Tag Archives: bacon

Roasted Shrimp & White Bean Salad

2 Aug

This is a fantastic light – but satisfying –  salad that we tried for the first time last night. J added some lemon juice to it to brighten the flavours of the dish, which I think was a great touch. I’m generally not a huge fan of watercress, but I really liked it in this dish. Great summer salad, but would be good year ’round.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 – 14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tb red wine vinegar
10 oz watercress
1 tb lemon juice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. On half of a foil-lined sheet, arrange the shrimp in a single layer. On the other half, place the bacon pieces. Drizzle everything with olive oil; season the shrimp with salt & pepper. Sprinkle the sage leaves over the entire sheet.
3. On a second baking sheet, place the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
4. Place both sheets in the oven. Cook the tomatoes until they burst, roughly 12 minutes. The shrimp and bacon will likely take a few minutes longer (roughly 15).
5. In a large bowl, place the watercress and beans. Add in the tomatoes and their accumulated juices and toss to mix. Then add the shrimp, bacon and any remaining liquids to the mix. (Use your judgement: you don’t want to add all the rendered fat back into the salad, but some of it.)
6. Add in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a little more olive oil. Toss to mix and serve!

Quinoa BLT Salad

9 Jul

I stumbled across this recipe on the Dulcet Devotion site and was instantly interested: healthy salad + bacon and feta? Best of both worlds! I made a couple of minor adjustments but otherwise it’s pretty close to the original. This was a light, satisfying salad that had crunchy, salty and sweet elements that had me going back for seconds. Next time I make it, I think I’ll add in some chili flakes or Sriracha for a spicy bite.

Serves 2 (as a main)

Ingredients

1 c quinoa, rinsed
4 – 5 strips bacon
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of cilantro and/or parsley, roughly chopped
2 avocados, diced
1/4 c green onions, diced
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb balsamic vinegar
1 tb olive oil/avocado oil
1 ts kosher salt
1 ts black pepper
handful of greens
50 oz feta, crumbled

Directions

1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. Place in a large bowl and let cool for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook, drain and crumble the bacon.
3. Put the tomatoes, green onion, avocado and herbs into a medium bowl. Mix together with a little bit of lemon juice.


4. Once the quinoa has cooled, add in the olive oil, rest of the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt & pepper. Stir to mix thoroughly.


5. Add in the rest of the salad fixings and season to taste, remembering that the feta will add some saltiness.


6. Plate the quinoa salad and top with greens and feta.

Candied Bacon

6 Apr

About a month ago, I came across an article that contained a recipe from one of the best BBQ restaurants in Toronto. This recipe? Oh yeah. It was for candied bacon. I posted it on Twitter with the comment, “I want to make this.” Pretty quickly, replies of “I want to eat that,” came in and a small brunch was planned for a few weeks later.

This recipe is almost silly it’s so simple. You really only need a few ingredients and you’re likely to have them kicking around anyway. I make a package and a half and it fed 6 of us. In all fairness, though, I likely could’ve made four packages for the 6 people and it would’ve disappeared just the same.

Ingredients

1 lb smoked bacon
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c water
black pepper
chile flakes – optional, but recommended

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Make sure you stir it in order to dissolve the sugar. Once boiled, remove from heat and cool.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the bacon out in one flat layer with some room in between each slice.
4. Brush the cooled sugar mixture on the bacon.  Add a generous amount freshly cracked black pepper and, if desired, sprinkle on chile flakes.
5. Pop the bacon in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once at the 15 minute mark.
6. When cooked, drain off the excess grease and serve!

