Thursday, September 22, 2016

Apple Bacon Muffins

Apple + bacon = delicious! The bacon in this recipe wasn't particularly prominent.Maybe it just needs a little more. I added a some crumble topping, and maybe I should have put some bacon in it to boost the flavor. They were definitely good enough to try again, and fiddle with the recipe a little.

½ C brown sugar
¼ C butter, softened
2 eggs
2/3 C milk
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 T cinnamon
¾ C apple, finely chopped
½ C cooked, drained, chopped bacon

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray muffin tin cups or line with paper liners.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Combine dry ingredients, then add to creamed mixture, alternately with milk. Fold in apple and bacon just until blended.

Fill muffin cups full. [Optional - top with crumble topping.] Bake 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Quick and Easy Apple Tart

This isn't the best apple tart I've ever had, but it IS quick and easy. It's from 'The Pioneer Woman'.  Recipe  It's not fall yet (though the leaves across the vacant lot that is currently my main view are turning yellow), so I'm NOT reaching for the pumpkin and spice just yet. is overcast and rainy -- well, showers -- and an apple tart just sounded delicious today.

I dusted mine with a little powdered sugar, but I like her idea of drizzling it with some caramel. I'll try that next time...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Stuffed Cabbage (Polish - gołąbki)

Maybe not a recipe that will especially entice a lot of people, but...I had 1/2 a cabbage leftover from another recipe, and I'm always interested in trying something new (especially something that combines more vegetables with the meat), I figured I'd give it a shot. After perusing a variety of recipes and noting consistently common ingredients in all, this is an amalgamation of two different recipes, choosing the ingredients based on flavors I know I like personally. I really don't know how 'traditional' it may be.

Sauce Ingredients
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1 C mire poix (1/2 C onion, 1/4 C carrot, 1/4 C celery - all finely diced*)
½ C brown sugar
¼ C red wine vinegar
¼ C lemon juice
2 T cornstarch, dissolved in ¼ C water

* I'm not a fan of celery, so I tend to go light on the celery and throw in a little extra onion and/or carrot.

Stuffed Cabbage Ingredients
½ large (or 1 small) head cabbage
1 lb ground beef (or combination beef & pork)
1½ C cooked rice (cook in chicken stock for extra flavor; I used a whole grain, wild rice blend)
2 eggs
½ C bread crumbs
½ C caramelized onions
¼ C brown sugar
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp each salt & pepper

Prepare cabbage...  Use a pairing knife to remove core. For the most tender leaves, freeze the cabbage the day ahead. With or without freezing, bring a large pot of water to boil; boil cabbage until leaves are tender and pull apart easily (approx. 5 minutes, or slightly more if not frozen). If ribs are still too tough, trim thickest parts.

Mix sauce...  In saute pan, cook mire poix with a little oil until onions are translucent and carrots have softened. Dissolve cornstarch in water; combine mire poix, cornstarch and remaining ingredients in saucepan, bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for ½ hour.

Prepare filling... stir together ground beef, cooked rice, bread crumbs, caramelized onions, brown sugar, thyme, garlic powder, salt & pepper. (Add a little extra bread crumbs or a little of the sauce if mixture is too soggy or too dry...should be a relatively firm meatloaf consistency.)

Pre-heat oven to 375˚.
Pour a thin layer of sauce to cover the bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Place generous ½ cup of meat filling near the rib end of a cabbage leaf; roll toward the outer leaf, tucking in sides as you go. Place seam side down in baking dish. Continue until all meat mixture is rolled in leaves and placed in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over rolls. To retain moisture during cooking, spread remaining cabbage leaves over top of rolls. Cook 1 hour. 

Stuffed Cabbage rolls -- and the extra sauce -- can be served with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Roasted Figs

8-10 fresh, ripe figs
3 oz (+/-) chevre or ricotta
¼ C honey
1-2 T balsamic glaze
flakey salt

Preheat oven to 400˚.

Slice figs in half, lengthwise; place in baking dish, cut side up. Top each fig with a teaspoon or more of chevre. (To really dress up these figs, wrap the m with prosciutto before baking.) Bake 10-12 minutes, until figs are very soft.

While figs are roasting...
In a small bowl, mix honey and balsamic.

Cool figs slightly; drizzle with honey-balsamic mixture, sprinkle lightly with salt.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sausage & Mushroom stuffed Mini-Peppers

Using up leftovers...

1 lb sausage (actually a little more than a pound)
8 oz mushrooms
1 green bell pepper
½ medium onion
1 tsp minced garlic
8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp dried basil
s & p to taste
¼ cup bread crumbs
15-18 sweet, mini-peppers

Pre-heat oven to 375˚.

