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blue cheese and bacon dip

This is our friend Geeven.

No, not the little blondie on the motorcycle (which, by the way is as close as she’ll EVER get to driving one). The guy behind her. Geeven is one of our best pals. He’s cute. He’s funny. He’s got that bad-boy motorcycle thing goin’ on. And ladies, he’s single!

But that’s beside the point. The thing is, Geeven loves bacon. He thinks it should be considered a food group. He loves it so much, in fact, that every year his birthday is christened “Bacon Day.” Friends come from all over, make a bacon-related dish, and toast Geeven on another trip around the sun. This year the table was strewn with chocolate-covered bacon, bacon maple ice cream, chocolate bacon croissants, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, spicy bacon bloody mary’s, and even bacon water. I wouldn’t recommend the last one.

When it comes to bacon dishes, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I don’t think bacon should be where it doesn’t belong (i.e. in water), and I don’t ever want to sacrifice flavor for creativity. Call me crazy. So I opted to create a savory bacon dip with a hint of blue cheese.

To make it, you’ll need bacon, garlic, blue cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.

Begin by slicing the bacon…

…and mincing the garlic.

Fry the bacon together with the garlic until crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool completely.

Toss the sour cream, mayo, blue cheese and bacon pieces into the bowl of your food processor. Reserve a few blue cheese and bacon crumbles for topping the dip.

Blend until smooth. It may take a few minutes to get most of the bacon chunks pureed. I doubt you’ll need salt, but a few grinds of pepper can’t hurt. Season to taste, puree again, and stick in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

Serve topped with a few crumbles of cheese and bacon. I like to serve dips this way—it gives guests a hint as to what’s in the dip so it’s not just some mystery bowl of goo.

For Bacon Day I served it alongside hunks of crusty sourdough bread, but veggies or crackers would also do nicely.

It certainly wasn’t the most creative dish at the party, but I think I’ve established a new entertaining staple. It’s rich, yes, but you could make it lighter by using low-fat sour cream, low-fat mayo and turkey bacon (just don’t tell Geeven).

Happy birthday, Geeves. May this year be filled with fun, good cheer, and lots and lots of bacon.

-RDG

Blue Cheese and Bacon Dip    printable pdf

Serve this savory dip alongside crusty bread, vegetables or crackers. It’s a must for your next party! 

Prep Time: 10 minutes. Cook Time: 10 minutes plus 1 hour of refrigeration. Yield: 1 1/2 cups of dip.

  • 3-4 slices bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise (I like olive oil based mayo, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese
  • pepper to taste (salt too if you like, but I find it doesn’t need it)
1. Slice the bacon into 1/2″ pieces. Mince the garlic. Fry bacon with garlic over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool completely.
2. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese and cooked bacon to the bowl of a food processor, reserving a few bacon and cheese crumbles for topping. Puree for 2-3 minutes, or until mostly smooth. Season with pepper (and/or salt) to taste. Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour before serving.
3. Serve chilled dip topped with reserved bacon and blue cheese crumbles.

 

bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers

The best kinds of friends will show up at your doorstep with beer and dinner. They’ll bring homemade fresh pizza dough, cilantro, red onions, barbecue chicken and shredded cheese, and then proceed to amaze and delight you by cooking pizza on your grill. To tide you over while the miraculous pizza grilling is being performed, they will serve you jalapeno poppers.

I have the best kinds of friends. Not only did they come over and feed us freshly grilled BBQ chicken pizza (a post for another time—I’m still trying to master my pizza-grilling skills), but they also introduced me to the mother of all appetizers that I’ll be making from now until September.

Making your own poppers is easy. All you need is cream cheese, finely shredded jack (or motzerella, or cheddar—whatever your preference. You could even go a little crazy with blue or gorgonzola), fresh jalapenos, and regular-cut bacon (not thick-cut).

To begin, lop off the stems of those spicy peppers.

Slice lengthwise down the middle…

…and remove the seeds. I wear gloves when handling hot peppers because I’m the kind of woman who will *forget* that she just had her finger in a jalapeno and then use said finger to scratch my eye. I’m not the smartest cookie sometimes.

Mash together the cream cheese and the jack cheese.

Fill the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese mixture…

…and wrap each one with a half slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.

