Candied. Bacon. Yehhhhs.

>> Thursday, September 17, 2009

This recipe isn't much of a recipe because it's too easy to be believed but it is a must try. The savory/salty/sweet combo is hard to describe. The sugar really takes a supporting role, it just highlights the baconey-ness of the bacon and lets it shine. You have to taste it. If you like bacon - get real, who doesn't like bacon; I have it on good authority that even vegetarians dream of bacon - you will flip for this. It's also fat free and has 0 calories!!!*

- 1 Lb regular cut bacon (not thick cut)
- 1 - 2 cups light brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Wrap cookie sheet in aluminum foil
Place a cooling rack on the cookie sheet and spray with non-stick spray
Put brown sugar in shallow bowl or dish

One slice at a time, put the bacon in the sugar and press sugar into the bacon.

Once bacon is evenly coated, place the strip on the cooling rack.

Bake until dark golden brown and firm to the touch. About 40 minutes. It should look shellacked and should not feel too tacky or sticky.

Rotate the pan once during cooking to make sure the bacon cooks evenly and watch it to ensure it doesn't burn, it can happen fast.

It smelled so good while it was baking that Violet was entranced.

Now, you may wonder, what do I do with candied bacon? The obvious answer is EAT IT. This stuff is addictive. Once you pick up a slice, it's hard to stop. I am currently tinkering with some recipes that use candied bacon so keep your eye on this page. Also, if you make this, let me know what you think and if you have any questions about this or any of my recipes, feel free to let me know in the comments section.



Ranch Dressing from Scratch

>> Thursday, September 3, 2009

When I order a salad and am given a choice of dressings, I always order the same one. Ranch. Any true ranch dressing aficionado knows that there is good ranch and there is bad ranch. Bad ranch comes in bottles or little packets at fast food restaurants and is served over iceberg salads with those teeny cubed croutons and unripe tomatoes. Bad ranch leaves a nasty chemical taste in your mouth. It is all tang with no richness. It sucks and it can ruin a perfectly good salad in an instant. GOOD ranch on the other hand is a gift from the gods. It tastes creamy and garlicky and buttermilk-y. It tastes freshly made because if it's REALLY good ranch, it probably is. It makes chicken strips and onion rings a thousand times better and don't even get me STARTED on french fries.

No matter where you go, you can never be sure which ranch you will get, fancy places sometimes serve nasty ranch and holes-in-the-wall sometimes pony up the good stuff. The secret to good ranch is making it from scratch. It's not hard and it's not expensive which is why you can find it at truck stops and diners. I urge all you ranch lovers out there to try this recipe. If you think all ranch dressing is the same, make this recipe and taste test it against any bottle of ranch you get at the store (even the kind from the refrigerated section.) I promise you, this ranch will blow the others away.
I offer two versions of my recipe, one with fresh garlic and one that only uses dried spices that you probably have in your cabinet already. They are both delicious, the one with fresh garlic is a little spicier and a lot more garlicky. Next time you get served BAD ranch, go home and make this. You'll never want to eat a salad outside your home again!

- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp onion powder (add more to taste if you think you need it but wait 24 hours before you add)
- 1/2 tsp MSG*
- black pepper to taste
- dash of Cholula or hot sauce of your choice

Whisk together buttermilk and mayo until smooth. Add all other ingredients and whisk until blended. Chill for at least 30 minutes, taste, adjust seasonings to suit your taste then chill for another half hour before serving, overnight is better. Keeps in the fridge for over a week.

Fresh Garlic Ranch
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove fresh garlic (med to large)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 2-3 small stalks of fresh chives (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp MSG*
- black pepper to taste
- dash of Cholula

Cut the garlic clove into four pieces. Pour 1 Tbsp of kosher salt over the garlic then mash into a paste using a fork. Once the paste is of uniform consistency, place it in a bowl. Add the buttermilk and mayo and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining salt, parsley, chives, onion powder, MSG, pepper and Cholula and whisk together. Chill for at least 30 minutes, taste, adjust seasonings to suit your taste then chill for another half hour before serving, overnight is better. Keeps in the fridge for over a week.

Pictured is Callie's Magic Salad: Butter lettuce, diced red peppers, persian cucumber slices, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped broccoli and cauliflower, slivered toasted, unsalted almonds, shredded cheddar cheese and RANCH.

*Ok. I know what you're thinking. MSG? WTF!? #1 MSG does not give ME headaches. I have tested it. If it gives YOU headaches (or if you THINK it does) simply leave it out #2 MSG makes stuff taste better. Seriously. It does. #3 MSG is gluten free. I understand that MSG is controversial. I am just publishing my recipe exactly as I made it.