this bad? I’m 40 years old and an owner of a restaurant? It seems like it might be bad and I shouldn’t be sharing this with my customers, but that has not stopped me in the past so what the heck.

I’m actually sitting in the restaurant right now, Wednesday night. Today was a killer day for us, in terms of sales and in physical energy spent, and it’s still going. I started the day behind schedule and stayed behind schedule right up until a few minutes before the caterings went out the door. Somehow, I don’t know how, they all went out, on time, correct without any shortcuts or sacrifices.

We are like cats when it comes to our catering business though, we always seem to land on our feet. I did have a feeling this morning though that I had used my nine lives and today would be the day that we might just miss something. I have this feeling periodically and each time things have worked out…hmmm, might be my inexperience and my general pessimistic (or what I call a realistic) attitude.

The difference between our catering business and many other catering companies is that we run a restaurant as well. What does this mean you might ask? We only have one kitchen and one staff to do both sides of the business.

We can almost completely control the catering side – we can turn down business for example if we are busy. We can’t control the traffic on the restaurant side. One day we will be slammed from the moment the doors open until we close…the next traffic will be normal and then the following day we could literally be bored and be sending people home early.

Today, for example, we had three lunch catering orders totalling about 80 people.  Each of the caterings has multiple moving parts.  Grilling chicken or tri tip, preparing the platters, making salads, bottling up salad dressing, baking fresh cookies or dessert bars, putting together the paper goods, drinks, chips, condiments, etc.

On a normal day we can do this without much problem, but today we had twice the amount of people than normal come in for breakfast, snacks and coffee drinks (the time when we are prepping for the day and creating the catering food).

It’s awesome and maddening at the same time. My regulars will know how busy we are with catering orders just by the way we look and how we act when they walk in the door.  They will look at me, laugh and tell me that I work too hard.  It’s mostly fun though, but I will tell you…don’t open a restaurant unless you truly love food, customer service, making people happy, cleaning and working hard, all for less than you can make working the counter at Starbucks.  Haha, okay not that bad.

As a matter of fact, I’m very excited right now because shortly I’m going to be cooking grilled filet of beef with a wine and shallot reduction for an event at the restaurant in a few hours. There was a time, not long ago, that I wasn’t trusted with any of the food here. I started with the salads only, then I was able to do the tri tip, later I was trusted with other proteins and tonight I get to prepare the slamming tenderloin! It’s pretty exciting and scary knowing that in a few hours there will be 18 doctors eating dinner in our restaurant and I’m preparing the main entree.  Fortunately tenderloin is fairly forgiving, but at $17.99 a pound and limited time I can’t screw it up…I won’t though!

Okay, so back to cornbread. I made a few versions this past weekend. All of them I made in a nine-inch cast iron skillet which seemed appropriate for cornbread.  The first version I used medium coarse cornmeal and a very small amount of sugar.  I was pleasantly surprised at the result. Nothing like the cornbread I’ve ever had. It was more rustic with more of a bite and was less sweet. It would be great topped with chili or to accompany a soup. I used yogurt in the first batch and buttermilk in the second.

The kids didn’t like the texture of either so I made another version Sunday night, adapted from Cooks Illustrated.  I used fine cornmeal and I added more sugar and more liquid. This was the favorite and the whole skillets worth was devoured in short order.

This cornbread is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Northern Style Cornbread (serves six to eight)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more to grease the pan
  • 1 cup fine, yellow cornmeal such as Quaker in the round canister
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup shaken buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup milk

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch square baking pan with butter.

Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Crack the eggs into the well and stir lightly with a spoon. Add the buttermilk and milk. Stir the wet and dry ingredients until almost combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the ingredients are just combined.

Pour the batter into the greased skillet or pan. Bake until the top of the cornbread is golden brown and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the skillet or pan, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool five to ten minutes on a wire rack or on a burner atop your stove. Cut and devour.

