Broccoli and Kale Soup

Broccoli-Kale-Soup2I’m a big fan of thick and creamy soups. In trying to eat a little healthier (have to do something to balance out the amounts of whiskey and bacon we consume!) I find that that combo leads to potatoes and/or cream being added to the soup. No ma gusta. Broccoli-Kale-Soup1Then the idea hit…beans. Loads of good stuff and nowhere near as heavy. Thanks to my CSA box from Fertile Grounds, I had tons of veggies to choose from when deciding what kind of soup to make. Given that my fridge and freezer were full of kale, it made the most sense. The broccoli though… that was a matter of ‘use it before it goes bad’. I admit, I’m a carnivore, most vegetables and I don’t see eye to eye. But I didn’t want the broccoli to go bad and I do want some green stuff in my body, so I figured why the hell not. Broccoli-Kale-Soup3

I was pleasantly surprised. It took a few batches to get the texture and flavor right…and I didn’t complain about eating those many batches. Seasoning is a big key. The salt, garlic and lemon combo give it a bright savory taste. The broccoli and beans make it nice and creamy, without the starch or cream. I like mine thicker, but you could add more water to thin the soup out. Also, the power of your blender/hand wand/liquefying device will determine the consistency. While mine isn’t the strongest, I’m actually ok with having a few bits of the kale and broccoli in there to help the texture. Regardless, as a king of the meats, I can tell you that anyone from vegans to your local T-Rex will enjoy this soup!
Broccoli and Kale Soupby WhiskeyBeard

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8

Ingredients:1 vidalia onion 7 garlic cloves1 can great northern beans5 cups kale6 cups broccoli1 cup vegetable broth2 cups water2 tbsp salt2 tbsp pepper1 tbsp olive oiljuice of 1 lemon
Instructions:
Roughly chop onion and garlic. In a medium to large pot on medium heat, add oil and heat until it shimmers. Then add onions, pepper and 1 tbsp salt. Cook until onions soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir often make sure garlic doesn't burn. Add stock and water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. While water comes to temperature, remove stem from kale and roughly chop it and the broccoli. Drain and rinse beans as well. Once pot comes to a boil, add beans and cook for 4 -5 minutes. Now, add broccoli first and then kale last so it's on top. This will allow it to steam, not boil. Cover with lid. Check pot every 2 minutes and cook no longer than 10 minutes. You want the kale to steam and brighten in color. Be careful not to cook too long, 8-10 minutes max. Overcooking will discolor kale and broccoli. When done, using either hand wand or blender, puree the mixture. If using a blender, do in batches and add back to pot when done. When fully pureed, add remaining salt (or more if you like) and lemon juice.

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No Bake Bacon Mint Julep Cheesecake Recipe

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Nothing screams summer like an ice cold mint julep. Refreshing and full of sweet bourbon-y flavor. Well, we took that great taste and made it into the sexiest cheesecake on the planet… or at least this hemisphere.

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To up the ante even more, we paired it with a homemade bacon and pretzel crust that lends a salty and smokey flavor that goes so well with mint and bourbon.

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Given how great these look and taste, you would think you have to slave over your mixer all day to prepare them. In truth, it’s really a pretty simple recipe that yields a party’s worth of fun. Make a batch for your next summer party and prepare to be a hit. Fair warning…these are no bake, so the alcohol isn’t going anywhere but in your belly. While you won’t be falling over, they do pack a little punch. Enjoy!

No Bake Mint Julep CheesecakeNo Bake Mint Julep Cheesecake by Whiskey Beard

Yield: 18-24

Ingredients:1 1/2 envelope of unflavored gelatin1 cup sugar3/4 water1 1/2 lbs of cream cheese, room temperature1 cup sour cream3/4 cup of whiskey1/4 tsp salt1 cup pretzels5 strips of bacon2 tbsp sugar1/4 melted butter50 sprigs of mint
Instructions:
In a food processor, add pretzels and crush to a powder. Then add sugar and bacon and process. Finally add melted butter and mix well. Place paper cupcake liners in cupcake pans. Spoon a small bit into the bottom of paper cupcake, enough to cover. Try to make the sides a little higher than the middle. You should be able to get close to 24 cheesecake bottoms. When done, set to the side. Now, in a small pan, combine gelatin and sugar. Add water, mix together and cook over medium until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat and let slightly cool. Mince half the mint and add to cooling gelatin. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, whiskey and salt, and continue to mix until all smooth. Add the mint/gelatin mixture and mix well. Carefully pour into the prepared cupcake papers and chill until set, about 2 to 3 hours. When done, carefully remove the cupcakes and place a mint leaf on each.

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Simple Shakshuka with Bacon Recipe

Simple Shakuska with Bacon-10Shake a, shake a, shake a! At least that’s what I ought to call this poached tomato recipe. Traditionally middle Eastern, this Greek gal

The Hairy Bikers make a Kefta Tagine in Morrocco that follows the same idea – but with meatballs and in a tangine. Smitten Kitchen has an Israeli shakshuka recipe that is simply made in a skillet, and Real Simple has a braised onions, peppers and tomatoe recipe with poached eggs. The latter was my first taste of such a recipe, which has slowly over the years become a little more like shakshuka.

