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.