Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Pajama Elf Strikes Again!

It's been many, many years since the Pajama Elf visited our home and brought our sons brand spanking new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  The family tradition began when our oldest son, Raith, now 31, was very young and growing fast as weeds.  Photos of Christmas morning before the Pajama Elf began his yearly visit show high-water bottoms and sleeves that were midway between the wrist and elbow.  The Pajama Elf thought that if he brought new PJ's on Christmas Eve then all Christmas morning photos thereafter would definitely be much more pleasing to the eye, and so began the tradition.  

This Christmas my husband thought it would be funny to give the boys onesie pajamas with feet in them, just like they had when they were kids.  Our son and dil are leaving today for Florida to spend Christmas with her family so we got together yesterday and celebrated Christmas.

So, with that little bit of information as a background, I present to you, The Return Of The Pajama Elf, Christmas 2014!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Seven Sizzling Secrets To Cooking Killer Bacon

 

Bacon Lovers Rejoice! Here Are 10 Fitch's Secrets To The Best Bacon Ever!


My husband Rodney & I went on vacation to Spain in early November.  We have only been abroad once before, back in 2010 when we went to Ireland, and as we sat in a cute little cafe in Madrid and looked at the plates the waiter had just put in front of us with the "American" breakfast that we had ordered from the menu - scrambled eggs, toast & bacon, we were reminded of the food that we had experienced in Ireland and came to an understanding - do not order anything in another country and expect it to be like food at home.  The "toast" of the Spanish "American" breakfast, although delicious, was simply a freshly baked roll and wasn't toasted at all!  The 'bacon"? Very thinly sliced Spanish ham which looked like prosciutto, but was not as salty, and was nothing like the crispy, crunchy, fragrant, delectable bacon that we are used to and enjoy in the states.

So, how exactly do you cook a perfect batch of American bacon?  Well, we cook a LOT of bacon since we are serving up breakfast for our guests here at 10 Fitch all the time and my husband loves it too. You can certainly get good results frying your bacon in a pan or nuking it in the microwave and both of those methods have their little tricks for obtaining good results but I personally think that the best way to cook bacon is to roast it in the oven and today I'm going to share with you seven sizzling secrets to cooking killer bacon, our how-tos and whys are all right here.  So, grab your bacon and let's start sizzling!

  1. Bring Bacon to Room Temperature – Try to plan ahead and take your bacon out of the freezer the night before, letting it thaw in the fridge.  You can thaw it in the microwave on the defrost setting but sometimes it doesn't thaw evenly.  Once your bacon is thawed you want to let it come to room temperature before you cook it. This helps your bacon cook more evenly and for the fat to render out quicker so take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to begin cooking it.
  2. Out of The Frying Pan and Into The Oven –  If you are going to cook more than a few slices of bacon then ditch the frying pan and roast your bacon in the oven on a rimmed sheet pan large enough to hold all the bacon you want to cook without overlapping the slices.  Why in the oven? Bacon heats more evenly in an oven than in a frying pan so you end up with less shrinkage and curling and your kitchen stays much cleaner because bacon fat isn’t splattering all over the stove top, you, the counter, the floor etc. You should be having an “ah ha” moment right now :)
  3. Start with a cold oven – the gradual rising temperature of the oven allows the bacon to render out more of the moisture and fat so the slices will brown and crisp perfectly.  After you get the bacon laid out on the sheet pan, set the oven to 425 degrees, pop the pan in and walk away for 10 minutes.
  4. NO PEEKING ALLOWED!  Unless you can do it without opening the oven door for the first 10 minutes. Be patient.  If you open the door to peek the temperature will drop inside the oven and you don’t want that, you want it to gradually increase until it’s time to flip the slices over.  At 10 minutes take the pan out, close the oven door and flip the slices over, then return the pan to the oven and let them bake another 10 minutes, or your desired level of crispiness.  Thicker bacon will take longer.
  5. Bacon Burns Quickly – Watch it Closely – for the last 5 minutes check your bacon every minute or so to avoid burning it. Older bacon will burn almost twice as quickly as fresher bacon.
  6. Extra Crispy Please – If you like really crispy bacon go for thinner slices.  The thicker your bacon slices are the longer they will take to cook and probably will end up more crunchy than crispy.  The difference between crunch and crisp? Crisp – food item shatters immediately in your mouth at first chew, crunch – the food continues to provide its material sensation after a few chews.
  7. Instant Gratification - Once your bacon is cooked remove it from the oven immediately and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess fat.  Enjoy immediately because if you wait you may come back to an empty plate; bacon thieves abound!  I am telling you this from experience as both the one stolen from and the thief!
You can download a printable version of this InnSider Secret here.

10 Fitch Luxurious Romantic Inn - Your romantic escape in the Finger Lakes!