Bacon Maple Biscuits

For some, bacon and maple sounds like a classic match made it heaven.  It is similar to peanut butter and chocolate or buff chick and ranch.  It just works.  At first, I wasn’t convinced on how good this combination could be.  It sounded pretty bizarre, but then I tried it in cookie form, and those were pretty good.  This recipe has once and for all sold me on the bacon maple front.  Its a classic combination that should be enjoyed and reproduced for centuries to come.  This biscuits will just make you happy, they are warm, buttery, flaky, have sweet and salty, basically they have everything you could ever want!  Make these for Thanksgiving this year and you will definitely impress everyone!!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 sticks of butter (COLD)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup butter milk (I used whole milk with a bit of lemon juice)(must be COLD)
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Begin by mixing all of the dry ingredients.  Then chop the butter up, it is very important it is cold.  And work the butter with the dry ingredients to get the butter to be pea sized pieces (also very important)
  3. Then slowly pour the milk into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to uniformly wet the dry ingredients.
  4. Then lay onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough down into a 1 inch rectangle and then fold it, pat it down, and repeat 3 more times.
  5. Then roll it out to 3/4 in and begin cutting out biscuits.  I used a lightly flour wine glass to get the size I wanted.
  6. Let these cool in the fridge for 30 minutes or put directly into the oven.
  7. To make the glaze cook three pieces of bacon, put them into the food processor to grind them up, then pour in the maple syrup.  If you can let this sit for a few minutes that would be ideal.
  8. After the biscuits have cooked for 5 minutes pull them out and using the bacon of a spoon, add the glaze to the top of the biscuits. Then add them back to oven for 15-20 minutes until golden
  9. Eat them immediately, but you wont actually be able to resist.

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Sorry for the terrible quality photos, not my best photography but still an amazing recipe!!

Butternut Squash Gnocchi in Date and Sage Sauce

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending an amazing cooking demo led by Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief of the legendary Food and Wine Magazine. Dana inspired me to rev up my own recipes and experiment with new cooking techniques. With this fresh perspective in mind, I decided to try my hand at making gnocchi. Although there were a few bumps in the road, the final product was festive and flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 2+ cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 4 dates
  • 3 sage leaves
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

How to (Gnocchi):

  1. Begin by roasting the butternut squash in the oven.  ~40 minutes in the oven, until it is soft.
  2. Once squash is soft, puree it. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper to pureed squash.
  3. Adding half a cup at a time, fold flour into the pureed squash. Continue to add flour and mix until it is no longer sticky (this may take more than 2 cups).
  4. On a floured surface, create balls of dough. Roll the dough out into a 1-inch wide, 1 foot long snake. Cut down the snake, making bite sized pieces. Set aside and begin the sauce.

How To (Date and Sage Sauce):

  1. First start by rehydrating the dates. Continuously add 2-3 cups of water to a sauce pan on low heat, until the dates are soft. Residual water in the pan will strengthen the flavor of your sauce.
  2. Puree the soft dates (mine were a little chunky) and return to the sauce pan, add a bit more water, set to medium heat. Add sage.
  3. Add a bit of salt and pepper according to taste, continuing to cook.
  4. At this point begin to cook your gnocchi, continuously stir your pan so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom. Your gnocchi is done cooking when the pasta is floating at the top of the pan.
  5. Add the butter to the pan a few minutes before you add gnocchi.
  6. Add cooked gnocchi to pan with date sauce, mix well, and serve!

 

3 Ingredient Dessert!

When you’re in a pinch and craving something sweet, it’s always tempting to grab a stale Chips Ahoy! or a giant dollop of Nutella. You deserve better! The perfect dessert doesn’t need a dozen different ingredients or a lot time to prepare; here’s a simple fall-time dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth without the all preservatives and sugar of processed confectioneries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup water

How to:

  1. Slice the apple into four slices, around the core.
  2. In sauce pan, pour in the apple cider and water.  Bring this to a boil and add the cinnamon stick.
  3. Without a lid, boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the apples and reduce heat to medium, so it is at a low simmer/ boil.
  5. Cook until the cider has thickened into a thin caramel, about 30 minutes.
  6. Serving suggestion: Top off with vanilla ice cream.

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Pulled Pork Asian Spring Rolls

As much as I love to treat myself to the spring rolls from the Vietnamese restaurant/food truck Bon Me, my college budget won’t allow me make it a habit.  When I’m craving the flavors of Asian cuisine while nursing a broken wallet, it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. This recipe was very easy, crazy flavorful, healthy, and surprisingly filling.

Ingredients:

  • Rice paper wrappers
  • Pulled Pork
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • soy sauce
  • scallions/chives
  • jalapeno hot sauce

How to:

  1. Since the pulled pork is already made, this is just a matter of assembling.
  2. Begin with soaking the rice paper in warm water and massaging it until it is soft.
  3. Then lay on a flat surface and fill with pork, sprouts, scallions, cilantro, drizzle with soy sauce. Add few drops of hot sauce, according to taste.
  4. Roll it up tight (folding the sides first) and DONE!