You can wrap in foil and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

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Wow, what a weekend and what a day last Friday was. We prepared food for two catering events, one, a 150 person wedding and the other an upscale boxed lunch for 200 people. On Friday I had quite a day and a ton of fun. I did a large amount of prepping while trying to keep the front of the restaurant running smoothly. Nancy, Joannie and Megan were up to there eyeballs in food from the moment the day started. Megan cut and grilled so much chicken that the joke was that I was going to go print her out a “Chicken Mastery” certificate.

One of the dishes we were making was an Asian salad with skewered grilled chicken satay and peanut sauce. I consider myself super lucky that I wasn’t asked to skewer the chicken. We all got a good laugh because Joannie, who is vegetarian, ended up the job. She must have spent 3+ hours producing over 1,000 skewers.

I needed to julienne, into 1/8″ pieces, about 20 pounds each of bell peppers, carrots and cabbage. The bell peppers were great because I was able to really practice my knife skills, about 1 hour of them. The carrots were a bit easier because I was able to use the mandoline (watch out!) and with my mesh glove I cruised through them. The cabbage was the easiest as I only needed to core, then run them through the food processor with the shredder blade insert.

Nancy’s birthday was Saturday so our staff volunteered a few months back to handle the wedding catering Friday night. All we had to do was set up the event, make sure everything was ready to go and then we could head off. I had originally planned to make dinner for Nancy after we left the event, but after 12 hours of standing up I decided I was a wimp and I only wanted to relax. Thanks to my staff though, who after working all day, spent another 6 hours taking care of the wedding. We did pick up dinner on the way home and just chilled out.

About 11:00pm, after Nancy was out cold, I realized we would be heading to work early again Saturday morning and I really wanted to make breakfast for Nancy. The problem was I wanted to stay up late and I didn’t want to get up early. I decided I would make the strata that had been on my list for the last few weeks.

I spent some time a few weeks ago looking through many of my cookbooks and had a pretty good idea what I was going for. I do have a few tips I leaned that I wanted to share. When you use high-moisture ingredients like sausage or raw vegetables you must saute them first to remove the moisture. If you don’t the strata will be wet and soggy. Second, to produce the perfect texture you should weigh down the strata while it sits in the fridge overnight. This will allow all of the egg/cream mixture to really soak into the bread. You don’t have to use anything fancy, I just used a gallon of milk.

The outcome was excellent and I will be making it again. I think I might try to make a pepperoni pizza strata next time. The recipe was inspired by “The Best New Recipe” from Cook’s Illustrated.

Strata with Spicy Italian Sausage & Gruyere Cheese

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 7-8 slices French bread
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 medium minced shallots
  • 8 ounces pre-cooked spicy Italian sausage, cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Start by drying out the bread. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes, turning once after 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then moderately butter one side of each piece.

Okay. On to the the sausage and shallots. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the sliced sausage and saute until browned, about 4 minutes. (The sausage is already cooked so you are only browning them to concentrate the flavor and reduce the moisture.) Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the wine to the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until you have reduced by half. This will go quickly, just 2 or 3 minutes.

Take an 8×8 baking dish and coat the inside with butter. Arrange half of the bread slices in a single layer on the bottom of the pan, buttered side up. You can break the pieces to make them fit. Sprinkle half of the sausage/shallot mixture evenly over the bread then cover with 1/3 of the cheese.

Arrange the other half of the bread over the cheese, then the remainder of the sausage/shallot mixture and another 1/3 of the cheese.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl until combined. Whisk in the reduced wine, parsley, half-and-half, heavy cream if using, 1 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and cover, flush with the surface, with plastic wrap. Weigh down with something heavy. Refrigerate for at least a few hours up to overnight. Place remaining cheese in a bag and save.

Remove from refrigerator and let sit on the counter for 20 minutes to warm up a bit. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and place oven rack in middle position. Uncover the strata and sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for approximely 40 to 50 minutes until the edges and center are puffed and when you shake the baking dish the strata doesn’t jiggle. If you have a convection oven then cook at 270 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, cut into 4 or 6 pieces and devour.

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For the many of you who read the blog religiously I wanted to fill you in on the further outcome of the pulling of my tooth. (For those of you that haven’t ready about it, check out the polenta entry by clicking here.)