Picture c/o The Star

Belize 2012 – Day Six: Chocolate, Bacon & Rum

23 Mar

Day two in paradise. Awoke to blue skies, steady breezes and temperatures in the high 20’s. We made our way down to breakfast around 8:30 and found our little table set with coffee awaiting us: pretty much the only way that morning could’ve gotten better. We were greeted by the staff and were promptly brought out a bowl of fruit to start our breakfast. Renita introduced us to Seth, a 20-something recent journalism graduate who was taking a month off before plunging into a full-time job. We chatted about travel and Belize and about the camera equipment he took with him everywhere he went. In the meantime, plates with beans, scrambled eggs with cheese and Johnny cakes were placed before us. As we munched away, I mentioned to Renita that I had found a chocolate manufacturer via Twitter in San Pedro and that we’d love the chance to visit. “Oh! You mean Belize Chocolate. I have Chris’ number in my phone. Let me just call him up and see if I can arrange for a tour.” Just like that, we had a tour of an organic, fair trade, locally-grown chocolate factory.

Have I convinced you to go to San Pedro yet?

A few other guests joined us and we all headed down to the south end of the island, roughly three miles from the B&B. Orlando, our taxi driver, was very entertaining, pointing out local landmarks and describing the various foliage which could either heal or seriously harm, apparently. We arrived at the Belize Chocolate Company and were greeted by one half of the team, a British ex-pat named Chris Beaumont. (His partner, Jo, works there in the afternoon.) He took us right into his work space and explained the basic chocolate making process. It was all we could do not to dive in greedily as he showed us the raw cocoa beans, the various stages the beans must go through in order to become beautiful, silky chocolate, the just-picked oranges that would be incorporated into some of the chocolate…seriously. It was tough even at 10:30am.

They make a number of different chocolate bars on-site and we had a little taste of each: dark, ginger, orange, chili and sesame. They were all (predictably) wonderful, but J and I agreed that the significant heat of the chili and the creaminess of the sesame were our favourites. We bought some to bring back to his dad as a thank you gift for driving us to, from and around the mountains, though it was hard to part with it.

The raw product

Oil gets reincorporated back in for a shiny finish

I'll take them all, thank you.

A quick note about the grounds. Even though making chocolate for a living is most kids’ (and adults’) dream, if I worked there I don’t know how I’d ever spend any time inside. This is the view Chris & Jo enjoy:

Sure beats a pavement and cement intersection.

What does one do after a morning spent sampling chocolate? One finds lunch, obviously. We headed to George’s, a local spot recommended to us last year by Josimar, the always-charming Jack of all trades at the B&B. Located just a couple of blocks away, George’s is a great spot for local food cooked up by George himself. It’s not the sexiest spot for lunch but man, is it ever good! J went for the stewed fish lunch; I opted for the stewed chicken. Importantly, both came with plantains and not just any plantains: of all the ones we tried all over Belize, these were the best. The caramelization on these puppies was just perfect:

It came with 2 plantains...I ate 1 before remembering to take the picture.

We passed the afternoon reading, swimming at the pool next door and chatting with Renita. (Tough life, I tells ya.) She mentioned that Red Ginger, an affiliate restaurant to Blue Water Grill where we’d eaten the night before, had excellent food. A little more upscale than the other restaurants in Belize, their food had gotten excellent reviews of late and she had enjoyed it immensely as well. Sold. Later that evening, we moseyed north up the beach, past the centre of town where kids were enjoying the enormous play area while their parents caught up with friends and music played through giant loudspeakers.

The staff at Red Ginger was unfailingly charming and courteous during the several hours over which we dined. We started off with a round of Ginger Punches, an evil concoction of white, dark and coconut rum, pineapple and orange juices, Triple Sec, sweet and sour mix, a dash of bitters and tiny pieces of shaved ginger as a garnish. Those little pieces of ginger were a genius addition as they helped to balance out the sweetness of the rum and the juices. This cocktail will appear at our next party, that’s for sure.

For dinner, we ordered the grouper ceviche. Mixed with mango juice, ginger and cucumber, this was a lovely and refreshing appetizer served in a beautiful martini glass with a compartment for ice underneath to keep the ceviche properly chilled.

