Yum Peaceful Cooking: August 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

BLT Canapes #SundaySupper

Happy Labor Day Weekend! And it's all for you....the laborer. Whether you work in home, from home or away from home, your hard work is being recognized and appreciated.

Many of us will be celebrating Labor Day with our friends and family. Attending BBQ's, picnics, or just relaxing at home. What ever the case may be, this appetizer is perfect. It doesn't require much labor, it's quick, easy and delicious!

How can it not be? It's a deconstructed BLT sandwich and who doesn't enjoy a good ole BLT? (if you're raising your hand, I don't wanna know. I'd rather continue to think that I live in a perfect world where everyone loves BLT's.)

Today's Sunday Supper is all about Tantalizing Trays. Perfect for entertaining whether it's for Labor Day or a future event....the recipes that we've put together for you are bound to make your mouth water.

Now, this recipe calls for bacon that has been cooked and crumbled. If you must, use can use store bought bacon crumbles. If you have a little bit of time, cook your bacon (I bake it in the oven at 375' F on a baking sheet, turning once, until crisp) drain, then stuff it in a food processor

I have this wonderful mini food processor that was a wedding gift....a long, long time ago (I'm not going to say how many year ago, but if it were a child, it would have graduated from college by now). It's amazing. I use it often and it still works wonderfully! They just don't make things the way they used to, sadly enough.

Give the bacon a couple of pulses and viola!

You have fresh bacon crumbles with very little effort!

BLT Canapes
from the cookbook "What Can I Bring?" by Anne Byrn
makes about 24 canapes
Printable Version

1 cup mayonnaise
8 slices of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped
Cayenne Pepper to taste
24 toasted bread rounds or crackers
24 slices of plum tomatoes, patted dry (I used the heirlooms that I had on hand)
2/3 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

If you are using toasted bread rounds, get about 8 - 12 slices of sandwich bread. Using a 1 1/2" cookie cutter, cut the bread into rounds. Place them on a baking sheet and broil until lightly brown on one side, about 1 or 2 minutes.

I used crackers.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, bacon and parsley. Add the cayenne pepper to taste. I started off with about 1/2 tsp, and ended up using 1 tsp. It has a nice little kick in the end. This can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you're ready to serve, spread 1 or 2 tsps of the bacon mixture on your bread or toast. Top with a tomato slice and garnish with the shredded lettuce.

And enjoy your bite sized BTL!

Check out the other Tantalizing Trays listed below and enjoy your weekend!

Savory Bites:
Sweet Treats:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fettuccine with Bacon and Kale #InternationalBaconDay

Happy International Bacon Day! 

Bacon is definitely a food to be celebrated. The salty, smokey crispiness seems to satisfy many food cravings all at once. I cringe at the thought of a 1/2 lb burger but wouldn't notice if I noshed on a pound of bacon and realize how much I'd eaten until it was almost gone.

Bacon has taken on a whole new level of popularity in the recent decade. Although it has been a popular and common breakfast food for centuries, it seems that bacon has gone a bit wild in the culinary scene. Not only has it flown from the breakfast plate to the dessert bar (and every meal in between)bacon seems to have found its way into the non-food venue as well.

Bacon has been presented in a rustic manner most of it's life; a slab of meat that's cured and smoked then baked as is and eaten with our hands. We've also experienced it's recent fun side, dipped in chocolate, mixed with ice cream, etc. And even it's silly side, scented candles, air fresheners, and shaving cream. Now it's time to allow it to shine in a more sophisticated manner, as a flavor enhancer rather than having it hog the spot light. Let's appreciate it in it's more grown-up presentation in this delicious dish. With all the crazy things that bacon has been subjected to, it's nice to present it in a more subtle, upscale fashion.

Fettuccine with Bacon and Kale
Printable Version
From the cookbook, Bacon Nation by Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama

5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (cooking shears work wonders with this prep)
8 oz of kale, center rib removed, leaves coarsely chopped
8 oz fettuccine
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnishing
Fresh ground nutmeg for garnishing

Bring 4 or 5 quarts of water to a boil.

While that is going on, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 - 8 minutes, until the bacon is lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon for the skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet.

