Balsamic Eggplant, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Balsamic Aubergine, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich

This weekend, it happened: I pulled my tomato plants out. And my basil plants.

‘Tis a sad day for my lovely summer garden. After a bout of cold weather and rain last week, heralding in the first days of fall, I finally had to give up on the dream of ‘one more batch of pesto’ or a new batch of slow-roasted tomatoes coming out of my oven every day.

I have to admit, I’m one of those annoying Fall People who secretly loves rain and scarves and stuff- but it still stung to tear out all those beautiful vines from my garden. Things just look so empty now.

Balsamic Aubergine, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Sure, there are cold weather harvests… squash, apples, kale, chard. It’s not really the same, though. Try as I might, a bushel of chard is never going to get me quite as revved up as a Caprese Salad, still warm from the sun.

Still, I made the best out of my summer bounty, eating as much as I could fresh from the garden and preserving the rest. My freezer is full of pesto and slow roasted tomatoes.

Balsamic Aubergine, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich

I adore slow-roasted tomatoes. I could put them on everything. I do put them on everything, in fact. Everything is made better by adding a few of these punchy little treats- breakfast burritos, soups, pizzas, salads, pastas, piessandwiches.

I have preached the good word of the Slow Roasted Tomato to everyone I know.

It’s so great when these things come back to you.

In the first weeks after my daughter was born, my mother-in-law would come over to make me lunch and give me some newborn-relief (Guardian Angel duty).

Balsamic Aubergine, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich

I can credit this excellent combo to her. She would come armed with various goodies and, more than once, made me this sandwich (or something closely approximating it).

So simple. So delicious. Happiness is someone making a sandwich for you when you don’t have the strength or time to make one yourself. That’s love, my friends. All the better if it’s one as delicious as this.

Balsamic Aubergine, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Perfectly balanced, this sandwich offers some bold flavours to help ring in the new season. Summer produce given a fall upgrade. Sweet and sour tomatoes, smoky eggplant, fresh and peppery arugula, creamy goat cheese- all bound together with a hearty, nutty slice of bread. Not only does having a sturdy slice hold up to the wetter elements of the sandwich (eggplant, tomatoes), but the seeds provide an amazing textural element that is not to be missed. If you’ve got something with a bit of rye flour in it, all the better. Hoooooo, now that is a sandwich.

Serve with a hot cup of tea or coffee, or an equally bold stout or porter (my current favourite is the Beam Me Up Espresso Milk Stout from one of our local breweries, Fuggles & Warlock. It features Saltspring Coffee and is the perfect sipper for a rainy Sunday).

Balsamic Eggplant, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich
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Serves: 2 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 1 small eggplant or 3 baby eggplants
  • ½ a batch slow roasted tomatoes (roughly 3 large tomatoes or 6 small)*
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of hearty, seedy multi-grain bread
  • 75 g goat cheese
  • Fresh arugula leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  2. Slice eggplant lengthwise in ¼ inch slices and place on baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Brush over eggplant. Salt and pepper eggplant. Bake for 10 minutes, flip eggplant and brush with more of the balsamic mixture. Bake for an additional 10 minutes then remove from oven to cool.
  3. Lightly toast the slices of bread. Sprinkle a healthy layer of goat cheese over two of the slices. Top with a layer of tomatoes, followed by a layer of eggplant, arugula (if using) and finishing with the remaining slices of bread. Serve immediately, sliced (with soup if you're feeling extra ambitious, or all on it's own).
Notes
* My favourite thing to do with tomatoes: http://portandfin.com/slow-roasted-tomatoes/

 

Yam & Coconut Soup

yamcoconutsoup4Happy second day of Autumn! Or should I say: Finally, soup season!

Growing up, I was never a fan of soup. Unless it was a creamy clam chowder or sodium-overloaded chicken soup when I was sick, I generally thought soup was Lame with a capital L.

I just wasn’t a fan of pureed food when I could just as easily eat it all separate. This, coming from the child who never liked their food to touch. I preferred eating dinner on one of those divider plates that kept the peas separate from the potatoes, which were separate from the chicken, etc. What a wonderous, flavour-separating device for picky eaters under the age of 12.

These days, food is better when combined. Like gravy and stuffing topped on a bite of roasted turkey, or a forkful of potato hash with beef, red peppers and hot sauce, it just makes sense. Certain flavours are meant to be combined into one delicious bite full.

yamcoconutsoup1This soup, despite the short ingredient list, has a lot going on in terms of flavour without going overboard. While certain flavours pair nicely together, I think it’s important to keep recipes relatively simple. It’s easy to go overboard with ingredients, piling on little amounts of lots of things; when there’s too much going on, a lot of the flavours can get lost in each other. As I was taught in art school: K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid.

I’m a firm believer in the less-is-more ideal, for taste-bud (and budget) reasons.

Oven-roasted yams, sauteed onions with garlic and ginger, spicy curry paste, and creamy coconut milk all come together to make a creamy soup that, while intensely flavourful, can be made quickly on a weeknight with some relatively average pantry staples.

Hooray!

yamcoconutsoup2

yamcoconutsoup6I love the addition or red curry paste, as it adds a level of flavour reminiscent of a Thai red curry. If you’re not a fan of spice, omit the red curry paste altogether. To some it might be too spicy; however, the heat is welcome against the creamy coconut/yam base.

For a refreshing kick, top with a squeeze of fresh lime, a sprinkle of cilantro, and a swirl of plain yogurt.

Now, can we all agree to eat lots of soup this fall? I know I will!

