A year ago today, I started Food Porn. So I thought, what better way to celebrate than by returning to its roots: bacon.
Here, we have brown sugar bacon, with brown sugar ice cream.
To make the bacon, coat with a mixture of 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and a pinch of black pepper. Arrange on a wire rack, set on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (the grease & some of the sugar will drip down into the pan. The foil makes for an easy cleanup). Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
The ice cream is Häagen-Dazs brown sugar. One of the flavors in their new "Five" line. It is so named because they only use 5 ingredients (which means it's...uh...good for you).
1/2 a box of pasta shells
2 bunches broccoli
1 package grape tomatoes, roasted
2 lbs mussels
1 dozen littleneck clams
1 c. white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
red pepper flakes
Roast the tomatoes: toss a pint of grape tomatoes with olive oil & coarse salt, and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Add some stalks of fresh thyme if you have it. Bake in a 450-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside when done.
Cook pasta in well-salted water. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli to the pot.
While pasta is cooking, heat a pan with a couple of TBSP olive oil, sliced garlic & red pepper flakes, until fragrant. Add the mussels & clams, and 1 cup white wine. Cover and cook until the shells open (about 5 minutes). Keep an eye on them, because you don't want to overcook them (they're done as soon as they open).
Drain the pasta & broccoli, add to the mussels & clams, and toss. Top with the roasted tomatoes (they'll get crushed if you add them pre-tossing). Season with salt & pepper. Keep in mind that the broth will probably be pretty salty already, so taste before you season.
(made enough to stuff 3 people and have leftovers)
This was my first time cooking mussels & clams myself, because I always felt intimidated by it (worried about food safety issues). The key is making sure they stay alive until you cook them. Turns out, it's very easy to tell:
Before cooking: discard any whose shells are open or do not shut when you tap on them.
After cooking: discard any that do NOT open.
Recipe based on watching Giada De Laurentiis.