And now for the best part: fire up your grill to medium. I love these as a summer appetizer because there’s no running back and forth from the kitchen to the grill—it can all be done outside. Prep your poppers in the morning, refrigerate, and grill whenever your company shows up.

Grill for roughly 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t walk away from the grill for too long; that pesky bacon loves to spark grease fires.

Hand each guest their own little bowl of these and they will be smitten with you all evening. Or at least as long as the poppers hold out.

Cool cream cheese in a spicy jalapeno wrapped with salty, smoky bacon. Wash it down with a cold beer (or better yet, a salted margarita!) and you’ll be singing the Beach Boys all summer long.

-RDG

P.S. Thanks Ric & Tennille for 1) being amazeballs and 2) for introducing us to poppers and BBQ pizza. We love you more than bacon.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers printable poppers

Makes 20 poppers. Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes

  • 10 jalapeno peppers
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 c finely shredded jack cheese
  • 10 slices bacon (regular-cut, not thick-cut), sliced in half widthwise
  • 20 toothpicks

1) Rinse and dry the jalapenos. Lop off the stems, then slice each one lengthwise down the middle. Remove the seeds.

2) Mix the cream cheese and jack cheese together with a fork. Fill each jalapeno half with some of the cream cheese mixture. Wrap each pepper with a half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

3) Preheat gas grill to medium. Grill poppers for 3-4 minutes per side, until bacon is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

 

bacon compost cookies

It was nearly 1 year ago to the day that I first discovered the Compost Cookie, the only cookie to ever change my world. It seemed like an odd recipe at first: used coffee grounds, snack foods, corn syrup. But the first batch blew me away. With the second batch I began the tweaking process (I now make them with Kettle Salt & Pepper chips, pretzel sticks instead of twists, Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips, graham crackers freshly whirred in the food processor instead of the packaged crumbs, refrigerate full day before baking and omit the coffee grounds). I suppose it’s fitting that 1 year and 20 batches later I’m finally taking the recipe to the next level.

To all of you who are saying right now, “bacon doesn’t belong in cookies!” read the recipe first; there are stranger ingredients in these cookies. Don’t proceed unless you’re feeling a bit adventurous. And also don’t mock them ’till you’ve tried them.

To those of you who I just heard saying “bacon in cookies? F—- yeah!”, read on, my friends.

Start by frying up some bacon. Chopping into pieces before frying lends a crispier texture without overcooking.

Make the dough (step by step photos in my first compost cookie post) as you usually would, complete with potato chips, pretzels, graham crumbs, oats and chocolate chips.

Here’s where we veer off the beaten path: peanut butter chips. Butterscotch can be an overwhelming flavor for some and I think peanut butter pairs better with bacon.

Bacon. In a cookie that already has a fair amount of salty crunch, it’s not that strange.

Alright, it’s a teeny bit strange to see meat in your cookie dough. But is there anywhere that bacon doesn’t belong? I don’t think so.

Unfortunately, now we must wait. Measure balls of dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour (I like to wait a whole day—I find it yields a better cookie. Just refrigerate as long as you can). Right before you’re ready to bake, roll them between your palms to make them smooth and place on a baking sheet*.

*The cookies pictured were made smaller for a party. Your balls should be much bigger (hee hee!) if you follow the recipe at the bottom of the post.

When they’re done the edges should be darker brown and slightly crispy, while the middles should be pale. They may look under-baked, but resist the temptation to stick them back in the oven.

Once cooled they’ll look more like this, with chewy centers and crispy edges. Perfect.

Expand your cookie repertoire. Take a risk. The results will be well worth it. Cookie carnivores, unite!

-RDG

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Bacon Compost Cookies, adapted from Christina Tosi’s recipe from Live with Regis and Kelly

Prep Time: 20 minutes Chill Time: at least 1 hour Bake Time: 9-11 minutes

Special Equipment: Stand mixer. Seriously, you need this.

Makes 15 6 oz cookies.