Yam & Coconut Soup
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Recipe type: Main
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 large yams, peeled and diced (about 4 cups worth)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ Tbsp red curry paste (optional)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 400 mL can light coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Plain yogurt, to serve
  • Cilantro, to serve
  • Lime wedges, to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place yam pieces on an aluminum foil-lined baking tray. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Bake for about 20 minutes until yams are soft when pierced with a fork.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, saute remaining oil and onion until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, red curry paste, and turmeric and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Transfer onion mixture to a blender. Add coconut milk, broth, and yam; puree until smooth.
  4. Serve directly from the blender, or transfer back to the pot to keep warm.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt, cilantro, and lime wedges.

 

Banana Nutella ‘Éclairs’

Nutella Banana 'Éclairs'

It is 10pm on a Friday night. My husband and I, then living as 20-something childless yuppies, have celebrated the end of the week with a bottle of wine. Maybe there is a second bottle around here somewhere…

Yeah, no. There is definitely another bottle being cracked. And a pot of tea on the go? Grown up double fisting!

Our apartment is lit with candlelight because- romance. Our outfits are pajamas because- comfort. Dinner was probably steak and fresh pasta or some other indulgent treat, but ya know, that was a couple hours and a bottle of wine ago…

Nutella Banana 'Éclairs'

We could really use some dessert.

I’m definitely not graduating back to real pants, not when I’m so comfortable and lazy. Time to raid the pantry and see what sort of sweet treat I can come up with that won’t come out of the oven an hour from now when I’m already asleep in front of whatever Netflix gamble seemed like a good idea at the time.

And that’s how we came up with these…

In their original form, the puff pastry in these easy little treats was subbed with a flour tortilla and lightly fried- dessert chimichangas. If you don’t have puff pastry (or the patience for 30 minutes), do that instead. Wrap the whole banana and nutella in a tortilla, shallow fry it in a pan until golden on all sides. Slice in half diagonally and serve with ice cream. Just as easy, just as delicious, even quicker- only a little less impressive looking.

Nutella Banana 'Éclairs'

Because we’re classy and responsible grown ups now (ha!) we started making these with puff pastry instead. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know we love us some frozen puff pastry on this site. It’s easy, it’s versatile, it’s delicious, it’s beautiful. Puff pastry makes everything amazing.

It also inspired me to call these little beauties ‘éclairs,‘ although I’m sure the French Pastry Mafia will have my head for that. These aren’t real éclairs. They’re not made of choux dough, nor are they filled with cream… but sort of. They schmeck of éclairs. They are inspired by éclairs (like those movies that are Based on a True Story).

Nutella Banana 'Éclairs'

The banana in the middle- a ripe banana, but not an overripe one like you would use for banana bread- cooks and softens, but maintains it’s colour and structure. It bakes just enough to become, well, custardy.

So we have fluffy, buttery pastry, sumptuous melted hazelnut chocolate and a banana custard. It is a real éclair? No. But it will certainly satisfy the craving.

Nowadays, we make this at 8pm, not 10, and after two glasses of wine, not bottles. Doesn’t make it any less satisfying, though. Ahh, the joys of parenthood…

Banana Nutella 'Éclairs'
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Recipe type: Dessert
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Serves: 2 large servings (4 small)
Ingredients
  • 1 square puff pastry (1/2 package)
  • All purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg + water, for egg wash
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 Tbsp Nutella
  • 1 Tbsp hazelnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  2. Roll puff pastry out into a large square on a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, slice the square down the centre lengthwise, creating two tall rectangles.
  3. Lay a peeled banana in the middle of each rectangle then smear Nutella along one side of each banana. Fold in short edges of each rectangle, then roll up the pastry around the bananas reasonably tightly, as if you're making a banana burrito. Place both rolls on the lined baking sheet.
  4. Using a sharp knife, diagonally score the tops of both rolls. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately, whole or sliced into large rounds. Pairs excellently with cold vanilla ice cream.

Nutella Banana 'Éclairs'

Autumn-Spiced Simple Syrup

spicedsimplesyrup1I’m pretty sure the sound that comes from the first few leaves falling to the ground resembles a hushed whisper repeating “pumpkin spiiiiiiice”.

It’s that time of year again. Pumpkin spiced lattes are in the air, and on the airwaves. Literally – I’ve heard commercials for this classic fall drink on TV, the radio, in newspapers… if there was ever a fad that exploded into a cultural norm, it’s the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Truth be told, I am NOT a fan. I find they taste sickly sweet and have a faint faux pumpkin taste that is more reminiscent of cardboard. But, to each their own.

I rarely go out for coffee these days because it’s just so easy to make your own drinks at home (without getting our of your PJs)!

spicedsimplesyrup2

spicedsimplesyrup3Really, all you need is a couple of ingredients that you can buy on the cheap. A homemade, customized coffee – whether a PSL, London Fog, Chai Latte, or Cold-Brew – doesn’t come close to a $4.50 coffee from Starbucks.

To my fellow DIY Drinkers: Meet my new favourite thing. This simple syrup – and I mean simple – has become a daily staple in my house. Homemade, easy, and PACKED with all the spices and flavours of fall, it’s hard not to drink this stuff straight with a straw.

  • Cinnamon sticks.
    Star anise.
    Cardamom seeds.
    Whole cloves.
    Ginger slices.
    Peppercorns.
  • I add a small drizzle to:
    My morning latte (coffee or tea).
    My green smoothies.
    Cocktails.
    Glazes/frosting.
    Cold brew coffee.
    …. even over vanilla ice cream!

spicedsimplesyrup5These spices can be bought from your regular grocer for fairly cheap. It may seem strange to buy a big bag of cloves, but trust me, if you love the fall/winter time of year as much as I do, it’s worth it to have on hand!

