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I’ve been doing quite a bit of recipe testing lately. It’s a lot of fun because many of the recipes are ones I wouldn’t normally try, so it pushes me to try and taste new things. One of the recipes needed baking potatoes but of a specific size so when I had some left over, I figured why not make soup (plus I had lots of stock left over too!)? I knew from past experience that if I called this Vichyssoise I would be lambasted because I didn’t use leeks nor did I use cream so, to nip it in the butt, I just called it Chilled Baked Potato Soup! 😛

I made this for lunch and I didn’t have anything else with it so I wanted it hearty. Add more stock if you don’t want it as thick.

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JT: “It really does taste like a baked potato!”

A Room Temperature Baked Potato Soup

Makes about four servings 375 mL each (1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large baking potato, scrubbed clean
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarians)
  • 1/4 strip of bacon, cooked until crispy, per serving (substitute with feta or crumbled vegan feta (recipe to come))
  • 1 tsp of sour cream or crême fraiche or Greek yogurt, per serving (or vegan sour cream)
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Pierce the baking potato with a fork (so it doesn’t explode) and wrap with parchment and then foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserts easily.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small ramekin, add the garlic cloves (with skin on), the chopped onion and cover with 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Season with a little salt and cover the ramekin with foil. Bake along side the potato for 30-45 minutes or until the garlic is very soft.
  3. When the potato is done, cut in half and scoop out all of the flesh with a spoon into a glass bowl. Squeeze out the garlic cloves from their skin and add to the potatoes, pour in the chicken stock with the onions and salt into the potato mix. With your stick blender, purée adding stock until you achieve the consistency you want. Press through a fine sieve to ensure it’s silky smooth.
  4. Serve at room temperature (or reheat), garnished with 1 tsp sour cream, crumbled bacon and chopped green onion.
It really does taste like a baked potato!

A creamy, dreamy room temperature soup. No that’s not a fish bowl back there!

Notes:

  • I’m in the process of creating a recipe for vegan feta (a brined cheese) so stay tuned!
  • The soup definitely tastes better at room temperature rather than chilled, you get more of the potato flavour at room temperature.
  • If you heat the soup, add some grated cheddar on top, I didn’t because I thought it might be weird because it wouldn’t melt.
  • You may replace the stock for roasting the garlic with olive oil, I did not because I wanted it a bit healthier.
Based on 4 servings

Based on 4 servings

Using non-vegetarian ingredients

Using non-vegetarian ingredients

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Hello loyal readers, I do hope you are all well and adjusting to climate changes you are  experiencing (spring-ish for us Northern Hemispherers, fall-ish for those down under!). Cottage season has begun for Canadians, starting with what we call the May 2-4 (two-four) weekend which happened to be last weekend, even though it wasn’t May 24rth! Therefore list season has begun. Since last Saturday, I have made no less than 5 lists believe it or not. Once it goes on the list, I can safely delete it from my memory, so don’t bother asking me about it, check the list! Why 5? We needed a menu plan for last weekend: List 1, then there is the shopping list for said menu plan, List 2. Then we get to the cottage and almost as soon as the front door is opened for the first time of the season, a third list has begun: List 3, things we need to bring/buy for the next time. And then there is the next time, List 4 is the new menu plan and then List 5 the new shopping list and of course, list 6 (to come) is the list of things we need to bring/buy for the next time around! Such fun.

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Being the suck that I am, this was taken in the screened in porch because the bugs were BRUTAL. Believe it or not, even JT put on a bug shirt for the first time EVER.

You also may have realized that I failed to post on Thursday, and sadly for the time being I’ve decided to reduce my blog posts to once per week, I hope you don’t mind. It’s still a joy for me and I want to keep it that way; plus my marketing freelance gig writing for social media has upped the anti and I’ve been contracted until September, god forbid I run out of words. Good news is that it’s steady, bad news is that I’m using up my Data plan like it was going out of style. But I’m not complaining, I’m loving the projects and the people I’m working with so all is good in the new reality!

Now you have probably been wondering why there hasn’t been an Ebelskiver post in a while. I know, I asked myself the same question…and if you’re interested in the other posts, please click here, and here and here. Remember that I have my dear friend Barb (from Profiteroles and Ponytails — she’s on a bit of a break, so busy!) to thank for that gorgeous cast iron Ebelskiver pan, so I can’t let it go unused.

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I’m getting much better at making perfectly spherical Ebelskivers.

Bacon, Feta, Kale and Onion Ebelskivers with a Yogurt a Dill Sauce

Makes about 17 Ebelskivers (I used 5 Ebelskivers for breakfast and froze the remainder for another time — guess who had 3)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 140 g onions
  • 60 g bacon (should have been 80!)
  • 60 g feta
  • 100 g kale (or mixed spinach and kale)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp EVOO

Filling Directions:

  1. Heat the EVOO and cook the bacon until crispy. Set aside. If there is more than one teaspoon of bacon grease left in the pan, remove excess (or not, it’s your arteries!). Cook the onions until soft and translucent, add the greens and wilt. Set aside to cool completely. In the meantime make the batter.

