Cooking 101.1

It’s been a while, but here’s my next installment in my Cooking 101 tag. On today’s menu? Scotch Eggs! These aren’t a very common thing in America though I have no idea why not. It pretty much incorporates all the things Americans love: eggs and meat. But it’s a dish I didn’t get the joy of trying until my second year at the Kentucky Renaissance Faire.

Now, this dish was my “once a year special dish” that I reserved for the faire because I wasn’t super impressed with the turkey legs that so many people look forward to when the renfaire comes into town, but now that I’m living in North Carolina and the nearest faire to me is three hours away in Charlotte… I figured I’d try to make them one day. And that day was yesterday. Daniel got a hold of my food board on pinterest and found them on there, declaring we were going to make them.

After we went to the store to get the ingredients we came home and started our adventure. They came out delicious and after showing the picture I took of them to all my friends on Facebook, all my friends have been begging me for the recipe. So, without further ado: How To Make Scotch Eggs

So there are two ways to make this. You can either coat them in breadcrumbs/corn flakes or wrap them in bacon. Because my husband and I are complete carnivores, we wrapped ours in bacon. Though I did make three of them with breadcrumbs. They didn’t taste as good as the bacon ones.

Ingredients
5 hard boiled eggs
1 pound ground sausage
10 strips of bacon
toothpicks

(If you don’t want to make yours amazing with bacon you’re going to need a bowl of flour, a bowl of breadcrumbs and a bowl of eggwash. For those of you who don’t know how to make an egg wash, crack two eggs into a bowl and add about two table spoons of milk. Whisk briskly with a fork until it’s completely mixed. Tada! Egg wash.)

Preheat your oven to 400*F. While that’s heating up, you’re going to prep the eggs.

Now, put your five eggs into a pot of room temperature water and set the pot on a burner on high. You’re going to bring the pot to a fast boil and once it’s there, turn it down so that it’s still boiling but softer. You want to be able to see the little bubbles coming out of the eggs as they boil. Once those bubbles stop trailing out, your eggs are done. Or, yanno, about fifteen minutes after the water starts boiling. To test your eggs, take one out, let it cool a bit and then spin it in the counter. Lightly put your index finger on it to stop it and quickly remove your finger. If the egg keeps spinning, it’s not done being boiled.

Once your eggs are done, carefully pour the hot water from the pot without pouring the eggs out as well. You can leave some of the hot water in there, but you want most of it to be gone. Now add cool (not cold) water. This causes the eggs to stop cooking and shrink while they’re in the shell and makes it them easier to peel. Honestly, I’ve never been that good at peeling hard boiled eggs so this part Daniel does. Sorry I can’t help you peel them easily, but I fail at it.

So this part can honestly be done while you’re boiling your eggs, but it’s up to you. Take your sausage meat at mix in any spices you want. When I made them, I used garlic powder, sale, pepper and some Tony Chachere’s cajun spice (because my husband loves it in literally everything), but really it’s all up to you. Now this next part depends on how you’re going to do your eggs. Bacon vs. Breading, so I’m going to tell you how to do them both seperately.

Bacon Wrapped
First lay out two slices of bacon in the shape of an + sign, one overlapping the other. Pull out a chunk of sausage and flatten it in your hand. I didn’t really worry about how much I grabbed because you can add or subtract meat pretty easily. You want to make your sausage patty kinda thin. Once you’ve flattened your sausage take one of the hard boiled eggs and roll it in the flour. This is honestly an optional step, but I did it because it helps adhere the sausage to the egg whites. Try to get the patty as evenly around the egg as possible. Once you’ve done that, set the sausage/egg ball on the overlapped parts of the bacon and fold them up, pulling the bottom strip up first. Layer the end pieces and stick a toothpick through them to secure the bacon in place. Repeat with all eggs and lay on a cooking sheet. I covered my sheet in tin foil for easy clean up but you don’t have to do that.

Breaded
You’re going to use the same process as above for wrapping the egg in sausage, but instead of placing the ball on the bacon, you’re going to place the ball in your egg wash and roll it around. Once the sausage is covered, move it to the breadcrumbs and coat it. You can repeat this step if you like for a thicker crust, but honestly it’s not needed. Once you’ve coated your sausage/egg ball, place it on your cooking sheet. Repeat with all the eggs. I made three of our eggs with breadcrumbs and dusted them lightly with cooking oil but you don’t have to do this step if you don’t want.

