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Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

Nites Out: Korea House (Austin, TX)

Kimchi, Tofu, and Bacon Stir Fry. Surprisingly tasty for the kimchi-inclined! It was enough for two people, or lunch and dinner for myself. They also have just Kimchi and Bacon if you don’t like tofu. The rice is on the side, not fried with the goodies.

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Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash

A gluten-free day today.  I had lunch at Molcas’ and for dinner some faux pasta.

Here’s a fairly quick way to make yourself spaghetti squash “pasta”.

Cut lengthwise and clean out a spaghetti squash.  Lay it cut side down in a microwave-safe dish, such as a Pyrex pie plate.  Add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish.  Cover the plate with plastic wrap and nuke it for about 10 minutes.  The squash will be soft when it’s ready.  Carefully remove the squash and use a fork to loosen the strands.

To accompany the squash I prepared an Alfredo sauce with sautéed shallot, Canadian bacon, and peas.  Tossed the cooked faux pasta in the sauce and it’s ready.

This took maybe 20 minutes to prepare and was healthy!  Yay for not cracking open the ice cream after dinner (or instead of dinner).

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Now that you have a freezer full of home-made pierogies, I’ll tell you about eating them.

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Bring a pot of water, about 6 cups, to a rolling boil.  Slice half of a yellow or red onion and fry in a skillet.  Drop in four to six frozen pierogies at a time into the boiling water.  Once the pierogies float to the surface of the water they are cooked.  Remove with a slotted spoon and fry a little on both sides with the onion, add a smidge of butter and salt to the pan.

Serve with a side of sour cream or ranch dressing.  Bacon pieces are optional but highly recommended.  These are also a great companion to ham or sauerkraut.

The last batch I made about a year ago was shared with a friend, being Texan they ate the pierogies with salsa.  Huh?  Salsa?!?  I’m not going to do such a sacrilegious thing, but they raved about it afterwards and wanted more.  I never made more for them.  Not out of spite for them ruining perfectly good perogies with salsa, no that’s not it.  Pierogies are seasonal to me.  They are heavy and warm, like someone’s arm wrapped around you when they fall asleep, they’re hard to get off.  Only the pierogies stick to your ribs and thighs instead of your shoulders.

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Making my own food is so satisfying.  I can control the quality of the basic ingredients that form a dish.  These pierogies were made with organic unbleached flour, real cheddar cheese (not that processed crap), red onions, organic potatoes, and chives from the front garden.  Back in junior high when I first learned the ways of the pierogi, we lived on a farm and grew a large portion of our own food.  If I could get the cement-like dirt in my yard to loosen up I could grow the potatoes and onions needed for this recipe.  All that I would need is a cheese purveyor and charcuterie for bacon.

I’ve noticed everyone makes their batch of tamales for the year (or few months) during the winter holiday season.  In Canada, it’s cold at least 80% of the year, so there is some leeway in the definition of “winter season”, nonetheless it’s a good time to gather and make homemade food to last through to spring.  My tamale is the pierogi.  If only I had a bigger freezer!

Traditional pierogies, at least in my family, were filled with potato and cheese.  There are all sorts of variations from blueberry, to cottage cheese, to mushroom.  Not a huge fan of the sweet blueberry version.  A perogie in my mind is savoury.  And bacon.  Lots of bacon involved.

Here is how I made my pierogies.

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1. Gather your ingredients and equipment:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • leftover mashed potato
  • sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • cooked bacon and onion, fine dice
  • fresh chives
  • round cookie cutter
  • pierogi press (kitchen toy, not essential but it makes pretty pierogies)
  • rolling-pin
  • tray covered in parchment or wax paper that fits in the freezer horizontally (check to be sure you have space!)
  • pastry mat or floured work surface
  • small dish of water

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2.  Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Mix the water, eggs, oil in another bowl.

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3.  Pour the egg mixture in the flour.

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4. Stir until almost all the flour is absorbed, add more water a teaspoon at a time to reach a uniform dough.  Little hands can help, too!

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5.  Knead the dough for a couple of minutes.

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6.  Let the dough rest covered by the bowl or plastic wrap on the counter for at least 20 minutes.  Meanwhile mix the filling.  I prefer to have the “goodies” in one bowl (bacon, onion, half the cheese, and chives) and the potato in the other with half the cheese.  Make sure the potatoes are cold otherwise the cheese will melt and that doesn’t make for good pierogies.

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7.  Take a baseball-sized portion of the dough and roll out on the floured mat/countertop until it’s very thin.

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8.  Cut rounds of dough.

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9.  Place the dough on the pierogi press, stretch the edges if needed.

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10.  Fill the center with a bit of the bacon mixture and top off with potato.  There should be about a rounded teaspoon of filling total.  Watch out for pokey bacon pieces that pierce the belly of the pierogi!

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11.  Dip a finger in the water.

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12.  Rub the water around half the perimeter of the dough.

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13.  Squish…

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14.  There’s your pierogi!

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15.  Place the pierogies on the sheet pan and freeze.  Once frozen (20 minutes) transfer to freezer bags.  Use within 3 months for best results.  Repeat until you run out of filling or dough or patience.