Autumn-Spiced Simple Syrup
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All the flavours of fall in an easy, homemade simple syrup. Add to coffee, cocktails, glazes - even over top vanilla ice cream!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat water and sugar, stirring until sugar completely dissolves. Add cloves, anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, peppercorns, and cardamom pods; bring to a light boil.
  2. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for about 1 hour. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

spicedsimplesyrup4

Spanish Phyllo Cigars

Spanish Tapa Cigars

I’m not good with kids. That sounds funny coming from someone who just had a kid, but it’s true.

It wasn’t always this way, growing up I was Queen of the Kids. They would flock to me like squirrels to Ace Ventura, and I loved it. I even wanted to be an elementary school teacher for quite a while.

I’m not sure when exactly it changed. Whether they sensed I was getting less fun and backed off, or I got awkward around them first they sensed my reluctance. Regardless, somewhere around 18-20, my talent for ‘children’ disappeared.

Spanish Tapa Cigars

This didn’t dampen my desire to eventually have children of my own, oddly enough. I knew I would be okay when it came to my own kid.

Still, now that I’m a parent myself, I’m finding it a little awkward joining the ‘Mommy Mafia,’ so to speak. You know, the Pinterest Mums. The women you meet at Mommy & Me fitness classes. I still feel like a square peg in a round hole.

Maybe it’s just how mothers small talk, but I don’t want to hear about how glorious and magical motherhood is. I get it, we all love our children more than anything, we all feel like we invented love.

Nah, I want to meet people I would be friends with- with or without children- the mothers who shoot from the hip. Down-to-earth, sassy mums who love their kids to the ends of the earth, but can also admit, “Ahhh, I love [baby] so much. They can be such a**holes, sometimes, but I love them.”

Now, that’s a mum I can call my friend. Because, honestly, that’s what motherhood is. It’s glowing and magical and glorious, and disgusting and frustrating and unglamorous, and possibly the greatest thing you will ever accomplish, but also the most thankless thing on the planet.

Spanish Tapa Cigars

Which begs the question, why do I even crave mum friends? Why do women seek their own Mommy Mafias?

For the same reason soldiers find it difficult to relate to civilians. Yikes, am I comparing motherhood to war? Ehhhh, sort of. Not really. But I am in the sense that no one really, truly understands what you are going through, or have gone through, unless they have gone through the same.

When Evie was born, my step-mum told me that every time I was awake with her at 3am, I could find comfort in knowing that there were so many parents awake with me, staring into that same dark night. So many parents, near and far, throughout time, who reached the end of what they thought was possible… and then kept going- over and over and over again. A quiet camaraderie during the darkest hours of the day.

Before I had my daughter, people could tell me this- that I would reach the very outer limits of love and happiness and exhaustion and frustration, all at once, high and low, more than I ever could have thought possible- but I didn’t get it. I couldn’t fully understand until I was there myself.

This doesn’t make me love my non-parent friends any less. Not by a long shot. But it would be nice to have a kindred parent-friend, too. Someone who could share the good days, understand my over-the-top jubilation at hearing Evie laugh for the first time, but also see me on the bad and just know. See my eyes as empty, sleepless holes and give me a knowing look… and a large coffee.

Spanish Tapa Cigars

Sooooo… what does all this have to do with today’s recipe? A classic Spanish tapa, served with chewy red wine. This is the perfect treat for the end of a long week, and one I dream of sharing with that kindred parent-friend.

Salty chorizo, smoky, sweet charred pepper and soft, warm goat cheese, all wrapped in a flaky, buttery layer of phyllo. Wine, obviously. Toasting to one more day conquered. Now that’s a Friday sentiment anyone can get on board with, parent or not, amirite?

Spanish Phyllo Cigars
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Recipe type: Appetiser
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Serves: 18 rolls
Ingredients
  • 300 g goat cheese
  • 3 large links cured chorizo, diced
  • 3 roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 package of phyllo pastry
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  2. Lay out one sheet of phyllo pastry and brush with melted butter. Top with two more sheets of pastry, brushing each with butter. Slice the sheets into 6 equal sized rectangles.
  3. Crumble a line of goat cheese, chorizo and red peppers lengthwise along a phyllo rectangle, roughly ½ inch from the bottom edge and sides. Fold in the sides of the pastry and then roll it up nice and secure into a little burrito shape with the seam facing down against the pan. Repeat with all 6 rolls. Brush each roll with butter.
  4. Repeat process two more times to give you a total of 18 rolls. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Serve with a chewy red wine.

 

Spinach & Feta Mac N’ Cheese

spinachmaccheese5A common narrative in my household goes something like this:

Me: “Ugh, Matt, I feel gross, we need to eat healthier. Let’s have salads all week!”
Matt: “Sounds great.”

Two days later:
Matt: “What’s for dinner?”
Me: “Mac n’ cheese.”

Oops.

spinachmaccheese1I can’t help it. Food is my weakness, and it’s just so damn satisfying. I’m jumpin’-on-the-couch-on-Oprah head over heels for food. Who in their right mind can say NO to a comforting, cozy bowl of mac n’ cheese?