Now that you’re ready to cook, pop your cooking sheet into the over for thirty minutes. When you remove them, let them sit for five minutes to cool just a bit and then cut them into halves. I’ve only ever eaten scotch eggs warm, though I hear they’re just as good cold. You can serve them with a yellow mustard if you like. I’m not a fan of mustard but my husband is so he dipped his in dijon and loved it.

There you have it! Homemade delicious bacon-y, sausage-y eggs. You may feel like five won’t be enough, but trust me there’s enough protein in just one of the halves to almost fill you up. I can only ever eat one and my husband barely made it through one and a half. Be sure to share this with all your friends and if you try it let me know how it turned out!!

cooking 101

Since moving to Fort Bragg exactly 17 days ago, I think I’ve cooked more than I ever really have in my life. Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I have cooked more days in a row consecutively than I ever have in my life. And that’s saying something since I’m going on 27 years old (less than a month til my birthday!!).

But my dad’s a chef, so growing up he cooked almost every meal. One would think that because my dad’s a chef, I would be some amazing cook as well. Wrong. He would try to teach me and when I would mess something up he would take over and do it for me, so I stopped trying to learn. But I did pick some things up just from observation and I’m fairly decent at cooking. By no means am I anything like my father, but I don’t think I’d ever get picked for Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” either.

But in cooking for almost 17 days straight (the first night we were here we had dinner with one of Daniel’s friends and another night we did a cook out so I made a dish but didn’t actually cook dinner), I’ve found one dish that is absolutely loved by my husband and just about everyone who ate it (minus his old roommate because that kid doesn’t believe in vegetables).

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

I figured I’d share this recipe with you kids because it’s actually really simple and delicious. Even reheated.

Now, when I do this recipe I buy Black Label bacon from Hormel. Not thick cut or honey cured, though I’m sure it would be just as delicious with the latter. My only reservation with the thick cut is the bacon taking longer to cook than the asparagus. Now if you use the same bacon I do, there are 15 strips per package. Be sure to count the strips so you know how many asparagus you’re cooking. When I make this dish, I use one full package for two people and it’s more than enough. We always have left overs, which is fine because reheating this dish doesn’t make it any less delicious.

You’re going to cut the ends off your asparagus as if you were just going to cook them regular. Run them under warm water to wash them and then lay them on paper towels or a hand towel to dry. Set them to the side and open your package of bacon. At this time you should put your pan on your stove as well, dribbling a little bit (I’d say a tablespoon) of oil (vegetable or canola, doesn’t matter) and turning it on to medium heat. Let that pan heat up as you prep your asparagus.

You’re going to want to carefully pull each piece out of the package, either as you do this next step or before. Cut each strip in half length wise. Basically, you’re taking your 15 (or however many slices are in your package) long strips and making 30 long strips. Now lay your strip of bacon diagonal on your cutting board so that it cuts it like this: | / |

Take your asparagus and lay the end (top or bottom) at one of the corners and roll the asparagus towards the other end of the bacon, making sure to wrap the bacon around the vegetable as you go. Once you reach the end of the bacon, set your asparagus aside and repeat on the next piece.

Now, by the time you get three pieces finished, your pan should be hot enough to place your first three pieces in it. You can check by running the tips of your fingers under water and flicking that water onto the pan. If it sizzles, you’re ready. While those first pieces (however many it is you can fit in your pan) cook, continue wrapping pieces of asparagus. You’re welcome to wrap all the asparagus before you start cooking, but I like to multitask when I cook. Just don’t forget to rotate the asparagus in your pan as you wrap. Once one side of the bacon cooks (it should look like bacon you’d be making for breakfast), rotate the asparagus to cook the other sides.

When they’re finished cooking, place on a plate or serving tray (with paper towel on the plate to catch the grease) to cool. As it cools, the bacon will crisp slightly. Just like with cooking bacon for breakfast, the longer the bacon is in the pan, the crispier the piece is. How crispy you make it is all based on preference, but I’ve found that having it still a bit flexible makes for the best flavor.

Once you’ve finished cooking your bacon wrapped asparagus, let it sit for a few more minutes before serving. Three to five minutes should do you fine.

And voila! There you have it! A dish that will make any bacon lover happy. I hope you find as much success with this dish as I have. Be sure to let me know how it goes for you in the comments and don’t forget to share with friends and family!!