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Sometimes ya gotta love the French

Sometimes the French get a bad rap. Even sometimes in our American minds, when the stereotype of skinny, stuck up wine-drinking cheese eaters conflicts with the vision of our core audience on Bullz-Eye.com, which is more chubby, loud, beer-swilling, bratwurst and Velveeta folks.

But let’s face it–the French make some damn good food, and we sometimes need to give them some love for it.

Such an instance reared its head in my world this past Saturday, as I was heading to the eye doctor. I’d never been to this doctor, and his offices are located in a strip mall here in Madison. Before I walked in, I noticed a French bakery next door, and it was hopping. So as I’m having flashing lights shone in my eyes, and puffs of air shot at my eyes, and having to read these tiny letters on a chart, and picking out glasses (by the way, when did the price of eyeglasses become akin to buying a television?)–all the while I’m thinking about that bakery and wondering what they might have. It didn’t help that my eye appointment was at noon and I was starving.

I went into the bakery and literally the women behind the counter all had thick French accents. This place was REAL. It’s called La Baguette, by the way. First I noticed some fruit tarts….something I don’t normally eat, but they looked amazing. Then I noticed these croissants…real ones, not the thin grocery store croissants. But next to those were something sort of round and croissant looking. I asked one of the ladies behind the counter what they were and she replied in her French accent, “chocolate croissant.” Are you kidding me? Count me in. I bought one of those, two plain croissants and a pear tart. Then I noticed the row of baguettes, and had to have one. It was warm and right out of the oven. Wow. I told the lady I would buy more if I stood there longer, and she said, “Please take your time!”

Needless to say, the baked goods from La Baguette were amazing. I managed to not eat all of it on the ride home, so my wife and I made a nice sandwich with the baguette, and we ate the chocolate croissant for dessert. The next morning we split the pear tart, and then while my wife ran out to an appointment, I made a fantastic breakfast sandwich using a croissant (see photo). I made some bacon, and cooked an overeasy egg and put those right on the croissant, and it was amazing. It helped that I had the perfect vehicle, but the bacon and egg came out perfectly, and that doesn’t always happen.

So hey, for right now anyway, I salute the French and their food. I also salute La Baguette, where I will return when I pick up my glasses next week.

  

Maple cheddar

Okay, so if you don’t live in Wisconsin, this might be a bit more difficult to relate to. But on a recent visit to the most awesome Brennan’s Market, I came across a new flavor of cheddar–maple cheddar. It’s cheddar cheese literally infused with maple syrup. I was a bit skeptical but when one of the employees asked me if I needed help and then saw the maple cheddar in my basket, she said that was her favorite. Okay, if I was ambivalent before, now I was sold. And I was already imagining what to do with this cheese.

I had also picked up some thick cut bacon at Brennan’s, and so my breakfast the next morning was an open faced bacon/cheese melt using the bacon and the maple cheddar. And as you might expect, it was awesome. Of course, you can make this with any type of cheese, but this maple cheese gave it that hint of sweetness, and it was subtle, as if you were eating pancakes and some of the syrup slid onto your sandwich. Yum.

And it’s simple–just cook 2-3 slices of bacon. Cut a thick slice or two of crusty Italian bread, top with the bacon and some shredded cheese, and broil or toast for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts and is bubbly.

  

Quick breakfast frito pie

Don’t tell your cardiologist about this one. Also, don’t tell my doctor, either. But I whipped this up this past weekend and it was too delicious not to share with you. And it’s real easy. It also was the perfect breakfast after I had a few beers Friday night.

First, take a generous handful of Frito’s and put then in a shallow bowl. Cook 2 slices of bacon in the microwave (or as you would normally cook bacon) for about 2 minutes or until crisp. Cut 3-4 slabs of Velveeta off a hunk and cut that into smaller cubes. Sprinkle over the Fritos and nuke for about 30 seconds. Crumble bacon on top of Frito mixture. Meanwhile, spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Crack an egg (or two) into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the whites are set and yolk is still runny. Slide egg(s) onto the top of the Frito mixture and sprinkle with hot sauce. Serve with a big glass of OJ or big mug of coffee, and enjoy (trust me, you will!).

  

Bacon woes

I had good intentions with another bacon recipe to post this past weekend, but lo and behold, not every recipe I develop is any good. My plan was to take refrigerated crescent rolls, and fill them with bacon and sausage and cheese. Mmmmm, breakfast-y goodness, right? Well, not really, and this makes me wonder how many recipes out there that are really good actually fail sometimes and fail as miserably as my breakfast sandwich.

I cooked a bunch of bacon, and our 4-year old son ate more of it than I needed. That’s my boy. I was left with two slices. I cooked a link of turkey breakfast sausage. Then I took the rolls out or should I say, Mrs. Mike and I (mostly her) had to fight to open the package, which should have been our first sign. I won’t say the brand, because I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus here, but I will say this–the crescent rolls I bought were butter flavored. Now, you’d think that anything’s better with butter, right? The catch here is I don’t think it’s real butter we’re talking about.

Anyway, I assembled the roll by pinching two triangles together to make a rectangle, and then I laid down some cheese, bacon and the sausage link and rolled that sucker up. I baked it for a few minutes longer than what the recipe suggested, and took a bite. B-L-E-C-H. I took another bite. B-L-E-C-H. It was the butter flavored roll, not anything else that made it disgusting. I imagine that with normal crescent rolls or biscuits, this sandwich would taste really good. But I haven’t recovered from that vile butter taste to give it a go.

I will say this, though…..it’s been fun writing about bacon and coming up with recipes, so why not extend bacon week for another little while? I’ll be preoccupied for a few days but will deliver more bacon posts next week and into the following week before turning our attention to Halloween candy. Sound good? I thought so.

  

Maple-y bacon breakfast sandwich

Psst, don’t tell your cardiologist about this one.

Last week, I saw Eggo French Toast Waffles, which are more of a waffle and less like French toast (the key is there is maple syrup baked in), in the freezer case at the grocery store. I thought our 4-year old would like these, so I picked them up. Then of course, I realized it’s bacon week and anything goes.

So this morning, I toasted two of these “waffles,” and scrambled some eggs. I cooked up two slices of thick cut bacon in the microwave. When the pillows of maple goodness were toasted, I put a slice of cheese down on one of them, then topped with the scrambled eggs and the bacon slices and put the other waffle on top. And there you have a breakfast sandwich that is every bit as tasty as it sounds, and looks (above).

  

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