When I first saw what this month’s challenge was, I had mixed feelings. I definitely thought it was cool, and wanted to do something more fun than just a bread-bowl, but I also was at a loss as to what to do. My mind has been utterly buzzing lately with a giant list of “to-do” lists, a slurry of ideas, and half finshed thoughts. I didn’t have the brain power to think of something ridiculous and crazy, but after scouring the internet for a while, I found the perfect thing!
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com/!
For this month’s challenge, I decided on BRINNER! (that’s breakfast for dinner, in case you didn’t know), which is one of my favorite things of all time. Breakfast is really one of my favorite meals. Well, breakfast on the weekends. The weekday rush to get to work obviously necessitates baggies of cereal and microwave oatmeal, but the weekend, oh the weekend is made for pancakes, eggs, and bacon. I jokingly tell my husband, who approaches breakfast with a hum-drum take it or leave it attitude, that if I had known of this shocking behavior earlier, I probably would not have married him. At least, I tell him I’m joking.
6 slices thick cut bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 small shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 English muffins, cubed
3/4 cup Jarlsberg cheese, finely shredded
6 teaspoons half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick spray and arrange the bacon in a single layer.
Bake until the bacon is cooked, but not crispy, 6 to 10 minutes. It is important that the bacon is still pliable enough to wrap the inside of the muffin tins without breaking.
While the bacon cooks, heat the butter in a pan over medium heat.
Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook until the shallots are soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the English muffin cubes, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing continually with a spatula until the muffin cubes are lightly toasted.
Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray and spiral wrap one slice of the bacon inside each of 6 cups. Divide the English muffin mixture between the cups and top each with about 2 tablespoons of the shredded Jarlsberg.
Crack one egg on top of the cheese layer, being careful not to break the yolk. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
(Makes 6 cups)
Savory Summer Fruit Tartlets (adapted from http://www.eatcaliforniafruit.com/)
1sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package)
1/3pound wedge Brie cheese
2 small California peaches or nectarines or 2 large plums (or any mixture), diced
2-3 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Thaw pastry according to package directions and lightly roll to remove creases.
With a pairing knife, cut the puff pastry into 12 rectangles.
Flatten each rectangle between your hands, pulling and stretching it just a tiny bit.
Press each into the bottom of a mini-muffin cup, and up the sides. It won't be perfect, let it spill over the top and overlap a bit. You want it to look rustic, just make sure that the majority of the muffin tin is lined.
Trim away the rind of Brie and cut into small pieces (1-inch cubes).
Place equal amounts in the bottom of pastry lined cups.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped thyme and bacon.