nutella-bacon french toast

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Andy suggested the bacon and I suggested the Nutella. A marriage of true minds admits no impediment, especially when it comes to foodies.   A simple enough breakfast or brunch notion for two, with fruit.

Nutella-Bacon French Toast

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional
4 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices bacon
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread for each slice of bread
Sea salt flakes, optional
Powdered sugar, optional

Put bacon on a plate between two sheets of paper towels. Microwave on high heat for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven to cool slightly. Crumble into large pieces and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whip the eggs until frothy with the milk and vanilla, if using. Soak one slice of bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds, turning once. Set the slice on one end at the side of the bowl then repeat the step with the remaining slices.

Heat the oil on medium high heat in a large skillet and swirl it around. Add the bread slices and cook on one side for about 2 1/2 minutes or until golden brown. If the bread gets too brown too quickly, reduce the heat.  Flip and repeat. Voila! French toast in 5 minutes (or less).

Spread Nutella on two slices of French toast. Top one side with crumbled bacon. If desired, sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Cover with one slice of bread spread with Nutella. Slice sandwich in half diagonally. Repeat with the remaining two slices of bread. If desired, sprinkle each triangle with a little powdered sugar. Serve with sliced fruit. I recommend, kiwi or any berry–so enjoy summer’s bounty. Here in Bangkok, strawberries are a luxury but kiwi is available and quite reasonable.

 

arugula burger

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I put greens underneath this burger, inside it and beside it! When my children were little, I used to make a version of this with spinach called Popeye burgers. This is my low-calorie “healthy” burger made from lean ground pork and arugula or rocket salad as it’s known here, on top of grilled iceberg lettuce served with fresh guacamole on top of mixed salad. . In fact, any kind of greens can go inside the burger patty–spinach (called English spinach in Bangkok supermarkets), and pak khom or Thai spinach. I haven’t tried it but I bet chopped broccoli would be good too.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes or 5 minutes per side

1 lb lean ground meat (pork, chicken, or beef)
1 lb rocket salad or arugula, lightly sauteed and chopped coarsely
1 large egg well beaten
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh herbs such as thyme and basil
salt and pepper

iceberg lettuce
guacamole

In a medium bowl put the meat, rocket salad, egg, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and shape into 6 patties. Grill 2-5 minutes on each side.

I served it on top of a slice of grilled iceberg lettuce, and, on the side, some home made guacamole made with crushed avocado, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, scallion; seasoned with lime juice, salt and pepper. It was a simple and easy meal to make.

 

spaghetti alla carbonara

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We were expecting company for dinner, but  the guest list suddenly expanded from two to five. Which is okay because there was enough chicken to go around–the Lemon-Garlic-Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes. I had also planned on making spaghetti alla carbonara, and two vegetable dishes. This carbonara does not have a cream sauce, for which I was grateful. Sometimes a cream sauce can be just too heavy for this dish. It should be light and salty. I do like the salty flavors from that bacon and ham generously crumbled and chopped and tossed in the pasta. I doubled this recipe for 8, so halve it for four.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara (adapted from food network)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound dry spaghetti  (preferably whole wheat)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 strips bacon, crisped in the microwave then crumbled
1/2 cup Canadian bacon or ham, chopped (about 6 slices)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 large eggs
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh basil, shredded, or use Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped coarsely (optional)

Directions

Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian “al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Microwave the bacon to minimize spatter. Do not discard the fat. When the bacon is crisp set aside to cool. Pour the rendered fat into a large skillet. Add the Canadian bacon. When it is slightly browned, add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Return the cooked bacon to the pot. Combine. Turn off the heat.

Coat cooked spaghetti in bacon fat. Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Use a pair of silicone tipped tongs to toss the pasta. You may need to add a bit of olive oil. To add the sauce in the next step, do NOT turn on the heat.

Make the sauce. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Pour the egg/cheese mixture onto the pasta. This is done off the heat to ensure the eggs don’t scramble. That would be a tragedy! The heat from the pasta cooks the egg. Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Cook’s Note: I did not get much sauce, probably because I doubled this recipe.

Add seasoning. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt.

Serve. Mound the spaghetti alla carbonara into a large serving plate. Garnish with basil or parsley, if desired. Add more cheese if desired. This carbonara was zesty from the Parmesan cheese, chewy because of the aal dente pasta, and a bit salty and crunchy from the ham and bacon. The egg sauce binds to the pasta so that the Parmesan flavor came through with every mouthful.

 

chicken, avocado, and bacon sandwich

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My sister-in-law gave me five whole wheat buns. That was the inspiration and the basis for this recipe. I grilled breaded chicken tenders which were just the right length for these small buns, then topped them with a little chicken gravy, avocado slices, romaine lettuce and crisp bacon. It was the perfect light supper.