Grits Carbonara

Hankerings publishes its fair share of butter-, cheese-, and animal fat- laden dishes. No surprise then that we’ve shared an inordinately high number of wow-factor, carbonara-inspired dishes.

If the general concept of carbonara tickles your fancy, I urge you to check out our Red Hot Pasta Carbonara Nests, Pizza Carbonara or Linguini with Clams Carbonara.

There’s a reason for this.  I’ve been known to crave some combination of cheese, egg yolks, garlic and meat when my hungry monster rears its head. All in one dish.

In theory, you could “carbonara-ize” any starchy comfort food – and you’ll end up with something salty, porky, cheesy, eggy, and garlicky.  Check, check, check… & check.

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Garlic delivers the heat, pungency and baseline flavor for the dish. Parm reg, the king of cheese, brings the dairy fat. Then you have the egg yolk, which is a nature-made sauce in and of itself – a miracle bestowed on us from the food gods and goddesses.

And then there’s bacon. One of the most readily available, scrumptious hunks animal fat you can get your hands on. Speaking of, if you want to give a killer gift, Zingerman’s offers the best bacon of the month club you will find online.

Because let’s face it, grits could use a pick me up.

I’ve never gone wrong with buttered grits. I’ll typically reserved my grits consumption for my rare trips to the Waffle House, usually while I’m on the road to southern Virginia. They’re incredibly good cooked simply, but as with most ubiquitously-loved and adaptable foods, I can’t help myself. I add all sorts of stuff to grits when I make them at home. Whatever I have in the fridge on any given day – herbs, tomato sauce, blue cheese, you name it – is likely to end up there.

There are two kinds of grits – instant grits and real-deal, stone-ground grits. I used instant grits here for hunger-pang related reasons, however, you’re going to have a much more toothsome outcome with the low and slow stone-ground variety. If you are lucky enough to have the time to go that route. Just substitute the same volume of grits, substituting the recommended liquid with milk, and cook according to package instructions.

What are some of your favorite grits additions? And more importantly, what dish should I carbonara-ize next!? 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 4 oz. bacon, of your choosing, medium diced
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 / 3 cup instant grits
  • 1 / 3 cup parm reg, plus additional for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 / 4 cup scallions, for garnish
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper, plus additional for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Brown the bacon in a medium-sized saucepan. When the bacon is almost done cooking, add the garlic. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the grits, stirring for a minute or two. Add the milk, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, cover, and simmer on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the grits are al dente.
  3. Add 3 of the egg yolks off the heat to the grits, and stir vigorously to cool. Add the parm reg and stir until melted. Plate the grits. Top each plate with one egg yolk, sprinkling with pepper, parm reg, and chopped scallions for garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

 

 

Lox Fixins Frittata

I’ve been riding out an insatiable salmon-craving phase. At this moment, any salmon would do.

I know these food craving spells very well – they come and will eventually pass. Like my sushi over-consumption phase in the fall of 2009, or the pho mania of 2011.

While in the midst of another food-related binge, I was a regular customer of Bruegger’s Bagels on E Street by the Capital One Arena here in D.C. a few years ago. It’s gone now, but it was easily my most regularly visited takeout joint. My order consisted of a lox bagel with extra jalapeno cream cheese, all on a jalapeno-cheese bagel. At checkout, I’d add a large, fat black iced coffee.

I could eat as much spicy cream cheese and lox as I wanted with that unwieldy, monster of a bagel sandwich. And it was expensive as far as bagels go because of that pile of lox. I craved that sandwich like nothing else.

Instead of doing a quick egg scramble with lox, I wanted to throw all the ingredients that go on your typical lox bagel sandwich into a fritatta bake. The addition of dill elevates the flavor profile to something more elegant and brunch-y enough for guests. You’re getting that pretty presentation with the dill scattered on top. And who would I be to veer from the ubiquitous salmon and dill power combo?

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I was on the fence about adding cream cheese. But it tastes great, melts into the eggy mixture, and you need it to get the full lox bagel experience. This is another recipe you can count on to taste exactly like the food you’re drawing inspiration from. All the lox bagel flavors are there.

If you’re a big breakfast casserole fan – I’d absolutely get behind putting some torn bagel pieces into the batter. How could that be anything but amazing?

I’m going to continue letting this food craze run its course. In the meantime, it’s fun thinking up dishes like these, all in an attempt to get my salmon fix.

Here’s to indulging in those wackiest, out-of-nowhere of food cravings. I hope you enjoy! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 6 oz. high-quality lox, torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 oz. cold cream cheese, crumbled into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 / 2 cup red onion, small diced
  • 1 / 4 cup ripe tomato, small diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 / 3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*.
  2. Heat the butter in a medium-sized oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan. Sautee the red onion for 5 to 7 minutes or so, until translucent. Remove from heat.
  3. In the meantime, whisk the eggs, heavy cream, salt pepper and dill until combined.
  4. Add the lox, cream cheese, capers and tomato, and gently combine until the mixture is even throughout.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the onions, and place in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until golden brown and set.
  6. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Linguini with Clams Carbonara

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ latest post, Bonita Springs, Florida. I hope you enjoy!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 / 2 lb. linguini
  • 1 / 3 lb. bacon, small diced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 dozen clams, washed and rinsed
  • 1 / 3 stick butter, salted or unsalted
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 2 eggs, whisked, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup parm reg, shredded

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil a pot of water, and cook the linguini according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In the meantime, brown the bacon in a large sauté pan. Once browned, add the garlic, and sauté on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the clams, the cup of reserved cooking liquid from the pasta, butter, lemon juice, and cover. Steam the clams on medium heat for 10 minutes or so, until the clams have opened. Remove any clams that didn’t open from the pot.
  3. Off the heat, add the pasta, parm reg, and 2 whisked eggs. Using tongs, stir the pasta until the sauce is thickened and the cheese has begun to melt.
  4. Plate the pasta, topping each with an egg yolk, garnish with lemon wedges, and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

 

Scotch Egg Ramen Noodle Bowl

Scotch eggs. Oh my word. Where to even start?

