Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bacon Love's Labors

This is the recipe that my boyfriend ultimately chose for me to make from the Bacon recipe book. 
I had never made risotto before and I had heard that getting the technique down was quite difficult and required some skill. I was very apprehensive. 

Bacon Butternut Squash Risotto 
Courtesy of "I Love Bacon" Cookbook 

It turned out perfectly! I would make it again in a heartbeat  without fear. One of the best things I've ever made!

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb applewood double smoked bacon, diced
12 fresh sage leaves, plus 1/2 small bnch sage, stemmed, leaves julienned
1 large red onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
6 cups chicken stock, hot
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted then crushed
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup shaved parmigianno reggiano for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

Fill saucepan halfway with water and bring to boil
Add squash and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
Move squash to a baking sheet coated in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast until brown.

In a skillet on medium low heat cook bacon and drain on paper towels.
Fry sage leaves in the bacon fat and drain on paper towels.

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat.
Add onion until translucent.
Add rice and coat with oil.
Add white wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.
Add chicken stock ONE LADLE AT A TIME, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed (THIS PART IS ESSENTIAL!!) Usually will take up to 20 minutes.
After about 15 minutes, add squash, bacon, pecans, sage and parsley.

Lastly add butter and season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with shaved parm and serve. Bon Apetit!

Bacon Love

*This post was actually created in December before Christmas...
Sometimes simple gifts make the best gifts.
I had no idea what to get for my boyfriend this year. I probably ran a six dozen ideas through my head before I found the answer.


I got him all Bacon themed gifts from bacon cheddar cheese,

to this bacon magnet

 to this book

with all bacon recipes along with the promise of making any of these recipes of his choice for our own Christmas dinner celebration.

My personal favorite thing about this Bacon package was this card I made explaining the Bacon Promise depicting my boyfriend and his mutual friendship with Bacon. His shirt says Bacon is My Homeboy.

If you're looking for novelty bacon items like bacon floss, bacon gumballs, a bacon tie, bacon soap or a bacon car freshener check out this site! That's where I did most of my holiday shopping!

Tribute to Harry Potter!

I made this creamy delightful drink on Halloween on last year as I dressed as a Hogwart's student from Harry Potter complete with a cloak, a Gryffindor badge and broom.

Today I've been lying around pathetically on the couch recovering from a cold reading the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It's taken me months but today was the faithful day that I completed it. It's as if I've put part of my childhood to rest. Thus I decided to share this Harry Potter inspired recipe on this day.

I especially like it with spiced rum! After all it is also St. Patty's Day weekend!

P.S. Don't be frightened by imitation butter, it's actually VERY tasty!

Courtesy of Darla of Bakingdom

Six  12-ounce bottles chilled cream soda [I prefer IBC (which is vegan) or Polar Classics Vanilla, but any will work perfectly], substitute diet cream soda for a still yummy sugar-free version
3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) imitation butter flavor, or 2 tablespoons clarified butter (instructions linked above **clarified butter does not always blend well with the cold beverage, see info above**)
*The original recipe from Darla calls for 1 oz of rum. I chose to put in 2 oz and I also drizzled some rum over the top of the foam. I used an Old Rum, which I bought last year on a birthday trip to Bermuda. 
FOR THE FOAM (Vegan/Dairy-free recipe linked above)
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar, or splenda for sugar free version
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons imitation butter (if using clarified butter, double the amount to 3 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon)
To make the butterbeer: Set out 6 16-ounce glasses. Place 1/2 teaspoon of imitation butter (or 1 teaspoon clarified butter) in each glass. Pour 12 ounces of cream soda into each glass, over the butter. Lightly stir, if necessary.
To make the foam: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form, another 3-4 minutes (if you need to whip more or less, then be sure to do so, the times can vary quite a bit based on environment). Stir in the vanilla and imitation butter (or clarified butter), then whip for another 30 seconds or so, until soft peaks form.
Spoon a generous portion of foam on top of each glass of butterbeer, mixing gently, if desired (or spoon the foam into the bottom of the glass and pour the butterbeer over the top). Serve immediately.