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Green Machine Sauce on a Power Breakfast

Looking for a zing to get your morning off to productive start? This unique (I can guarantee no other food blog would dream of this one) zucchini cake breakfast recipe is so packed with protein and vegetables that it’ll leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice bacon (can you really only have one slice though?)
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chive
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 pinch garlic
  • 1 pinch basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • parsley

How To (Zucchini Cake):

  1. Begin by shredding the zucchini, either by hand or with a food processor.
  2. Place it in a strainer and add salt to draw out the moisture. Collect the liquid in a bowl and set aside. Make sure most of the liquid is out of the zucchini before proceeding.
  3. Put zucchini in a large bowl and add garlic, pepper, parsley, flour and baking powder. Mix well.
  4. Place on a well greased baking pan and make one even layer.
  5. Cook this at 350 for about 30 minutes until golden and fully cooked.

How To (Green Machine Sauce):

  1. Member that bowl of liquid we drained off? Pour that into a pan and get it to a low boil.
  2. Once reduced, add some pepper, very little garlic, and basil.
  3. Once it begins to get a little thicker, add the butter
  4. Once butter has melted, add the lemon juice.

How To (Assembly):

  1. Start with the zucchini cake on the bottom
  2. Add slices of fresh tomato.
  3.  Pile on an egg and bacon.
  4. Top it off with Green Machine sauce and drizzle with some chives.

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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Call me Goldilocks, but I can never get my butternut squash soup to be “just right.” Always too thick or lacking sufficient flavor, I was determined to get it just right for my Fall themed potluck dinner. My guests could not get enough of this soup on the chilly October night of our dinner, so I would call this recipe a success! A quintessential fall vegetable, I think you’ll find that all the flavors and textures of this soup are “just right” for fall.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs butternut squash, cut and peeled
  • 2 medium yams, cut and peeled
  • 1 carton half and half (or milk or a combo of both)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2/3 bay leaves
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 1 medium/large onion, diced
  • salt and pepper (~ 2 teaspoons each)
  • 1 teaspoon- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1 tablespoon butter

How to:

  1. In a large pan, cook onions and garlic. Cook them low and slow until translucent, adding in 1 tablespoon butter toward the end. Add the bay leaves.
  2. Add yams, butternut, bouillon cubes, and water. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Cook until very tender.
  4. Puree the soup until smooth.
  5. Return the pureed soup to the pan and add in dairy and spices. Add the dairy until the soup is a bisque consistency, about 2 cups.

Chef’s Note: Only add dairy to the portion of soup you will be eating right away! If you’re making a week’s worth of soup, refrigerate puree and add dairy when you’re ready for the next bowl.

 

I Like Big (Pork) Butts, and I Cannot Lie

I have recently hit 10,000 views; a GIANT shout out to all of you for making this milestone a reality! This recipe is a celebration of your support! And what better way to celebrate 10,000 views than with a new culinary challenge? Here’s my take on a classic Mexican dish, tacos, with homemade pork butt, refried beans, and brussel sprout slaw.

Ingredients (Pork Butt):

  • 1.5 pound pork butt
  • 3/4 can Guarana (it’s a Brazilian soda; Sprite is appropriate alternative)
  • 1 chopped small onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 3/4 garlic gloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper

How to (Pork Butt):

  1. Sear all the sides of pork butt to cultivate a rich flavor.
  2. In a crock pot, put in onions and meat. Add in the soda and spices.
  3. Cook on high for 5 hours then low for 3 (or low for 8, or high for 6)
  4. When the meat shreds easily, and its done.

Ingredients (Refried Beans):

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup “butt stock”
  • 1 bay leaf

How To (Refried beans):

  1. Take about a cup of liquid from the pulled pork.
  2. Pour the liquid into a pan, then add in black beans and bay leaf.
  3. Cook on a low simmer until most of the liquid is gone, then puree this in a blender or food processor.

How To (Brussel Sprouts Slaw):

  1. Shred 3-4 brussel sprouts
  2. Add the juice of 1 lime, some salt and pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder.

NOW, for the tacos!!

  1. Bake the corn tortillas for 10 minutes in the oven until crisp.
  2.  Pile on beans, meat, avocado, slaw, and fresh cilantro.
  3. If you’re looking for a kick, drizzle with hot sauce.

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Banana Bread with Spicy Dark Chocolate Chunks

We’ve all seen enough rom-coms and read enough novels to know that looks aren’t everything…often more trouble than they’re worth. So why are we chucking our fruits the minute they show a little age? The bananas I used in this recipe were completely brown, but that only meant they were extra sweet and easily mashed.

This banana bread has a perfectly moist center, cased in a crunchy sweet crust. For a unique flavor twist, I chose to compliment the strong banana flavor with chunks of Lindt’s dark chocolate with red pepper flakes; an unexpected palate delight!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 beat egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 pieces Lindt dark chocolate with red pepper flakes (or normal dark chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

How To:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Mash bananas in a bowl.
  3. Add melted butter to bananas and mix.
  4. Add egg, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix well.
  5. Add the sugar and flour. Once it is thoroughly mixed, fold in dark chocolate chunks.
  6. In a well greased loaf pan, pour in the batter.
  7. Cook for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes away clean.
  8. Allow to cool completely on rack.

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