That being said, I wish I could diet. With a lingering foot injury and a noticeably slower metabolism, I’ve gained a bit of pre-hibernation weight despite my best efforts. I’ve tried dieting, but what starts with good intentions ends in moodiness, anger, and just a general sadness. Who am I to deny myself the joy of a good burger? It would be like telling an adrenaline junkie they can’t have any fun. To deny these simple life pleasures would be like going from a life of technicolour to a life of black and white.

spinachmaccheese3I guess it all comes down to will power (which I lack) and the ability to eat in moderation (which I am quite good at). While I might have a burger one night, I’ll have a salad for lunch. When I might snack on chocolate in the afternoon, I’ll have a green smoothie in the morning. When I make a cheesy, carb-tastic pasta, I’ll toss in a TON of spinach to make up for it.

It all evens out, in the end.

When I say a ton of spinach, I mean a ton. 500g of uncooked spinach is a decent amount of greens. When you cook it down, it shrinks to about 1/8 of the size, and while it still IS a ton of spinach, it packs down and hides nicely inside a hearty meal.

spinachmaccheese6This pasta is so. damn. good. Preparing it made my house smell amazing, and as I put it in the oven to bake I was giddy with excitement. One bite and it was bliss.

Sauteed, heart-healthy spinach.
Chewy, al-dente noodles (rotini to hold all the sauce).
The bite of freshly grated Parmesan.
A slight tang from the shredded provolone.
A hint of saltiness from some crumbled feta.
Lots of freshly cracked black pepper for a subtle heat.

Just typing this has me all excited to dig into my leftovers today.

I’ve kept this recipe vegetarian, but it would be absolutely fantastic with some shredded chicken added to the mix!

#TeamCarbs

Spinach & Feta Mac N' Cheese
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Recipe type: Main
Author:
Serves: 6
Creamy, alfredo-like sauce and sauteed spinach make this meal a weeknight favourite! A hearty serving of spinach balances out this dinner. It'll stick to your ribs and keep you cozy!
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rotini, uncooked
  • 500g fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups milk
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1¼ cups feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cups bread crumbs mixed with ¼ cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9x9" baking dish; set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, add spinach and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook until spinach has steamed and wilted, cooking in batches, if necessary. Transfer spinach to a fine-mesh sieve, pressing out any remaining liquid; set aside.
  4. In the same pot, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook for another minute. Stir in Dijon.
  5. Whisk in milk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes until thickened and mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the provolone, Parmesan, and ¾ cup of the feta until smooth.
  6. Add pasta and spinach to the pot and stir until evenly coated. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle breadcrumb and butter mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with remaining feta cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden and pasta is bubbly.

spinachmaccheese4

Lyonnaise Garlic Vinegar Chicken

Lyonnaise Garlic Vinegar OMG Chicken

Every once in a while, a recipe comes along that becomes A New Classic. A regular cast member. A weekly occurrence.

These are the recipes that become committed to your memory, that you can take inventory for- off the cuff- as you stroll through the grocery store. It’s first thing that comes to mind when you see full chicken legs on sale, or a gallon of red wine vinegar at your local deli…

As I mentioned in a previous post, my dad’s Maternity Leave gift to me was his collection of Gourmet, Food & Wine and Bon Appétit magazines amassed over the last… almost 30 years. This gift served two purposes: 1) it kept me happy and busy while waiting for baby and 2) it cleared out several very large boxes from his house, boxes that my step-mum was all too happy to finally see gone (30 years worth of magazines does schmeck a bit of pack-rattery, doesn’t it?).

Lyonnaise Garlic Vinegar OMG Chicken

Among those magazines, I stumbled across April Bloomfield’s Lyon-Style Chicken in a 2011 issue of Food & Wine. I set it aside as an intriguing yet simple recipe, but didn’t think much of it.

The following week, while I was sifting through my short-listed pages, I realized I had all the ingredients for Bloomfield’s recipe and went to work.

That evening, no one spoke throughout dinner, there was only the clattering of cutlery (and, okay, some rather inappropriate sounding moans). When the plates were licked clean, everyone agreed there was only one thing that needed to be said, “Let’s make that again. Soon.

Lyonnaise Garlic Vinegar OMG Chicken

We have since made this at least half a dozen times- no small feat considering it was only one short month ago that we discovered the recipe.

It’s so simple. So simple, guys. But so good. Much, much more than the sum of its parts.

Considering this recipe is mostly just garlic, vinegar and chicken, you might be surprised to discover this dish tastes overpoweringly of none of those things. Instead, the ingredients work together to create something entirely new. Something beautiful…

Lyonnaise Garlic Vinegar OMG Chicken

As far as the changes made to the recipe, they were minimal but work well for me. Instead of breaking down an entire chicken as Bloomfield does, I use full chicken legs, which regularly go on sale at my local shops. I break these down into thighs and drumsticks, beautiful leg meat which gives the recipe an added richness and this saves having to cook the drier breasts separately.

I upped the garlic a little as well, since it does mellow so beautifully and everyone in my family ended up fighting over those gorgeous softened cloves. Finally, as far as crème fraîche goes, I love it, but rarely have it in the house. Over several attempts, I discovered that substituting the more rare crème fraîche with your average sour cream or plain yogurt doesn’t affect the flavour of the dish in any substantial way.

In short, I have made a lot of delicious things this summer, but this one tops the list. This wins Gold. (well… maybe ties for Gold…)

Try it, you won’t be sorry. xo

Lyonnaise Garlic Vinegar Oh-My-God Chicken
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Cuisine: French
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Cook time:
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Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Heat a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large oven-safe dish (I love using my precious Le Creuset for this). Salt and pepper the chicken pieces then add them to the dish. Brown chicken on both sides. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, vinegar, the bay leaf and all 15 unpeeled garlic cloves to the pan and give it a swirl around.
  3. Turn all chicken pieces so they are skin side up and place dish in oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, basting the chicken half way through (at the 10 minute mark).
  4. Remove chicken and garlic from the dish and set aside. Place dish over medium heat on the stovetop then add chicken stock and deglaze the pan. Cook until reduced by half and then turn the heat down to low. Whisk in the crème fraîche and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  5. Return the chicken and garlic to the dish and cook on medium-high heat for an additional 5 minutes, basting the chicken frequently. Serve with rice and steamed seasonal veggies.
Notes
* Adapted from April Bloomfield, Food & Wine, October 2011.