They’re a traditional British snack food, often considered a picnic-ready food – and although they’re pretty much born to be a breakfast food item considering it’s an egg enclosed in sausage, we couldn’t help but figure, eh, let’s just eat these all day long.

I can’t think of a more delicious concept – jammy egg, Worcestershire sauce-doused ground pork, and other savory elements, all deep fried until golden and sizzly. Here, I went with an Asian flair and added soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. I had a hankering for a bowl of piping hot ramen, and wanted the scotch egg to jive with the Asian flavors in the broth.

A local ramen joint – Jinya, is doing ALL the business. Over the past few months, my sister has been ordering from them four to five times a week – no exaggeration. One time, she had Jinya deliver across the city to her office. For lunch. If she’s any indication – those guys are doing ramen right.

I love the new topping options I’m seeing for ramen. An egg is the classic must have protein-booster, but now I’m seeing crunchy fried pork belly, roasted eggplant, slices of American cheese, and other super delicious topping ideas that go beyond just bean sprouts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bean sprouts.

This bowl features all my favorite umami flavors – or at least, what I consider umami flavors for my weird palate. Mushrooms, cheese, egg and pork from the scotch egg, toasted sesame seeds, grated onion, spicy chili garlic paste, and corn for a bit of sweetness.

How do you like your ramen to be topped? What’s a cool addition that’s a bit out of left field? I’d love to hear your favorites! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 / 3 lb. pork sausage, out of its casing
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1 dash fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus 1 dash
  • 1 / 4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 3 oz. package ramen noodles
  • 1 quart chicken or beef stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 yellow Kraft Singles American cheese slice
  • 1 / 4 lb. mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick
  • 1 / 4 cup corn
  • 1 / 4 white onion, grated
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Dynasty Hot Chili Oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Enough vegetable oil to reach two inches-high in a fry-safe pan

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Toast the sesame seeds. Add them to a dry, hot pan. Toast them on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing often, until the seeds are golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Combine the ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 dash sesame oil, along with a few grounds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover an egg with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, and remove from the heat. Place the egg in an ice bath, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. Coat a saute pan in olive oil, and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms shrink and become tender. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the scotch eggs. Combine the flour and the wasabi powder in a bowl. Set aside. Take the egg out of the ice bath and smash the egg on both sides, slowly rolling the egg until the shell slides off. Take the pork mixture and flatten it, putting the egg inside and carefully enclosing the egg in the ground pork, until it’s covered evenly on all sides. Place the egg in the flour mixture, then the beaten egg, then the panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a fry-safe pan – enough that the oil rises 2 inches high in the pan. To test the oil readiness, put a pinch of flour in the oil. If it begins to sizzle and brown, the oil is ready to use.
  7. Place the scotch egg in the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Turn the egg carefully throughout the cooking process, about 4 minutes total, until all sides are browned. Remove the egg from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a separate pot, and add the garlic. Saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes or so. Add the quart of stock, and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the stock has concentrated slightly. Add the ramen noodles, and cook according to package instructions, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the ramen in bowls, topping with the corn, Thai chilis, sauteed mushrooms, grated onion, chili oil, toasted sesame seeds, American cheese and the scotch egg, cut in half lengthwise. Serve hot.

 

Diner-Style Deviled Ham Hash

In this next post of my “no-no” mystery meat recipe series, I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite canned meats – Underwood Deviled Ham.

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If you haven’t had it already, it’s a bit of an acquired taste. Not for me of course – I loved it from day one. But it’s as American as red, white and blue. If you didn’t eat it growing up, my gut tells me you might – with an emphasis on the word might – not like trying it for the first time as an adult.

My boyfriend wasn’t a fan. He said he wouldn’t feed it to the dog.

You have to give this a try. For anyone who is familiar with this delectable max-processed delicacy, or still reading even after this cautious introduction, you’ll soon realize this is the breakfast hash that was missing in your life.

Deviled ham has a similar flavor to Spam, or any sodium-heavy canned meat product you’ll find in the grocery store. I used to eat it straight from the can. The most typical way to serve it is between two slices of mayo-smeared white bread topped with iceberg lettuce – right where it belongs.

I’ll usually keep a few cans of Hormel’s Corned Beef Hash in my pantry. This recipe is a home-cooked variation of the canned hash, using fresh potatoes and swapping out the corned beef for the deviled ham.

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The ham and potatoes go together like peanut butter and jelly. Alongside a couple of sunny side up eggs, this is just what the doctor ordered when you’re craving a greasy, filling diner-style breakfast.

I went to town and back on this. I probably met my sodium quota for the month. I don’t know about you – but if this hash gives me yet another excuse to eat deviled ham, my GP and I are completely on board with that.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 2 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1 can Underwood Deviled Ham
  • 1 / 3 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onion, potato, pinch of salt and pinch of pepper, cooking on medium heat until the potatoes are near golden and crisp and the onions are near translucent.
  2. Once the hash is almost done, add the deviled ham. Continue to cook the hash so the ham has a chance to crisp up.
  3. Plate the hash and serve hot, with a couple of sunny side up eggs and hot sauce, if desired.