Category Archives: Apps & Sides

Bacon Jam

I first learned that bacon jam was a thing when I received a new cookbook in the mail from my aunt on the west coast.  (BEST. MAIL. EVER.) It obviously seemed like a brilliant concept and to be honest I was a little mad I didn’t think of it first, but I got past it and gave this recipe a try.   It’s incredibly rich and indulgent.  And sweet and spicy, and savoury and wonderful.  The mixture simmers aromatically for about 2 hours, cooking itself down into a sticky, sweet, spicy and rich jam like texture.  You can also use a hand held blender at the end to break it up further and make it even more jam-like.

Bacon Jam Ingredients

Bacon Jam Ingredients

Start by cooking up a pound of bacon, remove it to a paper towel lined plate, and drain off most of the grease.  Leave about 2 – 3 tbsp and then throw in onions and garlic, and allow to cook until soft and golden brown.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 2 hours.  Add 1/4 cup of water every half hour, or whenever it starts to burn a little or stick to the bottom of the pan.  Not surprisingly, your home is going to smell pretty unreal.

Cooking Bacon Jam

Cooking Bacon Jam

Blend the mixture slightly, so that it is spreadable but still has some texture.  Store it in a glass jar in the fridge and use it in any number of delicious ways.

Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam

Like on a grilled cheese sandwich! The one below also has herb and garlic cream cheese, roasted red pepper and old cheddar.  Serve this with Bread and Butter Pickles on the side for a sublime grilled cheese experience. 🙂

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam Recipe

1 lb bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp hot sauce
1 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp pepper

  1. In a deep pan, fry bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp.  Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Drain bacon fat from pan, leaving only about 2 tbsp.
  2. Add garlic and onions to the rendered bacon fat and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes or until translucent.  Return bacon to the pan and add all remaining ingredients.  Simmer uncovered for 2 hours, adding 1/4 cup water every 30 minutes.  Consistency should be thick and jam-like.
  3. Use immersion blender or food processor to pulse mixture for 2 to 3 seconds, leaving some texture.  Allow to cool.  Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
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Filed under Apps & Sides, Comfort Food, Junk Food

Bread and Butter Pickles

I first made these pickles after a friend gave me a bounty of cucumbers fresh from her garden, and I knew I needed to find a way to use them before they went bad.  This Bread and Butter pickle recipe solved my problem and was very uncomplicated to make.  Even though it isn’t exactly garden season at the moment, you can still find cucumbers at the grocery store and have these stashed in your fridge year round.  They keep for about a month in the fridge and also make great gifts!  I haven’t encountered anyone who doesn’t appreciate a jar of homemade pickles to snack on!

Start by slicing your cucumbers into coins and soaking them in icy water along with onions and a bunch of salt.  Let them sit for at least 2 hours to ensure the pickles stay crunchy.  🙂

Bread and Butter Pickle ingredients

Bread and Butter Pickle ingredients

Then you just bring the vinegar and all the seasonings to a boil.

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Drain the cucumber and onion, and add to the seasoning mixture on the stove.

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Turn the heat off and transfer everything to a jar.  Let it cool to room temp, put the lid on and store in the fridge for up to a month.  Yum!

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Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

1 lb pickling cucumbers, like Israeli of Kirby,  sliced into coins
1 small yellow onion, sliced as thinly as possible
2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
A pinch of celery seed
1 bay leaf

  1. Combine the cucumbers, onion and salt in a large mixing bowl of very icy ice water and let them sit for 2 hours (this will help keep the pickles very crunchy).
  2. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, honey and seasonings to a boil in a large pot.  Drain the cucumbers and onions and add them to the pot.  Bring back to a boil, immediately turn off the heat, and transfer the entire mixture to a glass jar.
  3. Once the jar cools to room temperature, put a lid on it and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Makes about a pint

From:  It’s All Good

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Fried Shallots & Shallot Oil

I got a gorgeous Burmese cook book for Christmas last year, and as I read through it I realized that fried shallots are a staple in Burmese cooking; they show up everywhere from salads, to fried rice, to soups, to vegetable side dishes, etc. etc. etc.  I would also recommend adding them to burgers, sandwiches, steaks and Drunken Soba Noodles. 🙂 As an added bonus, when you make these you also get a good amount of flavoured shallot oil!  This stuff has come in handy countless times.  It really takes sauces and salad dressings up a notch.  And it keeps forever so I’m loving having both these things stocked in the pantry!

