Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Egg Scramble with Maple and Black-Pepper Bacon

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? on February 6, 2011
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These recipes had been on my mind for awhile.  First, the egg scramble had sounded delicious, but I didn’t want to make a breakfast dish that served 10 people.  Problem solved when I read the recipe in more detail and saw that you have to make it half at a time.  Bravo!  Then there is the bacon.  As much as I’d like to eat an entire pound of bacon for breakfast, the intelligent part of my brain tells me that isn’t a good idea.  I like to listen to that part of the brain every now and again.  So one day, I decided to make these two together.  Now don’t think it went completely smooth.  Nope, I had issues, but nothing too horrible that I wouldn’t make both or either again.

Egg Scramble recipe only.
Egg Scramble recipe originally published in Taste of Home, November 2007.

My finished Egg Scramble:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Egg Scramble
Picture published with recipe:

© Taste of Home

My eggs look slightly drier than theirs did, most likely because I had to wait for my bacon to be done to eat.  The look of the picture aside, I had light and creamy eggs and good vegetable distribution throughout the dish.  Will they pair well with the bacon?  Let’s see!

Maple and Black-Pepper Bacon recipe originally published in Gourmet, December 2008.

My finished Maple and Black-Pepper Bacon:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Maple and Black-Pepper Bacon

Picture published with recipe:

© Gourmet/Epicurious
Bacon makes everything better.  This recipe was challenging, but as you can see, I must have done something right.  It turned out crisp, sweet, salty and spicy… oh, and gorgeous.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – I know you’re probably calling BS on this one if you’ve already read the recipes.  But seriously, it wasn’t that big of a mess.  Here’s what cause the mess (in order of messiness): Peel and dice potatoes, clean and chop peppers, cook potatoes, and cook bacon.  The great thing is that the potatoes can be cooked in a small saucepan and the bacon is baked, so you don’t have the grease popping all over the stovetop.  P.S. After the potatoes are done, the eggs are done in a single pan and the bacon is also done in a single pan.

Start-to-Finish Time: AROUND AN HOUR AND A HALF – This is actually quite misleading since I made the mistake of making the eggs first and then the bacon.  I should have done them simultaneously.  If you make these recipes in the order I suggest, you should be able to get everything done in an hour.  However, I kind of screwed things up and didn’t get it done that way.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – Granted, there are two peppers you have to clean and there is a high probability of skinning your fingers with the vegetable peeler (oh, that’s me), but nothing needs to be precisely chopped. 

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – The bacon steps it up a notch with this recipe only because it requires you to bake it and know when the bacon’s fat rendered.  I give you some handy pictures as to what that looks like, but it really doesn’t take any kind of special technique.  It simply requires a watchful eye.

OverallYUMMY – Honestly, the bacon deserves a SORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS rating, but it is an indulgence that I can’t make very often.  The egg dish is good, but there are many like it.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep/Active Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10 (eggs) / 8 (bacon)

Nutritional Information

So the prep time listed is a combination of the prep time for the egg dish plus the active time for the bacon.  I think this is ridiculously inaccurate.  First, even the most adept peeler/chopper will not be able to get through the potato, peppers and onion in 15 minutes.  Simply cannot happen.  The cook time for the egg dish was only listed at 20 minutes, but it took me around 10-15 minutes to get the water to boil for the potatoes.

The truth is that I should have made a game plan and started the bacon first and then the eggs.  That’s the way I restructured the recipe to make it quicker and easier for you.  I kinda screwed it up for myself.

The servings of eggs are based on the whole recipe being made.  The great thing about this dish is that you make it in two batches, so if you have a two person family, like ours, you don’t have to make the entire dish.  In fact, the recipe is for only half a batch.  If you need to feed 10 people, just double the ingredients and make two batches.

There was no nutritional information for either dish.  I did attempt to lighten things up by using low-fat sour cream, skim milk, reduced-fat cheddar cheese and low sodium bacon.

Changes denoted by red text

¾ cup diced peeled potatoes
¼ cup chopped sweet red pepper
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
8 large eggs
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
¼ cup skim milk
½ teaspoon onion salt
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

1 pound bacon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredient Notes:
Potatoes – to get the ¾ cup diced potatoes, you will need 1 single medium size potato.

Red Pepper
  • The difference between red bell peppers and their green counterparts are green peppers are both less flavorful and expensive.  Both are used in this dish, but if you only have green peppers, and you don't feel like buying any red, you can double the green pepper.
  • To get ¼ cup chopped pepper, you will need 1 small bell pepper.

Green Pepper
  • See the red pepper description for the differences between the two.
  • To get ¼ cup chopped pepper, you will need 1 small bell pepper.

  • To get ¼ cup chopped onion, you will need 1 small onion.
  • The recipe doesn’t state what type of onion to use, but I opted for the white variety.

Olive Oil – the original recipe used vegetable oil, but I used olive oil since it is slightly more healthy.

Ham – if you don’t have leftover ham, you can use the cooked, diced and packaged ham that is in the deli meats in the refrigerated section.  One package (8 ounces) will give you approximately 1 cup.

Eggs – the original recipe didn’t specify the egg size, but I used the large size.

