Making Bacon-Wrapped Chicken — Photos

Today’s cooking project from my recipe collection was bacon-wrapped chicken pieces, something I originally started making a couple of years ago for their value as an easy enough to make last minute hors d’oeuvres contribution for a party; now I principally make them for the value of having them pre-made in the freezer, including to possibly use at a later time as hors d’oeuvres at a party.

To begin, parchment paper was placed in a baking pan:

Placing parchment paper in a baking pan

Wooden toothpicks were also taken out:

Wooden toothpicks prepared

I cut a package and a half’s worth (375g each package, for a total of about 560g) of bacon into half-lengths, which worked out to 40 half-slices, the amount of pieces I target in my recipe.

40 half-slices of bacon, from a pack and a half of bacon (each pack 375g)

The rest of the bacon was placed in a bag and frozen, for later use.

Two chicken breasts were placed on a cutting board:

Two chicken breasts placed on a cutting board, beside a kitchen knife

The chicken breasts were sliced along their length …

A chicken breast cut along its length

… and then each chicken breast was cut into approximately 20 cubes:

Chicken breast cut into cubes

In this case, the pile on the left are the cubes to be used directly, while the pile on the right are smaller pieces which were bundled together two or three pieces at a time in half-slices of bacon as though they were full pieces of chicken.

The cubes were individually wrapped in a half-slice of bacon, and skewered with a wooden toothpick:

Cube of chicken wrapped in bacon, and skewered with a wooden toothpick, to keep them together

Smaller pieces of chicken were bundled together, two or three pieces at a time, and wrapped in bacon, then skewered with a wooden toothpick:

Smaller pieces of chicken bundled together

As each piece of bacon was wrapped in bacon and skewered, they were placed on the parchment paper in a baking pan:

Bacon-wrapped chicken pieces placed in a baking pan

Once all the pieces of chicken were wrapped, they were equally divided between two baking pans that fit (one tray at a time) in my countertop convection oven:

40 pieces of bacon-wrapped chicken divided between two baking pans

The first tray was placed in my countertop convection oven (and yes, the glass door was dirty, and was cleaned afterwards):

Tray of bacon-wrapped chicken pieces in the oven

Partway through the cooking (after about 25 minutes), the pieces were turned over (in this case, the three columns on the left):

Turning over the pieces of bacon-wrapped chicken

When the pieces were fully cooked after about 50 minutes, they were taken out of the oven:

Cooked pieces of bacon-wrapped chicken directly out of the oven

Cooked pieces were transferred to a clean tray to be placed in the freezer:

Cooked pieces were transferred to a clean tray

The first tray of cooked bacon-wrapped chicken was placed in the freezer to cool and freeze.

Meanwhile, the grease and drippings in the baking pan …

Grease and drippings in the baking pan

… were drained into a bowl, cooled and solidified, and then wrapped in paper, to be placed in the municipal brown box for composting.

Grease and drippings transferred to a bowl

The second tray’s worth of raw bacon-wrapped chicken pieces was transferred to the first baking pan, because of its deep sides and all the grease and drippings produced:

Second tray’s worth of bacon-wrapped chicken transferred to the first baking pan with its deep sides

The pieces of bacon-wrapped chicken were cooked the same way as the first tray, and once taken out of the drippings, looked like the first tray of cooked pieces:

Cooked bacon-wrapped chicken pieces on a tray, ready to place in the freezer before transferring to a plastic container

After the second tray of bacon-wrapped chicken had cooked, the frozen pieces from the first tray were transferred to a plastic container:

Frozen pieces of bacon-wrapped chicken placed in a plastic container to be placed in the freezer

Those from the second tray, once cooked, were also transferred to a separate tray, frozen, and then transferred to a plastic container.

All the bacon-wrapped chicken pieces are now in the freezer again, waiting to be eaten — some of them tomorrow!

Of course, the pieces were tasty (I tasted one to make sure they were good!)

Making Bran Muffins — Photos

Here is the next entry in my series of photo posts of me making the various recipes in my recipe collection.

