How you doin’? We have had lots strange days lately. One way to change a ho-hum day is a rasher of bacon. Bacon makes a day very special—even McDonald’s has bacon sales, where you can put slices on anything—as an extra—for just a few extra pennies. When it comes to bacon, there is only one brand that rises to the level of “gourmet”—Benton Bacon.
Allan Benton is his name and bacon is his game. He is known as the “pig whisper,” “bacon god” and the “ham hero.” He is the darling of high-end restaurant chefs in New York, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Los Angeles. His country hams can be found in Momofuku Noodle Bar's ramen bowls in New York City and his bacon is ground into the patties of Husk's legendary cheeseburgers in Charleston. It’s safe to say, Allan Benton’s phone number is on the speed dial of many of this country’s celebrity chefs. If you want to try the “real stuff” check Benton out at https://bentonscountryhams2.com/about.html.
Now let’s talk about another bacon maven--Tabitha Brown. I’m not sure she has ever seen a live pig or worked in a smoke house, but she does know her way around a kitchen.
Tabitha is a wife, cook, mother, actress and fashion designer from Eden, North Carolina. She also claims to be the inventor of Carrot Bacon—a simple substitute for the real fatty, piggy stuff—and it’s damn good. She has about 12.5 million followers on social media. Many swear they can’t tell the difference between the real stuff and Carrot Bacon.
So, now it is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done—here’s how to make a healthier, vegan Carrot Bacon.
1 large, thick carrot (the big honking ones)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke, Wright’s
1/2 cup real maple syrup (do not use “pancake” syrup… real maple only)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
ChefSecret: If you don’t have an air fryer, try cooking it on a rack in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. You might have to experiment a little with time and temperature.
#Breakfast #Brunch #Lunch #Bacon #Pork #BentonsBacon #CarrotBacon #TabithaBrown #AllanBenton #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #ComfortFoods
How you doin? This has been a week of awakenings for me… I’ve learned a lot about myself.
First, I discovered that I don’t need to get a haircut at exactly 9am every third Saturday morning—it’s been 6 weeks. My hair is the longest it’s been since the ‘70’s and the extra length almost covers my bald spot. Joan offered to give me a trim, but I passed. Either way, I can always wear a hat. I also discovered I can still clip my own toenails—I really can reach past my chubby belly and do the job. It is a stretch, but still doable. I’ve learned that I don’t have to get to the office at exactly eight o’clock every day… I can take a couple of more minutes to enjoy another few sips of iced tea at home. I don’t have to get my car washed every week when it gets a little dusty—it can wait. I don’t have to take everything so seriously if others don’t—you can only care as much as your clients, family and friends.
All in all, you’re never too old to learn how to chill out. Allowing yourself a little extra time is liberating, giving you more time to cook some really neat foods for your family.
So today, let’s take that extra time to talk about making PIE. Not just any pie like apple or cherry, but great, old-fashioned entree pies—like turkey or chicken pot pies. In the hierarchy of comfort foods, a great pot pie is surely at the top of my list. It’s right up there with mac and cheese, meatloaf and creamy smashed potatoes. It’s a deeply satisfying one-bowl meal—meat and vegetables nestled in a savory gravy and tucked into a crust—who could ask for anything more?
Now, don’t be intimidated to start making entrée pot pies. Making a pot pie from scratch seems like some real heavy lifting for a weeknight, but right now, what else have you got to do? The majority of the time is the passive baking time—so while it’s baking, you can enjoy a glass of wine, chill with the kids (if you’re still talking with them) or queue up another DVR episode of Judge Judy.
What can you expect? Well for starters, your family will love you for it! They will think you have risen to new culinary heights. The meat will be tender, and the veggies perfectly al dente. It will have that wonderfully creamy gravy that holds it all together.
Take my advice: As you’re serving it all up, divvy up that rich, buttery crust evenly. Otherwise, people will be tempted to steal chunks of it to scoop up their filling, and the last serving will be a sad, crustless affair.
Read on… the cooking secrets will reveal themselves.
ChefSecret: Think past ordinary chicken pot pies… you can use leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey or go for more adult flavors (and budgets) and make it a lobster, shrimp or crawfish pot pie.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 20 to 30 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion, medium diced
1 medium baking potato, peeled, medium diced
2 celery stalks, medium diced
3 medium carrots, thin bias cut
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup cheap dry white wine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup peas, frozen
1 cup corn, frozen
3 cups bite-size pieces of chicken, turkey, lobster, shrimp or crawfish
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon lemon juice—fresh, if you got it
1 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (I use Pepperidge Farms pastry)
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash
Holy-moly, you say—that’s a lot of ingredients! I’ll bet you have most of them at home.
Special note: If you have a 10-inch cast iron skillet you can make this a one pot meal. If you don’t, use a regular, large-sized sauté pan for the prep and then transfer the filling into a deep-dish pie pan or casserole dish.
#PotPie #Casserole #Entrees #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #ComfortFoods
How you doin’? Look on the bright side… we are another day closer to seeing our world back to some sense of normalcy. There are a couple of things I would like to talk to you about today.
While we are still on “lock-down” it’s a good time to experiment a little in the kitchen—do not be frightened to try new things. Through consumer research over the years, we’ve learned that most meal providers have a repertoire of only 5 items they feel comfortable cooking for their families—and one of them is hashed-over restaurant leftovers. Cooking from scratch has been overtaken by cooking for convenience. The latter is more exp ensive and adds to the weekly cash register tape from your local grocer. So, save some bucks and try cooking from scratch. Here’s a great starter recipe for you.
