Bacon, Blue Cheese and Baby Red Potato Salad


Bacon, Blue Cheese and Baby Red Potato Salad | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a recipe based on a product that I [should not have] discovered at the deli counter in our local Pick’n Save grocery store. After trying a sample and gleefully purchasing a one-pound container, I hauled-ass home and proceeded to eat most of it in one sitting — and then spent the remainder of the day in a self-induced food coma watching M.A.S.H. reruns on TV Land.

Yeah, it’s that good.

This recipe took three tries to get right. The time spent reverse-engineering it was definitely worth the hassle. Share with friends at your next outdoor BBQ. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds baby red potatoes, washed and scrubbed
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese  – don’t skimp on quality here, folks
5 strips bacon, cooked crispy and then crumbled
3/4 cup mayo* (please, do this dish justice and don’t go with the low-fat version)
1/2 cup sour cream
Up to 1/4 cup peppercorn-ranch dressing, to taste*
1 tbs. white vinegar
1 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
3 stalks scallion, finely sliced, including the greens
1/2 garden red bell pepper, finely chopped

 

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and scrub the baby red potatoes and set aside. Leave the skins on. Bring four quarts of water to boil in a stock pot. Add one teaspoon salt. Cook the potatoes for about 14-15 minutes, until fork-tender. Rinse with cold water and cut into eighths. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a separate mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Add the cooked potatoes and gently fold together until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving so the flavors have time to set up. It’s best if left to sit overnight.

*You may compensate if the dressing is a bit dry by adding more mayo or peppercorn ranch.

Serves 4-6

Garden Red Bell Pepper | Culinary Compost Recipes

2017 garden bell pepper – I’ve had the best luck growing these in five-gallon buckets placed on my back patio.

Browning Bacon in a Cast-Iron Skillet | Culinary Compost Recipes

Mmmmm….. BACON.

 

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Smoked Mac ‘n’ Cheese


This is a recipe loosely based on John McLemore’s recipe from Dadgum That’s Good!  I thought his version was good, but a tad dry.  I tweaked it by adding buttermilk, two extra spices, Velveeta cheese and BACON. In my humble opinion, every mac ‘n’ cheese recipe should have bacon in it. Indeed — the world is a better place with more cheese and bacon.

For this recipe I use a 30″ Masterbuilt Smoker with an electronic temperature control.  It’s pretty much idiot-proof and the result is amazing.

Don’t be alarmed when half of your neighborhood stops over and asks what that wonderful smell is.  The combination of apple wood smoke, Gouda cheese and bacon is unbeatable.
Enjoy-

 

Ingredients:

One 16-oz. package elbow macaroni or fusilli pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup buttermilk
One 8-oz. block of cream cheese, cut into chunks
One 8-oz. block of Velveeta® cheese, cut into chunks
1 tsp. Lawry’s seasoned salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 cups extra-sharp shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
2 cups shredded Gouda cheese (divided)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy, then crumbled

1 cup apple wood chips for smoking
Disposable 11 x 9.5″ aluminum baking pan

 

Directions:

Preheat your smoker to 225° F, and ensure the wood chip holder is inserted (without wood) so the interior of the smoker box stays hot. Completely shut the top vent.

Cook the pasta until just al dente in water with a pinch of salt. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt the butter and whisk the flour into the butter. Be careful not to scorch it, and stir constantly. Cook for two minutes until the sauce is bubbly and thick. Slowly whisk in the milk and buttermilk and bring to a low boil. Cook another five minutes until thickened. Add the Lawry’s salt, white pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Stir in the crumbled bacon, cubed cream cheese and Velveeta, and mix until smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine one cup of the sharp cheddar and Gouda cheese and all of the Parmesan cheese, cooked pasta and the cream sauce. Stir gently, then spoon the mixture into a 11 x 9.5″ disposable aluminum baking tray coated generously with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of shredded cheddar and Gouda cheese.

When the smoker is preheated, load the chip holder with apple wood. Place the baking pan on the center rack, seal the door and cook for one hour. Leave the top smoke vent open only 1/4″ for full flavor.

Remove, let set five minutes and serve.

Serves 6.

 

Mom’s German Potato Salad


A summer classic recipe served at my parent’s house for the past thirty-five years.

Ingredients:

3 pounds cooked, peeled and sliced potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 tbs. flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup white vinegar
chopped onion to taste
1/4 pound bacon
2 cups hot water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring enough salted water to boil to cook the potatoes (with skins on) until done, but firm. Drain and run under cold water. Drain again, peel, slice and set aside in a covered dish.

Measure the sugar and flour together in a bowl and then stir in the eggs. Add the vinegar and onion and let stand.

Chop and fry the bacon. Remove the bacon and add 2 cups of hot water to the bacon drippings.

Bring to a boil and then slowly add the sugar, egg, flour, vinegar and onion. Cook slowly until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over potatoes. Add the bacon and fold in until mixed well.

Chill for at least three hours, but best served overnight. Before serving, warm slightly so the rendered bacon drippings have a chance to reincorporate.

Serves 6.

Super Beans


This is an easy-to-prepare classic side dish that my family has made for many years.

Ingredients:

3 cans (14.75 oz. each) cut green beans, drained
1 14.75 oz. can mushrooms (stems and pieces), drain 1/2 liquid off
1 small onion, chopped
4-6 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 tbs. white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the bacon until lightly browned and drain off rendered fat. Add the onion and saute until lightly carmelized.

Add the mushrooms, green beans and salt/pepper to taste after adding each can. (My dad insists that it tastes better this way.)
Add one tbs. vinegar and stir to incorporate. Place in a heavy saucepan or baking dish and cover. Cook on low for about 1 hour until the green beans are just tender.

Serves: 4-6

Horseradish Bacon Dip


Here’s one from the cardiac arrest file cabinet. Zesty heart-stopping goodness.

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
6 slices crispy-fried bacon, crumbled
2 tbs. extra-hot horseradish

Preparation:

Mix ingredients well, cover and chill for one hour.

Makes 2 cups.