I feel pretty good, I really didn’t need to take the pain pills, other than the first day and you can tell by the blog postings in the past week that it hasn’t slowed down my eating habits. In fact I think I’ve eaten more food since the tooth was pulled than I did before. HAHA. So I’m almost back to normal and should be completely back in business in a few weeks.

Thinking about it, I guess nothing in my life stops me from eating. If I get stressed I eat, if I’m bored I eat, depressed… bring on the food the more the merrier. I eat when I watch TV, I eat when I read and I guess I still eat when I get teeth pulled. What is up with this? I would probably eat while I work out if I could. To those of you out there who are like me, there is a solution though, it’s painful to say the least… I exercise quite a bit and I eat small portions most of the week. I do go crazy a few days every few weeks though. In fact I ate almost a whole container of Double Stuff Oreo cookies last night.

Anyway on to the frittata. Before I met Nancy I didn’t know what a frittata was and I don’t think I had ever eaten one. For that matter, I think I had never eaten strata or quiche either. That changed quickly. Our restaurant is know for producing incredible quiche and frittata. In fact Reno Magazine voted us ‘Best Quiche’ last year and we make at least three different versions of quiche every day and most of the time sell it all before the end of the day.

Frittata is an Italian omelet. It is basically eggs, sometimes cream or milk filled with a various combinations of herbs, meat, cheeses and/or vegetables. Unlike a French omelet it is served open-faced and though started on the stovetop, it is finished in the oven or under the broiler. At the restaurant we make them often with whatever fun stuff we have around. We cater for a doctor’s office in town about once a month and they always ask for our frittata with Italian sausage, spinach and herbs.

I’ve watched others make them, but I haven’t made my own until this week. I made one first on Friday morning then again on Sunday morning because on Friday I forgot to add the cream and salt. Yes, I’m a bit of a perfectionist with certain things.

I ended up looking at a million recipes in my very large collection of cookbooks and decided that I wanted a basic version to start. Something that would be quick and easy, but taste great. I settled on onion, bacon, cheddar cheese and spinach. I was close to doing asparagus or potatoes, but I wanted for my first version to be something quick that anyone can make for their family without much effort.

My first dilemma was should I bake the bacon, see my baking bacon recipe, or since I only needed a few pieces go with the microwave version. On Friday for sake of simplicity I went with the microwave, but was unhappy with the result, so on Sunday I baked the bacon. Much better!

In the end, the below recipe is a great start for frittata. In the future I will be experimenting with other ingredients and hope to make a version with chorizo next time.

Bacon, Cheese and Spinach Frittata (serves 4)

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 6 cooked slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup + some (see below) cheddar cheese, or cheese of choice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat oil in oven-proof, nonstick 9 or 10” pan, over medium heat, add onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. While the onions are sautéing in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, half and half, cooked bacon and cheddar cheese.

Add in the spinach with your softened onions and cook them until wilted about 1 minute, stirring around a bit to distribute the heat. Spread out the spinach and onion mixture on the bottom of the pan and then pour in the egg mixture. While the eggs are setting, gently lift the cooked egg at the edge of the frittata with a wooden spoon so that raw egg from the top can run underneath. Continue cooking until the bottom is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the frittata (1/4 cup) and slide into your warmed oven. Bake until eggs are set on top and cheese is melted. Remove from oven; remember that the pan is super hot. Place an oven mitt or a towel over the handle so nobody in the house burns themselves. Serve right away or at room temperature.

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Sunday morning and ready for part two of Spanish Tortilla weekend. My dad is up visiting from California and we’ve been cooking all kinds of things this weekend. Untraditional Spanish Tortilla yesterday morning, baby-back ribs last night, a more traditional Spanish Tortilla this morning and a slow-cooked brisket coming up this afternoon.

Unfortunately he will miss the brisket as he is going to be heading home this morning, but we’ve had a great time sharing stories. As a matter of fact we talked about how often we used to eat Spam on camping trips when I was a kid. My dad and I used to go camping at least five times each year. We would head up into the mountains, find a logging road and head to some remote place where you would never see another soul for the weekend. I think we must have eaten Spam on sandwiches, with eggs and bacon and just plain. Ahh… the good old days, ignorance is bliss. Thinking about this makes me want to pick a day and head out for a nice long weekend of camping and cooking in the woods. Where should I go….

