Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘bacon’

Going to a party?

Here’s a little something for you!

These are great to make for your own parties but even better to bring to other parties!

Let’s call them “Bacon, leek pinwheels”.

Start with a nice big sheet of store bought ( or make your own,but then kind of defeats the easy factor) laid out and thawed.

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Meanwhile in your favorite vessel, cook up about 6 -8 strips of bacon, but cut them into tiny “lardon” strips before cooking.

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Once those are well on their way add 2-3 finely sliced ( I used the mandolin) leeks, white part and a bit of the green.  But what ever you do make SURE to wash them before putting them in the pan!!  Nobody needs leak sand in their snacks!!

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Cook those down into the bacon.

Then add:

  • a couple of cloves of minced garlic
  • a generous splash of balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of chopped rosemary ( dry or fresh)

Keep cooking that all down till it becomes leeky bacon goo.

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Let it cool.

Once it is at room temperature, smear it evenly on to your puff pastry, leaving about an 1 inch band on one side.

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Then top the bacon leak mixture with your favorite grated cheese.  I used my good ol Horseradish cheese for an extra zing.

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Then cut the whole thing into about three strips along the short side of the pastry.

Then start at the top where the filling is and roll the pastry down till you get to the blank spot, moisten the edge with a bit of water, then press it into the roll and tighten it up.

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Now here’s the big “Chef trick” that will make things so much easier!!  Pop the rolls into the freezer for about half hour.  This will firm them up really nice and make them SO much easier to slice!!  Guess who taught me THAT trick??

So once they have firmed up in the freezer, take them out and slice them into about 1/4 inch thick rounds and place them on a parchment paper covered tray.

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At this point you can proceed, or pop them into the regular fridge till you are ready to bake them.

When you are ready to go, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Then give them a little brush with a beaten egg and then if you like, sprinkle on some chunky finishing salt and into the oven they go!!

Depending on the speed of your oven, they take about 15 -20 minutes to bake.  But keep an eye on them, you don’t want your party masterpieces to burn!

When they puff up and are golden brown…..they are good to go!

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Take out and let cool down to room temperature if you are transporting them.

Or eat immediately…….if you are……eating them immediately!

But this batch was going to a party.

A great thing I love to use to take stuff to parties is discarded baby greens boxes.   They are sturdy enough, have a nice fitting lid and the best part?  You don’t CARE if you don’t bring it home again!!

Off you go to your party……

But a word of caution.  You might want to tell people that they are a savory snack, for some reason at the party I took them to, everyone thought they were cinnamon buns!  But they all got gobbled up none the less!!

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Salmon on a stick

It’s been award show season and on this particular occasion, I wanted to make something interesting to eat while we watched but wasn’t really feeling like the usual “party snack” fare, so this is what I came up with.

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First and foremost important thing?  Soak your sticks in water!!  I was using bamboo skewers, but these or any wooden ones must be soaked for at least 1/2 hour in water so they don’t catch fire in the oven or one the grill!

Then I placed a few strips of bacon on a parchment covered tray and put them in the oven at about 300 degrees because you want them to cook slowly and not crisp up at all.  When they are almost done, but still very bendy, take them out and let them cool down till they are cool enough to touch.

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Meanwhile, chop your salmon into nice 1 inch by 1 inch chunks, or there abouts.

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Then add the dry rub which today, I was going for a bit of a “Cajun” type taste, but whatever you want is fine.  Maybe you even have an actual prepared dry rub that you already like.   But I mixed up:

  • cumin
  • coriander
  • smokie paprika
  • thyme
  • chili powder
  • clove ( small bit)
  • oregano

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Mix it into the salmon chunks and let sit a bit to get acquainted.

Then as side dishes I made my old stand by “roasted yams” with toasted walnuts.

And a nice little pineapple black bean salsa.

For the salsa combine:

  • bite size chunks of fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 of a small red onion VERY finely minced
  • a large handful of freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup or 1/2 a tin of well rinsed black beans
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • a generous squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Then set that aside to exchange flavours too.

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So when the roasted yams are done, take them out and turn the oven up to at least 400 degrees.

While it is pre-heating, it is time to assemble your salmon on a stick.

Start with a piece of bacon at one end and push it on to the stick, then add a piece of salmon, then bend over the bacon and poke that on, then another piece of salmon and so on.  As though you are weaving a ribbon of bacon between your salmon chunks.