Alright, that’s the hard part.  The easy part is cooking and enjoying all your hard work.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Drop your frozen pierogies in the water (not too many, don’t crowd the hot tub) and boil until they float to the top.  I give them an extra 30-45 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon.  If you want the full experience of the Canadian Perogie, fry those suckers in butter and top with bacon and caramelized onions, with a spoonful of sour cream.  Yeah baby. Effin heart attack on a plate!  I suggest serving 2 or 3 pierogies per person the first time you make this.  Let them develop the thirst for butter-coated potato cheddar pierogies before telling them how many are in the freezer.  More for you in the meantime, eh?

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  • yellow potatoes, cut into fries
  • Monterrey Jack cheese
  • bacon pieces
  • chives
  • sea salt and pepper

I made the fries in the oven (350º for about 20-25 min), which can be tricky.  Turn them over once the bottoms are lightly browned.  I also turn on the broiler on low at the very end to crisp the fries.  Plate the fries, add sea salt and pepper.  Top with slices of cheese and return to the broiler that has been turned off, just until melted.  Top with bacon and chives.  No deep-frying required!

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Eggplant Tomato Hash

See that there tomata?  She was the reason I decided to make a hash.  I was going to make squash soup with the pretty little butternuts I found at the farm stand today until this gem caught my eye!

If you can wait a few minutes to chop up vegetables, this is a great way to quickly get some grub in the ol’ tummy.

  • 3 bacon rashers, cut crosswise
  • 1 eggplant (the white and purple ones), diced
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 1 Cubanelle pepper, cut crosswise (you can keep the seeds in)
  • 1/4 of a yellow bell pepper
  • 2 – 3 garden tomatoes or one medium beefsteak chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil (if needed)
  • salt and pepper

Render the fat from the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is cooked and crisp.  Remove the bacon and wipe most of the fat out of the pan with a dry paper towel.

Add the onion and eggplant first.  Get the eggplant turning and browning.  Add the peppers and continue cooking, add olive oil if needed and salt and pepper.  For the last minute, add the tomato and garlic.  You don’t want the garlic to burn.  Lastly, add those crispy bits of bacon!

For those who want to keep this vegan, skip the bacon and use olive or coconut oil instead to brown the onion and eggplant.  You could add a little smoked paprika if you want a hint of smokey flavour.  I should have done that anyways.  Oh well.

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It’s exactly what it sounds like.  I have so much arugula growing that I have to try adding it anywhere lettuce usually belongs.  It was fantastic as a fourth player in my sandwich!  The garden vine ripened tomatoes really played well off the peppery greens, while the bacon provided a salty crunch.  One of the best BLT’s I’ve ever had.

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Not the best photo for this mile high cobb salad, we were starving!  I made one for each of us for a light dinner.  However, the only light thing about it was the lack of a slab of meat.  We could hardly finish our bowls.

  • Spring salad mix
  • shredded carrot
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • hard-boiled egg (one per person), quartered
  • 6 thick slices bacon, crisped and drained, crumble or chop
  • avocado, sliced
  • baby corn, drained and cut in half
  • ranch dressing (or other creamy dressing of choice)

I like to get the lettuces and carrot bits tossed in a little dressing before piling on the remaining items.  Top with a drizzle of dressing, sea salt and pepper.

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Another way to get your cheese on: stuff it into crescent rolls!

I couldn’t just add cheese, this lovely aged white cheddar would be lonely in there all by itself.  Bacon is the answer, nobody feels alone when bacon is around.  Did I mention that I like bacon?  Did I tell you that one of my nicknames is Canadian Bacon?  Long story short:  Hubby’s friends sort of conjured up this name because when I first moved down here (to Texas) I made it a point to tell people that I was Canadian, maybe in hope of them thinking “oh, she must be so nice!”  Now the bacon part is a little fuzzy, either it was because I was funny (you know, a ham?) or my affinity of bacon and ribs.  If you ever play Black Opts online, look for CanadianBacon_28 and feel free to shoot me in the head.

 

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Bring on the cooler weather, this farm-girl-turned-city-mama is up for it and she has the warm silky soup to prove it.

Begin with a plump organic red kuri squash.  I’ve never seen such an intense orange colour on a vegetable.  I hope the pictures do it justice, this squash was amazing.  Surely there’s a load of vitamins and beta-carotene in there.  I saved the seeds since this was a beautiful specimen, drought tolerant squash which will perhaps like our mild Texas winters.

This soup would be perfect as a soup course for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Red Kuri Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 1 red kuri squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 qt chicken stock + 1 qt water
  • 1 cup milk
  • cayenne pepper
  • thyme
  • garlic powder
  • bacon bits
  • shredded apple (I used half a Gala apple)

You will require a blender or immersion blender stick for this recipe and a large soup pot.

Open the squash and clean out the seeds and strings.  Salt the flesh and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet.  Trim the red onion and quarter it, place the onion on the baking sheet.  Roast at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes.  Let the veggies cool on the pan so you can handle them.

Roughly chop the onion and add it to a pot containing the stock and water.  Begin to boil the liquids then add the spices, hold off on salt until everything has been added.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Scoop the soft orange flesh into the pot.  Don’t worry if there are large chunks at this point.  Once all the squash is in, blend the soup until it is very smooth.  Careful, it will be hot.  Add the milk and stir.  Taste for salt and adjust.  Keep the soup warm until ready to serve.

Garnish the soup with bacon that is cooked and chopped, as well as freshly grated or finely diced apple.  Share with someone you love 🙂

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