Once the water has come to a boil, add salt and the kale. Cook, uncovered for about 5 minutes then using a slotted spoon transfer the blanched kale to a colander to drain.

Return the water to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring to separate and cook until al denta, according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, add enough olive oil to the bacon fat in the skillet to measure 2 or 3 TB. Heat for about 30 seconds or so, over medium heat or until the fat begins to shimmer. Add the kale, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes, tossing to coat. Cook for about 3 minutes, tossing and stirring occasionally.

Return the bacon the skillet along with the chicken stock and let simmer until warm, about a minute or two.

When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return to the pot, over low heat.

Add the kale and bacon mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Add the cheese and about 1/4 cup of pasta water to thin the sauce as desired.

Serve immediately, garnishing with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg (not much...a little goes a long way) and more grated cheese.

If you don't have, or can't get Pecorino Romano cheese then use Parmesan. While they are not the same, I believe they are similar enough for the dish.

I love the flavors that come together so nicely in this simple dish. The kale (which could be substituted for spinach if cooked in less time) with all of its nutritional value, made me feel like I was being very conscientious about what I was eating. With only 5 slices of bacon in the whole dish, (which serves 3 - 4 people as a main dish) there really wasn't any guilt going on here.  See? We can have our bacon and eat it too. In a more grown-up sort of way.

If you love bacon but feel guilty when you eat it...use it as an accent rather than a side in and of itself and you'll be able to enjoy it's culinary benefits more often.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Honey Dew Lime Ice Cream

We are in the height of honey dew melon season (along with watermelon and cantaloupe). I love them all but when you get a good one...nothing can beat the beautiful sweetness of a good honey dew.

I recently had 2 honey dew melons and knew I couldn't eat them both on my own before they went bad.
Sir Sportsalot and my youngest daughter aren't fans of it. My oldest daughter is, but she's so busy I hardly see her. With that in mind, I wanted to make something that would preserve the melon so nothing would go to waste.

I cut one of the melons open and was so disappointed. No flavor what so ever. Can't use that in ice cream. Honey dew has such a delicate flavor as it is, that it would've been completely lost in the cream. Thank God the second one was amazing! Plus this recipe only uses 2 cups so there was plenty leftover for enjoying on it's own.

Honey Dew Lime Ice Cream
Printable Version
Makes about 5 cups

2 cups chopped honey dew
juice from 1 lime (or 2 if your lime isn’t “juicy”)
2 ¼ cup whipping cream
⅔ cup sugar
pinch of salt
Zest from one lime

In a food processor or blender, puree the honey dew and lime juice.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar and salt until sugar dissolves.
Pour honey dew mixture into cream mixture. Add the half of the lime zest and stir to combine. 

Cover and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours or over night. The longer you chill it, the creamier your ice cream will be (says Alton Brown).

Taste your mixture. Add a bit more lime zest if desired. Save the rest to garnish.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Garnish with lime zest and chunks of honey dew if desired and enjoy.

The lime is a surprising flavor enhancer and if used sparingly, doesn't over power the delicate flavors of the melon. This ice cream is refreshing and subtle in it's richness making you want to savor each bite before digging in for more. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Savory Fig and Sweet Onion Freezer Jam #SundaySupper

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. The gardens are filled with ripened produce and the farmers markets are loaded with whatever you can't / don't grow.

But soon enough, it all comes to an end. (boo-hoo)

No fear! Sunday Supper is hear! Today it's all about saving summer! We have how-to's on dehydrating, freezing, making sauces, jams, pickling, oh my gosh...there's so much you can do to save those summers flavors.

I recently made Grilled Fig Onion Glazed Pork Tenderloin and afterward I was bummed cuz I won't be able to make this year round. Figs aren't always in season. And that's when it dawned on me....I can make a savory jam with the very same ingredients I used to make the glaze....voila! My summer flavor has been saved for the whole year!

Savory Fig and Sweet Onion Freezer Jam
makes about 10 cups of jam
Printable Version

1 tsp light olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
2 tsps white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
7 cups chopped figs, stems trimmed off (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 cups sugar
juice from 1 lemon
1 box of fruit pectin

Wash and sterilize enough jars and lids to hold a total of 10 cups of jam.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring often until tender and just starting to turn a nice golden color. Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute. Deglaze with the balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat.

