bacon groupie

There is something deliciously comforting about a home infused with the smell of freshly fried bacon. Mind you, this is coming from a Jew, obviously not hard-core, heck, if I am ranting and raving about pork, then I barely qualify as soft-boiled. As much as I try to remember and light the Shabbat candles, diligently send the kids to Torah school, and always leave a cup full of wine for Elijah during Passover, when it comes to bacon, I crumble (no pun intended).My kids seem to feel just as strongly about this food item as I do. Never aiming to simplify things, one insists on eating it one notch before burnt while the other begs me to serve it straight out of the package (I never do). The obsession is apparently a generational thing. Growing up I heard stories about my father’s rebellious and adventurous ways, one of which included traipsing into his father’s Kosher home carrying a big old slab of pork belly. ;Just because.; My father’s pork insurgence blossomed into one of serious bacon devotion that nourished my childhood Sunday mornings with father’s perfectly fried pieces of bacon.Another reason I will never part from bacon is because of its versatility. It serves as a great last-minute meal maker, when the fridge seems to have been abandoned with shriveled up veggies in desperate need of Botox and all your protein has gone AWOL, bacon steps in as a great showstopper for dinner. Fry some minced pieces with hot pepper flakes and tomatoes (fresh or canned) and you’ve got a uniquely smoky pasta sauce. Salads also become tastier with bacon in the mix: throw chopped up bits into a salad of baby spinach, caramelized onions, walnuts and blue cheese and you’ve got a sinfully rich showstopper. Feel too guilty to make a salad such a calorie buster? Then switch gears and serve spring greens, slivered almonds and fresh pear julienne with just a hint of chopped bacon. You don’t need a lot for its smokiness to match up wonderfully with the delicate, sweet nature of the pear and the satisfying crunch of slivered almonds. The hard-core bacon cook knows there is one traditional French dish that plays pure tribute to bacon: Quiche Lorraine. With this classic there are no if’s or but’s about it: this dish is all about the bacon. Give yourself the extra half hour to prepare the crust from scratch: the results are beyond compare and you will kiss the supermarket pie shells goodbye! Of course, prepare yourself: making this dish is not for the calorie conscious, but then, if you are a bacon groupie, that’s usually not your drive. In any event, throw yourself a fresh green salad on the side, do a couple more minutes on your treadmill (or at least take the dirty clothes of it), and enjoy yourself. This is one dish worth pigging out on. Quiche LorraineFor Dough:Pate Brisée (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)Makes 2 9-inch pie crusts2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon white sugar1 teaspoon salt1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)1/4 iced waterFor the filling:6 ounces thick bacon, cut into 1″ pieces2 scallion greens sliced4 large eggs, lightly beaten3/4 cup whole milk3/4 cup heavy cream1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepperpinch of nutmeg (freshly grated always better)Make the crust:Preheat oven to 350FIn a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut cold butter into 1″ cubes and add to flour mixture. Use your fingers and pinch pieces of butter into the dough so that it incorporates. Work quickly so as not to melt the butter. Mixture should resemble roughly like thick cornmeal. Don’t worry if there are globs of butter, it doesn’t have to be perfectly mixed in!Just when you thought your hands were sticky enough, add the shortening and keep pinching. Drizzle the water in two parts and fully incorporate. Your dough should be able to be smushed into a ball.Divide dough into 2 smushed balls and wrap each tightly in Saran Wrap. Pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Dough can be saved in freezer for up to six months (just thaw completely before rolling out).To roll dough out:Use a rolling pin and a lightly floured surface and roll dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle flour on the both sides of the dough as well as the pin to avoid sticking. When the dough is rolled out, gently fold it around your pin and place it on your pie. Patch any tears that may occur by pinching the dough together with your fingers. (It is quite resilient!) The sides of the dough should go slightly over the pie pan. Push down the rim of the crust with a fork (just to make it look pretty).Cover the inside of the dough with aluminum foil and place some raw rice or beans (or you can plop another pie crust) on top. Bake for 15 minutes.Remove the aluminum foil and brush the inside of the crust with the egg white. Bake another five minutes (this seals the dough for your filling).
Your crust is now ready for its filling Remove dough from freezer Make the Filling:Combine all the ingredients except for the green onions.Place green onions on the bottom of the shell and pour mixture in.until it reaches the rim of the crust (you may not need all the filling, depending on the size of your eggs). Bake for 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 6 – 8;;

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