Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bacon and Cheddar Toasts


As you have no doubt seen all over the news by now, the past few days in Atlanta have been nothing short of insane.  I wanted to write about it all and share some thoughts, but to be honest, I'm still having trouble processing it and wrapping my head around it all.   I'll just say that our family was extremely fortunate on Tuesday that Joey only spent over two hours in the car before abandoning it and walking three miles home in the snow.  And that we are incredibly lucky that we only live a mile from the school.  After waiting over two hours for her to arrive home on the bus, I set out on foot to the school, when I happened upon the bus just outside our neighborhood.   She got off the bus thinking that she'd just had the greatest adventure of all-time, and I fought back tears of relief.  My mother in law was stuck in traffic near our house, just a few miles from home, but roads were closing and traffic was grid-locked, so she wisely gave up and came to stay with us for the night.

Those are small and petty inconveniences compared to the children who had to spend the night in the school gymnasium because bus service was discontinued and their parents were stranded somewhere in the snow... or worse, the children who had to spend the night on their buses that were stranded on deserted roads.  Or the woman who gave birth to a baby on the interstate.  Or the thousands of people who never made it home that night.  The silver lining was that good samaritans were out in full force, and reading the stories of all the acts of kindness and selflessness brought me to tears.  It's a good reminder of the wonderful human nature that comes out in times of crisis.

So what does all of this have to do with bacon and cheese toast?  Not much, other than as I waited for my family to come home, I engaged in some wicked emotional eating, and downed an embarrassing number of these little babies.  And then I made another batch that night; and Joey, his mother, and I all just stood around the baking pan, drinking wine and eating these toasts as we watched all the reports and news roll in.

These are embarrassingly easy, but amazingly delicious and addictive.  It's a simple mixture of sharp cheddar, bacon, onion, and horseradish, then it's spread on pieces of bread, and baked until the cheese is melted and gooey, the bacon is cooked through, and the bread is nice and crispy.  It's a familiar concept with a kicked-up flavor profile, thanks to the bite from the horseradish and onion.

These are an ideal make-ahead dish and can be flash frozen before baking, or chilled for several hours in the refrigerator.  This makes them perfect for serving at parties.  Like, perhaps a Super Bowl party this weekend?  They also make a nice easy breakfast, snack, or accompaniment to a salad or soup.  With a recipe as easy as this in your arsenal, you'll always have something to make for parties, potlucks, or unexpected visitors during a snowstorm.

Bacon and Cheddar Toasts
adapted from Gourmet Today
makes 28 triangles

While I usually use thick-cut bacon, thin, lean bacon is best here.  Discard the extra fatty parts of the bacon.

Using a food processor is optional, but I think the mixture spreads easier and the flavors meld better with the food processor.

These are utterly irresistible straight out of the oven, but no one will turn them down at room temperature either.

  • 8 oz extra-sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 8 oz cold lean bacon, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 2 Tbs prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 thin slices of white sandwich bread (recommended:  Pepperidge farm)
  • sliced scallions or chives for garnish
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cheese, bacon, onion, horseradish, salt, and pepper.  Pulse a few times to combine well.

Spread a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto each of the bread slices, spreading it all the way to the edges.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover the bread with wax paper or parchment paper, and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Alternatively, store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  

Trim the crusts off the bread, then slice each piece in half diagonally.  Arrange on a greased baking sheet  15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges are beginning to brown.  Sprinkle with scallions or chives and serve.


Josie said...

It was definitely crazy to hear the stories coming out of Atlanta! I'm glad you were all okay!! These look perfect for snowy night stress eating.

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