Yesterday, Joan had a hankering for her favorite California Pizza Kitchen Smashed Pea & Barley Soup. This soup has been a once a week must for the last year. Joan orders the SP&B and I get the Tortilla Soup—it’s kind of the best restaurant comfort food for lunch. So, I went into the test kitchen and fired up my trusty Instant Pot and started whipping up this CPK hack. It’s a hearty split pea soup with barley, carrots, onions, savory herbs and green onions. This is a recipe hack just like the popular soup sold at California Pizza Kitchen… Joan says it’s really close; I think it’s better—give it a try. Joan says, it’s like a warm comforting hug in a bowl! Of course, we both look forward to visiting the CPK near the office again soon.
This soup is naturally vegan. However, if you want to add some extra richness to the soup you can add in chunks of ham and/or cook the soup with a ham hock. You can also garnish with crumbled bacon when serving.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes (plus 10 minutes pressure release)
Yield: 8 servings
1 cup dried split peas, rinsed and sorted (check for rocks)
1 cup cup uncooked pearl barley
8 cups water (or beef or vegetable stock for added flavor)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon reduce sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 cups diced carrots
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (for a touch of brightness)
Salt and pepper, soy sauce to taste
1/2 cup green onion circles
ChefSecret: The Instant Pot cooking methods shaves off about 2-1/2 hours of cooking time.
#Soups #Entrees #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #ComfortFoods #Lunch #CPK
How you doin’? After these 42 days in quarantine you deserve a little sweetness. If you’re feeling trapped these delicate cookies will help you escape to a new world (in your mind or at least your mouth!). These fragile goodies are ultra-thin chocolate bit cookies that are shatteringly crisp with a distinctive caramel flavor thanks to brown sugar, oats and bittersweet chocolate bits.
They are a major departure from mainstream chocolate chip cookies, as these ultra-thin chocolate bit cookies are large, very flat and super crispy. They shatter dramatically when you bite them, releasing bursts of caramel and bittersweet chocolate flavor. It’s almost a religious experience—one taste of these heaven-sent treats and you’ll find yourself falling to your knees in reverence. Pray to the cookie! At least pray for more.
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Rest/Chill time: 3 hours to overnight
Bake time: 20-21 Minutes
Yield: Makes 16-17 5-inch cookies
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup (Karo)
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
ow you doin’? If you’re like me, you’re not going out much these days, but occasionally field trips are necessary. No one wants to bring any nasty germs into your home and possibly infecting yourself or those you care about. I ran across this excellent list of things you should due as soon as you return home and wanted to share it with you. Thanks to Ashley Abramson and the folks at Apartment Therapy where I saw it posted.
Keep in mind... first, if you’re carrying Covid-19 virus but don’t have symptoms yet, you could spread it to other vulnerable people. Secondly, you’re exposing yourself to other people’s nasty germs. If you’re not vigilant when coming back home from your field trips, you or your loved ones might be inadvertently infected.
Fortunately, with a little strategy (and lots of hand washing and disinfecting), you can reduce the likelihood of transferring viruses and bacteria into your home. Here are five expert-backed steps to follow every time you walk in your door.
1. Sanitize your hands before entering the house.
Anytime you’re outside your home, be mindful of the germs on your hands. Avoid touching your face until you can wash them, and if possible, keep hand sanitizer with you so you don’t leave potentially harmful pathogens on your car’s steering wheel or a doorknob going into your home. Dr. Elizabeth Scott, professor of microbiology at Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons University in Boston, says she always tries to keep hand sanitizer with her. When she’s out and about, she uses it in two scenarios. “If I am out in my car, I sanitize my hands as soon as I get back into the car following essential trips to the store,” she says. “Or, If I am just walking back into the house, I sanitize my hands before I enter.”
2. Put your haul on the floor and hang up your bag and keys.
Grocery store hauls require a whole other level of vigilance. Since germs can live on surfaces like bags for several hours, don’t put your groceries on the counter unless you plan to disinfect thoroughly immediately after. Same goes for the just-delivered packages you might normally put on the kitchen table.
After she sanitizes her hands and gets in the house, Dr. Scott says she puts her bags on the floor until she deals with the next couple of germ-fighting steps. While you’re at it, you can hang your purse or bag on a hook with your keys or put them wherever you normally do, as long as you’re not cross-contaminating high-contact areas like your counter or dining room table.
3. Take off dirty shoes and clothes.
No matter where you ventured to, your shoes and clothes are also potential germ-carriers. Scott always takes her shoes and jacket off when she gets home and quarantines them to their own, designated area). If you want to be extra careful, you can change into a fresh set of clothes, too. Just make sure you put your soiled clothes directly in the hamper or wash clothes right away.
4. Wash your hands thoroughly, then unpack your things.
Now that your dirty clothes are off your body, it’s time to remove the germs from your hands so you don’t transfer them to all the surfaces you’re about to touch in your home. After you’ve washed your hands, you can put away groceries or open the mail. If you just went outside for a walk and you’re sure your hands are clean, then Scott says you’re free to relax!
5. Disinfect if needed or wash your hands again.
For grocery-buyers, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly again after you touch all the food you put away. If you accidentally set potentially germ-ridden items on your counter, or potentially contaminated your doorknob or cabinet handles, practice targeted hygiene and disinfect those surfaces immediately with a bleach or alcohol-based cleaner. But Dr. Scott recommends laying off the hand sanitizer once you’re inside the house, since supply is limited and you’ll need it when you go out again. Plus, soap and water are more effective for your hands when you have access to it.
*This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy; by Ashley Abramson
#Disinfectants #Sanitzers #Covid19 #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #AshleyAbramson #ApartmentTherapy #SafeAtHome
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