Summer Welsh Rabbit (a.k.a. Welsh Rarebit)

Did you know there’s no actual rabbit in Welsh rabbit? In fact, most of the time, there’s no meat at all in a Welsh Rabbit. The actual name is Welsh Rabbit even though there’s a complete lack of Bugs Bunny in it, and the phrase “Rarebit” came along later, probably in an attempt to make sense of the name Rabbit in a dish which had none. “HUH?!?” you say, and I don’t blame you. With all the love my anglophilic heart can muster, I have to lay the blame for any confusion squarely on the British people. Much like Stonehenge, everyone has a theory about why it’s called what it’s called, but no one can say for sure.

All I really know is that Welsh rabbit is generally agreed to be comprised of cheese or cheese sauce on toast, which I believe we can all agree is a very good thing, indeed. While plain ol’ Welsh Rabbit is wonderful, I have something AMAZING to share with you today: Summer Welsh Rabbit. This is my favourite take ever on the cheese sauce on toast theme and it is inspired by my dear friend, Sandii, an Australian national and her American husband, Matt. To summarize: former colonies unite to revamp a British classic! Summer Welsh Rabbit starts with toasted baguette (Viva la France! Sorry, Britain. I’m a francophile, too.) which is topped with pan-fried onions, thick slabs of fresh summer tomatoes, crispy bacon, and is then finally doused in a hearty helping of a beer-based, hint-of-mustard Welsh Rabbit. Good golly. I die of happiness every time I eat this.

Summer Welsh Rabbit with fried onions, fresh tomato, & crispy bacon from foodiewithfamily.com

 

So WHATEVER the origins of Welsh Rabbit/Rarebit and whichever you prefer to call it, it’s delicious. I’m sure there’s a better adjective for it than ‘delicious’ but delicious it is, so it stands. I’ll tell you, The Evil Genius and I about elbowed each other out of the way to get to the last of the Welsh Rabbit in our wee pitcher. It doesn’t get a whole lot easier than this either…

Summer Welsh Rabbit with fried onions, fresh tomato, & crispy bacon from foodiewithfamily.com

Summer Welsh Rabbit with fried onions, fresh tomato, & crispy bacon from foodiewithfamily.com

 Cook’s Notes

  • I think a long, thin baguette is the perfect bread for the job here because it’s sturdy enough to retain some character after being drizzled with olive oil, toasted, covered in fried onions, juicy tomatoes, bacon, and a dousing of cheese sauce. If you can’t lay your hands on baguette, thick slices of homemade sourdough or hearty white bread would stand in admirably.
  • I like sweet onions for the onion component here, but any good onion will do. Keep in mind that it will be a stronger finishing onion flavour if you start with a stronger onion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing!
  • The reason this is a SUMMER Welsh Rabbit is because we all know tomatoes aren’t worth a dang in the middle of winter. There’s just no greenhouse tomato produced in January that can compare to a ripe, juicy, summer tomato. If you decide to try this midwinter, well, good luck to you. (I’d make this and nix the tomato portion of the programme, midwinter.)
  • Do yourself a favour and err on the side of too little flour for the Rabbit. Because there’s not much sadder than a clumpy, grainy Rabbit sauce, and too much flour will do just that. If you want to be VERY precise, use a serving spoon to lightly sprinkle flour over your measuring spoon and then use the handle of the spoon to scrape across and level the spoon taking great care not to shake it and settle it into place. I know that sounds fussy, but it’s not THAT much extra work, and your sauce will thank you.
  • While I’m normally a fan of extra sharp Cheddar for, um, everything, I prefer regular Sharp Cheddar for Welsh Rabbit. I think it avoids some of the grainy issues that extra sharp introduces and still gives a good old Cheddar punch. You’ll make up for some of the lacking sharpness with the dry mustard and grainy mustard you add into the sauce.
  • Yes, you’re mixing a raw egg yolk into the finished sauce. If this poses a health risk, use a pasteurized egg yolk. Most of the time, food-born illness is a result of the shell or the egg white, so you really needn’t fret a raw egg yolk here and there, though.

Summer Welsh Rabbit with fried onions, fresh tomato, & crispy bacon from foodiewithfamily.com

Summer Welsh Rabbit (a.k.a. Welsh Rarebit)

Rating: 51

Adapted from and with thanks to my dear friend Sandii Laing Peiffer

Ingredients

  • baguette, sliced in half as if for a sandwich, then crosswise into 4-inch pieces
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled, sliced into 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick slabs
  • olive oil
  • 12 ounces to 1 pound thick sliced bacon, cooked 'til crispy
  • fresh tomatoes, sliced thickly
  • For the Welsh Rabbit Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 scant tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beer (preferably ale)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard (grainy or smooth)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions

Set your oven's broiler to HIGH. Arrange the bread, cut side up, on a cookie sheet. Drizzle twith olive oil and pop the pan under the broiler. Toast until the bread is uniformly golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When it is shimmery, lay the onion slabs in the pan and let them fry 3-4 minutes on one side, undisturbed, or until you can ease a spatula underneath, lift it gently, and find it to be golden brown. Lay a flexible spatula over each slice, slide another one underneath, and gently turn each over to fry for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown on the second side. Transfer to a plate and tent gently with foil.