Next up: snapper fillet with Caribbean garlic-cilantro mojo, served with coconut rice and  wilted spinach and bacon-wrapped scallops with a maple cream sauce on a bed of pappardelle pasta and julienned zucchini and carrots Bacon-anything usually gets my vote as is, but wrapped around scallops and served over fresh pasta with a sweet maple cream? Oh my, yes. Really, this was a stellar meal in a beautiful restaurant. If we’d had room, certainly we’d have indulged in dessert but we were pretty full as it was. Shame, really, as the rum-glazed bananas and the trio of crème brulée looked fantastic.

We casually made our way back to the B&B through the buzzing streets of San Pedro, passing both locals and tourists out enjoying a Friday night on the caye. We were to leave the next afternoon for Caye Caulker, a full-on hippie paradise where life is even slower than in San Pedro. While I looked forward to it, I was saddened by the thought of having to leave a place that I could call home. Maybe one day…

NYT Project: Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/ Bacon & Pine Nuts

19 Dec

Brussels sprouts were the bane of my existence as a child. The mere mention of them would send me into fits of eye-rolling, gagging and desperate complaining with the hope of being spared from their inherent repulsiveness.  My parents would insist that they liked them and I could only assume that they were either a) blatantly lying or b) insane.

Fast forward twenty years and I find myself at the market, buying a pint of Brussels sprouts voluntarily. What has gotten in to me? It started back in the summer with reports of a friend making absolutely delectable Brussels sprouts for a group of eight or so. So the story goes, people were actually fighting (cordially…but still) over the last few sprouts. After verifying this story and hearing said people swear up and down that they were great, I began to rethink my stance. If all those people – most of whom hated Brussels sprouts as kids – liked them now, maybe it was time to give them another chance. Flipping through the NYT cookbook, I came across a recipe that looked easy and, importantly, included bacon. Bacon makes everything better, as far as I can tell.

This recipe does require you to do a few steps, but if you have a food processor, it is well worth using it! Alternatively, if you have Brussels sprouts large enough, you could shred them on a box grater. Just watch your fingers!

They look so harmless!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 pint Brussels sprouts
3 strips bacon, diced
1/4 c pine nuts
3 scallions, finely sliced
1/4 ts nutmeg
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Trim the Brussels sprouts. If you have time/desire to, you can core them as well but it’s not necessary. In batches, shred in the food processor.
2.  Fry the diced bacon until crispy, roughly 10 minutes. When cooked, remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.
3.  Add the pine nuts to the pan with the bacon fat and cook over a medium-low heat until the pine nuts have turned a light brown. (2-3 minutes.)
4. Add the sprouts, scallions and nutmeg. Cook until the sprouts are done, roughly 6-8 minutes. They should be bright green.
5. Stir in the bacon pieces and season with plenty of salt and pepper. (Make sure you taste, though, as the bacon is salty, too.)

Looks great, tastes better.

A’s Kick-A** Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

31 Dec

The Awesome Brother brought these over on Christmas and they were snarfled up in seconds. Yes, snarfled. He tells me that they’re easy to make and I am happy to report that they are even easier to eat. They’re crunchy. They’re salty. They’re sweet.  Believe me, you want them.

Serves 8.

Ingredients
2 cans whole water chestnuts
2 tb Worcestershire sauce
1 c ketchup
1 c brown sugar
1/2 lb bacon
toothpicks
1 tb hot sauce, optional*

Directions

1. Preheat oven 375F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Marinate water chestnuts for roughly 2 hours in sauce.
3. Cut bacon in half lengthwise & wrap one slice around each chestnut.
4. Secure the bacon with a toothpick and arrange the water chestnut wraps in a large baking dish, leaving room between each chestnut.
5. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes.
6. Take the chestnuts out of the oven and drain off any excess fat from the bacon. Glaze with remaining sauce.
7. Return them to the oven for another 30-35 minutes until the bacon is crispy.

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