 

Middle Eastern Super Salad

Seven Layer Super Salad

Quick and simple this morning since I’ve got a fussing baby, a dog to get to daycare, and a Mommy & Me fitness class to get to (it’s still weird that this is my life now. Not complaining! Just weird.)

The other weekend, while I was visiting paradise (Pender Island), my dad made me this salad. Apparently it’s one he’s been telling me to try for ages but, hearing ‘salad,’ I just kind of glazed over it. No doubt, salads can be wickedly delicious, but I usually don’t have as much fire under my butt to try them as, say, a really good pasta recipe (hence the fitness class…).

WELL. I stand corrected. Not only was this salad just as spectacular as he always raved, but it’s also a) ultra healthy and b) ultra filling. Not like, ‘uggggh I feel so gross’ filling- more like ‘wow, that will nourish me all day with it’s magical healing salad powers.’

Seven Layer Super Salad

I don’t know if any of you have ever been to a really excellent vegetarian/vegan restaurant and felt this way before. It’s a combination of feeling really, really satisfied and also a little smug at how healthy you’re being. It’s as if you can feel the nutrients just flowing through your system (sort of like drinking coconut water or pho while hungover), but in a rather sanctimonious way.

You temporarily vow to only eat healthy from now on, and never set eyes on a burger oozing with melted cheese again. (Obviously, you DO later eat said burger, but only after you’ve ridden this halo for a good while.)

Seven Layer Super Salad

The best part of this salad may be that you can play with all the ingredients. Have some broccoli lying around the fridge? Add it in! Proteins? I love this with grilled flank steak, bbq prawns, succulent roast chicken breast, you name it. The other week I had some leftover Caramelized Spiced Cauliflower lying around and added it in. HEAVENLY.

Don’t miss out on the dressing. It’s light, flavourful, and wickedly delicious.

Have fun, eat well, feel good. Happy Friday!

Middle Eastern Super Salad
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Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa*
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (~ 1 400ml tin, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 punnet fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced or cubed
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Grilled protein (fish, chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc.)* OPTIONAL
  • .
  • Dressing:
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa. Add to a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove lid, fluff quinoa and then drain any remaining liquid. Spread quinoa out on a large platter or divide evenly among 4 bowls.
  2. Spread chickpeas over top the quinoa layer, followed by the spinach leaves. Sprinkle with halved tomatoes, red onion slices, avocado, pistachios, mint leaves, and feta cheese.
  3. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour dressing over salad and top with protein if you so choose.
Notes
* For extra credit, toast the dry quinoa in a pan before cooking it. I love the nutty flavour this brings out! Cook in a dry pan for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Seven Layer Super Salad

Korean Meatball Rice Bowls with Kimchi Sour Cream Sauce

KoreanMeatballBowls1Every year, without fail, I’m baffled by the speed at which the summer flies by. Here in Vancouver, we spend so long – so long! – dealing with rainy weather, dreaming of those few, short months of summer and all that they have to offer.

Late night patio dinners with a pitcher (or two) and a few good friends.
Picnics in the park by the sea with a chilled rosé a warm, salty breeze.
Long hikes through the mountains in the calming silence of the woods.
Camping besides lakes with campfire dinners and a tent under the stars.
Farmer’s market hauls for homemade jams, pestos, and lazy Sunday roasts.
Saturday puppy dates, where Finn and I catch up while the pooches wrestle around in the grass.

KoreanMeatballBowls6The problem is, there are a limited number of weekends in the summer, and those weekends fill up FAST. Summer is just too short.

It’s briefness makes it special, though. Around this time of year, when the clouds start rolling in and the temperatures get a bit crisper, I feel very grateful to have enjoyed another summer here. It’s brief but beautiful, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

(I’ll gladly suffer through the rain for the other 9 months of the year!)

This summer was especially busy for both Finn and I, and as a result we haven’t been posting as much as we’d like. Hopefully by mid-September we’ll fall back in to our regular blog schedule, and get back to experimenting in the kitchen!

KoreanMeatballBowls4I made these Korean meatballs on a whim the other day, solely because I was had a massive, unexpected, overwhelming craving.

When I get a craving, I get a craving. It’s usually for something strange and out-of-the-ordinary, something that I rarely eat but all of a sudden just need to have.

Korean meatballs are slightly sweet, slightly tangy, Asian-inspired meatballs that are generally seasoned with garlic, ginger, and other flavourful additions. Tossed with a honey-hoisin glaze, these meatballs pack quite a punch of flavour in each bite-sized morsel.

KoreanMeatballBowls2While the meatballs are the show-stopper, the kimchi sour cream sauce is bit of a game changer. The kimchi is pulsed in a food processor with some sour cream, resulting in a tangy, vinegary, creamy sauce that pairs oh-so well with the rest of this dish.

Serve with some broccoli slaw and basamati rice and you have yourself an easy, delicious weeknight meal.

If you can’t find broccoli slaw at your local grocer, try any assortment of mixed/shredded veggies. The crunch of the slaw is a welcome texture in this dish. If you really want to go all-out, make your own by shredding some carrots, cabbage and broccoli.