Replace back on to the same tray that the bacon was cooked on.  Both for easier clean up but also to get any added flavour from bacon drippings.

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Bake in the hot oven for probably no more than 10 minutes.  If even that.

Keep a close eye to make sure the bacon doesn’t start to burn.

Remove and add to your favorite side dishes and you will have a great meal for any occasion!

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Pierogi Stuff Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I know what you are thinking.

That after getting back from our eating orgy in Oregon, that would be it! 

We’d get back on track and get back to “practice what I preach” and healthy eating and all that!

I know, I know but I just HAD to share THIS thing with you…..even if you NEVER eat one, you NEED to know that it is out there….for better or for worse!

Last weekend I was working at the Rifflandia music festival here in Victoria, so for the most part I was sequestered on the site the whole time can couldn’t go off in search of a healthy green smoothie ( although I bet if I looked hard enough, someone was probably making them there!) so I was at the mercy of what was available to eat.

What is nice is that instead of the regular concession stands normally found at these sort of events, they had several of the local food trucks and restaurants set up with their own fare.  This brought a lot of variety and local feel.

I couldn’t keep away from The Hungry Rooster food truck which specializes in pierogi based dishes.  I ate nearly every meal there!  I just couldn’t help it!

But the most note worthy, and what this story is even about, was The Slam Down.

Are you ready for this?   It is a grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with bacon, grilled onions and PIEROGIES!!!  IN the sandwich!!  I mean seriously?  Could there be a more decadent and wonderous thing??

I didn’t have my camera with me but I talked about my sandwich so much that one of my co-workers broke down and got one herself so here is a picture of hers!

Pierogi stuffed grilled cheese sandwich

Look at the picture of it on the Hungry Rooster site to get a better look and the full list of ingredients.

I told the Chef about this mythical sandwich and he was most intrigued so I thought I would try my hand at making him one for his Sunday breakfast yesterday……

So first you need to cook up some bacon.  Three slices per sandwich.

And then, in the drippings of said bacon ( this is optional if you want it “healthier” which to me is like diet coke with your cheese burger!) cook up one onion sliced so you are getting the longest pieces that you can.  Cook till soft and a little brown.

Then boil up some frozen pierogies, two per sandwich.

Once those are all set to go and keeping warm, you are ready to start.

I just grilled the bread in the oven under the broiler.  I would imagine at the Hungry Rooster they are actually grilling them on the flat top for that grilled deliciousness, but I didn’t want to get int the whole flipping thing!

So grill the bread on one side and then turn it over.

They add “aioli” to theirs which is fancy mayo.  So I just used regular mayonnaise and a bit of Dijon mustard.

Then top each slice of bread with some quality cheddar ( NOT the individually wrapped “cheese food product” IF you know what I mean!) and put the bread back under the broiler till the cheese melts.

Then on one side per sandwich lay out the three strips of bacon, then add a generous mound of fried onions and then finally two pierogies, strategically placed so you can cut the sandwich on the diagonal.

Top with the other slice of cheesy bread and cut in half.

Voila!  Pierogi stuffed grilled cheese sandwich!

Pierogi  stuffed grilled cheese sandwich

I didn’t find it quite as good as the Rooster’s…..didn’t have the same “ooy-gooy-goodness” but then again, I’m sure there is a good reason for that!!

The Chef liked his a lot but commented “I guess I won’t be getting THESE too often!”

Once a year should be the limit!!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad

I know what you are thinking!

Potato Salad?  This late in the season?  Really?  That’s the best you could come up with??”

Well actually….it is PERFECT season!

Because I needed a vehicle of SOME kind to display the fruit of my labours!!

If you’ve been following along, you know that I have been attempting to grow some things in my BALCONY GARDEN over the summer.   It hasn’t been too good of a year for most things, but one thing that grew very well was the crazy potato plant!

Potato plant

But this last week the Chef and I moved house and I was concerned about moving all of the plants, many of them already in ruin from leaving them unattended while we galavanted around Oregon.  But the potato plant was still okay.

However it was big and unruly and I thought that it might be time to harvest soon anyway.   So I hacked off the plant part and figured whatever was in there could handle the move.  ( We only moved about three blocks down the road so….)