So today I’m very happy to say that we all loved the Spanish Tortilla and the recipe worked out very well. It only took me 40 minutes from start to finish and the recipe was super easy. The dish had a good balance and cooking with the olive oil added a delicate fruity taste.

Here is the recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman.

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 1/4 pounds of potatoes, 3 or 4 medium (i used red-skinned potatoes)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 extra-large or jumbo eggs

Method

Peel and thinly slice potatoes and onions. (I didn’t peel, I like the skins myself so you can skip this if you’d like. If you have a mandoline it makes this step super easy.) Meanwhile, heat the oil in 8 to 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. After 3 or 4 minutes drop in a potato slice. When tiny bubbles appear around its edges, add potatoes, onions, a good pinch of salt and a liberal sprinkling of pepper. Gently turn mixture in oil with a wooden spoon, and adjust heat so oil bubbles lazily. You are simmering the potatoes and onions in other words.

Cook, turning the potatoes gently every few minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a small knife, or like me, when you take one out and eat it and it tastes good. Adjust heat so they do not brown. If potatoes begin to break, they are overdone; stop cooking immediately. As potatoes cook, beat eggs with some salt and pepper in a large bowl. I would do a large pinch of kosher salt!

Drain potatoes in a colander, reserving oil. I’ve read about saving the oil and added it to new oil when you make the tortillas next time. Hmm, sounds good. Wipe out skillet and heat over medium flame for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Gently mix warm potatoes with the eggs in another bowl and then add to skillet. As soon as the edges firm up, after a minute or so, reduce heat to medium low and cook 5 minutes.

Insert rubber spatula all around edges of tortilla to make sure it will slide from the pan. The top will still be runny. Carefully slide out onto a plate. Cover with another plate, and holding plates tightly, invert them. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and use the spatula to coax tortilla back in. Cook 5 minutes, then slide from skillet onto a clean plate. Serve warm (not hot), or at room temperature.

Notes: The dish is best cooked over moderate heat. You are not browning the onions in the olive oil. If you have a non-stick skillet of the 9 or 10 inch variety this will work best. Mark’s recipe tells you to flip the tortilla over with the use of a plate. If you don’t want to risk it put it in the oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for the last few minutes to set the eggs on top! Make sure your pan is oven proof though. We have All Clad and they work perfect!

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10:44 on Friday night and I’m starting on my blog for Sunday’s posting. My father made it from California to our house in Nevada today after some adventure. I gave him the wrong directions, a simple left instead of right, and he drove quite a bit out of the way. Fortunately he has a cell phone and I was able to quickly correct my mistake and get him over to the restaurant.

As he sat down for lunch he did mention that he didn’t remember making me sit at the table for hours on end with the cold meatloaf on my plate. (See the meatloaf posting if you haven’t read it yet.) He did remember picking me up by the neck at some point when I was talking back to my mom and being a smart ass though. My dad has always been a bad ass, still is in fact!

I picked up the latest issue of the Donna Hay magazine at Barnes & Noble a few days ago because I noticed a ton of really fun looking recipes. If you have never seen her magazine you should check it out. It is based out of Australia and has the best photography of any food magazine I have ever seen.

I’ve noticed a large amount of interest in my postings on eggs and the baked bacon so I’ve decided that I’m going to focus a fair amount of my research in the next month on egg dishes. Breakfast and otherwise. I need to enjoy as many as I can now, I just turned 40 and will be scheduling a physical soon. I don’t think I have high cholesterol, but you never know. Ignorance is bliss!

For my next addition I’m cooking a Spanish Tortilla, which is simply potatoes, eggs and onions. Its origins are from Spain and basically you cook some potatoes, saute some onion and maybe garlic, place them in a pan, cover them with eggs and cook ’em up. What can go wrong with this equation? I love eggs and potatoes. Sounds pretty good!