Homemade Orange Julius Smoothie

Courtesy of Colour Palate
Originally this recipe called for orange juice concentrate but I opted to juice my own oranges seeing as I had quite an abundance of them.

1 cup almond milk
3 ice cubes
1 orange
2 raw almonds
coconut flakes

Using a juicer, I made orange juice with the orange. Then I added the pulp to the juice, being careful to remove the pulp that was filled with pith. I added the remaining ingredients to the blender to create a milky, orange smoothie. It was not as thick as I so desired so I covered it with plastic wrap to harden in the freezer. I grated 2 almonds to create a coconut/almond garnish. This makes for an excellent dessert for a raw dieter!

Cauliflower Two Ways

Raw Mashed Cauliflower (Substitute for Mashed Potatoes)
Courtesy of Kimberly Snyder

Modified for 1 serving

1.5 cup chopped small cauliflower florets
tblspoon olive oil
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
dash of onion powder
sprinkle of rosemary
sprinkle of parsley flakes

Blend til smooth.

My boyfriend absolutely hates raw cauliflower. In fact, he despises this vegetable. Calls it the poopy version of broccoli.  The only other time that he will eat cauliflower is when I use it in an Indian Cauliflower Soup.  He tasted this raw cauliflower mixture and claimed it was pretty good!! It does  uncannily taste, look and feel like mashed potatoes. There is a slight cauliflower finish but it isn't as aggressive as when you bite into a raw cauliflower floret. Overall, I suggest that any non-cauliflower believer will find themselves liking this so hated vegetable in this raw recipe, the Indian cauliflower soup and roasted.

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower
Courtesy of Kirsten's My German Kitchen

I modified this recipe according to a former co-worker's suggestions, who used to serve this dish in a restaurant. I only made enough for a single serving and I didn't measure anything.

chopped cauliflower florets
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
chopped anchovies or anchovy paste
red pepper flakes or dried red chili peppers with seeds

Preheat the conventional oven to 400 degrees. Place chopped cauliflower florets in a zip-lock bag and add olive oil, anchovies, and red chili pepper. Shake and coat the cauliflower in mixture. Place on aluminum covered baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes. When using anchovy paste or anchovies, you do not need much as a little goes a long way. If you do not like anchovies, have no fear, as you cannot taste them once the cauliflower has cooked.

After I roasted the cauliflower, I decided to add it into an ad-hoc mac and cheese that I was making for myself. I used a box of Annie's white cheddar shells, added some preshredded Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese, a dash of Parmesan cheese, a tablespoon of butter, a little bit of almond milk, blanched broccoli and mushrooms. I also added red chili pepper flakes, and some onion salt to taste. The cauliflower was delicious in this creamy pasta! Next time I will try a recipe that uses cauliflower as a substitute for the macaroni in a mac and cheese recipe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brocolli Dill Salad and Orange Couscous

brocolli florets
goat cheese

rice vinegar
white wine
ginger powder
onion powder

This was my boyfriend's creation but I had to share it because it was delicious! I paired it with the sizzling squid over orange couscous (cook couscous with orange and chicken broth).

I was elbows deep in paperwork at my new full time job when I got a surprise delivery of my favorite flowers.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Homemade Samosas!

I tried two dough recipes for making samosas and I tried to make a few using chickpea flour. I ultimately decided that it was best to use all purpose flour and I preferred the second recipe for dough as described below courtesy of Manu's Menu. I favored the filling at Sound'Spicy. You can try making samosas with beef or chicken but I prefer the traditional and vegetarian potato and pea filling.

Courtesy of Sound Spicy

Samosa Dough (with all purpose flour)
Makes:12 Serves:6



  • Maida / All-purpose flour - 1-1/2 cup
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Ajwain/Carom seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Yogurt/Curd - 1 tbsp
  • Warm Water - 1/4 cup
  • Potato (medium size) - 3 
  • Fresh green Peas - 1/2 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Green chilly - 2
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Chaat masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Amchoor powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Lime juice - 1 tsp
  • Cilantro - handful
  • Salt
Chaat masala spice mix
Courtesy of the Epic Centre


4 teaspoons amchur powder
3 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds, ground
3 teaspoons ground black salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch asafetida powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon roasted fennel seeds or anise seed, ground
1/2 teaspoo ajwain
1/4 teaspoon ground dried mint
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika 

Samosa Dough from Manu's Menu

Ingredients (makes 8 samosas):
1 cup flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
½ cup lukewarm water (to add little by little as required)
½ tbsp ajwain/carom seeds or cumin seeds (optional)

Canadian Adventures

While venturing in Canada in October, I came across this!