This week, I took photos while I made more bran muffins for my mom, using a recipe I’d found on allrecipes.com and which so far I have not yet which I have now (20210214) converted into my own format. As a side note, I should I have now converted it to my usual recipe format, because when I make them, I use regular milk instead of buttermilk, and I normally make a major change: Instead of placing the batter into twelve muffin papers in a twelve-welled baking tin, I bake the batter in a six-welled baking tin (with slightly larger wells), lined with coffee filter papers, and the baking time was adjusted to 22 minutes.

This batch of muffins had a further deviation from the recipes above, which was the intentional omission of raisins for reasons beyond the scope of this post.

First, I measured out a cup and a half of wheat bran into a mixing bowl:

A cup and a half of wheat bran

A cup of milk was added to the bran:

A cup of milk added to the bran

The bran and milk were mixed with a fork, and put aside:

Mixing the bran and milk

A third of a cup of vegetable oil was measured out and placed in a separate bowl (the white dots are milk leftover in the measuring cup):

1/3 cup vegetable oil measured out

A large egg was added to the vegetable oil:

A large egg added to the vegetable oil

Two thirds of a cup of packed brown sugar were added to the oil and egg:

2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar added to the vegetable oil and egg

A teaspoon of vanilla extract was added to the vegetable oil, egg, and brown sugar:

A teaspoon of vanilla extract added to oil, egg, and brown sugar

The vegetable oil, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract were blended with a fork:

Blending of vegetable oil, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract

The vegetable oil, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract were added to the bran and milk mix:

Vegetable oil, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract added to the bran and milk mix

All the ingredients were blended together with a fork:

The ingredients were blended together

A teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda were added to a cup of flour — unfortunately, I forgot to add the quarter teaspoon of salt, to no apparent ill effect.

A teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda added to a cup of flour; salt was forgotten

The flour, baking powder, and baking soda were mixed together in the cup, and added to the rest of the ingredients:

Flour, baking powder, and baking soda mix were added to the rest of the ingredients, and then blended together

Again, all the ingredients were blended together with a fork. At this point, I would normally have added three quarters of a cup of raisins, which I didn’t do this time.

I make double sized muffins for my mom, so I use coffee filter papers, for which I use a glass to help form within the baking tin:

Forming the coffee filter paper in the baking tin wells

The batter was spooned into each of the wells:

Muffin batter spooned into each of six baking tin wells

The muffin tin was placed in a counter-top convection oven preheated to 350F, and baked for 22 minutes (rotated 180 degrees part way through):

Muffins baking in a counter-top convection oven.

The muffins were taken out of the oven after 22 minutes and placed on a cooling rack:

Baked muffins placed on a cooling rack

After a few minutes, the still cooling muffins were taken out of the baking tin, and returned to the cooling rack to continue cooling:

Baked muffins placed on a cooling rack

Once cooled, I placed the muffins in a sealed container.

Mom was so impressed, she said that the following morning, she would have one from this batch, before eating the last muffin from the last batch!

Making Pickled Eggs — Photos

Although I have already done some posts on my pickled eggs, as per my recent wont of photo posts of me making my various recipes, I took a lot of photos yesterday when I made pickled eggs. Sigh, the stores know how to get me every time when they advertise eggs on sale!

Before I went to buy the eggs, I prepared some extra ice, which would be needed later on once the eggs were boiled:

Ice made before leaving to buy the eggs; photo taken later when the ice was frozen

Then I went out to do some shopping and I purchased three flats of 30 eggs each, for a total of 90 eggs, at the advertised price of $4.44 CDN per flat (14.8 cents per egg).

A flat of 30 eggs; I purchased three such flats of eggs.

I took out ten jars with mason openings; although the jars shown aren’t strictly speaking mason jars, they have mason jar threading, and I’ve never had trouble with them.

Ten clean jars with mason jar threading

Of course, I also prepared ten rings and lids (in this case, clean reused lids, since I expect that I will be eating the eggs from most of the jars):

Ten rings and lids for mason jars

Cold water was put in a pot and heated, for later use when boiling the jars.

Cold water put in a pot and boiled, for later use to boil the jars

I boiled and shelled the eggs over two sessions of 45 eggs each, one after the other.

First, eggs were placed in a pot:

45 eggs in a stock pot

Cold water was added to the pot with the eggs, covering the eggs.

