Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Steaks stuffed with bacon then wrapped with more bacon


Bacon brings the best flavors in any food.  Everything wrapped in bacon tastes good, and if it already tasted good before, it tastes batter.  

I made this loooong time ago, before Tasty Makes Happy even born.  I never posted this so far, but since I didn't get +1 by Filip for my kale salad because it lacked meat, I thought I needed to make up for it with this very meaty dish.  

I was at home one day and I was wondering what to do.  I had some bacon and some stakes, and the idea of stuffing the steaks with bacon, then wrapping them in bacon came quickly to my mind.  

Here is what you need:
4 thin steaks
a package of thin cut smoked bacon
seasoning salt, ground black pepper

If the steaks are not thin enough, you might have to pound them more  Try not to make any holes, but keep in mind that it doesn't matter all that much.  Once you wrap them in bacon, it will be good, no matter what.

Sprinkle seasoning salt and pepper on both sides of the steaks.  

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Put a couple of slices of bacon in the middle of each steak, and roll them along the longer side.  Wrap with bacon covering all of the surface.  You can use as much bacon as you want.  Use toothpicks to hold the rolls together.  

Place in the open safe baking dish and cover with lid.  If your dish doesn't have a lid use some Tin foil.  No need to grease the pan- remember you are cooking with excessive amounts of bacon.  Bake covered for about 30-45 minutes then uncover and bake until the top side becomes crispy.  Turn the rolls over and allow the other side to get crispy as well.

After taking this dish out of the oven, allow it to cool.  Then remove the toothpicks and slice into cross sections and serve.  You may even garnish the plate with some non meat food items such as salad greens, tomato slices or parsley.  

I took this dish to a friend's house for a moving showing.  It was quite popular and it didn't last long.


Here is another bacon wrapped recipe:  Stuffed with Cheese Rolled with Bacon


Friday, May 25, 2012

Kale Salad

I had a kale salad at a restaurant once and it was amazing.  I never thought something called kale could taste so good.  When I went back to the same restaurant, specifically to eat this salad again, they did't have it on the menu anymore.  Instead, they had something that closely resembled cat food.  It even came in the shape of a can, flipped strait from the can onto my plate.  I didn't know any other restaurants that served kale salad, and it was obvious that if I wanted to get my kale salad fix, I was gonna have to make it myself.

There are different kinds of kale.  You can pick any kind, just try to get younger leaves (thinner and softer) because kale tends to be tough.  After trying different kinds of kale for this salad, I concluded that Russian kale works the best.  Any supermarket sells kale.  Natural food stores will have more kale verities than regular supermarkets.  I would avoid buying already cut kale in a bag, because it tends to be really tough, even for cooking.

Kale is from the cabbage family, and everything from the cabbage family is extremely healthy.  Not only that kale salad provides many nutritional benefits, it is also low in cholesterol, fresh, natural, easy and quick to prepare.  

4  kale leaves
1 ripe tomato, sliced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cut chopped cucumber
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Wash kale leaves and shake them dry.  Pull the stems out.  Pull or cut the leaves into smaller pieces.  In a salad bowl, mix vinegar, salt, pepper and honey.  Mix in the chopped kale leaves and makes sure they all get coated with this dressing.  use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves.  This will help tenderize them.  Leave them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to rest.  

While the massaged kale is resting, chop up the rest of the ingredients.  You can put anything you normally eat in a salad.  The other day I made a kale salad with avocado and tomatoes.  Add the rest of the ingredients together with olive oil to the salad bowl and mix it all together.  Serve cold with dinner.  



