Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

Sounds like a mouthful. Bacon wrapped asparagus bundles. What could be better than delicious asparagus wrapped up in bacon, then grilled to perfection? My recent visit to the store led me to purchase some really great looking asparagus that was on sale. I really love asparagus, but will admit that I do not purchase but only ten times or so a year, and typically that is in the late spring and early summer when I do make the purchase.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles Recipe

I was grilling some hamburgers for my kids the other night, and knowing that my kids love bacon, I thought, what a perfect match. They could eat the bacon if they wanted to, but I really wanted them to try the asparagus (failed). Regardless, my wife and I gobbled up these delicious bundles, one by one, and realized that we would be making these again this summer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of fresh asparagus, stalks trimmed (roughly 12 to 15 pieces)
  • 4-5 pieces of bacon

Begin by cleaning your asparagus, snapping off the bottom pieces, and trimming the bottom ends to look nice. Take three pieces of the asparagus and wrap a slice of bacon around the center, creating a bundle. Repeat this step for the remaining asparagus and bacon.

Heat  your grill to a medium heat. Add the bundles to the grill, cooking a few minutes per side. Your goal here is to not only cook your bacon, but to also cook your asparagus to the point where they are tender, being careful not to burn your bacon, nor your asparagus. Sounds tricky, but it is not; just keep an eye on it.

It is that simple. Goes great with anything.

Leek Soup

Leek soup with potatoes and bacon toppingSmooth and delicious. Two words that really identify this soup. The great thing about making this soup is not only its flavor and comfort, but it is that you get to use leeks! If you have never cooked with leeks before, well, one you are missing out, and two, now is the time. The leek is that over sized green onion looking thing in the produce department, white near the bottom, and thickened green at the top. It is actually part of the onion and garlic family, two of my favorite flavors. This soup brings those flavors out, and once cream is added at the end, then the game is on. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium sized leeks, sliced and cleaned, top part of the green removed
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, skin peeled, cubed
  • 1 quart of vegetable, or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp course salt
  • 1/2 tsp of white ground pepper
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • Bacon pieces (optional), garnish
  • Fine chopped red onion (optional), garnish
  • Crusty bread, warmed (optional)

Leek soup with potatoes and bacon toppingIf you have never worked with leeks before, once you slice them down, toss them in a bowl of cold water, break them up, and give them a good wash. What you will find is that some dirt gets embedded in these onion rings. Did I mention onion ring? Ok, these would be pretty killer for a light batter, and fried as well. Anyway, stay focused, we are on the soup train. Once cleaned, drain, and rinse again.

Now, get your large pot ready. Begin by melting down the butter. Toss in the leeks and red onion, and cook on medium heat for roughly 20 minutes, stirring on occasion. Add in your garlic, and cook another 5 minutes.  The hard part if over.

Next, toss in the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

The remainder of this dish is easy, however you will need to be careful on this next step. Ladle in batches to your blender, the soup mix. PUT THE LID ON THE BLENDER and cover with a towel, keeping pressure on the lid when you puree the mixture.  Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this process until the soup is all blended. I note to keep pressure on the blender lid because when you add hot liquids to a blender and expect to just blend it, you are wrong. You could have soup all over your kitchen walls and ceiling!

Transfer the soup mixture back to the pot, bring up to medium temperature, and add in your cream and milks. Add in the white pepper. Taste. Does it need salt? More pepper? This is the time.

Bring a few ladles into your favorite soup bowl, top with bacon pieces and the red onion.

One word now, YUM. I hope you enjoy.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam ChowderEver since my last visit to Boston, MA., I just cannot get my mind off, possibly the best clam chowder I have ever had at the Barking Crab. The Barking Crab could be one of the coolest places to hang out on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying the riverside, good music, and some really good food. This place was so good, I ate there twice, and was convinced out of all of the chowder I have had, that it was simply the best. Their chowder was not cream based, but more of a broth, had some really fresh clams, and just looked really simple. As I will most likely try to recreate their chowder and make it my own in the near future, I first wanted to make a nice New England style chowder that was cream based, but not too heavy. This one is a must make for that lazy Sunday, and goes great with a nice and crispy baguette. Now if you are like me, you have had chowders where you are trying to find a potato, or some clams, but just seems as though you are slurping creamy broth. Not mine. As you can see by the picture, it is loaded with a ton of clams and potatoes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 10 oz cans of canned clams, in water if possible, drained (try to avoid the ones residing in oil)
  • 3 cups of clam juice
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 7 russet potatoes, peeled, and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2-3 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 tbsp of dry sherry
  • couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Nice french baguette, warmed

Begin by warming up your bacon on a low to medium heat in a large soup pot, cooking it until nice and crisp, but not burnt. Next add in your onion, and cook until soft, roughly 5 minutes. Next, add in the flour, stirring the for a few minutes. This will coat the bacon and onion, and thicken. Pretty neat stuff.

Next, add in your clam juice and mix with a whisk. Continue cooking on the low heat, cooking for roughly 5-7 minutes. The sauce will really begin to thicken, much like a gravy. Now is the time to add in the thyme (no pun intended), as well as the bay leave. This is where we are going to really begin to flavor the broth. Toss in the salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Add in all of the potatoes, and mix well, cooking until the potatoes become tender, roughly 12-15 minutes. Stir occassionally.

In another medium sized pan, add in your cream, milk, and clams, and bring to a medium temperature, roughly about the same time, 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to do this because you don’t want to add in cold cream and clams to a warm pot already, it just does not work.

When your potatoes are tender, add in the cream and clams, and mix well. Mix in the dry sherry. Taste and determine if it needs more salt or pepper, and if so, season to taste. Add a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce, and mix again.

Now before you bowl, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and break off a large chunk of the baquette, warming in the oven for about 5 minutes. Bowl and serve.  This was no Barking Crab style chowder, but it was definitely a bowl where many enjoyed.

How do you guys make your chowder? New England style, or Manhattan Style?

Turkey Club Sandwich with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Turkey Club SandwichMy turkey is finally gone, and I have to be honest with all of you, I am kind of glad. I’m “turkied out”. Before I close the chapter on this Thanksgiving holiday, I want to end it with a pretty awesome throw together; the turkey club with a kick. It is not often I order a club sandwich when dining, but I have always enjoyed it, and always take a peek at the club when others order it. Today I decided to make the turkey club my way, and you will possibly want to do the same as it is packed with smoked bacon, avocado, and an awesome chipotle mayo.

Ingredients:

  • Three Slices of white Bread
  • Oven Roasted Turkey, to your liking
  • Fresh Romaine Lettuce
  • Mild Cheddar Cheese Slices
  • 3 Slices of cooked, smoked bacon
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce

Begin by making the chipotle mayo. Remove a chipotle pepper from the adobo sauce, and finely chop it. Add a few tablespoons of the mayo to a bowl, and throw in the chopped chipotle pepper and stir. Next, toast the bread. Core out your avocado, by running a knife down the middle, and around the pit. Open up, and either take your knife and hit it into the pit of the avocado and removing it that way, or using a spoon. Then dig out the avocado. The hard part is over, because now we are ready to stack and have a great club sandwich.

Add the chipotle may to a slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheddar cheese, turkey, bacon, lettuce, and avocado. Add another slice of the bread and repeat the process. To the bottom of the third piece of bread, add the remaining mayo. You are ready to go. Either slice this in half, or do what I did and just open up wide, and get to it. Trustt me, the flavors of the chipotle mayo and avocado make this one a must make.

Enjoy.