Tag Archives: bacon

Viva la Bacon

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” – Doug Larson

This year the Handsome Husband and I got tickets to the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.  The festival is in its fourth year and tickets to the event sold out in less than 30 minutes!!  We had never been before and didn’t know quite what to expect.  Here are a couple pics from the day….

Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

Ohhhhh BACON!!

The rally cry of the day is  “ooooooHHHHH BACON!”.  It was sort of like  the group “PROST” at Oktoberfest except without the lederhosen.  Or the shared heritage.  And it was greasier.

blue ribbon bacon festival

The Bacon Explosion

The Bacon Explosion is ground Italian Sausage wrapped in a lattice-work of bacon.  It’s like the granddaddy of things-wrapped-in-bacon.

Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

Bacon frying in a skillet....made of balloons

We ate the classic maple donuts with bacon sprinkled on top, bacon wrapped breadsticks, pork belly tacos, bacon sandwiches, and the best thing of the day: buffalo style bacon with deep fried ranch dressing.

Yes: deep friend ranch dressing.  God I love the Midwest.

The one weird twist was that the festival was sponsored in part by Beggin’ Strips.   As in the faux meat bacon scented dog treats.

Beggin' Strips

Beggin' Strips are NOT bacon. Critical distinction.

There was something really unsettling about seeing bags of the dog treats on tables everywhere as people were eating strips of real bacon.  I’m not sure bacon scented canine snacks should play a role in any food festival.

But the highlight of the day was when two parents and their baby, dressed as bacon, were on stage singing a song they wrote for the festival.  The dad was bouncing the little bacon strip around and Handsome Husband exclaims “Is that a real baby?!?!”  Deep fried ranch dressing was no biggie, but the little baby was just TOO much for him to handle.

So all in all, it was an indulgent pork adventure…..

bacon fest

See ya next year.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. There is a whole week of bacon themed activities surrounding Bacon Fest each year.  Follow @BRBaconFest on Twitter for fun stuff year round.  And if you want…you can follow me too (blushes) @flyoverfoodie

Raw Eggs and La Dolce Vita

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” – director Federico Fellini

If life is a combination of pasta and magic, then Pasta Carbonara is la dolce vita itself.   Using a little cooking magic and mound of cheese, it was a guaranteed winner in the Flyover House.

I started with a recipe from this little book, which I picked up 5 years ago at a sale at Barnes and Noble; which means that book has been moved to 4 different addresses.  But I digress….

Carbonara is relatively simple.   Hot pasta is tossed with bacon and an egg/cheese mixture.  The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs and turns everything into an otherworldly mix of creamy saltiness.   And unlike most magic,  you can do this without any slight of hand or even a lovely assistant.

Start by bringing the water to boiling for your pasta.  Also, heat your oven to 200° and place an ovenproof bowl in there to warm.  This will be the bowl the pasta gets tossed in.

Cook the chopped bacon and then the garlic.  I added some asparagus, thinking that it would at least make the pasta a little “healthy”.  However, I cooked that asparagus in bacon fat.  Which I’m pretty sure negates any positive impact.

Pasta Carbonara

Cheese, garlic, asparagus....

As the bacon and asparagus were cooking, I mixed the Parmesan, mozzarella, and two eggs together in a separate bowl and set aside.

Pasta Carbonara

Egg and cheese mixture

I know your getting all nervous about those eggs.  No, they haven’t been cooked.  No, we’re not going to cook them.  Don’t worry, you’ll be fine…..it’s part of the magic.

Once the pasta is done, drain it, and place it in your oven warmed bowl.  Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and toss thoroughly.

pasta carbonara

If you look closely, you can see the magic happening!

The magic here is in the timing.  The hot pasta gets drained and then immediately gets tossed with the eggs and cheese.  The heat of the bowl and the heat of the pasta cook the eggs.  PRESTO!  No magic words needed….just good kitchen timing.

Now add in the bacon/garlic/asparagus mixture and toss again.  I also added a dash of heavy cream, but mostly because it was leftover from another recipe and I was getting in the nasty habit of putting it in my morning coffee.  Seriously…that stuff is dangerous.

pasta carbonara

That asparagus really lightens it up....

And presto chango….the eggs and cheese heat and make the most decadent sauce for the pasta.  It’s not as heavy as you might think because a lot of the creamy quality comes from the eggs, not from actual cream.  Actually, most traditional carbonara recipes use no cream at all.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: From start to finish this whole recipe probably took about 25 minutes.  And it was delicious.  Rachel Ray, you’ve been served.

pasta carbonara

As beautiful as an Italian art film!

Plus, it has crispy flecks of salty bacon.  Which honestly, makes anything just a little bit magical.  Dished out in big bowls with a couple glasses of a cool, crisp white wine, our kitchen was dangerously close to a Fellini film….

pasta carbonara and Ferderico Fellini

La Dolce Vita

Or as close to a Fellini film as a German/Irish girl in the Midwest can get.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. Thanks for the patience.  This is the busy season at work, which I promise will be followed by a busy blogging season.  The latter containing noticeably more butter.

Pasta Bolognese

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

If you like carbs like I like carbs, you’re going to be hungry by the end of this post.  And it’s a little lengthy…so you might need a snack. Or a glass of wine. Or both.  I’ll wait a minute….

……

….All set?  Here we go:

FIRST: the dough.  Since I was making homemade pasta, I started the pasta before the sauce.  Homemade pasta needs time to rest and dry slightly after being formed and before being cooked.

I made my dough in a the food processor.  TO BE FAIR: I have seen many chefs do this.  AND- the processor even has a “Dough” button, so you kind of have to use it.  Your basic pasta dough is flour, eggs, a pinch of salt and a little drizzle of olive oil.

Dough formed into a ball post-processor

Next the dough gets kneaded by hand for about 5 minutes until its stretchy and shiny.   Cover with a bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes.  Now roll out the dough to about 1/4-1/8 inch thickness.  Because I did not (yet!!) have a pasta roller,  I used a rolling pin and tried to get it as thin as possible.  Which took some work.  I told myself that having thicker pasta would just add to its charm.

Cutting the dough into tagliatelle

I cut the dough into wide strips which makes it, I think, tagliatelle.  Tagliatelle of random, inconsistent lengths, but tagliatelle nonetheless.  I separated the pieces and left them to dry on the counter while I made the sauce.  Other than the difficulty of rolling, this was pretty simple.

Drying tagliatelle. Charmingly rustic. Right?

NOW: hitting the sauce.

I used the basics of two different Italian recipes to make my Bolognese sauce.  First, this recipe from Mario Batali and this recipe as well.   By this point you’ve probably noticed that I almost always look at more than one recipe.  I like to find the commonalities that make a true Bolognese sauce versus the individual spin a chef may put on a recipe of their own.

In this case you find the common ingredients: bacon, red wine, onion, celery, carrots, ground meat.  And the basic steps: saute, sweat, deglaze, simmer.   Get it?

Start by sauteing and sweating the veggies:

Cooking the veggies til soft

Next add the meats and brown, then the milk:

Browned meat plus milk

Now you add tomatoes, wine, and cook for as long as you can stand it. I think I lasted a little over an hour, then it just smelled TOO GOOD.  You can also consult your sous chef, lingering veeeeerrrrry closely:

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