My name is Thomas Lott. I am a proud husband and father of two. Two of my favorite things are football and cooking. I'm no expert in either, but I certainly like to fool around with both. I’ve been a home cook for about 10 years, and been around football since I was 4 years old. This fall, perhaps I’ll find out which one I know better! So I'll be checking in periodically to make a pick - or picks (even I'm allowed a bye week here and there!). Again, I'm no expert, so please don’t go betting the mortgage on my humble picks! From that, I’ll make a dish that has something to do with the game - who I think will win, a star/key player, or other story line. Don’t worry - I’m a home cook so it won’t be anything you can’t do - I promise. I’m still learning so most of these will come from my stash of cookbooks or another recipe floating around the internet. I won’t pawn anything off as my own or pretend there’s some super-secret family recipe that I can't share. Most of these I will probably have made before, others might be an experiment. I hope all will go well, but some may go from stovetop right to the dumpster! I'll be sharing my successes, mishaps, and maybe even a few gratuitous shots of my crew of sous chefs and tasters :-)

I'm always a work in progress, so my food won't *always* be pretty (or healthy!), but it's going to taste good--and if it doesn't I'll tell you that, too. And just so you know, it's also a mathematical certainty that I'll whiff on some of my football picks, too. The whole point is to get better at both! So I hope you keep up with me this fall as I have some fun with the kitchen and the pigskin! I welcome all comments, suggestions, requests and discussions on all things pigskin and kitchen!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Week 10 - Bacon and Sausage Souffle

What a big week we have coming up! We’ve got a big showdown in the Florida. It’s been a long time since the Miami/Florida State game mattered this much. The U has clawed its way back to relevancy and I think it’s good for the game. Both programs have been down for some time. I’ve actually had a chance to see both of these teams play this season. That being said, I think Florida State will continue its dominating season. I just don’t feel that Miami has the firepower to threaten Florida State - especially at home. Plus, you know I'm a big Jameis Winston fan. Nationally televised prime time game for the second time in three weeks? AND at his own house? I think he's going to have a big time game in front of all those Heisman voters. I actually don’t expect this one to be that close. FSU by at least 10.

So since we’re in the Sunshine State, let’s do something for breakfast! This is another recipe from my man, James Villas. It’s called “Aunt Bunny’s Bacon and Sausage Souffle.” It's an overnight breakfast casserole and I’ve made the recipe as written, but I've also developed my own tweak to it that is a bit of a game changer. Instead of using bread as the bottom/crust, I use croissants! I'll show you my version and share the original below. Enjoy!

Bacon (and/or Sausage) Souffle adapted from James Villas

Begin by cooking the breakfast meat. The original recipe calls for 1/2 lb of ground sausage and 1/2 lb of bacon. I can tell you that even for a meat lover like myself, that is A LOT of meat! I simply use a 12 oz pack of center cut bacon and that seems to be just enough. If you want the combo of bacon and sausage, cut up the 1/2 lb of bacon into small pieces and cook it along with the ground sausage. The intermingling is fantastic! When both are cooked, drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Take 3 large store-bought croissants and slice in half (or use 6 slices of white bread with crusts removed). Brush with butter, and cut into cubes. Place in 13 X 9 glass baking dish.

Spoon the meat (bacon and/or sausage) evenly over the cubes and sprinkle with cheese.

In a bowl, whisk together half and half, eggs, dry mustard, and a little salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the cheese.

Wrap in plastic and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The bread will soak up most of the liquid.

When ready, bake at 350 until golden, 40-45 minutes.

This is one of my favorite things to make for breakfast. It's really easy to throw together the night before and pop in the oven in the morning. When I use croissants, it doesn't quite seem to puff up like with the bread. But the trade-off is a more dense, buttery, and rich souffle. I have to give a shout out to my wife for even putting the idea in my head. This is a direct result of trying to re-create the famous Panera souffles, and it's certainly close enough for us!

Another tip is when adding the meat, just kind of eyeball it. Like I said, when I first made this, the whole pound seemed like a lot, so I just sprinkled it on until it looked right to me. I do love the flavor of the bacon and sausage together. I suppose you could add other meats or veggies if you wanted, but I can't say I've done it before.

I hope you enjoy the souffle!

Aunt Bunny's Bacon and Sausage Souffle
from Pig by James Villas

1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 lb ground breakfast sausage
6 slices white loaf bread, crusts removed
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 C half-and-half
5 large eggs
2 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1)Place bacon in a large skillet, break up sausage in the skillet, and fry the two meats over moderate heat till fully cooked, stirring. Drain on paper towels.

2)Brush the bread with the butter, cut into small cubes, and arrange the cubes in a buttered 13 x 9 inch or round baking dish. Spoon the bacon and sausage evenly over the cubes and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.

3)In a bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients till well blended, pour over the cheese, cover with plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

4)When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350, bake the souffle till golden. 40 to 45 minutes, and serve hot.

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