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Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Bacon Jam

21 Oct

Yup.  Bacon jam.  A combination of sweet and savory porky deliciousness.  The combination of ingredients works together very well.  Smoky, porky bacon, sweet caramelized onions highlighted by brown sugar and maple syrup, slightly bitter coffee, and tangy-sweet apple cider vinegar play together to create something special.

The uses for this are endless.  On a fried egg sandwich, an English muffin, a crumpet, a piece of toast … you name it.  It’s also really easy – basically a set it and forget it recipe.  Don’t worry if the onions begin to look burnt to a crisp.  It’s just the coffee darkening things up (and making things extra super tasty).  You can make this any consistency you want.  I didn’t use an immersion blender at the end, and I like the relatively large pieces of bacon, but it’s a personal choice.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Bacon Jam

Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 lb. hickory smoked bacon, roughly chopped

2 medium red onions, thickly sliced

Freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup brewed coffee

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Add bacon into the slow cooker.  Cook on high for one hour.  Drain off all the fat.  Add onions and cook another hour on high.  Add remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to low and cook another 6-8 hours, stirring every couple of hours.

If desired, use an immersion blender or food processor  to chop to desired consistency.  If necessary, drain off most of remaining fat first.

Store in refrigerator.  Use within a week.

Crispy Microwaved Sweet Potato Chips

3 Oct

I stumbled across the recipe for these sweet potato chips when I spent Sunday avoiding doing anything productive, like writing a paper due the end of this week for my Women and the Law class or working on my closing argument for trial advocacy I have to give on Tuesday.  I swear, I am not a procrastinator by nature.  3L is just sucking any and all motivation from the marrow of my bones (mmm … roasted bone marrow sounds good, doesn’t it …?), and I’m still managing to be more or less ahead.  So, instead of outlining why the government snitch is an unreliable witness, I perused every square inch of the food related internet, and found this recipe.

I can’t be too mad about my decision, though, because these chips were super yummy.  The applewood smoked sea salt was the perfect complement to the sweet potato, but I’m sure kosher salt would be pretty darn good, too.  The most challenging thing about these chips was not eating them all in one sitting – other than that, it’s basically a matter of thinly slicing and putting in the microwave.  They make for a delicious, healthy snack.

Crispy Microwaved Sweet Potato Chips

From Our Best Bites

1 medium sweet potato, as uniform in width as possible, scrubbed clean

Non-stick cooking spray

1 tsp. yakima applewood smoked sea salt

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the glass plate in your microwave.  Using a mandoline, slice potato 1/8″ thick.  Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Season with smoked salt.

Set microwave to 50% power.  Cook 8-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the potatoes after about 5 minutes, until edges are golden brown.  [Note: My microwave power button is broken, so I microwaved mine on high for about five minutes per batch, for a total of three batches.]

Let cool completely before eating.  Store in airtight container.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

3 Sep

No, that is not horseradish mustard.  Rather, it is a delicious dressing that has been a welcome addition to many salads and sandwiches over the past week or so.  It has a great mix of flavors – sweet, tangy, and savory – and a beautiful color.  It has the distinctive flavor of rhubarb without it being overly assertive.  The dressing also comes together really quickly and easily.  This is the perfect way to use up a few stalks of rhubarb when you don’t really have enough to bake with.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Adapted from Taste of Home

1 cup fresh rhubarb, roughly chopped

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tbs. grated onion

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, and vinegar.  Simmer over medium heat until rhubarb is tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain, reserving all of the juice.

Combine with other ingredients in a container with a resealable lid (such as a tupper ware, salad dressing bottle, etc.).  Shake vigorously until emulsified.  Refrigerate for an hour to allow flavors to combine.  Shake again before serving.

Fried Green Tomatoes (Redux)

7 Aug

I love, love, love, love, looooove fried green tomatoes.  They are one of my very favorite things about summer and one of my very favorite things about my parents garden.  The other day, I stopped by to take care of some stuff for our (rapidly approaching) wedding and pick up Roo Bear¹, who had been having a few night sleepover at his “grandparent’s” house.  My dad provided me with two ripe heirloom tomatoes and two green tomatoes – jackpot!

Though I’ve posted a fried green tomatoes recipe on here before, I think this version is a little better (though, of course, it’s all a matter of taste).  So I thought I would post it again, both because I want to spread the word on how awesome fried green tomatoes are and because it’s a slightly improved recipe.  These fried green tomatoes, while intensely flavorful as is from the tart tomato and salty, crunchy, slightly-spicy coating, are also excellent served with a variety of condiments – for instance, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, or, perhaps my favorite, remoulade.

Fried Green Tomatoes

2 large green tomatoes

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup bread crumbs (preferably homemade)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

Slice tomatoes about 1/2″ thick, discarding the ends.  Heavily salt the tomatoes on both sides and let sit for about five minutes.

Whisk together eggs and milk in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper on another plate.

Dip tomatoes in egg/milk mixture.  Let excess drip off.  Coat with flour/cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture.

In a large skillet, pour canola oil.  Heat over medium heat until shimmering.  Fry tomatoes, working in batches if necessary.  Fry about 4-6 minutes per side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

¹  Roo says “Hello!”  And also, “Can’t you guys leave some comments encouraging her to share more of these treats with a vizla?!”


Blackberry and Peach Jam

5 Aug

This blackberry and peach jam was one of the most successful jams I have made to date.  The slight tartness of the blackberries is well balanced by the sweetness of the peaches.  Because blackberries have a lot of natural pectin, this jam set up even better than my recent blueberry jam.  I particularly enjoy the texture from the seeds and partially whole blackberries in this jam, although if you are a big fan of seedless, you will need to run the blackberries through a foodmill prior to using them.  The hint of vanilla works really well with the peaches and the blackberries, and adds an interesting, subtle flavor to the jam.

Blackberry and Peach Jam

1 pint blackberries, rinsed

2 peaches, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tbs. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

About 2 cups homemade pectin

Place a metal spoon in a glass of water in the freezer.

In a large non-stick sauce pan, add blackberries and peache.  Mash them up using a hand masher until mostly smooth, or to desired consistency.  Add lemon juice.  Turn heat on to medium-high and, continuing to mash, bring to a boil.  Slowly whisk in sugar.  Let boil for 10-15 minutes.  Add pectin, starting with one cup, and let boil hard (so stirring it doesn’t interrupt the boil) for 5-8 minutes.

Remove the spoon from the ice water and scoop up some jam.  Let sit and cool to room temperature, continuing to boil the jam (reduce heat slightly if it begins to reduce substantially).  If the jam sets up to a desired consistency at room temperature, remove from heat and proceed to canning.  If it does not set up, add more pectin and boil another 8-10 minutes at a time, continuing to test jam until it sets up to proper consistency.  After the first cup, I added about 1/4 cup at a time and ended up using about 2 cups of my homemade pectin.

Storage inside of refrigerator for up to one month:  Run jar through dishwasher or place in a 200º oven for 10 minutes.  Ladle the sauce into the jar and seal shut.  Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to refrigerator.  Enjoy.

Storage outside of refrigerator:  Place empty jars on a metal rack or metal collander in a large pot.  Fill pot with warm water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low in order to keep jars hot and ready for canning.  Pour boiling water over both lids and rings.  Ladle the sauce into the jar and seal shut.  Transfer the jar to the hot water bath.  Water must be about an inch over the top of the jar.  Raise heat and boil vigorously for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from water and let cool.  Once opened, lid should make a “pop” noise if it was properly sealed.

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