IMPOSSIBLY CUTE BACON & EGG CUPS

Should I be embarrassed to blog about a “recipe” that is essentially two ingredients plus seasoning? Potentially, yes. But in reality I am not, because this non-recipe has a nice little unexpected twist to it: the bacon was pre-cooked sous-vide. WAIT!  Don’t run away, you can make it if you don’t have the Anova gadget sitting in your kitchen drawer. But I must say bacon cooked sous-vide and stored in the fridge waiting to shine in any recipe is a very nice item for the busy cook. Or any cook, actually, because this method gets quite a bit of the greasy “feel” of bacon out of the equation, and the texture will be superb.

bacon-egg-cups2

BACON AND EGG CUPS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

several slices of bacon, preferably cooked sous-vide
large eggs
salt
Aleppo pepper (or pepper of your choice)

If cooking the bacon sous-vide, place the slices in a bag and submerge in the water-bath set to 147 F (64 C) overnight. I left mine 12 hours, but you can do it longer if more convenient.  At the end of the cooking time, a lot of fat will have accumulated inside the bag. You can save it if you like to cook with it, or discard it.  Place the cooked slices of bacon over paper towels to dry them well. Store them in the fridge until ready to use. If not using sous-vide, cook the bacon on a skillet, but do not allow it to get too brown or crispy.  Drain them well in paper towels before assembling the cups.

Heat the oven to 375 F (175 C).

Cover the bottom of a muffin baking tin with bacon, making sure to come up all the way to the top. Gently break an egg and place it inside. Season with salt and pepper.  Bake according to your preference. I like the egg yolks to be runny, so 10 to 15 minutes maximum will be enough.  If you like your eggs fully cooked, go for 20 minutes, but pay close attention, you don’t want to over-dry the egg.

Remove to a serving dish, and dig in!

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this recipe for the first time in July, and since then we’ve been cooking bacon sous-vide on a regular basis. To me, it takes bacon to a whole new level, cutting some of the harshness I find overpowering. If you get your pan screaming hot, you can get by simply searing one side of the bacon slice, as the whole thing is already perfectly cooked to start with. But, even if you crisp up both sides, the texture will be perfect.

compositebacon1

These little cups are perfect for breakfast, or a light lunch.  Having the bacon waiting in the fridge makes this preparation a breeze. All you need to do is warm up your oven (we use the Breville that heats up super fast), grab the muffin tin, and you are less than 20 minutes away from a nice meal.   I also made those using prosciutto and ham.  Both work very well, but the sous-vide bacon is my favorite. Keep also in mind that if you’d like a vegetarian version, cooked spaghetti squash strands can be a nice receptacle for the egg. I intend to blog about that sometime. The secret is to  be assertive in the seasoning, otherwise it can be a bit bland.

compositebacon2

For those interested, this is low-carb, Paleo-friendly, Whole30-friendly, but above all, it’s very very tasty!

impossibly-cute-bacon-and-egg-cups-from-bewitching-kitchen

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

TWO YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

THREE YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

FOUR YEARS AGO: On my desk

FIVE YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

SIX YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

A BRAN MUFFIN TO STEAL HIS HEART

I would love to take full credit for coming up with the title of this post, but I can’t.  “A Bran Muffin Stole My Heart” was the title of a blog post by Michelle published almost 3 years ago, and brought to my attention by a friend over on Facebook (thank you, Tracy!). After reading Michelle’s post, I had the intuition that this recipe would be a winner.   For starters, it makes big, very big muffins. Then, it proceeds by crowning each muffin with a  tempting sprinkle of walnuts and sugar, that gets irresistibly crunchy as they bake. I had to make a batch and put it to the test of my resident bran muffin critic-extraordinaire…  😉

BranMuffin11

APPLE-RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS
(slightly modified from Put in Some Sugar

1 + 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1  + 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup diced walnuts
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
Raw sugar, for sprinkling
walnut pieces, for sprinkling

Heat your oven to 400 F.  Prepare a muffin pan, with either paper cups or spray.
.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the wheat bran and dried fruits. Add the boiling water and let sit.
.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy, then add the sugar and beat until well combined and creamy. Add the honey and mix. Add the egg, mixing well.
Mix in the buttermilk and flour mixture in three additions each, beating each addition until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Mix in the bran mixture.
.
Scoop the batter into the muffin cups. It should take about 1/2 cup of batter for each muffin if you are using a jumbo muffin pan. For regular muffin pans, use 1/4 cup. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of raw sugar and sprinkle with a teaspoon of chopped walnuts.
.
Bake 20 minutes or until browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
.
ENJOY!
.
to print the recipe, click here
.

Ingredients-checker

These muffins are the ones that got the closest to those from Phil’s past.  I have no doubt that the larger size helped a lot,  so getting the jumbo size muffin pan was a great move by Sally. 