Low-Fat Sour CreamI tend to purchase Daisy brand Sour cream because it is less expensive than most and it has a reduced-fat version.  The reduced-fat sour cream has a third less calories, fat and cholesterol.  However, after doing a little research, Breakstones has a Fat Free Sour Cream that has HALF the calories, a teeny-weeny amount of fat (so much for “fat free”) and less than a quarter of the cholesterol.  I may begin investing in Breakstones from here on out.

Skim Milkskim milk is what we drink and I don’t enjoy buying whole milk to make a single recipe; therefore, I used the skim milk I had on hand.  Besides, skim milk has zero fat, a very small amount of cholesterol and a third-less calories.  Even 1% has half the fat and cholesterol in it. 

Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
  • There are several types of cheddar cheese.  I went with a mild, finely-shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese.
  • You’ll save almost a quarter of the calories and a third of the fat and cholesterol by using a reduced fat cheese instead of the regular.  Sargento also has a reduced sodium cheese, if that is your main concern.

Bacon – I used reduced sodium bacon since I like to watch the sodium in my dishes.  In retrospect, it really wasn’t thick enough for this kind of recipe.  Use regular or thick cut bacon.

Maple Syrup – you want to use 100% maple syrup, NOT pancake syrup.  It is usually in the same area as the pancake syrup, but it is normally in one of the top shelves and in a glass container.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Egg Scramble - Equipment
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Vegetable peeler
Small saucepan with lid
Dutch oven/Large skillet
Large spoon
Food processor/Blender

© You Want Me to Cook?
Maple and Black-Pepper Bacon - Equipment
2 large broiler pans
Paper towels
Pastry brush
Small bowl

Equipment Notes:
Dutch Oven / Large Skillet – the original recipe called for a large skillet, but I used my Dutch oven.  Due to the amount of vegetables, meat, dairy and eggs you need to cook and stir, make sure your skillet is large and deep.

Food Processor – the recipe said to use a blender for the egg mixture, but I used a food processor.

Broiler Pans – if you do not have broiler pans, you can use baking pans.  Make sure they are deep enough to hold the fat and while you drain the bacon on paper towels, you will have to pour off the fat before returning to the oven.

Small Bowl – it is much easier to pour out a tablespoon or two of maple syrup into a small bowl so you can use your pastry brush from there.

Usually I tell you to prep all the ingredients before starting to cook, but in this instance, you won't. I list the order for prepping ingredients in the recipe.

(1)  Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

(2)  Start potatoes for egg dish:
(a)   Prep (peel and dice) the potatoes.
(b)   Place potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
(c)   Once the potatoes and water begin to boil, reduce heat on the potatoes; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

You can continue with the recipe if you have finished prepping the other ingredients and the water has not finished boiling.  Just remember to pay attention so you can start timing as soon as the water is boiling.

(3)  Start the bacon:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Maple and Black-Pepper Bacon
Bacon fat rendered
(a)   Arrange bacon slices in 1 layer (not overlapping) on racks of broiler pans.
(b)   Bake until fat is rendered but bacon isn’t crisp, about 10 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Especially if you are using thinly sliced or low-sodium bacon, start watching it around 10 minutes in.  My bacon went about 15 minutes before I could tell it was starting to get crispy - which you do not want.

This was a multiple smoke alarm recipe.  You absolutely will have smoke in your kitchen.  Turn on fans & oven fan if you’ve got it.  Make sure none of the bacon hangs over the pan(s), because the grease will end up in the bottom of the oven.  If your bacon gets stuck to the pan, slide a spatula underneath to loosen it.

(4)  Prep the remainder of the ingredients for the eggs.

(5)  Finish the bacon:
(a)   Arrange all of bacon in 1 layer on rack of broiler pan.
(b)   Brush top with syrup and sprinkle with pepper.
(c)   Bake until bacon is crisp and deep golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
(d)   Drain, glazed side up, on paper towels.
(e)   Keep bacon warm in a 250°F oven until eggs are done.

(6)  While bacon and potatoes are cooking, continue with the egg dish:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Egg Scramble
Vegetables cooking

(a)   In a Dutch oven, saute the peppers and onion in oil until tender.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Egg Scramble
Vegetables and Meat cooking
(b)   Add the ham and potatoes; saute 2-3 minutes longer.
(c)   Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the eggs, sour cream, milk, onion salt, garlic salt and pepper. Cover and process until smooth.


© You Want Me to Cook?
Egg Scramble
Eggs added to veggies and meat
(d)   Pour over vegetable mixture; cook and stir over medium heat until eggs are completely set.

(e)   Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese.

The eggs were good and creamy and the sweet, spicy and salty bacon complemented it well.  I could have eaten the entire pound of bacon by myself.  You have to like your bacon extra-crispy, because it is going to turn out that way.  When my husband first tried it, he said you could tell the syrup caramelized on the bacon and that combined with the pepper was out of this world.

If I was going to do anything different:
  • I would use thicker bacon because the low-sodium bacon cooked too quickly.
  • The recipe said that in lieu of using broiler pan you can use baking sheets with baking racks inside.  I had some issues with the bacon sticking to the racks and initially, I thought maybe cooking spray would help.  However, I was afraid that the cooking spray would burn in the oven and cause even more smoke than was created from the bacon.  Ultimately, baking sheets lined with foil helped immensely.

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