As my favorite holiday comes to a close, and we see our family and friends go away for a while, I still have my mind set on Thanksgiving leftovers. I realize that when many of you are glued to the television watching college and pro…
Month: November 2010
Last week I was exploring ideas for appetizers for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. As many of you know, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, not because I get the opportunity to make several dishes, but also because it is a great day to hang out with…
I grew up in Kokomo, Indiana. It was a small town packed with a lot of fun things to do. While growing up, I remembered a handful of things in Kokomo which included great family times, rollerskating in the church parking lot across the street, heading down to Highland park to check out the Vermont Covered Bridge, and Big Ben, both of which are historical landmarks, but also growing up in the house.
We lived in a fairly simple house, but it was rather fun. We had a large pool in the backyard, dogs, and a pretty great working class neighborhood. Life was good. There was not much that I remember to this day with those times spent in the kitchen, and I know there were many. Sure, I recall eating fruity pebbles before heading out to school, and birthday cakes my mom would make, but not much more than that, well, except for the fried bologna sandwich my dad made.
The fried bologna sandwich. Who would have thought? My dad, I suppose. A simple sandwich with so much comfort, and one that I still remember clearly from my early childhood. You don’t see it around much, and when you think of bologna, you might say “no way”, but there is something about this classic sandwich.
- 1/4 to 1/2 thick slices of good deli bologna
- white bread, plain or toasted
- sharp cheddar cheese, optional
- potato chips, optional
- pickle spear, optional
- mustard, optional
- mayonnaise, optional
- 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
I am a strong believer in cast iron, so if you have a cast iron skillet, use it. Bring it up to a medium-low heat, and add the butter. During this time, get your bologna ready. In order to prevent the bologna from curling up while cooking, you can score the bologna with a knife, or score the edges.
Add the slice of bologna, and cook for a few minutes on each side. You want some of the char on the slice. While the bologna is cooking, put two slices of bread in the toaster. This is optional, but I like a toasted bologna sandwich. You have options now, and that is to add mustard or mayo, or both to your toast. I really like the mustard and fried bologna, but this is up to you. Once the bologna is charred, and cooked, add to the toast, top with a slice or two of sharp cheddar cheese, and dig in.
All I can say is there is something about it. Often times when parents tell you about something, and say how good it is, whether ham salad, or pickled beets, you must give it a shot, and make it. So all I can say is thanks dad for frying up a slice of bologna so many years ago.
There is something to be said about the smell of caramelized onions, and it is not unusual in my house, to slowly cook caramelized onions at least once a week. I love the low and slow process of watching delicious onions turn into a great dark brown color, which is just packed full of flavor. I often place caramelized onions on pizza, sandwiches, and baked potatoes, but this past week, I wanted to do something different, so I can up with the idea of making a caramelized onion gratin.
You might have seen my scalloped potatoes recipe before, and obviously this recipe is similar to that, but packed with a few extra goodies. This takes a bit of prep work, but well worth it, and is a perfect side dish to a holiday dinner.
- 5 whole yukon gold potatoes, cleaned, and sliced very thin
- 10 slices of good bacon, cooked and crumbled, bacon grease reserved
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- splash of worcestershire sauce
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt, pinches for each layer
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, pinches for each layer
- 1/2 cup of roasted red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup of half and half
- 1 cup of Monterey jack cheese
- 1/2 shaved parmesan cheese
- 4 sandwich size slices of colby jack
- pinch of red chili flakes
- cooking spray
Begin preparing all of your ingredients. Slowly cook the bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from the pan, let them drain on some paper towel, then crumble. Next, toss your onions into a bacon skillet with the butter and continue to cook on medium heat, cooking for nearly 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to burn the onions, so stir every 5 minutes or so. Towards the end, toss in the garlic, and the worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
During this time, slice your potatoes really thin. Spray a bit of cooking spray on your baking dish, or gratin pan if you have something of that sort. Get your cheeses ready as well.
Once the onions are caramelized, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Now is the time to begin layering your gratin. Add a layer of potatoes to the bottom of the pan, season with a bit of salt and pepper, then top with some of the crumbled bacon, the monterey jack and parmesan cheeses, some of the caramelized onions, as well as some of the roasted bell pepper. Repeat this process two more times. Pour the half and half around the perimeter of the dish, shower the top with the green onions, then top with the colby jack cheese, and sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
After the 40 minutes, remove the foil, and cook for another 40 minutes, uncovered. This will help get things nice and golden and melt the cheeses in all of the right places, building up another layer of flavor.
Remove, and let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.
This caramelized onion and bacon gratin knocks it out of the park. Really rich, and really comforting, this is a great side for any meal. Hope you enjoy.