Behold Lobster Potato Chips!

Much tastier than the lobster ice cream that I was too afraid to try in Maine the summer before. (It actually had lobster in it!)

Garden Harvest!

This was taken on October 8th and it was in the mid 80s.

Raw Mango Sorbet

frozen mango chunks
Coconut milk

Blend together. Serve or freeze to eat later.

Raw Portabello Sandwhich

2 large portabello mushrooms 
fresh basil 

I bought all of these ingredients except for the avocado locally from Farmer's Markets to make this delicious sandwich! 

Raw and Baked Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Courtesy of From Sad to Raw

 1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups basil
1/2 cup olive oil
 3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

- Place mushroom caps top side down on a plate.
- Blend all stuffing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

 I think part of the secret to my success in making this pesto was due to the fact that I used fresh pulled basil plants from my garden. I've pulled up all of my plants yesterday for fear that the frost would come any morning and ruin them all. I stuffed both raw mushrooms for the raw diet eater in house and also stuffed mushrooms to bake in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. I also baked the cooked mushrooms with a sprinkled cheese topping using only the very best: Halifax's own local That Dutchman's Farms'  Hammer and Chisel cheese, a hard 60 year old cheese with a distinct and delicate flavor.

Raw Chocolate Sauce

We're celebrating a birthday in the house today so I figured I'd make something extra special for my boyfriend, whose been on a raw diet. It takes hardly any time and it tastes like a nice dark chocolate sauce!

Courtesy of Annie
Recipe as shown on website

2 T raw cacao powder, either ground from raw cacao nibs or purchased as powder
2 T raw agave syrup*
1/2 t coconut oil or other organic raw nut oil OR 1/2 t filtered water*

*I used honey instead of agave syrup and vanilla almond milk instead of the oil or water. I also increased the amount of liquid for the milk to a teaspoon for a creamy chocolate sauce. I also added a half teaspoon of cardamom powder for a little depth and a sprinkle of sea salt. I recommend experimenting with different flavors. Try using coconut oil or milk for a different flavor or maybe add a dash of cayenne or chili pepper to make it a spicy chocolate sauce. It is delicious!! I had a hard time resisting  this myself, despite not being on a raw diet!

This post was created on 10/2/2011.

Grilled Vs. Stone Baked Pizza

Grilled pizza is quick, requires little to no prepping or preheating but if you aren't careful, you can easily ruin a pizza that you've spent hours making. The trick is to be precise, vigilant and to oversee the pizza while it is being grilled.

 Cooking on a stone gave my pizza a calzone feel to it because it literally folded in half when I tried to transfer the pizza to the stone. It was a little more time consuming and it also did not cook the pizza evenly. This is probably because the pizza had improperly fallen onto itself. However, it was delicious and had a nice crispy doughy crust. 

Margarita pizza with homemade marinara sauce and roasted garlic. 

 American Style Pizza Dough (for grilling)
 Courtesy of The Cooking Photographer, Adapted from a Wolfgang Puck recipe 

Potato Pizza with Balsamic Onions and Goat's Cheese

  Potato Goat Cheese Pizza Courtesy of The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook
Prep time: 40 min. + standing
Total Cooking time: 55 minutes
1/2 cup warm milk
50 g (1 2/3 oz) fresh compressed yeast or 2x7g (1/4 oz) sachets of dried yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup mashed potato
1 cup plain flour
2 tblsp chopped parsley
ground black pepper

-Mix milk + yeast with sugar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave in warm place for 10 minutes until frothy.

-Stir mashed potato, flour, parsley, salt pepper and yeast mixture in a large bowl until soft dough forms. Knead on floured surface for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springs back when pressed.

-Put dough back in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

-Preheat oven to 415 F. Knead dough for 2 minutes on floured surface. Oil a pizza tray/baking sheet. Press on tray to fit.

