Food Bucket List - Bacon Breaded Mozzarella Sticks

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It's been quite the adventure since we moved to Los Angeles a month ago. A couple weeks ago one of us (Stef) got hit by a car and last week we were held up at gun point. 

Ok so those might be slight exaggerations. While both instances were a little scary, neither were harmful. A minivan bumped [her] while we were walking across a shopping center driveway and the "hold-up" we discovered, were merely a few teenagers joking around with a toy gun. Though neither qualified as a "near death experience", we did start joking about bucket lists. Which led to an even more important discussion- Food Bucket Lists. 

A Food Bucket List is something every first-world food enthusiast has whether they realize it or not. This bucket can be filled with a checklist of Michelin star restaurant experiences to tote around in future conversations, global street food destinations worthy of Bourdain's gold stars, or creating artery clogging decadence like Dude Food's bacon-wrapped grilled cheese. There are many of each category on our list, but of all the options to sort through this one came to mind.   

We've been talking about making Mozzarella Sticks (Mozzarella Sticks always get capitalized, they're that important) crusted in bacon crumbs for over two years. We're not sure what was stopping us from actually executing this AMAZING idea but the time had finally come. Disappointment was nowhere to be found on this sunny, salty, crunchy and cheesy Sunday afternoon. 

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TIP: These itty bitty pieces of bacon are made by placing the pack of bacon in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes to minimize slipperiness and then dicing it like THIS. Cook the bacon until you think it may burn any second and then remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Important tip: allow the bacon to dry fully and reach its crisp before placing it in the food processor. This will improve the crumby texture. 

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Note: bowls or shallow dishes wide enough to freely roll your cheese stick in, will help minimize frustration. Also practice allocating one hand to dry steps and one to wet steps. Here's a good example to mimick. 

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Cooking time can vary by 15-30 seconds. This can be due to the thickness of your crumbs, variance in oil heat from opening / closing the lid, how cold the sticks were before you began frying, or altitude. If you find yourself struggling to keep consistency, freeze them for 1-2 hours and try again. They can also be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the freezer. 

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Bacon Breaded Mozzarella Sticks

INGREDIENTS

Mozzarella String Cheese (as many as you want, we won't judge)
1/2 lb Bacon
1/2 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup flour
two eggs
2 tablespoons water
canola oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Ingredient Prep
Dice the bacon and cook on medium high until visibly crisp. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and allow pieces to drain on the paper towel lined plate. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs with the water in a bowl large enough to dip the cheese sticks. 

For the breading: 
Once the bacon has completely dried (this is important!), add to the food processor and pulse until the consistency of the bacon matches that of the bread crumbs. Combine the bacon and bread crumbs in a bowl large enough to dip the cheese sticks and toss until mixed. 

Assembly and Frying: 
Dip a Mozzarella Stick in the egg wash, then the flour, back to the egg wash and finally into the breadcrumbs making sure it's evenly coated and with no bald patches. Fry in a deep fryer or cast iron at 375 for about 30-45 seconds or until golden brown. 

Dip into your favorite dipping sauce- we're traditional and like marinara and/or ranch - and enjoy!

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