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another Batch of Stuffed Peppers


Yummy!  Just got it done.  Lunch tomorrow.  No recipe this time, just pictures becuase I already posted about this 3 times, but they looked so good I had to put them on a photo shoot.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quinoa Salad

I was trying to get a quick lunch at a supermarket the other day and I decided to get some quinoa salad in addition to my bread and brie.  I haven't had it in a while, and what I really liked about it is that it was minty.  I don't usually use mint in food, but suddenly this seemed like a great idea.  So, I decided to add mint in my next quinoa salad.  Quinoa has some great nutritional benefits, but in all honesty it is plain and tasteless.  I made a different kind of quinoa salad a couple of years ago, and described some of the nutritional features.  You won't lure hungry customers into your restaurant with quinoa salad for sure, but it makes a great healthy side to a good meal.  

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • radish, chopped
  • 4-6 stalks of parsley, chopped
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional ingredients: bell or banana peppers, dried cranberries

In a small to medium cooking put combine quinoa and water.  Bring to boil, then turn the hear down and continue to cook covered for 15 minutes.  Check on it occasionally.  The water should be completely absorbed when finished.  

While quinoa is cooking, chop up the veggies.  I like to cut them into small pieces so that it would mix well and I can get many different flavors in one bite, but you can cut them however you like.  

When chopping parsley, I use the leaves only and discard the stems.  Stems are OK to use as well, just a little more crunchy.  

Combines all the chopped veggies and herbs in a dish large enough to accommodate your quinoa in addition to veggies and herbs.  Add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix.  

When quinoa is done cooking, let it cook for a while.  You can mix it with a spoon to allow it to cool faster. When quinoa has cooled down to room temperature, add it to the bowl and mix well.  

Serve cold as a side dis, appetizer or a salad.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stuffed Peppers Details

This post is dedicated to my friend who had some questions about stuffed pepper recipe.  He expressed his concerns in a comment form, however Blogger didn't let me use enough characters to reply, so I had to make a whole new post.

First, this is the recipe we are talking about here:

Hi Z!
***Hello back to you my dear friend.***

I once again used your recipe to prepare some stuffed pepper. They are now happily baking in the oven.
***Making stuffed peppers at 1AM?!  That’s dedication.***

That said, I actually have some time to report a few bugs in the recipe. It's not exactly anything wrong with the recipe itself, rather with the way I read it, and possibly how others may read it.

***Thanks for the very scientific approach to this.  I am having to write very detailed step by work instructions at work, but I have to admit, I am not a very precise cook.  One of the reason for it is that I am usually starving when I come home from work and I need to cook quick.  That’s why I try to save the time by cutting up while cooking rather than preparing everything beforehand.  If I could, I would have trained my cats to prepare all the ingredients for me before I come home, but they have not expressed any interested in cooking so far.  Perhaps that’s because they prefer a raw diet.  Also, their food comes in bite size pieces strait out of a bag and they never had to deal with these kind of issues.  That’s too bad since they already have built in tools for shredding and cutting, and also have plenty of time on their paws.  Having said this, I am having to do it all by myself while my stomach is growling and this is the best solution I could come up with.  
Nevertheless, I will take it into the consider that not all cooks out there are Stavin’ Marvins, so I will try to be more detailed in my procedures from now on.***

Here goes.

The recipe text begins with "...heat the oil in a pan and add cut up bacon pieces."

Wait, that means I should have cut the bacon up in pieces before I started? It would be good for the recipe to say what I need to do before I start cooking. So I can read and do, like on a checklist.

***If you need more time to cut the bacon, I suggest you prepare it before you start heating the oil.  You don’t want the oil to start burning.  Seriously, it can catch on fire. For me, the time it takes the oil to heat is enough to cut the bacon (assumption: starting with bacon slices and not a live pig).***

"When meat look cooked, add rice. Mix together for a couple of minutes. While this is cooking, core the peppers". But, the meat and rice are almost done at this point; and I have yet to core the peppers. How much actual time do I have to core peppers now? Maybe it's better to do it beforehand? The recipe doesn't say.

***It takes about 30 seconds to core the peppers (snip snip), and the meat and rice won’t go anywhere.  The sautéing time does not need to be exact because they will get plenty of more cooing I the oven.***

You should probably emphasize that one should not try to save time by stuffing peppers while the mix is still hot.