Return the pan to the burner, adjust the heat to low, and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk it in. Toast for 1 minute, or until fragrant, whisking the whole time. Whisk in the beer until smooth, then the milk. Whisk in the dry mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and Dijon mustard until perfectly smooth. Stir in the grated cheese until melted, then remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolk. Serve immediately with the toast, fried onions, fresh tomatoes, and bacon. The Welsh Rabbit is best served hot or warm.

http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2014/08/20/summer-welsh-rabbit-a-k-a-welsh-rarebit/

Lifehack: How to use up small balances on gift cards and get value from empty ones

How to use up small balances on gift cards and get value from the empty cards from foodiewithfamily.com

I had eight gift cards rattling around in my purse, each of which had a balance of $4 or less on it. I was incapable of tossing them out, because a buck is a buck, right? I just never found myself in a place where I needed exactly $2.38 or precisely $3.97 or some such. What to do with them, then? Let them languish in my purse in perpetuity among the Matchbox cars and lipstick and Haribo Roulettes? Then it hit me. I felt like a genius. Now, before I tell you my idea, I'll be the first to admit I know I'm probably not the first person to think of it, but I figured if I didn't realize it before, maybe some of YOU didn't know you could do this. So, at the risk of looking terribly silly, here's my lifehack: Use your small balances to buy custom Amazon.com gift cards in the exact amount left on the card. It's just that easy! On Amazon.com, you can specify any amount for a gift card from $0.50 on up to infinity. ..not that I've tried infinity, but I figure you probably can should you have infinity at your disposal. You send the gift cards to YOURSELF, plug all the codes into your Amazon account, then VOILA! you have a nice little amount to use toward your next Amazon purchase. Because -if you're anything like me- you'll have a purchase to make there, soon. How to get value from empty gift cards and/or hotel key cards So if you've accrued a few of those gift codes and are looking for something to do with the empty gift credit cards and/or hotel key cards, look no … {Read on...}

Ty’s Best Breakfast Sandwich

Ty's Best Breakfast Sandwich {scrambled eggs, crispy hashbrowns + bacon, and cheese in sourdough toast! foodiewithfamily.com #thatsmykid #jcpambassador #sponsored

Can you even believe it's back-to-school time already for many kids in the country? We have a little bit of a break going right now, but we'll be following along soon enough. For parents with kids at home and teachers getting ready to return to the routine, knocking out a solid breakfast is often a big challenge. My solution? Let the kids do the cooking. My son Ty has always had a love and knack for cooking. At the tender age of ten, he begged to try and actually executed a complicated Two Fat Ladies recipe for traditional British venison pasty. It turned out perfectly. We were all happy and impressed and - needless to say - have encouraged his continued presence in the kitchen. That's my kid, friends. As home educators, our back-to-school routine is a little different than that of many people. In a nutshell, the boys are charged with getting out of bed, changing into day-clothes, getting food in their bellies, and being at the table - ready to tackle the day's lessons - by a certain time. As often as not, Ty is voted the designated breakfast cook on account of his brothers' affinity for his hearty creations. Ty's Best Breakfast Sandwich is a perfect example of his style. Two slices of buttered sourdough bread are stuffed with a meltable cheese, crispy hash browns and bacon, and scrambled eggs before being crimped, toasted to perfection, and served with hot sauce for his hot-sauce-fanatic-brothers. Part of what makes this particular combination so handy is that … {Read on...}

Fried Mozzarella and Sun Dried Tomato Burgers

Fried Mozzarella and Sun Dried Tomato Burgers from foodiewithfamily.com

This is a burger of destiny. A friend recently spent a couple of weeks in Lebanon on a missions trip. Partway through the trip, she texted me that she had just seen the most beautiful burger ever in Lebanon and it was a half-inch thick slab of mozzarella -breaded and deep fried- on a burger. She then said, "Lebanon is a smart, smart country." My brain had already been mulling over the recreation of my best beloved French Crispy, Gooey Fresh Mozzarella Steaks and then I received Pamela's note.  My imagination supplied what seemed to me to be the perfect accompaniments: Sun Dried Tomato Spread, arugula, basil, and pretzel buns. Fried Mozzarella and Sun Dried Tomato Burgers were destined to happen. These are burgers that are meant to make your life a little better for however long it takes you to eat them. They're indulgent, to be sure, but so very worth it. Soft pretzel buns are the perfect vehicle for the serious toppings; they're sturdy enough to hold the generous load you're going to lay on them, but they're soft and chewy when it's time to eat. The sun dried tomato spread is tangy, sweet, concentrated tomato goodness with just enough garlic and herbs to make it exciting. The peppery arugula stands in for lettuce and is strong enough to handle a hot burger being perched atop it. The crispy fried mozzarella steak? I don't think I even need to explain why that is meant to be here. This is the one burger to rule them all. Beware, though; if you instagram these … {Read on...}

Pickled Green Beans: Dilly Beans

Pickled Green Beans: Dilly Beans {a simple canning project} from foodiewithfamily.com

I learned to can from the best: my Grandma. I remember hours upon hours at Grandma's house with Mom and the aunties sitting around peeling peaches, laughing hysterically, shucking corn, chewing the fat, shoving tomatoes in jars, and whatnot. The kids usually drew the simple task of snapping the ends off of green beans. It was kind of hard to booger that one up and it made us feel like we were really contributing to one of everyone's favourite snacks: Pickled Green Beans or Grandma's Dilly Beans. Garlicky, snappy, crisp, gently spicy, and utterly perfect, these Pickled Green Beans are incomparable when chilled and nibbled on straight from the refrigerator on a hot day. It's like a cucumber pickle in flavour but with a crunch times a million. I am a kid all over again -sneaking pickled beans from Grandma's fridge while she took her siesta- every time I eat one. I wouldn't say that these are the fountain of youth because the FDA might frown on my claims, but people... it's pretty darned close. Clearly, my preference is to eat these straight from the jar. There's more to these than dunking fingers into garlicky brine, though. They make a beautiful addition to salads both of the lettuce and mayonnaise-laden potato, tuna, chicken, or pasta varieties when chopped and tossed into the mix. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better accompaniment to a venison or beef roast come harvest time. Serve a big bowl of these pickled beauties with your Thanksgiving feast (yes, I'm aware … {Read on...}