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Entries in bacon (14)

Sunday
Aug242014

Blueberry Bacon Pizza with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds

It's no secret that I love bacon (and Baileys) (and sausage, prosciutto, baked ham, pancetta, etc, etc), however, I also love the incredible array of fruits and vegetables that grow in Nova Scotia during the summer.

Our high bush blueberries are second to none, but sometimes, (not often), I want them in something other than dessert.

And so, yesterday for lunch I made a pizza with blueberry sauce and bacon and I gotta tell you - IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Even Sean loved it, which, if you read my blog, is no easy feat.

I am obsessed with the fresh pizza dough from The Italian Market on Young Street. For $3.00, you get enough dough to make 4 personal-sized pizzas (the pizza in the picture is one quarter of the dough - you can freeze the rest if you want). I've made my own pizza dough but it's never as good as The Italian Market's and so, when I go for my weekly Prosciutto sandwich (best sandwich in the city BTW), I now pick up fresh pizza dough (and some of their fresh sweet fennel sausage too - it's sooooooo good).

Blueberry Bacon Pizza with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds (makes one 12-inchish thin crust pizza)

1/4 C slivered almonds

1 Tbsp Port (I used Gaspereau Vineyard's Reserve Port, made in Nova Scotia)

1/8 tsp cornstarch

1/2 C Nova Scotia high bush blueberries (or any blueberries you can get your hands on)

pizza dough (if buying from Italian Market, 1/4 of dough)

flour for rolling dough

cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

olive oil for brushing dough

salt and pepper

2 strips bacon, cooked, torn into pieces with your hands 

handful of goat cheese

fresh herbs of your choice (I used fresh oregano from my garden and it was really nice)

- on the stovetop, in a dry frying pan, cook the almonds over medium heat until they are golden and fragrant - STIR OFTEN - once they turn brown they won't take long to burn so keep your eye on them - once they're browned, I like to spread mine out on a baking sheet to cool so they don't continue to cook in the hot pan - it will take about 10 minutes - set aside

- in a small container with a lid (I use a small Mason jar), combine Port and cornstarch - with lid on, shake until well combined - place blueberries in a small pot and pour Port/cornstarch mix over berries - cook over medium/low heat until berries are soft - squish berries gently with a potato masher and continue to cook until sauce has thickened  - stir well and remove from heat

- preheat oven to 450º - on a well floured surface, roll out the dough to your desired size (I find the Italian Market's dough quite sticky and so I liberally flour my counter as well as the top of the dough) - sprinkle a generous handful of cornmeal on a baking sheet (the cornmeal prevents the dough from sticking to the sheet and also adds a nice crunch) - lay out the rolled dough on top of the cornmeal - brush the top of the dough with olive oil and season with salt and pepper - bake at 450º for 3 minutes then open the oven door and CAREFULLY pop any bubbles in the dough with a fork - continue to bake 5-6 minutes more - remove from oven and place sheet on a cooling rack

- spread the blueberry sauce on the dough - top with bacon pieces, goat cheese and almonds - place back in the oven and bake 4-5 minutes more (depending on how you like your pizza - some people like pizza a bit crispier and so it might need a bit longer in the oven - just keep your eye on it)

- remove from oven, place on rack and top with fresh herbs of your choice - serve

Monday
May262014

Food Film #3 : JC's Sage and Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp

Sean and our very good friend JC met years ago when they both worked in the kitchen of il Mercato on Spring Garden Road (the old location). At the time, JC was the youngest chef to run a Bertossi kitchen - just 22 years old. 

Years later, after Sean and I were engaged, we knew, without a doubt, who we wanted to ask to be Sean's best man at our wedding. 

Sean and JC at our wedding - photo credit : Mike Tompkins

The first time I met JC, I felt as if we'd already been friends for years. He has a personality that feels like a warm hug, plus, he's super smart and knows a lot of stuff about stuff. He and I bonded over our passion for being creative in the kitchen and I often receive random texts like:

'$2 8oz side order of Canadian back bacon at the market, produced by a local farmer and fried up fresh this morning. Singing to me. And I don't mean that round ham lookin' shit either. Long, leggy, crisp and chewy, glorious back bacon. Maybe it'll actually make it past the line up next week.'

'Molasses cookies, root beer fudge, fresh honey comb, garlic jelly, fresh cheese, artisan sausage, zucchini relish, ammolite necklaces... It's market day in Lethbridge!'

'Friend of ours is flying in for the night tomorrow on her way through town (she's a relaxed vegetarian). To my inquiry "Dinner plans yet? Spag garlic? Shrimp? Lemon, capers, arugula?" I get back "No! OMG YES! ALL OF IT!" Lol, had to share the love. Hope you guys had a great week!'

You can see why I absolutely adore him. In fact, there simply isn't enough space on this blog to tell you how awesome he is.

A few years ago, JC moved to Edmonton (insert sad face here), and when he comes home to visit, he always stays with us. The last time he was home he said, 'Hey guys, I've been making this super easy little appetizer for friends out West and they go nuts for it. Wanna try it?'. We've been making JC's Sage and Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp for every cocktail / dinner party we've hosted ever since.

JC's Sage and Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp

24 shrimp, thawed, patted dry with paper towel

24 leaves fresh sage

24 pieces thinly sliced pancetta

- lay one sage leaf on each shrimp  - wrap each shrimp with one piece of pancetta - grill until pancetta is crispy

If you watch the video posted at the top, you'll see that Sean likes to gently stretch out each shrimp before wrapping. Also, between the sage and the pancetta, the shrimp have a ton of flavour so we never serve them with dip - they're always one of the first things to go!

Enjoy :)

Saturday
Feb222014

Arborio Carbonara

I'm a big fan of using Arborio Rice in place of pasta. You literally cook it the same way you would cook any dry pasta, in a pot a well-salted boiling water, for about 11 minutes until al dente, and then drain.

Feel free to double the recipe (when I double the recipe I use three eggs), which will make enough for two people, plus leave you with leftovers for lunch the next day.

Arborio Carbonara

1 C Arborio Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

pinch chili flakes

4 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 egg

salt and pepper, to taste

Parmigiano, grated, to taste

- bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil - add Arborio Rice and cook 11 minutes, or until al dente

- while rice is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan - add garlic, chili flakes and bacon - cook until bacon is almost crispy

- while bacon is cooking, whisk egg, salt and pepper in a bowl

- drain rice and add it to the pan with the bacon - *DO NOT DRAIN FAT* - mix well - you want to coat all of the rice with bacon fat - add the bacon/rice mix to the bowl with the whisked egg - stir well to coat evenly with egg - add a couple of handfuls of grated Parm and mix well - serve hot with more grated cheese on top

* It may sound kind of gross to leave the bacon fat in this dish but, I'm sorry to say, it's a key ingredient (I'm not really sorry to say that). The hot bacon fat emulsifies with the raw egg, turning it into a glorious, silky, delicious sauce. Just go to the gym one extra time and you'll be fine.