Cooling
The topping adds a lot to these muffins, but I loved everything about them, from taste to texture.  What can I say? I think I’ve been assimilated.

most interesting

“I don’t always eat breakfast, but when I do, I prefer a bran muffin”.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

ONE YEAR AGO: Jammin’ Blueberry Sour Milk Pancakes

TWO YEARS AGOScallops with Black Pasta in Orange Cream Sauce

THREE YEARS AGO: Stir-fried Chicken with Creamed Corn

FOUR YEARS AGO: Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedo

BRAN MUFFINS, RAINBOWS AND A WONDERFUL SURPRISE

Found it on the 3rd. Baked it on the 5th.  That is how fast I jumped on this recipe once I saw it at Pastry Studio. I’ve mentioned before that one of Phil’s favorite breakfast item is a bran muffin studded with raisins and nuts.  I know that baking the version of his past is akin to finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so I simply enjoy the path of trying different recipes and getting feedback on how close or far I am from the muffin of his hippie days.

Buttermilk Bran Muffin3

BUTTERMILK BRAN MUFFINS
(from Pastry Studio)
Makes 16 muffins

1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk at room temperature
1 cup (2 oz) wheat bran
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (89 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (89 grams) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) canola oil
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) molasses
2 tablespoons (1 oz) honey
2 eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) raisins, chopped (I kept them whole)
1/2 cup (1 3/4 oz) pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 16 wells in standard size muffin tins or use paper liners.

Place the buttermilk and bran in a bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Sift both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In another bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the oil, brown sugar, molasses and honey.  Add the eggs and combine thoroughly.  Mix in the vanilla and orange zest.  Add the bran and buttermilk mixture.  Whisk in the flour mixture just until there are no streaks.  Do not over mix.  Fold in the raisins and pecans.

Divide the batter equally in the prepared muffin cups.  Bake until the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center or a tester inserted comes out clean, about 13 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Use a small thin knife or small metal spatula to remove from the pan.  Cool completely.

(I made half the recipe and that was enough for 7 regular-size muffins)

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I am not wild about bran muffins, but in the name of food blogging I decided to try a little bite of one.  Surprise!  I enjoyed it so much it became my lunch that Sunday. 😉 Very moist, sweet but not as sweet as I expected for a muffin that contains honey, molasses, AND brown sugar. The molasses taste is the strongest and I think it masks the harshness of wheat bran very well.  My kind of bran muffin.

Did I hit the jackpot with these? I am one step closer, but feedback from the resident former hippie suggests me to triple the raisins, use walnuts instead of pecans, and at least double that amount too. No wonder I have a hard time re-creating the concoction of his past.  Obviously,  it was not a muffin. It was a block of walnuts and raisins with just enough crumb to hold it all together.  And, I must buy a jumbo muffin pan.   So, that will be taken care of soon.  But, the muffin part – the amount of bran and the overall sweetness – were spot on!

Now we move to the surprise part of this post.   I was featured on “Food Writer Friday“, a publication run by Maureen from “The Orgasmic Chef” and Helene from “Masala Herb“.  If you are interested, take a look at the amazing article she wrote by clicking here.  My jaw kept dropping as I read it,  and I developed this permanent smile on my face that lasted for a few days…   The idea that someone on the other side of the planet (literally) would take the time and energy to write such a thoughtful article about someone she doesn’t even know personally,  melts my heart…

When you’ve been blogging for a while, it is hard to know how you come across to your readers, and her article gave me a nice snapshot of it.  Nothing pleased me more than realizing that my relationship with Phil is a big part of it.  The fact that she chose my post on bran muffins to highlight our happiness made me smile, knowing that I had this post already written and scheduled for publication. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence?

Rainbow2(image from Wikimedia Commons)

Maureen, it is hard to express how much I love everything you wrote, and how much energy it gives me to go on with the blog, with my little stories, and my endless search for rainbows, pots of gold, and the perfect bran muffin…   😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Cider-Marinated Pork Kebabs

TWO YEARS AGO: Golden Age Granola

THREE  YEARS AGO: Mushroom Souffle for Two

FOUR YEARS AGO: Stollen

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: LEMON POPPY-SEED MUFFINS

At the risk of repeating myself over and over and over, I must say the last Monday of each month makes me feel as happy as a kid in a toy store… Why? It is the day in which bloggers of my group at The Secret Recipe Club reveal which blog they were assigned to cook from, and post their recipes. This month, I could not be more pleased with my assignment. I got April’s blog, Angels Homestead. April is a very active participant of the club. You see, we have a Facebook group to discuss issues, make sure everyone is aware of what needs to be done (participation forms to be filled, upcoming Reveal Days), and April is always there with her very unique and personal touch. I was thrilled to cook from her blog! It took me just a few minutes to settle on a recipe, because right when I got the assignment I was wondering about something to bake and take to our department. Lemon poppy-seed muffins seemed perfect. And perfect they were! 😉

muffin1.
If you want to make a batch of muffins to cheer your co-workers early in the morning, here’s the way to do it:  before going to bed, measure the dry ingredients, place the flour in a large bowl, the baking powder and baking soda on small bowls next to it.  Get the two eggs ready to go, same for poppy seeds, sugar, and lemon.   Place paper liners in your muffin pan.  Measure the butter, the yogurt (or sour cream), and place both in the fridge. Marvel at your uncanny sense of organization, and go to sleep. Have pleasant dreams.