Frying shallots

Frying shallots

The thing to remember about making these is to use a medium-low, steady heat.  You don’t want to burn them to a crisp, but just take on a nice golden brown colour and retain some of that onion-y flavour.

Fried Shallots

Fried Shallots

Don’t forget to strain the oil into a jar and stash it in your pantry!

Fried Shallots & Shallot Oil

Fried Shallots & Shallot Oil

Fried Shallots & Shallot Oil Recipe

1 cup peanut oil
2 cups thinly sliced shallots

  1. Place a skillet or wok over medium-high heat  and add the oil.  Toss in a slice of shallot.  As the oil heats, it will rise to the surface, sizzling lightly.  When it’s reached the surface, add the rest of the shallots (carefully, so the oil doesn’t splash you) and lower the heat to medium.
  2. Stir gently and frequently with a long handled wooden spoon.  If they start to brown within the first 5 minutes, lower the heat a little more.  After about 10 minutes they should start to colour.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the pan or to each other, until they have turned golden brown, another 3 minutes or so.
  3. Line a plate with paper towel and use tongs or slotted spoon to lift shallots out of the pan onto the plate. Blot gently to dry.  Separate any clumps and let them air dry 5 to 10 minutes so they crisp up and cool.
  4. Transfer the shallots to sealed container and keep in your pantry.  Once the oil has cooled completely, cover tightly and store in a cool dark place.

From: Burma.  Rivers of Flavour

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Roasted Carrots with Honey and Soy Sauce

As much as I’m mourning the loss of swimming, beaching and ice creaming weather, I’m also loving all the comfort foods that we get to indulge in this time of year.  I saw these brilliantly coloured carrots at the grocery store and picked them up based on their colour alone, I just couldn’t pass up such a pretty vegetable.  I decided to try roasting them in a honey and soy glaze because not only is this recipe extremely simple and showcases those colours, it just seemed like a very fall thing to do.

Carrots

Carrots

They’re even more vibrant when they’re peeled!

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I chopped them into 1 – 2 inch chunks in order to expose more beautiful colour contrasts.

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Boil them for a few minutes, just until they lose some of their firmness.  5 minutes or so.   Then you just have to drain them, toss with the honey-soy dressing and put them in the oven at 450 F for 15 minutes (or until totally cooked through). They will be nice and caramelized at this point, and your fork should glide right through them like butter 🙂

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Roasted Carrots with Honey and Soy Sauce Recipe

8 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch lengths2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil2 tbsp honey2 tbsp soy sauce

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Place the carrots in the water and cook until they just begin to lose their bite but aren’t completely soft, 5-6 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, honey and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.  Drain the carrots thoroughly, add them to the bowl with the honey mixture and stir to coat them evenly.
  4. Transfer the carrots to the prepared sheet pan and roast, stirring now and then, until completely caramelized, about 15 minutes.  These are good served hot and at room temperature, too.

From:  It’s All Good

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Pickled Jalapeños

One of the best things about these jalapeños is that they will keep in the fridge for up to a year, but I made them about a month ago and we’ve burned through about half already.  I really had no idea pickling could be as easy as boiling a few ingredients together, throwing in some spices, slicing up some jalapeños and combining everything in a jar.  I predict that pickled jalapenos will become a staple condiment in my fridge for a long time!

Pickled Jalapeno Ingredients

Pickled Jalapeno Ingredients

Just throw some vinegar, water, salt, celery seed, coriander seeds and peppercorns together in a pot and bring to a boil.