Basic Ebelskiver Batter Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolk until thick and pale, then whisk in the milk and melted butter. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. The batter will be lumpy.
  3. In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Using a spatula, fold about one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.
  4. Fold the cooled wilted greens, onions, bacon and crumbled feta and mix thoroughly.

Ebelskiver cooking directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Spray the ebelskiver pan with a good squirt of non-stick spray and place over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup batter to each round as soon as the pan is quite hot. Maintain the heat at medium, you don’t want to burn the ebelskiver edges before the insides get a chance to cook.
  3. Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, 3-5 minutes. Using a fork, gently push the ebelskiver until it entirely turns around in the pan and the uncooked portion is now facing the bottom.
  4. Transfer the finished spheres to a platter and finish baking in the oven while you repeat to finish the batter (about 15-20 minutes).

Yogurt Dill Sauce

Enough for two servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-fat yogurt, well stirred
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp dill

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan melt the butter and add the flour. Cook the flour but don’t brown it. Add the yogurt and stir.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the dill.
  3. Serve warm over the Ebelskivers.
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I was surprised and thrilled that the feta stayed whole and did not melt into the batter, it was so tasty.

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We’re knee-deep in that frenzied holiday season when there are parties, unscheduled drop-ins and quick festive glasses of vino. I never like to drink on an empty stomach so I like to stock the freezer with hors d’œuvres that can be made up in bulk and pulled out in a pinch. One of my favourites is the Devil on Horseback or bacon wrapped dates that I first came across from a Tapa’s cookbook from a friend about 8 years ago and finally blogged about it here. I needed to stock up so when I recently saw naturally smoked bacon (low sodium) on sale at my grocer, I asked JT to pick me up a couple of packs so I had them in the fridge ready to be made into the little devils. Fast forward to my second food styling assisting job, I assisted for a breakfast sandwich and there was a lot of bacon. Probably close to a hundred pounds? OK, I may be exaggerating but there was a lot of bacon left over and I was kindly given some of it! So now I needed to figure out what to do with so much bacon and then it hit me, I knew exactly what that was!

I first came across Bacon Jam at Lorraine’s lovely blog Not Quite Nigella in 2009 and it’s been sitting in my data bank since. I usually don’t have an excess of bacon lying around so the bacon I was given from the job was very welcomed indeed. JT was ecstatic, like most men, he adores bacon. So I made bacon jam. I didn’t have everything Lorraine’s recipe required plus I needed something that I could leave all day to cook on its own, so I found good old Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker Bacon Jam.

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Cooking down the bacon; the aromas enticed dogs and neighbourhood men to walk in zombie-like fashion towards the house!

There was an overwhelming aroma of bacon for days.

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Thick, sweet and salty all at once. Who knew bacon could taste THAT good?

There are a few precautions one must take with bacon jam. Contrary to what you would think, it is highly susceptible to salmonella which is a very dangerous bacteria. You may have heard that this past summer our Canadian National Exhibition’s Cronut Burger (poor refrigeration) lead to the contamination by Staphylococcus aureus toxin poisoning of their bacon jam! Go figure. You would think that with ALL the preservatives in bacon it wouldn’t be an issue, but it was. In further reading it seems that garlic increases this issue even more. So, my words of caution is that you MUST refrigerate your bacon jam and not even keep it in a processed jar outside of refrigeration. I even went a step further and froze any extra I wasn’t able to eat in a short time frame.

Bacon Jam

Makes 4 small jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon of fat from the bacon skillet, discard the remainder.
  3. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Add bacon and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Allow to cool slightly then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks (see caveat above).
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I may have gotten carried away with the photos. But is it Bacon dog gamn it!

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Last one, promise.

The jam is slightly sweet, tangy and a perfect accompaniment to cheese or pâté. Add it to your charcuterie platter for New Year’s Eve celebrations. I might have even added it to scrambled eggs once or even a sandwich. Be creative. Where would you add such a decadent jam?

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You’re probably thinking “she’s gone mad” bacon and eggs for a Super Bowl appetizer? What could she possibly be thinking? Well, once you taste these babies, you’d wish you had made more of them. Just the perfect size to pop in your mouth (or for more delicate mouths, ehem, one may need two bites). I bought quail eggs for an appetizer for our friend’s Paul and T (post to come soon and I don’t want to spoil it) but I had a few of these gorgeous little eggs left over, so I came up with this breakfast for appetizer treat, and since Super Bowl is on Sunday, why not serve it to your discerning guests?

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You can see how small the quails eggs are in comparison to the large Grade A egg.

We spotted this sign walking up to a restaurant on Bloor for lunch last Sunday. Since this post had bacon in it, I thought it appropriate.

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A sandwich board sign in our hood which seemed appropriate with this post.