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At the end of a day – a very, very long day even – this recipe doesn’t need much. Even when my pantry was at it’s very worst – pre moving days – the whole recipe pulls off wonderfully with just canned tomato sauce, a dash of cumin, some chunks of garlic, and poached eggs all served over pasta. Typically, I’ll braise onions and peppers, but on a low key, let’s never put on pants or go to the store, day, onions will do. Most recipes recommend serving with bread, a nice crusty loaf or crisp pita. Simple Shakuska with Bacon-2 Simple Shakuska with Bacon-3 Simple Shakuska with Bacon-4

The key is making sure to scoop little wells for your eggs to sit in and poach perfectly. I love a runny egg, so the more poached the better. Some friends aren’t fans, so a well done egg it is!Simple Shakuska with Bacon-5 Simple Shakuska with Bacon-6 Simple Shakuska with Bacon-7 Simple Shakuska with Bacon-8 Simple Shakuska with Bacon-9

It’s a filling meal with enough vegetables, but also tastes great served over pasta. For more protein punch, I’ve tossed in chicken, but most importantly, bacon.

Simple, versatile, and healthy too. This shakshuka recipe is my favorite.

Simple Shakshuka with Bacon Recipeby NoBakeLeniIngredients:2 bulbs Garlic2 medium Onions3 Peppers3 Tomatoes, diced or chopped2 cups tomato sauceSpices – cumin, chili powder, zataar seasoning.
Instructions:
Heat oil and garlic in a skillet. Slice onions and peppers into strips. Once hot, add onions and peppers. Cover. Cook onions and peppers until softened. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a soft boil.

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Loaded Bacon Gnocchi Recipe

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Loaded baked potatoes. For those that love them, they are the best kind. Fluffy baked potato, bacon, garlic, cheese and sour cream…how can you go wrong? Now take all those noms and imagine it as gnocchi. Little individual dumplings of loaded baked potato heaven, covered in our whiskey bacon cheese sauce and sprinkled with our bacon breading.  Go get a towel…you’re drooling.

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If you’ve ever made gnocchi, you know it can be a bit of a chore. The nice thing is you can freeze/refrigerate these little dumplings. So if you make a big batch once a month, you’ll always have some around!

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Technically you can make gnocchi with out a ricer, but I find it really hard to get the potatoes to the right constancy. Plus part of the fun is getting your hands caught up in those stringy curls of potatoes. Nowadays you can find them fairly cheap in department stores and if it’s your cup of tea, check out a few thrift shops. I bet you can find one for less than $20.

loaded_bacon_gnocchi_2One thing to note is the amount of flour. Gnocchi is one of those dishes that no matter how many times you make it, the perfect amount of flour is never the same. Start with too little and add as needed. No one likes doughy pasta…no one.

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Also, this is loaded bacon gnocchi, so you’re adding a lot of different ingredients to the mix and that can also get a little tricky. Trust that a little will go a long way in this dish, and that all those flavors will shine through.

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The first time you bite in and get the tang of sour cream, saltiness and crunch of the bacon, and the warmth of the garlic…you’ll be rolling up your sleeves to make these all the time!

Loaded Bacon Gnocchi Recipeby WhiskeyBeard

Prep Time: 1 hour, 0 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 70-80

Ingredients:2 lbs peeled and cubed potatoes1 1/2 – 2 cups of flour 5 strips thick cut bacon, diced1 egg1/2 cup sour cream1/2 cup grated cheese5 garlic cloves1 tbsp pepperFlour for work surface
Instructions:
Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until barely fork tender. 10-15 minutes. You don't want them to get to the point of mashed potatoes. Drain potatoes and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. While potatoes cool, cook bacon until desired crispiness, mince garlic and grate cheese. Place 1 1/2 cups of flour on clean dry surface and made a bowl in the middle of it. Using a ricer, press potatoes through into center of flour bowl. Add the egg, garlic, sour cream, cheese and pepper. Using a fork, begin slowly mixing the inside of bowl and slowly bring in the sides. Once incorporated enough to handle, use your hands to begin making a ball. If the ball is sticky and not dough like, begin incorporating the remaining cup of flour. Once you had a dough ball, separate into 6 pieces. Take each piece and add some bacon to it and make a small ball. Roll out into a 1 inch rod on your surface (using extra flour as needed). Take your rod and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. (if you're not going to cook them immediately, you can refridgerate for a day or two or freeze in individual layers until ready to cook) Once done with all the gnocchi, In a pot of salted and oiled boiling water, add them about 10 -15 at a time. Cook until the whole batch is floating, about 4-6 minutes. When done, take them out and drain them off. Toss with sauce of your choice and serve immediately.

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Bacon Breading Recipe

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Meatballs, burgers, homemade cheese sticks, even as topping for mac n cheese… bread crumbs and breading can be pretty damn versatile.

bacon-breading-pork-rindsNow imagine it with bacon…yes a bacon bread crumb. We’ve been toying with how to coat things in bacon for a while and kept getting stuck at the bacon clumping with flour.

So our answer… pork rinds. When in doubt, add more pork.

bacon-breading-baconThe rinds keep the bacon from clumping, and add to the salty and savory coating this breading will bring. Keep in mind this is a basic recipe. Feel free to add in Italian seasoning for cheese sticks, onion and garlic powder for meatballs or throw in some ranch seasoning and cheese puffs for a cheesy bacon ranch burger! The noms are endless!

Bacon BreadingBacon Breading by Whiskey Beard

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1/3 cup

Ingredients:3 strips cook bacon1 oz pork rinds1 tbsp bread crumbs
Instructions:
Cook your bacon until crispy, drain and allow to cool to room temperature. In a food processor add your pork rinds and process until a powder. Crumble your bacon, add to the rinds and process until fine. Add bread crumbs and repeat.

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