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Pickling Mixture

Put the sliced jalapenos, garlic and bay leaf into a glass jar.

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Jalapenos and Garlic

Pour in the liquid, let it sit in the fridge for a week, and the before and after will look something like this:

Jalapeño Before & After Pickling

Jalapeño Before & After Pickling

Now just start throwing these spicy beauties on tacos, pizza, sandwiches, nachos, salads, etc., etc., etc!

Spicy Italian Sausage with Maple Baked Beans and Pickled Jalapeños

Spicy Italian Sausage with Maple Baked Beans and Pickled Jalapeños

Forgive the Iphone pictures…I don’t always take the time to take a decent shot.  Sometimes a girl just wants to eat!

Pizza topped with Pickled Jalapeños

Pizza topped with Pickled Jalapeños

Love these as part of an amazing taco spread!

Beef Tacos with Pickled Jalapeños

Beef Tacos Ingredients

Yum!

Beef Tacos with Pickled Jalapeños

Beef Tacos with Pickled Jalapeños

Pickled Jalpeño Recipe

3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
Pinch celery seed
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
8 large jalapeños, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

  1. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, celery seed, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil, and turn off the heat.  Meanwhile, pack an empty glass jar with the jalapeños and stuff the bay leaf and the garlic  slices in and among the peppers.
  2. Pour the vinegar mixture over the jalapeños, being sure to get all the seeds into the mix.  The liquid should completely cover the peppers.
  3. Let the jar cool to room temperature, then tightly screw the lid and stash the jar in the fridge.  The peppers are good to go after a week, but they keep up to a year in the refrigerator!

From:  It’s All Good

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Chimichurri

I believe this sauce has it’s roots in Argentina, but it doesn’t really matter where it comes from because I would eat this anywhere, anytime.  The combination of simple flavours is outstanding: the zipiness of the cilantro, fresh garlic, smokey cumin and red wine vinegar create such a delicious blend, this sauce could be used in many ways.  It keeps in the fridge up to a week or so, but I’m sure you could also freeze if it lasts that long!

Chimichurri Ingredients

Chimichurri Ingredients

Once you have all your ingredients, just throw everything into a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.  That’s it!

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It’s perfect with a nice grilled steak and homemade fries! I just love how vibrantly green it is.

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I also stirred some leftovers into a bit of  sautéed corn in my skillet and it was DYNAMITE.

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Chimichurri Recipe

1 cup packed Italian parsley
1/2 cup packed cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Pulse everything together in a food processor.  Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.

From: It’s All Good

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickepeas with Mustard and Parsley

Because I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious sounding recipes to entice me into healthy eating, I picked up Gwyneth Paltrow’s book in Chapter’s one day. After a few discreet iPhone shots of some especially mouth-wateringly good sounding recipes, I figured I should just go ahead and buy the whole thing.  I’ve tried a handful of recipes so far, and have really liked all of them.   This one for roasted cauliflower and chickpeas was the first one I tried, and will definitely be making it again.   We had it as a side for dinner one night, and it was so good that two people easily polished off an entire head of cauliflower in one sitting!  And the whole recipe involved about six ingredients, most of which you likely already have in your pantry.  Not complicated at all!

Cauliflower and chickpeas

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas set-up

Mix up two kinds of mustard, add rice vinegar, parsley and kosher salt.  Dressing complete!

Two mustard dressing

Two-mustard dressing

Toss the cauliflower and chickpeas with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.  The dark brown pieces is where the flavour’s at 😉

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower and chickpeas

Toss the cauliflower mix with some parsley and the mustard dressing, then revel in that gorgeous, golden colour!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with mustard and parsley

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with mustard and parsley

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley Recipe

1 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan or cookie sheet with 3 tbsp olive oil and a big pinch of salt.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar and 1/4 olive oil with a big pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

From:  It’s All Good

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