ingredients
Next morning, turn the oven on.  Grab the yogurt from the fridge, zest and juice the lemon,  add the poppy seeds and mix them al together.

poppy
Beat the sugar with the butter and the eggs, add the poppy seeds mixture, incorporate all very well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix gently.  Add scoops of the batter to the muffin pan, trying to add the same amount to each paper liner.  If you are like me, at this stage of the day the caffeine has not kicked in yet, so your consistency won’t be stellar.  Oh, well…  Do your best.

unbaked
Now, all you have to do is bake those babies, and get ready to brighten up the morning of your colleagues.  If you can make that a Monday morning, even better…   😉

baked

for a printable version of the recipe, click here

For some serious fun with the productions of my fellow Secret Recipe members, click on the blue frog that is smiling at you at the bottom of the post. She is a bit cross-eyed, but still pretty adorable.

April, I hope you know how much I enjoyed getting assigned to your blog this month!  A real special treat…  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Mascarpone Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

THREE YEARS AGO: Cinnamon Turban Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

BRAN MUFFINS, TAKE TWO

Bran muffins make Phil very very happy, so I tried a new recipe for his favorite morning treat.  On a whim, I went with the “back of the bag” recipe in the Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran product.  I reasoned that they probably tested and re-tested the recipe to make sure whoever baked a batch would love it and buy another bag. 😉  I also thought that using applesauce in the batter would make it moist and flavorful. I was right.
muffin2
MOLASSES BRAN MUFFINS
(from Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup milk
1/2 cup molasses (or honey)
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (toasted is best)
2 Tbsp. oil
2 eggs, beaten

Heat the oven to 400°F. Combine wheat bran, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in nuts and raisins. In a separate bowl, blend applesauce, milk, molasses, oil and egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Spoon into a muffin pan lined with paper muffin cups) and bake for  20 minutes. Makes 12 regular-size muffins.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Comments:  Between these bran muffins and the first one I blogged about, I think I prefer this batch because of the prominent apple taste that mellows the “hippie factor” of the wheat bran.  Did I hit the jackpot with them?  And by jackpot I mean bran muffins that match the ones of Phil’s past. Not quite yet there.  However, after almost 13 years of marriage, I finally got a hint on one of the issues: size.  The muffins he loved so much were bigger.  Size does matter after all!  A shocking realization.   But, here is the tricky part, in those days they did not make them gigantic. They were just slightly bigger. So, now I am on a mission to find a pan that will make a muffin somewhere between “regular” and “jumbo”.   As to taste, I am on the right track.  Raisins and walnuts, yes.  But next time, less apple, and honey instead of molasses.

I do not go down without a fight, my friends! One day, I will bake the bran muffin of his dreams…

ONE  YEAR AGO: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

TWO YEARS AGO: Breville Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: Vienna Bread

BBA#12: Golly Moses, She’s a Muffin!

Unless you are a fan of “Two and a Half Men”, the title will not mean much to you. But, if you are like us, it will bring a smile to your face… 😉

I was “counting the breads” to this one, as making English muffins has been on my to-do list for years. In fact, with this bread, Reinhart starts on a very nice path down yeast lane: I look forward to many of the breads ahead.

IT’S A MUFFIN!

muffin1

This recipe (found here) was easy, absolutely no worries. Mix the flour, the yeast, the buttermilk, and wait for the dough to beautifully rise.  Form 6 balls of dough, let them rise again and plop them on the griddle.

The trickiest part is to cook undisturbed for several minutes, until the bottom is dark brown. I’m not a particularly patient person, and those minutes seemed like hours! But it was worth it, as the photos confirm.

Without further ado, muffin time!

Here they are, after the final rise, ready to cook…

muffindough

As you add them to the griddle, they spread a little. Just let them sit, don’t move them around.

ongriddle

close-up

muffingriddle

…and a “group shot”

muffingroup

General comments: it’s another great recipe to make with kids: they’ll have a lot of fun to see the changes as the muffins cook, and then to eat them with some butter and jam!  They finish in a 350F oven to make sure that the inside cooks thoroughly. The crumb turned out a little tighter than I like it, but maybe I was not gentle enough handling them. Make sure to sprinkle some cornmeal on the parchment paper or Silpat before resting the dough balls on top,  so that you retain the airy quality of the dough and the bread acquires the characteristic muffin texture inside. Eggs Benedict may well be on your menu in the near future! 😉

Note to self: explore variations using whole wheat flour and/or sourdough starter as part of the dough.