Add in the chopped figs, sugar and black pepper. Stir to combine. If you prefer a less chunky end result, use a potato masher and smash everything up a bit.

Stir in the lemon juice and pectin. Place over low heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The way to test if your jam is ready, is to place a glass plate in the freezer. Place a dab of your jam in the middle of the very cold place and turn your plate on it's side. If the jam begins to quickly run, it's not thick enough. If it runs slowly or stays put, it's ready for the jars.

Carefully spoon the jam into your clean jars, leaving about 1/4" space at the top. With a clean, damp cloth, wipe up the spills and make sure the edge is clean and put your lids on.

Allow to cool to room temperature before freezing or using.

The aroma is mouth watering...the caramelized onion and balsamic vinegar seems to dominate the jar, but when you taste it\ you're surprised by the sweetness that accompanies the delectable flavor of fig while the onion is just a lingering after flavor that brings it all full circle.

Not only is this an amazingly delicious glaze, but if you really want to wow your taste buds (and who doesn't?) then you must try it with brie cheese in the center of a bundled up puff pastry!

So simple, easy and quick...

Preheat your oven to 400'
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed (cuz I use the frozen kind)
1 wheel of brie cheese
about 2/3 cup of Savory Fig and Sweet Onion Freezer Jam
1 egg mixed with 1 TB water

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lay the puff pastry sheet on a floured surface. Place the brie in the center. Top with the jam

Pull all the sides up to the center and pinch a little so they stick together some, to resemble a cute little bundle fulled with surprises.

Brush the top and sides with the egg wash.

Carefully place it on the lined baking sheet and into your oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. You might even want a little extra jam handy to toss a glob or two on your plate to ensure that you have a little of everything in each bite. The is the perfect balance of sweet and savory, gooey cheesy buttery flakiness.

I'm not sure if 10 cups is going to last me through the winter....

For more delicious tips and how-tos and fantastic recipes on saving summer, visit the other Sunday Supper blogs.

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Natalie's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

My daughters both claim they don't like to cook, yet when they do, they knock it out of the park! As a foodie and someone who loves to cook good food, it just makes my heart sing when my girls make something they're so excited about and proud of...that I am asked to post their recipe.

My oldest daughter, Natalie made this batch of Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers the other night. She had them at my sister's house when she was there a few months back and loved them. (We are all blessed to have a family filled with amazing cooks!)  She didn't write down what she did so I picked her brain to try and get some measurements and guide lines for this recipe. Obviously it's a recipe that can be altered according to taste. I'll give you some estimated measurements but by all means, eyeball it and add as much as you want to where it "looks" right.

Natalie's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Printable Version

1 lb jalapenos
2 lbs bacon
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
Minced garlic to taste (at least 1 tsp but probably closer to 1 TB cuz we love garlic)

Preheat the oven to 375'

Trim the stems off the jalapenos, slice in half and use a spoon to remove the membranes and seeds (unless you're into the heat...then leave it in!). Set aside

(wash your hands really well and don't touch your face! Your finger will be spicy for quite some time. If you have gloves, use them.)

Cut the bacon slices in half.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions and garlic.

Fill each jalapeno 'boat' with the cheese mixture and wrap with a slice of bacon. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Continue until all of the jalapenos have been filled and wrapped.

Bake for 30 minutes. Then stick them under the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes so the bacon gets nice and crispy.

Let cool a few minutes and serve!

I only got to try one. Natalie and her friend enjoyed them so much they ate almost all of them up! The one I tried was delicious...and how could it not be? Some of my favorite ingredients all wrapped in one (garlic, cheese and bacon!)....you really can't go wrong with this recipe. Perfect little appetizers for your next party.

Note: My sister likes to dip the tops of these bad boys in panko crumbs before popping them in the over, for some added crispiness.

Natalie, I am so proud of you! You done good, girl! I hope that some day you will find joy in cooking, the way your aunts, mimi, and I do... and the way your great grandmothers did.

I love you sweetie! <3