Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘savory’

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.

BaconJam_1182

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.

BaconJam_1184

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).
BaconJam_1186

I may have gotten carried away with the photos. But is it Bacon dog gamn it!

BaconJam_1189

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?

Read Full Post »

GuinessStew_1287

The biscuit was the perfect flaky texture to sop up the lovely gravy from the slow roasted Guinness Stew.

As you know we had our fourth progressive dinner on our street and you already know that I made this amazing Guinness Stew but what I didn’t tell you is that I had a major meltdown about four hours before the dinner was to begin. The stew was going perfectly smoothly, the aromas as it finished cooking on the day of filled the house, it was heavenly; the meat was fork tender, the vegetables still had a touch of bite to them and the cauliflower celeriac mash was creamy and wonderful. But I still needed to make the puff pastry topping.

I had fully intended on learning to make this wonderful laminated dough a few days before but as luck would have it, things got busy (I’m assisting more and more these days, but I’ll tell you about that later) so the day before I pulled out the emergency puff pastry dough from the freezer. I had a few errands to do that day and I finally got back to the house around 2pm which would have given me plenty of time to roll out the dough, cut and bake it ready for assembly for the dinner. But things would not go that smoothly.

ButterBiscuit_1297

A very flaky biscuit indeed

As I pulled the dough out of the fridge, I found it looked a little odd, and then when I opened the package, it had gone off. I was stunned. When I checked the expiry date I realized my error, it was expired!!!! Well, that was that. Or was it? I tossed the package and quickly went to work; several weeks before I had read about a ‘quick’ laminated pastry dough that Liz (from That Skinny Chick Can Bake) made. So out came the iPad and I went to work! The ‘quick’ laminated pastry dough still required more hours than I had to allow the dough to rest in between foldings, but I was determined! I reduced the resting times significantly and I turned Liz’s sweet pastry dough into a savoury one, the results were exceptional. I didn’t use the entire batch so I stored the leftovers in the freezer, resting and I’ll get back to it in the near future, but this quirky version of ‘quick’ laminated dough exceeded my expectations and best of all, it was a hit at the dinner table. Thank you Liz, you saved the day!

Butter Biscuits — a ‘quick’ laminated pastry dough

I made 10 biscuits and put the remainder of the dough in the freezer for another time. Please check here for the original recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp bread maker quick dissolve yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 cm or 1/4″ thick slices
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp merlot sea salt (I received the merlot sea salt as a gift from my friend Kristy at Our Family Food Adventures when we met up )

Directions:

  1. Add the warm water to a bowl and gently mix in the yeast and sugar. Allow to stand until frothy and then add the milk, egg and salt; set aside.
  2. Add the flour to a food processor with metal blades. Drop cut butter and the finely chopped rosemary into the flour, pulsing 8 to 10 times, so that the butter is cut into 1 cm or 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Combine the flour mixture with the yeast mixture and gently fold the two with a rubber spatula,  just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t be too energetic, the butter must remain in pieces so that you will produce a flaky pastry, not a bread dough or cookie.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto it; dust very lightly with flour.
  6. Gently roll out the dough to 41 cm or 16 inches along one side and fold it into thirds similar to how one would fold a letter.
  7. Turn dough clockwise 1/4 turn. Roll out again into a narrow rectangle and fold into thirds again.
  8. Roll dough one more time into a 51 cm or 20 inch square and fold into thirds again to make a narrow rectangle, then fold up the ends to make a square. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the freezer for another 30 minutes. Note, it is very important to keep the dough cold so the butter doesn’t begin melting, if you find it’s warming up, put back into the freezer for a few minutes to cool down.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  10. Roll the dough out to a 1 cm or 1/2 inch thickness and using a desired cookie cutter (mine was a triangle that was about 20 cm or 4 inches wide).
  11. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle merlot sea salt on top.
  12. Place triangles onto a cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden.
ButterBiscuit_1305

I decorated the biscuit with Merlot Sea Salt

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: