Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breakfast Bacon Apple Tart

Weekend breakfasts are our favorite meal. Generally because they involve bacon, eggs sunny side up, bacon, hash browns, and did I mention bacon? It's not every morning you have the time to make hash browns and bacon or go to the local cafe down the street and get a heaping plate of Special Spud - which features both. That's why weekend breakfasts are so magical. Not only do they more frequently than not happen late enough in the day to double up as lunch leaving you with the ability to eat more and feel less guilty, but they only happen on the weekends making them something to look forward to. With all that said, you would think this post would be about some elaborate classic big breakfast. Its not. But it does feature bacon.

I set out menu planning on Friday knowing I would make something for breakfast on Saturday morning while we waited for our DirectTV to be installed. I surveyed the ingredients in our fridge and eyed the apples from my farmer's box delivery.

How could I transform those apples into a breakfast dish worthy of Adam's critical breakfast appetite? Simple - add bacon.

So Saturday morning I whipped together a Breakfast Bacon and Apple Tart. And it did the trick. The flakey crust satisfied my craving for both biscuits and hash browns. The spread of cream cheese was reminiscent of a bagel, the apples of apple pie, and the bacon screamed breakfast.

With only two people to the whole tart it was quite filling.  It was a nice change to our usual weekend breakfast. Adam had his bacon, the apples made it feel healthy - and that made me feel like I was sticking to my new year's resolutions. It was an all around winner.

Breakfast Bacon and Apple Tart

serves 4 as a side

1 pre-made puff pastry sheet, thawed (I use Trader Joe's puff pastry)
2-3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used 3 medium sized pink lady apples)
4 slices of bacon cooked almost completely
about 2 oz of cream cheese or lite cream cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
3. Place puff pastry sheet on baking sheet with parchment paper and spread cream cheese over it.  Leaving a crust with no cream cheese.

4. Layer apples on top of cream cheese.

5. Bake tart (without bacon) in oven for approximately 15 min.  (I didn't really time it, just kinda checked on it)  The pastry should be puffing and turning golden colored.
6. Meanwhile, cook bacon until almost the desired crispiness you like it.  (It will cook a little more in the oven)
7.  About 5 minutes before the tart is done - take out of the oven and crumble bacon on top.  Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup.  (I like to measure the syrup out and put it in a measuring cup with a spout to get a nice even drizzle.)
8. Continue to cook the tart until apples are soft and pastry is golden.  Approximately 5 more minutes.

9.  Slice and Enjoy!

peace, love, bacon, and happiness!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pizza Wars!

Christmas brought me an array of new cooking / baking gadgets and goodies.  One of those fabulous gadgets was Sur La Table's mini pizza grilling set - big thanks to Mom!  I've grilled pizza in the past and found it be delicious and easy, yet somehow simultaneously challenging - so I love the idea of putting the pizza on pizza stones on the grill.   Armed with a pizza stone each, Adam and I challenged each other to a fight to the death (or eat to the death) very serious competition that we dubbed PIZZA WARS!  We wasted no time getting down and dirty.  The first round started with some technical difficulties... heating the stones too high, leaving the crust on for too long, and Adam lifting the metal lid without an oven mitt (I told him they would be hot).  Adam emerged victorious with a pizza smothered in BBQ sauce, covered in smoked gouda cheese and drenched in ranch dressing.

But the second round was were things turned very serious.  With so much on the line (I hate to loose), I turned to Adam's food fav and weakness - breakfast - as my inspiration and way to win him over.  See, we are the only two judges of this very serious competition so I had to turn to what he loves the most to earn his vote.  I cooked up some soychorizo (he'll never know the difference from the real thing), eggs,  green chiles, and even hash browns.  I sauced up my dough with some green salsa and topped it with the hash browns, then piled high the soychorizo and eggs, and finally threw cheese on top from all angles.  This thing was destined to be a winner.

{mozzarella, smoked gouda, and sharp cheddar}

But Adam, that sneaky one, kept his cards hidden.  He proceeded like he was making a normal pizza with normal sauce and normal cheese and then at the last second, he pulled out the big guns - McDonalds McNuggets -  he literally pulled them out of the microwave where he was hiding them from me.


Yes, I love, love, love McNuggets.  Now before you go getting all judge-y on me let me explain myself. First, they are the ONLY thing that cures my hangovers.  And if you've ever been around me with a hangover you would most likely be force feeding me loose little golden chicken-like nuggets - I am most definitely not a trooper when it comes to hangovers (or most other kinds of illness and aches, minor injuries such as, bruises included).  Second, they taste good and most likely have crack laced into them making them highly addictive, therefore its not my fault. Third, no I don't want to know what's in them - I've seen Fast Food Nation and Food Inc. and I choose to ignore this information when I very occasionally give in to my fast food urges.  So in conclusion, don't judge, and yes, Mickey D's McNuggets are the big guns in Pizza Wars.  Damn Adam and his smart thinking.

{pizzas on the grill}

Our method of cooking pizza-on-a-grill-on-a-stone starts with getting the stone on the grill and letting it heat up.  Once the stone is nice and hot dust it with cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking. Next lay  the dough on the stone and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes until the bottom side is starting to crisp up.  Flip, and then load up the toppings. Our pizza stones came with metal domes to go over the stone and create an oven like atmosphere so that the cheese gets nice and melt-y.  Remember the pizzas will cook fast!  Using oven mitts (ahem, Adam) take the pizza off the stones and prepare your taste buds for a pizza party.

{Adam's pizza off the grill}

{my pizza off the grill}

Add any last minute finishing touches and let the competition judging begin!

{my pizza dotted with sour cream}

{Adam's pizza dotted with ranch}

Both pizza's turned out awesome. We made great improvements in crust area - leaving it on just long enough to get crispy but not black. There was no clear cut winner.  Both of us chose our own pizzas while saying the other's pizza was also very, very good. He almost won me over with those damn McNuggets - I ate all the nuggets off my pizza and even went and grabbed more ranch dressing to dip them into - but my pizza was just too good that I couldn't vote against it. After much pressing I accepted the fact that he wasn't gonna vote against his and we called a tie and gave ourselves a pat on the back for a very successful Pizza War.

Peace, love, pizza, and happiness!