Finely dice mushrooms, bell pepper and onion. In skillet, brown sausage. Add mushrooms to brown (or brown separately first). Add onion, diced bell pepper and garlic; cook until softened. Reduce heat; add cream cheese and dried basil, stirring until fully incorporated. Remove from heat. Salt & pepper to taste.

Halve mini-peppers, removing ribs and seeds. Place halved side up in baking dish drizzled very lightly with oil. Spoon sausage & mushroom mixture into each pepper half. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 25 minutes.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bacon Jam

1 lb bacon, diced
1 lg onion, diced
2 Tbl brown sugar
2 Tbl maple syrup
¼ C apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Crisp the bacon in a skillet; remove onto paper towel to drain, reserving as much as possible of the drippings in the skillet. Add onion to skillet and drippings (adding a little extra canola oil if needed); cook to soften and caramelize onions (approx. 15-20 minutes).

Return bacon to skillet along with brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar and thyme. Cook over low heat to full dissolve brown sugar and thoroughly heat all ingredients.

Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. If desired, pulse in food processor to desired, spreadable consistency. Salt & pepper to taste.

Great on burgers (full bacon flavor in every bite without fighting strips of bacon sliding off your burger). Probably would be delicious on a BLT too. I'm curious to try it on my Peanut Butter Apple & Bacon Sandwich. :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Lime & Sesame Vinaigrette

After the relatively recent miso-orange vinaigrette, I wanted to try for another (better) Asian-inspired vinaigrette...

1 lg shallot, finely chopped
1 C fresh lime juice
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ C toasted sesame oil
½ C vegetable oil
¼ C soy sauce
3 T honey or maple syrup

Combine shallot and lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes. Add sesame oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce and honey/syrup. Whisk to combine. Season with additional salt and/or pepper to taste.

This was good on a salad of fresh greens (cabbage, slivered scallions, and shredded carrots play nicely with the Asian flavors) along with mandarin orange wedges topped with crunchy chow mein noodles or peanuts -- sprinkled with sesame seeds, garnished with finely chopped fresh mint and/or cilantro leaves...  Some grilled, diced chicken or pork makes for a heartier salad. Add more or less of anything to suit your tastes.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Corn & Bacon Bucatini

Serves 4

2 lg ears corn on the cob
8 oz bucatini
½ C half-and-half
1 egg yolk
1 tsp each kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
4-5 oz bacon shredded parmesan, divided
1 T minced garlic
½ C shredded parmesan, divided

Cook corn in a large pot of lightly salted water -- about 5 min. Remove corn to cool slightly; add bucatini to water and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.

Cut corn from cobs. Whisk together half and half, egg yolk, salt and pepper.

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove from skillet -- reserving bacon drippings. Chop or crumble bacon. Add garlic to hot skillet, cooking and stirring briefly (1 min). Reduce heat, then add cream mixture, corn, and crumbled bacon; bring to boiling. Add pasta and ¼ C parmesan. Bring pasta back to temperature, adding pasta water to desired consistency.

Serve topped with remaining shredded parmesan.

I didn't have bucatini and just used spaghetti, and if I was making this for company I'd go with yellow corn instead of white (which is what I had on hand) just for more colorful presentation...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb crisp (or pie, or rhubarb anything) wasn't something I ever had growing up. My mom didn't make it, and I don't remember either of my grandmothers making it either -- though it sounds like something they would likely have made, especially my Grandma Margaret who was also an avid gardener. Anyway, my brother-in-law recently mentioned how much he liked rhubarb dishes (and rarely gets them -- likely because they're no more in my sister's baking repertoire than mine!), so I thought I'd give it a go...

Serves 8-10

Fruit Filling Ingredients
4 C rhubarb, large diced (1")
4 C strawberries, large diced
1 C sugar
zest and juice of one orange (about ½ C juice, and close to 2 tsp zest)
1 T cornstarch

Crumble Topping Ingredients
¾ C flour
1 C rolled oats
¼ C sugar
½ C brown sugar
½  tsp salt
¾ C butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and zest. Dissolve cornstarch in orange juice; add to rhubarb-strawberry mixture and gently stir to combine. Spoon or pour mixture into 9x13 (or even slightly larger) baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients of crumble topping to evenly distribute. Cut in butter and continue mixing until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over fruit in baking dish. Bake 1 hour, until fruit is bubbling and crumble topping is golden brown.

Best served warm, with ice cream or whipped cream.

#1   I think this recipe makes a generous amount of crumble topping! I've never had complaints along those lines, but you could probably do with less, or save some for another recipe.

#2   Since the fruit may very well bubble over the edge of the dish, it's not a bad idea to put a large baking sheet under the 9x13 pan, or on the lower rack of the oven to catch any drips or spills. Line it with foil or parchment to make clean-up even easier.