Adding cold water to the pot with the eggs
Pot of eggs with water, covering the eggs and about an inch more of water

The stove was turned on, and I brought the eggs to a boil, and then boiled them for eight minutes.

During the time it took to heat up and boil the eggs, the first thing I did was pour myself a nice beer:

Don de Dieu, a 9% bottle refermented abbey-style triple wheat beer

Yes, that is a double sized, 750mL bottle of beer containing 9% alc/vol; it’s called “Don de Dieu”, and it’s a bottle refermented abbey-style triple wheat beer, from Unibroue, in Chambly, Qu├ębec.

Yummy!

Back to work, still while the eggs were heating up and boiling, I prepared some pickling solution:

My pickling solution uses 7% pickling vinegar, sugar, salt, and a commercial blend of pickling spices

Vinegar was measured out into a pot (in this case, 7-1/2 cups; according to my recipe, I knew I would need another 3-3/4 cups, as well as the commensurate amounts of sugar, salt, and spices) :

Pickling vinegar measured out into a pot

Sugar (in this case, 1 cup) was added:

Sugar was added to the vinegar

Salt (in this case, 3-1/2 teaspoons) was added to the pickling solution:

Salt was added to the pickling solution

A commercial pickling spice blend (in this case, 3-1/2 tablespoons) was added to the pickling solution:

Pickling spices were added to the pickling solution.

The pickling solution was covered and put aside, to be boiled later.

Soon, the eggs had reached the boiling point, and the eggs were boiled for eight minutes:

Eggs boiling for eight minutes

After eight minutes of boiling, the boiling water was immediately drained from the pot of eggs, and cold water was added to the pot of eggs, as well as ice:

The pot of eggs was drained of its boiling water, and cold water and ice were added.

The ice water and eggs were gently mixed by hand, in order to quickly and thoroughly cool the eggs, which takes a few minutes. This is necessary so as to avoid the development of a greenish-blackish ring around the egg yolks (which is harmless, but aesthetically undesirable), as well as to aid in the peeling; the sharp temperature change helps dislodge the membrane just inside the shell, which will then make it easier to remove the shells and minimize tearing.

The eggshells were then peeled:

Cracking the shell on an egg against the edge of my sink
Egg shells collected into a bowl, and eventually sent to the brown box for curbside collection and municipal composting

Shelled eggs were rinsed in cool water and placed in a couple of bowls:

Of the 90 eggs, the shells of 65 peeled nicely

Sometimes, there are tears when shelling eggs. In yesterday’s case, there were 25 eggs with tears; however, tears don’t affect the eggs’ ability to be pickled, they just make the eggs not always look as nice. As such, these eggs were merely placed in a separate bowl so that they could be bottled together for personal consumption, and to distinguish them from the nicely peeled eggs, should I decide to give away a jar of the “nice” eggs (see below).

.Bowl of 25 eggs with some tears

At this point, a few hand tools were needed: Some tongs, a ladle, a jar holder, and a slotted spoon. Not shown: mason jar filler.

Some tongs, a ladle, a jar holder, and a slotted spoon

At this point, the water which was heated earlier for the bottles was brought up to boiling again, and jars were put in the water once it was boiling:

Mason jars placed in boiling water

At the same time, the pickling solution was brought to a boil:

Pickling solution brought to a boil

In a third pot — the same one in which the eggs were originally boiled — fresh water was brought to a boil, and eggs (in this case, nine eggs at a time, the number of eggs which fit in the size of jars used) were added, once all three pots were boiling:

Shelled eggs reboiled for a few moments in a boiling water bath

Eggs are only kept in the boiling water long enough to take out a jar from the boiling water bath (just as the jars need only be in the boiling water bath for the time it takes to put the eggs in the boiling water bath.)

A jar is taken out of the boiling water bath, and the eggs in the boiling water bath are transferred to the hot jar:

Reboiled eggs transferred to the hot jar

The pot of hot pickling solution — which is kept simmering to boiling on the stove in between filling jars — is brought over, and hot pickling solution is added to the hot jar with the hot eggs:

Pickling solution added to the hot jar filled with hot eggs

The lids and rings were individually placed in the mason jar hot water bath and immediately placed on the filled jars.