  • 1 c Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 3/4 c AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c oats (not the quick-cooking variety)
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c peanut butter chips
  • 3/4 c crushed potato chips (use a thick, substantial chip such as a kettle chip for best results)
  • 3/4 c crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 c crumbled bacon pieces

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars, and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

2. On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

3. When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 45-60 sec just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

4. On same low speed, add in the chocolate chips, graham crumbs, oats and peanut butter chips and mix for 30-45 sec until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in the chips, pretzels and bacon last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

5. Using a 6 oz ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 1 week. DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

6. Heat oven to 400F. When oven is ready, arrange your chilled cookie dough balls on a parchment or silpat-lined sheetpan a minimum of 4″ apart in any direction. Bake 9-11 min. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread. At 9 min the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don’t match up and your cookies stills seem pale and doughy on the surface.

7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh 5 days. In the freezer, cookies will keep fresh 1 month.

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baked potato soup

When Lucy was a wee newborn lass and consumed nearly all of our time and energy, Dave and I became masters at the 5 minute dinner. When it wasn’t easy staples like pasta with garlic bread or grilled cheese with tomato soup, it was baked potatoes. A simple baked (or shamefully, sometimes microwaved) russet layered with grated cheddar cheese, steamed broccoli, sour cream and crispy bits of bacon took almost no time and satisfied our starving bellies. And unlike the Chinese takeout which became our go-to meal all too often (and left us hungry two hours later), this quick dinner left us satisfied until the 2 am feeding.

Even though we now have the luxury of longer cooking times and enjoying a meal without a crying baby in our arms (for a few more months, anyway), I still turn to baked potatoes from time to time for a comforting dinner.

I’d seen a few recipes for loaded baked potato soup floating around the web-o-sphere and was inspired. Not only can you mimic the comforting flavors of a baked potato in a bowl, but this soup is just as easy. One batch makes several dinners for two and could also be frozen for a later date.

I’m not calling my version “loaded,” partially because I think it that sounds like some sort of pot-head soup (“loaded” and “baked”? It’s just too easy). But it contains all of the ingredients and toppings that would constitute a “loaded baked potato” in any steakhouse: broccoli, bacon, scallions, cheese, and sour cream. Whether you’re a sleep-deprived parent or a snack-deprived pot-head, this soup will surely satisfy.

-RDG

Baked Potato Soup

Bake the potatoes and let them cool ahead of time. You may substitute chives for scallions. Yields 8 bowls of soup.

  • 12 strips bacon, diced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 4 c milk
  • 1 bunch scallions (8 stems), light green parts diced and the rest discarded
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 russet potatoes, baked and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 10 oz can cream of cheddar or cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
  • sour cream, for topping

Cook the bacon in a heavy pot or dutch oven in two batches over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pan. Stir in the flour until just moistened by the bacon grease, then quickly whisk in the chicken stock and milk. Stir until smooth and any lumps of flour have dissolved. Stir in the scallions, broccoli pieces, potatoes, salt and cheddar soup. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with cheese, sour cream and bacon pieces.

bacon cinnamon rolls

On a lazy saturday morning when you have nothing in particular to do, when you have a fresh pot of coffee, the newspaper and the living room all to yourself, you need to treat yourself to these. Yes, they’re slightly evil. Yes, they will go straight to your hips. But on that rare morning when the house is quiet and there’s not a thing to do, there is nothing better.

To make this ultimate sweet/savory combo you need only two ingredients: one can of cinnamon rolls and bacon. Of course make the cinnamon rolls from scratch if you’re feeling ambitious. But if not, a tube of store-bought “Grands” work just fine (beware the smaller sized versions, which often don’t “roll” at all—they’re just little discs of dough).

Fry the bacon until it just begins to crisp but is still flexible. Drain on paper towels.

Unroll the dough, place two strips of bacon into each, and roll back up.

Place in a greased pan. Doesn’t the bacon look like it just belongs there? It does. Believe me, it does.

Bake according to package directions…

…frost…

…and enjoy. And if you go back for seconds, I won’t tell. The combination of the salty bacon and the sticky-sweet cinnamon roll is just too hard to resist.

-RDG

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 5 rolls

  • 1 package “Grands” cinnamon rolls
  • 10 strips bacon

Fry bacon for a few minutes on each side, until slightly crisp but still flexible. Drain on paper towels.

Unroll cinnamon rolls, place two strips of bacon into each, and roll back up. Place in a greased pan and bake according to package directions.