-Add toppings.

1 kg (2 lb) red onions (thinly sliced)
1 bulb of garlic
200 g (6.5 oz) roasted red pepper cut into strips
1/2 cup black olives
50 g (1 2/3 oz) goats cheese cut into small pieces
black pepper

-Add sliced onions to a bowl and pour balsamic vinegar over to cover. Leave onions in bowl overnight or until they've caramelized. Preheat oven to 475 F. Wrap garlic bulb in foil and leave in oven for about 25 minutes or until soft. Mash roasted garlic. Add coarse salt (I used sea salt) to the top of your pizza crust. Spread garlic mash over crust. Push in balsamic onions into the crust. Add strips of red pepper, olives, and goat cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper.

I  personally preferred the grilled pizza with the other kind of cheese as opposed to the potato pizza with goat cheese. Now that I've made homemade pizza, I'm impressed by how easy and amazing it can taste. I used to order from a gourmet pizza place in town called Anastasia's but now I know I can make any specialty type of pizza I want without compromising flavor. Give it a try! You may surprise yourself!

New Home, New Endeavors

As many of you already know, Sophia and my residence on Quinn Street Attic is no longer our home. We both have relocated in different cities, borders away from each other. We've decided, however, that in spite of our new lives, we will continue to share our lives, particularly our cooking lives, on this humble blog.

Upon arriving in my new home, I discovered this lovely edition of the Bread Baker's Apprentice waiting for me.

Not only is Bread Baker's Apprentice filled with infinite detail about the bread making process but its expertise is referenced on many a blog. I must say that I am a bit intimidated by this book yet I have no doubt that it will bring me further to being a better baker of bread.

Raw Kale Avocado Soup

Kale Avocado Soup 
Courtesy of Dr. Sachen Patel

1/2 an Avocado
2 tsp ginger root
1 – 2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of turnip greens (can also use kale or collard greens)
1 medium sized cucumber
1/2 tsp tumeric
1.5 cups of hot water
juice of 1 lime
Cilantro to taste
Add the contents to your blender. Add chopped cilantro on top.
Dr. Patel claims that this soup will clear your sinuses and will promote regularity.

This recipe was earthy and a bit too watery for our taste. I added another half of an avocado, a dash of tamari soy sauce and a few slices of jalapeno pepper to add flavor. It was a very green and light tasting soup, which I served alongside a main dish of raw Asian marinated mushrooms.

Coriander Avocado Soup

Courtesy of Russell James, the Raw Chef

Recipe as shown on the Raw Chef website:

2 avocados
3/4 of a medium cucumber
1 stalk celery
Juice of 1 lime
Small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tamari
1 cup water (if wanting warm soup use hot water)
Sour cream and chopped chives to garnish
- Blend all ingredients, except the sour cream and chopped chives in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sour cream and chopped chives.
Sour cream
1 1/2 cups cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Add a little extra water one tablespoon at a time if you’re having trouble getting the cashews smooth.

The flavor was subtle and smooth. I added a little bit of cayenne, but it didn't make much of a difference. Either way, this soup is perfect on its own without any alterations. My boyfriend claimed that the sour cream actually was very similar to the real thing.

Raw Marinated Asian Style Mushrooms

Raw Marinated Asian Style Mushrooms
Courtesy of Gone Raw

Here is the recipe as shown on the Gone Raw website.
4 large sliced portabello mushrooms 
2 Tablespoons of Sesame oil
2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinager
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon of chopped ginger
1-2 Tablespoons of tamari or braggs
2 Tablespoons of raw, unhulled sesame seeds

Place into a mixing bowl and add all the ingredients then gently massage the mushrooms until they are evenly covered. Put into the fridge and allow to marinate for 2 hours or more. The longer you leave them the more the flavours will soak into the mushrooms. 

These made for a great raw substitute for stir fry. I served them over cauliflower rice. I would happily eat this over a salad or as a side whether or not I was on a raw diet. 

Cauliflower Rice
Food process cauliflower florets until resembles a grainy mixture. You may season it however you wish. I chose to use Borsari Seasoned Sea salt, a few leaves from my thai basil plant, parsley flakes and onion salt.