Seven jars were each filled with nine eggs without tears, and three jars were each filled with nine eggs with tears.

Once all the jars were filled, they were placed in a refrigerator overnight to cool the contents relatively quickly, in order to avoid the development of greenish-blackish rings around the egg yolks (which is harmless, but aesthetically undesirable.)

Jars of pickled eggs placed in the fridge, with a divider to help quickly distinguish between jars of eggs with and without tears.

This morning, I took the jars out of the fridge, and wiped down the jars, since when filling the jars and putting on the lids, sometimes the pickling solution spilled a bit.

Wiping down the outside of the jars

This included taking off the rings to wipe down the necks of the jars, which wasn’t a problem since all the lids on the jars formed a good vacuum seal.

Wiping down the necks of the jars

I have a computer file of labels I use for my pickled eggs, which I printed out. I do both English and French parts because I live in a primarily French speaking area, and therefore it’s good to have both languages for when I give away and sell jars. I cut out the individual labels, folded them over lengthwise, wrote the date on the backsides, punched a hole in each, and looped an elastic band in the hole of each label.

Labels for the jars of eggs

I placed the labels around the necks of the jars. In this photo, the three jars of eggs with tears are in the front row and on the right.

The ten jars of pickled eggs I made yesterday.

Since I already had some pickled eggs in stock (a total of 91 over seven jars), which I made about a month ago, I moved them around to make space in the storage room:

Four of seven jars of pickled eggs I already had in my store room

Things were moved around, and yesterday’s jars of pickled eggs are now all put away, on the bottom shelf below the existing jars:

My collection of 181 pickled eggs over 16 jars

As you’ll notice, there are also three extra jars of six pickled eggs in the stock I’d already had, that were not in the above photo; these will likely be given as gifts before I give away any of yesterday’s production since new lids were used when they were made.

And if I don’t give out any jars as gifts? Then I’ll have enough pickled eggs for myself until at least early summer of this year!

ps: And the beer? Of course it was good! It’s a beer I’ve had several times before, it’s from my favourite brewery (Unibroue — no, not the multinational brewery with a slightly different spelling), barring the fact that my favourite beer is from another brewery, and I have a particular taste for Belgian abbey beers and wheat beers.

I Made “Blondies” Today — Photos

I made two batches of “blondies” today, and as has been somewhat of my wont over the past few months, I took a lot of pictures while I was cooking.

I started by taking some chocolates I received for Christmas from Santa Claus:

Chocolates received for Christmas

… which were partly pulverized in a food processor, and to which the same amount of chocolate chips were added:

One of two bowls of pulverized chocolates and chocolate chips

The chocolates were put aside. Then, flour was added to a food processor:

1 cup of flour added to a food processor

Baking powder, baking soda, and salt, were added:

Baking powder, baking soda, and salt, were added (not the boxes, of course!)

Brown sugar was measured out …

3/4 cup of brown sugar (packed)

… and added to the food processor.

Brown sugar added to the food processor

A large egg was added:

Egg added to the food processor

Vanilla extract was measured …

Vanilla extract

… and added to the food processor:

Vanilla extract added to the food processor

Margarine was measured out and added to the food processor:

1/2 cup margarine measured and added to the food processor

The ingredients were mixed with the food processor:

Mixing of the ingredients in the food processor

The mix of pulverized Christmas chocolates and chocolate chips was added to the dough …

Adding the chocolate to the mix
Chocolates added to the mix

… and the dough was blended again.

The ingredients and chocolates were blended

An 8″ x 8″ baking pan was lined with parchment paper …

Baking pan lined with parchment paper

… and the dough was transferred to the baking pan:

Transferring the dough to the baking pan

The baking pan and dough were placed on the centre rack in a countertop convection oven set to 350F:

The blondies being baked in a countertop convection oven

The blondies were taken out of the oven after baking, and cooled for a few minutes on a cooling rack:

Baked blondies cooling on a rack

The blondies were lifted out of the baking pan, and once completely cooled, the blondies were cut into 2″ x 2″ pieces:


Blondies cut into 2″ x 2″ pieces

Unfortunately, the two batches I made today did not fully solidify into a fluffy cake consistency during the baking process, and fell a bit, creating a consistency like brownies.

But were they tasty? Of course!