Potato and Bacon Gratin

 I’ve been asked so many times how it feels to grow up having no brothers and sisters. At the top of my head I say it’s great: you get all the attention, financial and emotional support. I consider myself lucky. But there are some setbacks – I think about what could be, what could have been, and that’s when I feel the pang of loneliness. Don’t get me wrong I don’t wallow in it…I just want it sometimes. Then I wake up and reality sinks in. I might not have the biggest family, but I’m still happy and thankful.

Photobucket

This afternoon we visited our loved ones at the cemetery. It’s nothing grand. The scorching heat expedited our trip, but before we left, we said our prayers, lit our candles and left our flowers. I looked around and saw more than a few tombstones unkept, with the paint virtually gone. Clearly they were forgotten. It’s a sad sight really. I know this is getting heavy, but I just need to put it out there: I don’t want to be forgotten. I want to live a full life and all the frills attached to it and still be remembered by the people I left behind.

Photobucket

Yeah, I daydream a lot. I think about the things I can do, will do and should do. Sometimes I ask myself how I want people to remember me, what legacies I leave behind. I’m being romantic here, but I do want to be remembered because of my food and company, which go hand in hand.

Photobucket

I made potato gratin yesterday and I wanted to savor that moment. The funny thing is, the first time I made it for class, it was undercooked. I’m happy that I have the luxury of time to make sure this heavy, hearty dish is cooked perfectly. It’s a thing of beauty in its simplicity.
With the same desire of not being forgotten long after I’m gone, I don’t want to forget the moment I opened the oven and just knew everything made sense and fell into place. I was vindicated.

Photobucket

Potato and Bacon Gratin (serves 4 – 6)
  • 600 grams potatoes
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, minced
  • half a bulb of garlic, minced
  • 4 strips of bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • parmesan cheese, to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until fragrant. Add the bacon and render the fat.
  2. Mix in the flour and keep on mixing until it becomes thick, almost like a paste (you’re making a roux). Once the flour-y taste has been cooked off, add in the milk. Stir to incorporate everything. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Add the parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Peel and eye the potatoes. Carefully slice the potatoes, around 1/16th of an inch, like potato chips.
  5. Place the potatoes in the sauce pan and carefully mix together to coat all the slices with the sauce. Reserve a few bacon bits.
  6. Arrange the slices on a 10-inch pie plate. Once done, top it with more parmesan, bacon and sauce. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, or until potatoes are done.
  7. Remove from heat, slice into individual serving pieces and serve warm. Enjoy!

Egg Rings and Early Mornings

Photobucket

Lately, I rarely get up early. My usual day would begin at around 8:30 am, and then there are 4-hour power interruptions here and there, I usually have brunch, I skip breakfast, I lie in bed all day, I cram work into one day, and I cram some more…
Photobucket

But, when I do get to wake up at 6:00 am, breakfast becomes the most important meal of the day.
Photobucket

This time I baked the egg rings instead of microwaving it. I’m precluding the possibility that the yolk might explode. Yes, it has happened before. Plus, it’s less stressful.

Time slows down and little moments (like having breakfast with people before they leave for work) becomes golden.
Photobucket

Egg Rings

  • ramekins
  • 1 egg for each ramekin
  • 2 strips of bacon for each ramekin
  • a dash of salt and pepper
  • a dash of paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Line the insides of the ramekins with the bacon strips
  3. Crack an egg in the middle of the ramekin
  4. Season with salt and pepper and paprika
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the center is set but still slightly wobbly. Ovens behave differently so if you want a runny center, check it at the 15-minute mark.

Bacon and Egg rings (well, sort of)

This is my definition of a crazy amazing breakfast.

My mom was the first person to ever introduce me to bacon, when I was I think around 5 years old, sickly, thin and asthmatic.

Suffice to say, 15 years later, I still have that love affair with bacon, and my pudgy belly is enough to prove it.

She was also the one who introduced me to the concept of bacon and eggs, and she almost always prepares it this way – using ramekins, with the bacon lining the eggs, and cooked in the microwave.

A weird thing about me is I like my eggs sunny side up, but I’m not a fan of the runny yolk, so either I: 1. give it to my dad for him to eat, or 2. cook the eggs enough so the yolk hardens, then I give it to my dad, if that makes sense.

But still the bacon and eggs combination for breakfast never lets me down, especially on mornings when my parents are long gone and I’m left to thrive on my own.

The use of ramekins makes it easier for me to cook these in the microwave. PLUS THERE’S A GAPING SPACE IN OUR KITCHEN WHERE OUR STOVE TOP AND OVEN USED TO BE SINCE IT’S DAMAGED AND AWAITING REPAIR, so yeah, thank you microwave.

Bacon and Egg rings (makes 1 ramekin serving)

2 strips of bacon

1 egg

salt and pepper, sage

1. Line the inner side of the clean ramekin with the bacon.

2. Crack the egg and gently drop it in the center. If the bacon collapses on the egg, carefully prop it back to the sides. And if it collapses on the egg while it’s in the microwave, well, there’s nothing you can really do about it. 🙂

3. Cook it on high for 2 1/2 minutes or until you can’t see the slimy film or until you think it’s good to go. I like mine just right – a little runny, bacon starting to crisp and there’s a white film over the yolk

So the bacon did collapse on the egg while it was cooking, but I don’t really pay much attention to detail. Hey it was still a good breakfast. Serve it with a heaping scoop of rice, EVEN BETTER.