bacon

Bacon-fat Roasted Beets with Double Smoked Bacon, Shallots, Aged Balsamic and Old Growler

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Bacon-fat Roasted Beets with Double Smoked Bacon, Shallots, Aged Balsamic and Old Growler - side dish for 4-6 people

8 strips Pete's Double Smoked Bacon

3 shallots

1 large golden beet

3 small-medium red beets

2 Tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar

kosher salt

That Dutchman's Old Growler Gouda-style cheese

- preheat oven to 350º - line a baking sheet with foil - lay out strips of bacon and bake until almost crispy 30-35 minutes - remove bacon from sheet and set aside - pour bacon fat* into medium-large heat proof bowl - set sheet aside

- while bacon is in oven peel and cut shallots and beets - I cut my shallots in half lengthwise and then into segments, again cutting lengthwise - I cut my beets into 1-inch bite sized pieces

- add 2 Tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar to bacon fat - mix with a fork to emulsify (blend) - toss shallots in bacon fat-vinegar mixture and lay out on the same sheet you cooked the bacon on - toss the golden beet next in the bacon-fat vinegar and lay out on sheet - finish with red beets (see picture below) - sprinkle shallots and beets with kosher salt and bake 30-35 minutes - check shallots at the 25 minute mark and remove from oven if they're brown around the edges - at the 30 minute mark, tear 4 strips of cooked bacon by hand and add to baking sheet to warm - when beets are cooked to your liking** remove baking sheet from oven - toss ingredients together on sheet - spoon onto serving platter and top with shaved Old Growler - serve immediately

 *I cooked 8 strips of bacon but only use 4 in the recipe because I wanted the extra bacon fat for the dressing - I'm sure you can guess the other 4 pieces of bacon did not go to waste.

**I like my beets tender but not mushy so 30-35 minutes keeps then slightly firm in the center - if you like your beets softer, roast longer and test every 5 minutes for doneness. Add torn bacon pieces for the last 5 minutes of roasting to warm up.

Toss the shallots in the dressing first, then follow with the golden beets, so they don't get stained by the red beets. Once all three are roasted, you can toss together without much staining. 

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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. 

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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

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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 :)

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.

#TKLucky7 Recipe #5 - Bacon-Wrapped Rice Noodle ‘Sushi’ with Dates and Blue Cheese

Bacon-Wrapped Rice Noodle ‘Sushi’ with Dates and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

1 package Thai Kitchen Thin Rice Noodles

1 199mL bottle Thai Kitchen Chili and Ginger Dipping Sauce

36 Medjool dates

1/2 C blue cheese, crumbled

Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste (no exact measurement – amount is to taste)

17 strips of bacon, sliced in half lengthwise

toothpicks

 - Preheat oven to 425º

- Bring a large pot of water to a boil – add Thai Kitchen Thin Rice Noodles to water and remove pot from heat – soak 3 minutes – drain noodles and toss with entire bottle of Thai Kitchen Chili and Ginger Dipping Sauce – set noodles aside to cool

- With a paring knife, make a small slit down the length of each date – remove pits – stuff a small piece of blue cheese into each date and top with a smear of Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste

- On two baking sheets, lay out strips of bacon – gather rice noodles into small loose balls in your hand and place on top of each strip of bacon – top each pile of Thai Kitchen Thin Rice Noodles with a stuffed date – bring bacon around the top of each date and secure with a toothpick – bake 18-20 minutes until bacon is crispy – serve warm or cool with more sauce on the side for dipping

 

 Thin Rice Noodles, about to be tossed with Chiili and Ginger Dipping Sauce. I coated the noodles with sauce to give them a little extra flavour boost then set them aside to cool while I assembled the dates.

 

 

To pit dates, just make a small slit down one side with a paring knife and gently squeeze the date between your thumb and your index finger. You can then easily pop the pit out with the tip of your knife.

 

 

Stilton, bacon, Roasted Red Chili Paste and dates. Together at last.

 

 

I crumbled my blue cheese, stuffed as much as I could inside each date and then topped the cheese with a smear of chili paste.

 

 

Dates are stuffed and ready to go.

 

 

Lay out your strip of bacon, top with a small pile of rice noodles and a stuffed date, then wrap the bacon around the top of the date and secure the ends with a toothpick.

 

 

A perfect little party appetizer that pairs beautifully with a glass of Champagne.

***This blog post is sponsored by Thai Kitchen Canada***

To learn more about Thai Kitchen Canada products, please visit www.thaikitchencanada.ca.

Grilled Corn Soup with Bacon

Our amazing friend JC (who was the best man at our wedding) and his girlfriend Lea, were visiting with us last week from Edmonton. The night before they flew home, we debated heading into Halifax for dinner, however, after touring around Nova Scotia, visiting friends and family for ten days, JC and Lea were kind of tired. We collectively agreed to stay home, drink some beer, fire up the grill and play Apples to Apples.

Sent on a mission to the grocery store to buy cheddar smokies and chips, the boys, including our friend Colin, returned with a Sobeys bag full of fresh Nova Scotia corn.

Fresh corn. It's so different than canned or frozen. It's sweet, crunchy, loaded with flavour, and, with a little char from the grill tastes like summer, despite the cool nights.

So... guess what happens when five people are sitting around drinking beer, eating smokies and chips and a huge platter of grilled corn hits the table?

You guessed it.

Because everyone is already stuffed, you end up wrapping a bunch of cobs in tinfoil and putting them in the fridge. The next day, after everyone's gone home, you pull the tinfoil pack out of the fridge and ask yourself, 'What the heck am I going to do with this?'.

I did all of the above except I had an answer to the question.

'I'm going to make soup!', I said, and so, I gathered a little inspiration here, and here and then played the rest by ear.

Ha ha. Get it? Played the rest 'by ear'?

Ummmm. Ok. Here is the super delicious recipe.

 

Grilled Corn Soup with Bacon (yields about 1.25 L of soup)

5 ears of corn, husks and silks removed, grilled until corn has lots of toasty char (or roasted in oven until lots of brown bits)

5 Cups water

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp butter

1 small onion, chopped

3 green onions, chopped (these are not essential - I just happened to have some growing in my garden)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 Cup milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

5-6 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled

- Use Season's and Suppers Steps 1, 2 and 3 (I used 1 Cup of water per ear of corn + 1 tsp sea salt in the water)

- Melt butter in a sautée pan - cook onions and garlic until just translucent - set aside 1 Cup of corn kernels - add the rest of the corn, plus the stuff you scraped from the cobs with the back of you knife, to the onions and garlic and top with corn stock and milk

- Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes

- Add salt and pepper then purée soup thoroughly with an immersion blender

- In batches, sieve soup into a large bowl/container through a fairly fine mesh strainer - really press on the corn solids to extract all of the soup from the pulp - discard pulp

- Add crumbled bacon plus reserved corn kernels and serve

* I like to take a cue from da Maurizio and add a drizzle of white truffle oil as a garnish. Extra flavour and richness is never a bad thing in my books.

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