I decided to try two recipes, one out of the Donna Hay magazine where the recipe calls for boiled potatoes and the cooking to be done in the oven. The other, Mark Bittman’s, seems to be along the traditional line, with potatoes cooked in oil and the dish finished on the stove.

We’ll start with Donn Hay’s today. Below is the recipe – recipe is in metric so I have converted.

  • 1kg Sebago Potatoes, peeled (2.2 pounds of Russets or other floury potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 x 200g onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 10 eggs
  • 180ml cup pouring cream (3/4 cup half and half)
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper (used kosher, didn’t have sea available)

Preheat oven to 355 degrees. Place potatoes in saucepan of cold water. Bring to boil and cook for 12 minutes or under just tender (this time could be as much as 20 or more minutes depending on the size of the potatoes). Drain, allow to cool completely and thinly slice (easier said than done, the slicing part).

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 9 inch non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and place on layer of potato over the base. Top with one third of the onion mixture and continue to layer the potato and onion mixture, finishing with a layer of potato. Whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a bowl and pour over the potato. Cook the tortilla in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Turn tortilla out and slice to serve. Serves 6.

Notes: The recipe was a bit bland. I’m looking forward to trying the other one tomorrow morning. I would increase the onion by 50% and use heavy cream instead of half and half. I would use at least 2 teaspoons of salt in the eggs as well. The potato water needs to be generously salted, like a handful of kosher salt, says my wife Nancy. Potato and pasta water should taste like sea water. The first time I made this the potato water was not salted, since I was following the recipe.

It was also a long haul to get this out on the table. By the time I peeled the potatoes, boiled them, waited for them to cool so I could cut them and then baked the whole thing we were looking at 2 hours. My dad was super cool about having to wait though, so thanks dad.

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bacon-a

How do you cook your bacon? What do you do if a whole group of people are coming over for breakfast? Questions I needed to answer this morning because I was cooking for 7 people and I wanted bacon, omelets, baked eggs and toast. My father-in-law, both of my step-son’s and one of their friends, along with Nancy and her brother were coming over to eat some breakfast before the men headed out to play some paintball… yes, paintball.

I’ve been playing on and off for over 20 years and I love it about as much as cooking. Yes it is actually safe and believe it or not, paintball has moved ahead of snowboarding as the fourth largest alternative sport in America. In fact over 8 million people played last year and almost 1 million played at least 15 times in the same time frame. I play with 15 to 20 other guys and gals, some lawyers, some business owners, some military guys and overall just a bunch of great people. Anyway back to the bacon!

There are several ways to cook bacon: you can fry it, microwave it, broil it or bake it. I’ve done them all with the exception of broiling and I’ve found that baking is the way to go! It is super easy and provides consistent results. It actually is pretty easy to clean up as well. Stay tuned.

Let’s start with some basic pros and cons for each way to make bacon.

Microwaving – Hard to figure out the timing, not crisp, actually lacks the best flavor and is unappealing in the looks department.

Frying in a Skillet – Better looks, better flavor, grease splatter all over your stove, hard to fit many pieces in the pan, have to pay more attention which is difficult when trying to make an omelet, toast bread, baked eggs and make a fruit tray, shrinkage, hahahah and inconsistent.

Oven Frying – Best of all worlds. – Super consistent results, perfect flavor, easy clean up, no babysitting and fast results and almost no shrinkage!

So try and bake your bacon next time, especially if you have company! Oh and here is a tip from my wonderful wife Nancy. “You can bake off the bacon a day before you need it and just heat it up in the oven when you need it. You will be the king or queen of pork. Just don’t sneak any out of the fridge before you need to serve it.” Oh and what to do with the bacon grease, put it in the pan to cook your eggs or potatoes. You will love it!

bacon-b

Baked Bacon

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet (must be rimmed to hold bacon fat) with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet. Bake until desired doneness from 15 to 20 minutes. Before pulling out take a quick peak to make sure the bottom is as brown as the top, if not leave for a few more minutes. Transfer bacon with tongs to a paper-lined plate, drain and devour! Please post your comments and breakfast wins and blunders!

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