I’ve added some Sriracha to the meatball glaze, and the heat is much appreciated during these chillier days. Feel free to omit, if preferred, or add a teaspoon more for even more heat!

Korean Meatball Rice Bowls with Kimchi Sour Cream Sauce
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Recipe type: Main
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Serves: 4
This easy yet flavourful weeknight meal comes together in under 30 minutes. These Korean-style meatballs - seasoned with garlic and ginger - are tossed in a sweet and spicy glaze and served with a kimchi sour cream sauce.
Ingredients
  • 500 g lean ground beef
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp each of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • .
  • Glaze:
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • .
  • Kimchi Sour Cream Sauce:
  • ¼ cup kimchi
  • ½ cups sour cream
  • .
  • 4 cups broccoli coleslaw mix*, mixed with 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup jasmine rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Green onions, sliced, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and lightly grease with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. To prepare the kimchi sour cream, combine the kimchi and sour cream in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, add the beef, green onions, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, sesame oil, ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix with your hands until fully combined. Form into 1-inch meatballs and place on baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the hoisin, honey, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Add the cooked meatballs and toss until fully covered.
  5. Divide rice into four equal bowls. Top with broccoli slaw and meatballs. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, and kimchi sour cream.
Notes
*If you can't find broccoli slaw in your grocery store, swap with regular slaw, or simply make your own with julienned carrots and shredded cabbage.

KoreanMeatballBowls5

Best Ever Cedar Plank Salmon

Best Ever Cedar Plank Salmon

Writing for a food blog is a curious thing. More often than not, I will start a post out with a personal anecdote and then weave it into the day’s recipe. By and large, the people I choose to follow online do this and that’s one of the reasons I continue to follow them. Seeing glimpses into other people’s lives endears me to them, it makes them personalities and stories to follow.

Of course, that’s not everyone’s preference. After a steady stream of enthusiastic, personal responses to my posts, I did once receive a “Ugh, who gives a sh*t about your day, just show me the recipe and shut up.”

WELL, Captain Grumpypants. This is my blog, and you don’t have you read my long, drawn out stories (or the blog for that matter if it upsets you so), sooooo… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Best Ever Cedar Plank Salmon

To each their own. Never gonna please everyone.

One thing that bugs me from time to time is when a food blog constantly refers to the day’s recipe as the ‘best ever!!!!’ Surely, not every recipe, every day, is The Best Ever. You can certainly have a lot of great recipes, or favourites, but over using BEST EVER and gushing over-the-top enthusiasm for every single recipe cheapens the phrase (and, frankly, makes me not trust your opinion).

But, er… well… this recipe is The Best Ever Cedar Plank Salmon recipe. Others are good, even great, but this  recipe is The Best. I use that idiom judiciously, so you can trust me on this. Really.

Best Ever Cedar Plank Salmon

You’ll notice I added a lot of notes to this recipe. That’s because it’s all about a balance of flavours. Slightly sweet but very tart jam. Peppery, savoury, slightly acidic mustard. Fresh, herbaceous tarragon- a hint of fresh anise flavour without being offensive or overpowering. Baked together with the salmon, it’s excellent. Baked on top of a cedar plank, which infuses the flavourful fish with a delicate, woody and smoky fragrance, is nothing short of magic.

Best Ever Cedar Plank Salmon
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Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 whole side of wild Sockeye salmon, filleted
  • 1 cedar plank*
  • .
  • Glaze:
  • 1 Tbsp good quality mustard**
  • 1 Tbsp currant or lingonberry jelly***
  • 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped****
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Soak the cedar plank in water for at least 30 minutes, making sure it is completely submerged. This will prevent the cedar from burning and instead 'steam' your fish, infusing it with delicious cedar-y flavour.
  2. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl. Spread evenly over the top of the salmon filet. If possible, let this sit on the fish for at least 30 minutes, but it's not a total game-changer if you can't wait for it to marinate.
  3. Preheat oven or barbecue to 375 degrees. Place salmon on top of soaked cedar plank. Place plank in oven/bbq (bbq with lid closed) and cook for 15-20 minutes (15 for a fairly thin side, 20 for a thicker piece). Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Notes
* Cooking quality cedar planks can be purchased in a lot of foodie stores, but you can get a cheap one at any lumber shop that stocks cedar. Just make sure its a) fairly thin and b) is not treated at all. We don't want any chemicals leaching into your fish. Strictly untreated cedar, folks.
** I like something reminiscent of Dijon but almost any kind of mustard will do here, save for yellow French's, which I do love but just doesn't hit the right notes for this recipe.
*** Lingonberry jelly can be bought at IKEA, currant jelly at most grocery stores. I have also used raspberry jam in a pinch. The trick is to get something lightly sweet with a good level of tartness.
**** Sorry friends, no subs here. I mean, you can use dried tarragon if you need to. But parsley in place of tarragon is a non-starter.

 

Avocado Pudding & Coconut Greek Yogurt Parfaits

AvoYogurtParfaits1Well, the cat’s outta the bag: in a few short weeks I will be unemployed. YAY. My boss sold her company and a handful of us (okay, all of us) are being laid off. It’s been stressful; I’ve never left a job under these circumstances. Usually, when I move on from a position it’s my own choice; I hand in my notice and move on. But this, well, this level of uncertainty wreaks havoc on my nerves.

After hearing the news, I spent a good deal of time unbearably stressed out, then a little while just angry about the whole thing. I eventually just accepted the situation, and currently, I’m actually excited about being laid off. I may be exaggerating a little bit I totally am but hey! It’s a fresh start! A chance to find something exciting! An opportunity to grow and evolve! No regrets! No going backwards! I’m excited, I mean look at all these exclamation marks I’m using! A lot!