It’s really not a recipe, you can easily see all the ingredients, so I’ll just describe it. You’ll need 1 large slice of German seedy bread (we usually use this brand’s 7-Grain bread), 4 slices of Pancetta, sliced about 3.5 mm or 1/4 inch thick and four quail eggs.

First you want to fry the bacon until crispy, set aside in a warm oven, reserve bacon grease. Then cut four rounds of bread about 4-5 cm or 2.5 inches in diametre, and fry each side of the bread in the bacon fat until slightly toasted, but saturated in the bacon fat (you can hear your arteries bursting, no, wait, those are mine bursting), set aside and keep warm. In the remaining bacon fat, fry up each egg, trying to keep as circular shape as possible. Serve immediately, you want the yolks a little runny. To serve: take one slice of the bread round, put the bacon on top and then the egg, garnish with parsley or cilantro leaves. Serve with a napkin because you will have creamy yolk running down your chin.

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A one, perhaps two bite morsel

They turned out so pretty, I had to take two photos.

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Oh, you have a little dribble on your chin, let me get that for you.

Go Jays Go!

Oops.

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As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my brother and his family came for brunch this past weekend and I wanted a slightly healthier salad to go with a slightly less healthy savoury bread pudding (you can see a similar recipe at Bits and Breadcrumbs, but my version had ham and cheddar cheese, you get where I’m going with this?). This spinach salad comes from an old recipe book that I bought for my MIL about 15 years ago. She had talked about Oprah and her chef and that they were coming out with a cookbook, In the Kitchen with Rosie; she loved Oprah, so I made a mental note and put it on her Christmas list. Well, I should have known because she went out and got it for herself, so then I was stuck with the book.

There are some darn good ‘low fat’ recipes in this little book and some great tricks as well. But the one recipe that keeps making an appearance in my kitchen is the warm orange dressing on a spinach salad (this one is for you, Lisa). Now you can add what-ever you wish to create your very own spinach salad, but this is what our’s had on Sunday: baby spinach, hard-boiled egg whites, grape tomatoes (I like the colour), a little crispy fried pancetta (I know, not healthy but there was not very much of it), thinly sliced mushrooms, orange sections and toasted pine nuts. When you toss this lovely salad with the warm dressing a symphony of flavours start playing in your mouth. So delicious.

A slightly healthier alternative to Spinach Salad

Warm Orange Dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Navel orange
  • 1⁄3 c Shallot, minced finely
  • 2 Cl Garlic, peeled and minced finely
  • 5 T White Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t Sherry vinegar
  • 1/24 cup of orange juice with pulp
Directions:
  1. Peel the orange and remove the white pith, and separate the segments (do this over a bowl in order to reserve the juice). Squeeze the residual juice from the membranes into the bowl and reserve; add the additional OJ to this mix.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the shallots, garlic, vinegars, and reserved orange juice, and bring to a boil over low heat.
  3. Just before you wish to serve, combine all the salad ingredients, add the warm dressing and toss to coat.

I know it's just salad, but doesn't it look yummy?

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My niece who is doing her post graduate degree in Law at the University of Western Ontario was visiting family up in Peterborough over the holidays. She had given her boyfriend tickets to the latest Cirque de Soliel in Toronto so they were coming to the city on Thursday night. We met up with them for drinks as they had to have an early dinner (we’re not seniors, yet), but then they came back to our house for the night so they wouldn’t have to drive home in the middle of the night! I made Cheddar, Green Onion and Prosciutto Scones for breakfast and they turned out extremely well so I thought I would share the recipe. We may have stayed up late chatting and drinking wine…or not. I mixed all the dry ingredients together and the wet separately, leaving the cheese, prosciutto and onion separate. In the morning I just mixed it all up, rolled it out and baked it. I had to make sure it was really easy since I wasn’t sure how hungry (ya, that’s it ;-)), we would be!

Particularly good if eaten hot out of the oven

The recipe is originally from Company’s Coming Muffins and More by Jean Paré, but of course, I changed it up a bit by adding the green onion and prosciutto.

Flaky scones with bits of prosciutto and green onion, the cheddar gets all melty inside (I should'ave photoshoped the prosciutto in this front one, it was there, really!)

Cheddar, Green Onion and Prosciutto Scones

Makes about 15 to 18 Scones, depending on the size you make them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (you can use frozen butter grated on the largest grater)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup milk plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 2 slices Prosciutto, cooked until crisp, blotted for oil and then broken up into little bits

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder together with the salt.
  3. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
  4. Fold in the green onion, cheese and Prosciutto
  5. Mix together the egg and milk and beat until slightly frothy.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix well.
  7. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and knead a few time (we don’t want the butter to melt, so careful if you have hot hands).
  8. Roll out to about 1 cm or 1/2 inch thick and cut with your favourite round, square or traingular cookie cutter.
  9. Brush the tops with the 2 tbsp milk.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops are golden.
  11. Enjoy with unsalted butter.

I had rounds, squares and triangles! They all taste the same, silly!

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