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Bacon Jam

19 May

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Oh yes I did!!! I whipped this up to go with the turkey burgers (recipe to follow) but the possibilities are endless! It takes some time to cook, but not long to prepare, and it is well worth it. Here are some ideas of how to enjoy this sweet, savory, and smoky delight: spread on toasted baguettes or crackers for a savory appetizer, pour some on top of brie and bake, spread on biscuits, waffles, pancakes and various sandwiches like fried egg, make a grilled cheese with it or a bacon jam BLT!

Time: 20 min prep, 1 hour+ cook                   Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients


  • 1 pound apple wood smoked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 4 large red onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup water

How to make it


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to render fat crisp a bit.
  • Add onions. Turn temperature up to high until they start caramelising slightly.
  • Add the garlic and bay leaf and fry for another minute.
  • Add the smoked paprika, salt and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Add the sugar, apple juice and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 and thickened to the consistency to be able to cover a spoon easily but not be too syrupy or thick.
  • Skim excess fat off top if needed. Then transfer to a food processor fitted with an S-blade or use an immersion blender to blend the jam until there are no big chunks of onion/bacon left.
  • Carefully transfer the jam into a sterilised jam jar and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature.

Harissa

1 Dec

A North African chili paste/sauce that is most closely related with Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria. More recently it has been incorporated into Moroccan cooking. Some traditional uses are as a spice rub on meats, added to soup or stew, flavoring couscous or rice. With a little help from a recipe on Saveur.com I was on my way. I made it for a Moroccan carrots recipe but we ended up using it on fish cakes and mixing it into rice. I think people were secretly eating it by the spoonful, as fast as it went!

Time: 10 minutes + soak          Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients


  • 3 oz. dried Guajillo chilies – about 15, stemmed & seeded (wear gloves to be safe)
  • 2 oz. dried New Mexico chilies – about 13, stemmed & seeded (wear gloves)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed

How to make it


  • Place chilies in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let sit until softened, about 30 minutes.
  • Drain chilies and place in bowl of food processor, fitted with S-blade. Add caraway, coriander, cumin, mint, salt, garlic and lemon juice. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add olive oil. Process until well incorporated.
  • Spoon paste into a sterilized 2-pint glass jar. Top with a layer of olive oil. Secure lid and refrigerate. Add more olive oil as you use it, always making sure there is a thin layer on top so it does not dry out. Use within 3 weeks.

Horseradish Dipping Sauce

17 Jul

There is a restaurant about an hour away from where we live that serves sweet potato fries and “horsey” dip. This is my version and it’s pretty darn good!

Time: 5 min +chill           Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

How to make it


  • Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Note: this does seem to increase in heat after refrigeration

Refrigerator Radish Pickles

10 Jul

This recipe came about when I had an abundance of radishes and a hankering for pickles.

Time: 30 min + chill    

Ingredients


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 10-12 medium radishes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 medium or 1 large shallot, sliced thinly

How to make it


  • Place the vinegar, water, garlic, salt and sugar into a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Place radishes and shallots in a 24 oz. glass jar (or similar sized container that can be sealed airtight).
  • Pour liquid over top. Allow to cool to room temp before sealing.
  • Place in refrigerator and chill.
  • They stay crunchy and flavorful for up to one week.

Tartar Sauce

3 Jul

Whipped this up to accompany an oven-fried fish recipe and found it was tasty on other things as well.

Time: 10 min + chill              Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Dijon/grainy)
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish/chopped pickles
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced dill
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated onion (I did not use this, but will next time)

How to make it


  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix to incorporate. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Rhubarb Compote

30 Apr

Rhubarb is one of spring’s lovely gifts, yet I’ve never had the pleasure of trying it – until now that is. I’ve been seeing it at the farmers market for years and am always intrigued by its beauty but unsure of how to treat it,  mostly identifying it mixed with strawberries into a pie. I’d like to try that, too. But this was delicious!

Time: 15 minutes               Yield: 3/4 cup

Ingredients


  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • splash orange juice (I used orange-mango)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

How to make it


  • Place rhubarb, cinnamon, sugar, orange zest & juice in a small sauce saucepan.
  • Bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook about 5 minutes, until rhubarb starts to break down.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm, room temp or cold.

Sazón Seasoning Blend

22 Mar

When searching for sazón seasoning for a recipe I wanted to try, I found the most common brand is Goya and lists MSG as the first ingredient. So, I put it back on the shelf and set out to make my own. Sazón is Spanish for “seasoning”. In Puerto Rico, it also refers to a seasoned salt which adds not only flavor, but also a subtle orange hue to dishes.

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients


  • 2 tsp +/- salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp achiote (annatto)
  • 1 tsp Mexican saffron flowers
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano

How to make it


  • Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container.

Pineapple Salsa

21 Mar

Goes together quickly and brings lots of flavor to whatever you serve it with – or just set out with some tortilla chips for a fun snack or appetizer. It’s not very spicy, if you want to up the ante leave the seeds in your pepper and feel free to add more.

Time: 10 minutes               Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 2 cups diced pineapple
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I used cherry)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste

How to make it


  • Combine first 9 ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Chill before serving.

Pistachio Pesto

1 Mar

This recipe came about when I had an abundance of fresh herbs to use up before they turned. Toss some with pasta, mix some with mayo for a unique aioli, the sky’s the limit!

Time: 5 minutes            Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients


  • 1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil and chives
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste*
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • *My pistachios were salted so I didn’t add any additional salt.

How to make it


  • Place nuts and cheese in food processor fitted with sabatier blade (S-shaped). Pulse a couple times until nuts are chopped. Add garlic and pulse. Add half of herbs & oil, pulse. Add remaining herbs & oil, pulse. Add seasonings and lemon zest if using. Process to desired texture. Add more oil if a looser consistency is desired.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • This may be frozen for later use. Spoon into ice cube tray and freeze. Remove from tray and transfer to plastic freezer bag or the like.

Creole Seasoning Blend

11 Feb

I wanted to create a blend of seasonings that would be true to the traditional flavors of Creole cooking for use in various recipes. So much easier to have everything already blended, and be able to gauge the spiciness & saltiness yourself. Mardi Gras celebrations are in full swing in New Orleans and surrounding areas, are you ready?

Time: 5 minutes           Serves: 1+

Ingredients


  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2/3 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste – most of the heat comes from this)
  • 2 tsp salt (or less, start with 1 and see how that works for you)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp basil

How to make it


  • Blend all ingredients together and use in your favorite recipes.
  • Store in an airtight container.