Photo -- not exactly a 'glamour shot' as it's simply still in the baking dish...but it's going to my brother-in-law whole, tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tomato Butter

½ C butter
2 plum tomatoes
2 t olive oil
1 t fresh thyme leaves
½ t salt
1 clove garlic

Seed and quarter tomatoes. Toss tomatoes and garlic with oil, thyme and salt. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 375˚ about 35-40 minutes -- until tomatoes are soft and garlic is golden. Let cool. Puree with butter. Serve on bread, corn on the cob, chicken, steak...

If you're short on time, you can make a similar compound butter using jarred, sun-dried tomatoes, which are typically already seasoned with garlic and herbs/spices.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Miso-Citrus Vinaigrette

3 T fresh orange juice
1 T white miso
1 T rice mirin
½ t grated, peeled fresh ginger
¼ C peanut oil*
         * If you have peanut allergies, just use canola

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until thoroughly incorporated. Slowly drizzle oil into mixture, whisking constantly until well blended.

A bit too salty for my taste (so I might play around with the proportions) but I like the flavor combination. Recommended for on fresh greens, grains, seafood...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bacon Sweet Potato Waffles

Hmmm...this recipe is really hit and miss. Sweet potato and bacon -- a 'hit' flavor combination! But the texture and technique of this "recipe" -- definitely needs help. (Of course, I'm not a 'paleo' dieter; and if this recipe is typical, it would not inspire me to go paleo!)

Original 'recipe' here:

There's no measure of any kind indicated for the sweet potato, and with a large sweet potato, I had to add an extra egg as binder just to keep the 'batter' from falling apart. 

There's no flour. Or leavening of any kind other than the eggs. The sweet potatoes are raw, cooked only by the waffle iron, so the 'batter' isn't really a batter...just a collection of separate ingredients. With egg and a little oil (I used the bacon drippings for extra flavor). The blogger's preference for "crispy" waffles is probably a necessity if you don't want raw sweet potato bits in your waffles -- I shredded mine, so pieces were quite small. And the advice to "remove waffles carefully" is needed...with no real 'batter' they fall apart very easily.

This recipe indicates serving waffles as either savory or sweet. The sweet potato and bacon combo can easily go both ways, but with garlic salt in the 'batter' and chives...that might not be quite so tasty if you want to go sweet. Maybe keep the 'batter' neutral (plain salt) and serve the waffles with a garlic-chive compound butter if you want to go savory? Or a garlic-chive sour cream sauce? Standard maple syrup would go great with these flavors for a sweet waffle.

I'm still inspired by the sweet potato and bacon flavor combo in a waffle, so I may play around and come up with a better recipe. (I've no intention of limiting it to a paleo diet.) Probably some batter to hold it all together, though I like the texture -- some precooked mashed sweet potato? with some flour, and a little leavening for fluffiness -- and maybe a bit of orange juice and/or zest to 'zing' up the flavor. We'll see... hopefully I'll post again soon.

4/25/2016 UPDATE:  MY version of Bacon Sweet Potato Waffles
Figured I'd better do this right away; otherwise it just gets forgotten! Side-by-side pics show a bit of difference: lighter/brighter color -- probably from the OJ, fluffier due to baking powder, and with a bit of batter from the mashed sweet potato and a little flour, they hold together instead of falling apart all around the edges.

Serves 2

8 oz bacon
1 large (or 2 smallish) sweet potato
zest of 1 orange
1-2 T orange juice
2 eggs
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ C flour (I used whole wheat)*

* If you have celiac disease or are avoiding gluten by choice, you might be able to skip the flour altogether...maybe cut down on (or cut out) the OJ so your batter isn't too runny; the zest will still add flavor. Or substitute a gluten free rice or corn flour. You'd know options better than I would! :)

Fry bacon until crisp. Crumble; set aside.

Peel and shred about half the sweet potato (I ended up with 1¼ C). Cook the other half until tender (I did mine in the microwave; quick!). Cool until handle-able; While it cools...

Mix orange zest and juice into shredded sweet potato. Not only does this taste great, but it keeps the potato from oxidizing...stays nicely bright orange. Add bacon and toss to combine. Set aside.

Preheat waffle iron.

Scoop cooked sweet potato out of the skin. Discard skin. Mash sweet potato (I had about 1¼ or maybe 1½ C of mashed sweet potato). Add eggs, salt, baking powder and flour, mixing thoroughly. Stir shredded sweet potato and bacon mixture into batter. 

Drop scoops of batter onto waffle iron; cook until nicely browned, slightly crispy (very little steam should be coming out of your waffle iron when they're cooked through).

These are great 'sweet' waffles with a little butter and maple syrup. If you want to go the savory route, try garlic butter and fresh minced chives. (Or if you're a chicken and waffle eater maybe try that? It's not really my thing, but it could work!)