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Everyone kept commenting about just how heavy the container was, but I just poo pooed it, knowing that the bottom was lined with rocks for drainage……..

So a couple of days ago, I took a break from unpacking boxes and HAD to have a look at what might be in the potato bin!

I grabbed what was left of the plant and yanked it out.   There was a few nice little, egg sized potatoes attached as well as some tiny grape sized ones.   But I wasn’t discouraged because I knew that sometimes the break off the stem.

So with my little shovel and my hand I started rooting around in the dirt……

What the……WHAT???

My potato

I pulled out a VERY big potato!!  Bigger than a softball!   And then another and another………I couldn’t believe it!!  Just grown in a recycling bin!  Who knew!!

My potatoes compared to FULL size dinner fork!!

I was SO pleased that I had to make something with them……..I wanted to taste their fresh picked goodness!!

So on the first day I roasted all the little ones.  

And today I made potato salad out of the big ones!

Here’s how I made it, but seriously…..I’m just trying to show off my fabulous potatoes!

Recipe:

  • a few potatoes fresh from your garden (or whatever)

Peel them and dice them in large cubes and boil or steam until tender in salted hot water

Meanwhile in a bowl add:

  • chopped up left over cooked bacon ( if you have some and what to use bacon)
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of mayo or olive oil or a combo of both ( to taste)
  • Salt & pepper

Mix all that up in readiness of the potatoes being cooked.   Then drain and  toss the potatoes into the dressing.  Mix well but not too vigorously that you swish the potatoes.

Then add some chopped hard boiled egg if you so desire.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika!!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad!  Straight from the garden!

Eat while still warm!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad fresh from the garden

Mustard Greens?

I saw a friend yesterday and he handed me an armful of mustard greens that he had just hacked down in his garden.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never dealt with them before.

Kind of intimidating really.

From what I hear they are a bit bitter, bit spicy so I don’t think they would work in the juicer.

The Chef says they are a “braising green”, which I didn’t really find that helpful.

I asked another foodie friend and her response was “when in doubt add BACON”!

So I don’t know……..anyone got any ideas?

 

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Toads in a hole

An oldy but a goodie.

Although I have no idea why they call it this.  But whatever.

Take a couple of slices of bread and cut a nice big hole in the centre.  ( The “hole” portion of the dish)

You can either use the holes for something else, like feeding the birds, OR you can toast them up and use for dipping.

Then, you can either use bacon drippings or a dab of butter in your frying pan and make sure it is nice and hot, then add your bread with the holes in them.

Toast on one side and then flip the bread.  Then ever so carefully break an egg ( The “toad” portion ) into the centre of the hole.   Cook until the yoke is still a bit jiggly and then serve.

Quick and simple.

Toads in holes with bacon and dipping rounds

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Gravy Soup

I love turkey dinner, but I don’t much like it the next day.

I like the elements individually reworked into other things, but I do NOT like to recreate the dinner over again.  

So this poses a problem.  What to do with left over gravy?

Make soup out of it of course!

The Chef was offended by this concept, “but why?” I argued, there is all the same stuff in gravy as there is in soup! 

Because I hate to break this to you, but you know when you go to a restaurant and the soup is think and delicious?  Well that’s because it is full of flour and butter!  There, it’s out of the bag!!

So I don’t feel so bad about the two little teaspoons of flour I put in the gravy!  I don’t even like it in there but seems obligatory for holiday meals!

It was time to clear out the fridge.

In the dutch oven:

  • a tbsp or two of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion cubed
  • 1 carrot peeled and cubed
  • 2 ribs of celery cubed

Cook those up until they are nice and soft.   Then I added a cup of mixed pea soup blend which is green split peas, yellow split peas, red lentils and barely.  This item always seems readily available in the bulk section.

Then I added the left over brussels sprouts and bacon, chopped up into small bits.

Stir that in till it is nicely coated and cook for a minute or two. 

 Then add enough liquid ( water or stock) to cover everything.  Turn on high till it boils then turn it down to a simmer.

When it is cooked the peas will have broken down and you will have a nice thick “Pea Soup” . 

NOW is when you add the left over gravy.  If you put it in too soon all the gravy goodness will be cooked down and you won’t get the same amount of flavour.

There you have it, a lovely heart warming post Thanksgiving ( give your stomach a rest) soup!

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