In all seriousness, though, losing your job is tough. It’s serious business.

It’s times like these that I stress eat. My go-to vice at the moment is a handful – nay, a BAG – of those chocolate covered peanuts, but let’s be real, there’s no way I can eat those continuously without falling even deeper into a rabbit hole of despair. Those crunchy nuggets may satisfy my immediate need for relief, but they definitely won’t satisfy my mental state in the long run.

Thus begins my quest for healthier, binge-worthy, grief-swallowing snack food.

AvoYogurtParfaits2PUDDING! Homemade pudding is the bomb, but it falls under the same shame-eating umbrella as those chocolate covered peanuts. A healthier option involves:

  • whipped avocado… who knew of such food sorcery?
  • creamy vanilla greek yogurt
  • fresh berries (bonus points if they’re hand-picked)

Whipped avocado is my new favourite thing. Toss a peeled, pitted avocado in a food processor with some agave syrup (or honey), vanilla extract, and a splash of almond milk, and you have a  smooth, creamy pudding-like consistency that’s just sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, but healthy enough to keep your waist slim and trim. Hurrah!

The beauty of this recipe is that it is 100% customizable. Don’t have honey? Use sugar. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar! Maybe toss in some cinnamon or cocoa powder, while you’re at it. Layer it with plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt, or even lemon meringue pie yogurt (ooh dang).

AvoYogurtParfaits3So next time you reach for that chocolate, or that pudding, take a second to rummage through your fridge to see if you can make some avocado pudding parfaits!

I’m not saying to skip the chocolate pudding all together, but in moderation…. 😉

Avocado Pudding & Coconut Greek Yogurt Parfaits
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Recipe type: Dessert
Author:
Serves: 2
There is such a thing as a healthy dessert! Avocado gets whipped with sweetener and milk, Layered with Greek yogurt and topped with fresh berries and shredded coconut. This dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your waistline!
Ingredients
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more if needed
  • .
  • Coconut Greek yogurt
  • Shredded coconut
  • Fresh berries, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine avocado, agave, and vanilla. Blend, slowly adding the almond milk until mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency. Depending on the size of your avocado, you may need to add a little bit more liquid.
  2. Transfer pudding to 2 small glass jars, layering with Greek yogurt, and shredded coconut. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Serve topped with fresh berries and more shredded coconut.

 

Garlicky Marinated Carrots

Garlicky Marinated Carrots

I woke up yesterday and there was a distinct chill outside. A familiar, frigid mist hung in the air and bathed everything in the kind of crisp sunlight that sharpens edges. By the early afternoon, the mist had burned off and the summer sun returned in smooth, soft focus, but the warning was clear… summer is on it’s way out.

I feel like this summer passed in the blink of an eye. Despite finding myself outside more often than usual, most of my time has been muddled in a sleep-deprived, world-changing blur thanks to my daughter, who was born in early June. Now that she is coming up on 3 months, life is getting much easier and, with sleep becoming more regular again, I find myself getting back to living again- not just surviving. It’s a good thing I love Fall, because this one will be a fun one with my little companion by my side, who enjoys the world more and more every day.

Garlicky Marinated Carrots

The few exciting adventures I have had this summer stand out particularly bright against the blur of new parenthood. Just last weekend, we celebrated Evie’s first weekend away by visiting my dad’s home on Pender Island. It’s pretty much paradise.

The weekend before that, we took Evie to a family reunion organized by my husband’s side of the family. Evie won a prize for being the youngest attendee, then just 10 weeks old, and her great-grandmother won for being the eldest member of the family in attendance, at 96 years old. To think, almost 100 years between them!

It was a well-attended reunion, with people flying in from as far as Ottawa. We got to see a family tree, which traced back as far as the 1600’s, and discover quirky family names that have since fallen out of use (Euleilia being the most popular one. It took me a few tries to figure out how to pronounce it. It’s almost ukelele…ah.)

Garlicky Marinated Carrots

My contribution, albeit small, was to bring a batch of these carrots to one of the family dinners. Fresh carrots, straight from the garden, quickly marinated in a zippy dressing. I was pleased to see they were devoured quickly.

These are almost pickled carrots, but not quite. I loooove pickled carrots, but they’re tough to find in stores. This satisfies my pickled carrot craving with none of the time or effort.

Thus, I have had a jar of these in my fridge all summer. Once one jar is done, I make the next, and so on and so forth. They’re so easy and really crowd-pleasing. It’s a great (healthy!) snack to have on hand. Something that looks fancy and extra, but is really a snap.

Garlicky Marinated Carrots

Garlicky Marinated Carrots
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp red onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until just tender, roughly 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain immediately.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, red onion, parsley, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Add carrots and toss to coat. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 4 hours or as long as 2 days.

Garlicky Marinated Carrots

Sushi Beach Bowls

Sushi Beach Bowls

Blogging with a new baby is a lot different than I expected. For one, I didn’t expect I would be getting any blogging done, but I do manage to crank out a post here and there, somehow- so that’s good.

Hitting an infant’s three month mark is exciting since most people will tell you that’s when it gets much, much easier. I don’t know exactly how it does, but I can vouch for the fact that it does. It’s probably some combination of the parents gaining some level of parenting mastery, and the fact that around that time your baby develops a schedule. Oh yes, a schedule.

Afternoon nap time. Oh, what a glorious thing it is.

Sushi Beach Bowls

Evie will nap here and there for short bouts in the morning but every day, around 12 or 1, she drifts off in to a beautiful nap which usually lasts anywhere from 2-3 hours.

