Good Days & Bacon Days

puffy pancakesI spent a significant part of my day yesterday creating this recipe for a contest only to realize I had missed the deadline. It has been that kind of week or should I say month. It is embarrassing to say, but there was also an episode of putting my shorts on backwards and not realizing it until many hours later and an episode of trying to get into a car in the parking lot that did not belong to little old me. Clearly, I am distracted.

William in the sunglasses

William in the dark sunglasses at Taft

Brain misfires like these make me feel like I am taking a few steps backwards. It is an upsurge in grief. I know why it is happening. It is June and there are lots of graduation parties going on. Some of my proudest moments in life were seeing my children graduate from high school and Caitlin from college. I so looked forward to William going to college, too.

Will & Cait at Wake Forest University

Will & Cait at Wake Forest University

I don’t know about you, but as a parent I marked my life by the events and accomplishments of my children.  From the time they took their first step, to getting a good report card, to making the team or not, graduating, getting married….all these things reinforced my role as a parent. I love nothing more than being a mom.

There are times I yearn for William. Truly, I am happy to see his friends graduate or getting engaged or having children, but at the same time it can be excruciating. I am growing up with a loss. I have a lot to learn, but I know I will survive these brief upsurges of grief. And you will, too.

ebelskiver

Now for the recipe. It is far from a misfire and rather far out of my comfort zone. Puffy little pancakes with caramel and bacon; the perfect balance of salty, sweet and savory. I think it is a winner.The ebelskiver pan can be yours from where else but Williams-Sonoma.

Salted Caramel-Bacon Ebelskivers (puffy pancakes)

6 slices thick cut apple wood smoked bacon

20 caramel candies, unwrapped*

¼ cup heavy cream

pinch of kosher salt

½ cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg, separated

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 200F. Cook bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain; reserve bacon grease. Crumble bacon into bowl of a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. In small saucepan, over low heat, stir caramel candies, cream and salt until melted and smooth; keep warm. In small bowl, whisk flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk egg yolk, milk, butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients and ½ cup bacon into dry ingredients; blend well with a spoon. The batter will look lumpy. Beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3rd of egg white into batter to lighten it up. Fold remaining egg whites in until fully incorporated. Brush the wells of an ebelskiver pan lightly with the reserved bacon grease; place over medium-low heat. When the bacon grease is hot, spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each well. Working quickly, spoon ½ teaspoon of warm caramel into center of each pancake. Top each with another tablespoonful of batter. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the bottom of the pancakes are golden brown and crisp. Using two wooden skewers or chopsticks, turn the pancakes and cook for 3 more minutes or until golden brown. Transfer pancakes to an oven-safe platter and keep warm in oven while making the second batch. Arrange pancakes on platter. Drizzle with some warm caramel and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon bacon. Serve passing remaining caramel sauce. Makes 14 ebelskivers.

*note: ½ cup of high quality prepared caramel sauce may be substituted for this homemade sauce

A Father’s Grief & Sunday Brunch

Father's Day Brunch

Father’s Day Brunch

Recently, I was asked if I thought there were gender differences in the way one grieves? Honestly, I have not delved into the subject and I am no expert on the matter. I can say, however, from experience that my husband and I certainly grieve differently. Turns out, I am a sharer–as if you didn’t know that already. My husband, on the other hand, is not. He bottles in his sadness and then when it gets to be too much cries alone. He prefers it that way and I know to give him his space.

Proud dad and son

Proud dad and son

He mourns alone, too. There are things and places that are special to a father and son. Hunting and fishing were activities that they enjoyed together. Scattering a bit of William’s ashes in the forest or at the edge of a trout stream was not an unusual thing for Bill to do on his own. Nor was I surprised to discover that he had left out a small camping flashlight, “in case William needs light to find his way back to us”. That’s Bill’s version of stepping outside himself and I love him for it. He knows he is not alone, but there are just things he needs to do alone and that is OK.

hunting

Gender differences or people differences? Not sure that it matters as long as we all are putting one foot in front of the other in any way we can. Next Sunday is Father’s Day. If you have lost a child you may feel a little upsurge in your grief. It’s normal.

 Today’s recipe is meant to offer some comfort. Dress it up with a side salad and some fresh fruit for a complete brunch menu sure to please your favorite father.

unbaked filled crepe cups

Bacon & Egg Scallion Crepe Cups

Crepes

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

pinch salt

2 eggs

1 tablespoons melted butter

1 scallion, chopped

Just Baked

Just Baked

Filling

12 (1-inch) squares smoked gouda or brie cheese

8 strips cooked crumbled bacon

6 eggs

1 ¼ cups milk

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Combine all crepe ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth. Let crepe batter stand for 15 minutes. On a lightly greased crepe pan or skillet, over medium heat, swirl 2 tablespoons of batter (for each crepe) forming a 6-inch circle. Cook about 1 minute or until crepe edges look dry. Flip and cook another 30 seconds. Transfer crepe to cooling rack. Repeat with remaining batter until you have 12 crepes total. Cut each crepe into an even 5-inch round using a pastry cutter or…(I used the top of a jar as a template and just cut around it with a knife). Heat oven 375F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray. Press 1 crepe into each cup ruffling edges to fit. Place 1 square of cheese in the bottom of each crepe. Sprinkle with half the bacon. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour egg mixture evenly over filling to just below the rim of the muffin cup. Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until eggs are just set. Cool slightly. With the edge of a knife carefully loosen crepe cups from muffin tins and lift out with a spoon. Arrange on serving platter. Sprinkle with green onions.