***I stuff the peppers while the mix is hot strait from the frying pan.  The peppers have thick walls and are pretty good insulators while still raw.***

Then it says: "when bacon starts to cook, add onion, garlic and carrot". Wait, that means I should have already cleaned and cut them?

***I work on cutting those while the bacon is cooking.  Perhaps not everyone is in starving condition when they cook, and may not want to rush as much as I do.  You are right, I should add the prep list of specific form factors each ingredient needs to be in.***

Then you say "separate the bay leaves". How do I do that, if they fall apart while mixing? Maybe a tip about bay leaf preservation and fishing would be useful.

***Bay leaves shouldn’t fall apart when cooking.  You can fish them out with a fork or a spoon.  Fishing hooks and bate are not necessary in most cases. ***

"Close peppers with the tomato slices you cut out earlier" Oh, I was supposed to cut out tomato slices earlier? Oops...

***It says in the list of ingredients: “1 tomato, sliced”.  How would you stuff peppers with the whole tomato anyways?  You can also view cooking as an art for where you can express yourself and add your own touch to this recipe.  Note how I closed the peppers in the picture above with their own tops.  Now, they are not topless.***

"Please the peppers in a oven safe deep dish." I hope they were pleased. :)
***I hope too!***

***"Cast iron baking dishes are especially good..." Wait, I actually needed to have an iron baking dish all the while? Oh, shucks...
No, you don’t actually need one, I just said they are especially good, but any oven safe baking dish will do the job.  However, the peppers may not be as pleased as much as they would have been if they were cooked in the cast iron dish.***

"De glaze the pan whit wine and water." Ummm, what does it mean to 'de glaze'? I kind of figured out that it's basically 'washing' the pan using wine, water and tomato paste, but would be cool to mention it for those of us who (obviously) don't have a first clue about cooking.

***Here is a Wikipedia link on deglazing a pan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deglazing_(cooking) 
I agree.  I should have added detailed instructions on how to properly deglaze a pan.  Actually, I know how you feel.  I have a similar experience.  When I was little, my parents bought me an origami book which I had been wanting for a long time and I was super excited to finally have it and start making all these awesome things out of paper.  I flipped through the pages and found the first thing I wanted to make.  I was ready with my very own piece of paper to make this masterpiece.  I started to read the first line of the instructions with much anticipation.  It said: “start with the XYZ fold…” I was disappointed, I did not know what the XYZ fold was.  I did not give up.  I wanted to make something.  I flipped through pages again and found another interesting origami I was going to turn into a masterpiece.  Again the first line instructed to me to “start with a LMN fold”.  I was obviously not advanced enough for this book, and had to stick to making paper frogs and stupid hats and airplanes that don’t fly, and never became an origami master.  
I know it sucks to be kept in the dark about such a crucial step in the process.  But, if you haven’t burned your house from hot oil that caught on fire while you were cutting bacon, if your meat and rice didn't get away while you weren’t looking because you were focusing of carving art sculptures out of those peppers with a professional pepper carving tool set (I’m sure it exists), if you didn’t burn your hands from stuffing them with a hot mix and if you pleased your peppers well enough, then I am sure that not deglazing the pan properly won’t make a significant impact on the final product.***

So there. It's how I saw the recipe. Note, as I said before, this is nothing to say about your recipe or approach. It's just a perspective of a person who is a cooking newbie (or even lower), and gets easily confused.

On the other hand, adjusting the recipe to take into account the dumbasses like me who are trying to cook is what makes a difference between a good, and a great recipe. Making a good recipe seems to be more than just jotting down thoughts as they come.

Keep up the good work. The hungry await more recipes.

***Eat well, or stay hungry!  Never resort to packaged and over processed food.  You might just as well eat your shorts.  It is probably more nutritious.***

-Tasty Makes Happy