During this time, I race around the house like a dog off a leash. Laundry! Gardening! iPod dance parties (with my headphones, obvs)! Lounging in the sunshine! LUNCH.

Do I have time to make something elaborate, stage it and then take pictures? Of course not. But if something is already made or takes less than 20 minutes to throw together, then GAME. ON.

Sushi Beach Bowls

That’s where these sushi bowls started. I craved sushi, but didn’t want to wake Evie from her nap to go get it. Like hell I was going to attempt sushi rice and cool it and roll everything up. By the time I got half of that done, she would be wailing to get up and that would be the end of that.

I needed sushi… without sushi. Lazy people sushi.

(well, lazy sushi for people who don’t have a sushi shop on every second corner like we do in Vancouver and/or can’t get to said corner for one reason or another)

Sushi Beach Bowls

If you want some protein, top the bowls with some sashimi-grade salmon or tuna- or even lox, if you’ve got any on hand (it’s cheaper and easier). I usually make these vegetarian, because it’s easier to keep the fresh ingredients on hand. Heck, you can even make them vegan if you’re so inclined.

Creamy avocado, sweet mango, crunchy green onion and salty seaweed dotted with toasted sesame. Served atop regular ol’ Jasmine rice (I attempted with sushi rice before, it’s not worth the effort and is far too glutinous for a bowl like this), and then drizzled with the most addictive sweet and spicy mayo concoction.

It’s everything I wanted in a sushi roll… but I didn’t have to leave the house or paddle-cool any sticky rice. Lazy? Yes. Awesome? Yes.

Sushi Beach Bowls
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Serves: 2 bowls
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups brown or Jasmine rice
  • .
  • Maple Sriracha Mayo:
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise or Vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • ½ tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • .
  • 2 avocados, sliced or cubed
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Furikake rice seasoning*
Instructions
  1. Cook rice with a sprinkle of salt. Set aside- we don't want it cooled completely but we also don't want it piping hot.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, Sriracha, soy sauce, lemon juice and maple syrup.
  3. Divide the rice into two bowls. Top with avocado, mango, green onion and Furikake seaweed seasoning. Finish with a healthy drizzle of Maple Sriracha Mayo.
Notes
* If you can't track down Furikake, you can make your own simplified version here by crumbling 3 sheets of sushi seaweed (nori) and combining it with a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds and a sprinkle of salt.

Sushi Beach Bowls

Homemade Bacon Bits

BaconBits122Bacon bits. Who doesn’t love those crunchy, flavourful little nuggets? Whether you sprinkle them over a baked potato, toss them into salads, or add a few to your scrambled eggs, there’s no denying: they’re damn handy. A touch of bacon flavour without the messy work of cooking actual bacon.

I used to buy the prepackaged bacon bits all the time, but it wasn’t until I started being conscious of what I was consuming that I stopped. Just one look at the label is enough to deter a lot of eaters: simulated bacon bits. So… not even actual bacon, just simulated, crunchy bits that miraculously don’t even need to be stored in the refrigerator. Yum!

I stopped buying them. My sour cream baked potatoes were left barren.

Sure, I could have fried up some bacon and sprinkled the crispy bits on the potatoes, but in all honesty, I hate frying bacon. I really, really hate it.

It’s messy. It’s greasy. It spatters. Only three strips fit in the pan at a time. I love eating it, but the process of cooking it is undesirable. I rarely ate it at home until I discovered that you can bake bacon in the oven. One pan, some aluminum foil, easy clean up, and it’s possible to cook an entire pack all at once, in bulk.

It’s the only way I cook bacon now!

BaconBits222Simply line a baking tray (with edges, so the grease stays on the pan!) with aluminum foil, lay the bacon strips on the foil, and bake for about 20 minutes in a 375°F oven. Remove them from the heat and drain off the fat (save the fat for these cookies!), then eat as normal.

To make your homemade bacon bits, cook the bacon until crispy, let cool, and crumble it into tiny bits (or pulse in the food processor). Store them in a mason jar and keep them in the freezer!

It’s life changing. I have a jar of frozen bacon bits in my freezer at all times. I use a sprinkle here and a sprinkle there, as needed, to spice up any dish.

You can warm them up in the microwave if you want, but I recommend skipping that step! The bacon bits don’t even need thaw; when cold, they taste exactly like those simulated, crunchy bacon bits, but without all those nasty chemicals.

Baking the bacon lets you cook a big batch all at once, and storing the bacon bits it in the freezer keeps them from going bad.

Real bacon bits at your fingertips!

(That’s a pretty great jingle, can I patent that?)

Homemade Bacon Bits
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Prepackaged bacon bits can be a very disappointing addition to meals. Up your topping game by making your own! These bacon bits store well in the freezer. Simply remove a handful when you need them! Use in salads, scrambled eggs, waffle batter, baked potatoes... you name it!
Ingredients
  • 1 package of sliced bacon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking trays with aluminum foil, and lay the bacon slices on the foil. Bake for 18-20 minutes until bacon is cooked and crispy. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain off any fat. Try to remove as much of the fat as possible, as the dryer the bacon is, the better it will freeze. Let cool to the touch. Tip: reserve the bacon fat, if desired. Congealed bacon fat is a wonderful butter replacement in baking!
  2. Once bacon has cooled, transfer to a food processor and chop until broken into tiny bits. Transfer the bacon bits to a jar or freezer bag.
  3. Store in the freezer and use whenever you need 'em!
Notes
Bacon fat, when congealed at room temperature, makes a great butter replacement in baking! Try storing your bacon fat and using it in recipes such as this one!