July 1, 2011

Candied Bacon

First let me say that  I use Coleman brand bacon which can be found at Costco. They also have hot dogs and other prepared meats.  No BHT, nitrates or nitrates (see package below). The ingredients are pork, water, brown sugar, sea salt, celery powder, and lactic acid starter culture. When you make the bacon this way,  it is like candy. If you cooked it longer and slower you would have a jerky. It goes well in salads, with eggs and quiche or alone on a stick.  You could dip it in chocolate, fold it into batters, you name it.  Very rich and decadent, treat it with care.  Its not your grandpa's bacon. 

  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 3 Tbsp.  light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
 Coleman Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Position  rack in the center of the oven.  
  2. Layout the strips of bacon in one layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (you may have to do 2 batches.) 
  3. The strips of bacon can be touching, but shouldn’t be overlapping. 
  4. Drizzle both sides of the bacon with the maple syrup and then sprinkle both sides with sugar.   
  5. Bake until browned and crisp, 20-22 minutes. 
  6. Remove from pan and lay flat on a plate or non-stick surface like waxed paper. 
For use with Mixed Greens w/ Blue Cheese, Balsamic Dressing, Candied Bacon and Walnuts 
The Salad
  • 1- 10 oz. bag of spring mix
  • 1 small container of blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 12 strips of candied bacon, chopped
  • Use a balsamic vinaigrette to lightly coat the salad
  • Optional: thinly sliced shallots
Lightly toss greens with dressing, topping with nuts, bacon and cheese.

The Dressing
  • Makes 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake until the dressing emulsifies; or, process in a stand blender.
Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Shake the jar before using.
Just a side note:  I cooked the bacon on a Demarle Flexipan tray.  Imagine maple syrup,  and brown sugar on a cookie sheet and the awful mess of a cleanup.  Using Demarle products makes it so easy to clean up.  Just some warm soapy water and a cloth.  Cleans up in seconds. 

Blue Cheese with Fig Jelly

This is a wonderful flavor combination you MUST try.  I think you will LOVE it!

On a thick, wheat biscuit style cracker (look for the  Carr's Brand whole -wheat cracker in the specialty cracker section of the grocery) spread fig jelly and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles.
Or, you can also spread softened blue cheese on cracker then put a dollop of jelly on top. Serve on a nice platter or in individual appetizer plates.

Island Pork Tenderloin

This recipe has been my most popular one since starting the blog.  It is loosely based on the P-90X recipe in their cookbook that comes with the workout kit.  I have modified it and added some other uses for it!  This sometimes gets served in my house at LEAST once a week.  The island flavors make it great for a summer time meal, but the warmth, texture and creaminess make it great as a winter comfort food as well.  Because I serve it with a touch of cream sauce, it goes well with pasta, rice and our favorite, cous-cous.
16 oz lean pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 brown sugar, packed
1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with the spice rub.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat and brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes.  Remove meat and place onto a baking sheet
  4. Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and hot sauce and pat onto top of tenderloin.  
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Let rest before slicing

Make it a salad: For one salad:

  • 2 cups fresh greens 
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into THIN strips
  • 1/2 cup Mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/4 cup slivered red onion
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 ounces Island Pork Tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons cumin vinaigrette (see below)
  • Almonds for garnish
  1. Toss all the salad ingredients EXCEPT oranges and pork, in a large serving bowl.
  2. Prepare the dressing (below)
  3. Prepare salad vegetables on large platter or bowl.   Arrange pork and orange slices on top and drizzle with dressing and almonds.

The Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Serves 2
Whisk together until emulsified.

Make it an appetizer:
I used this recipe to make pork tenderloin skewers for a cocktail party wedding reception.  After roasting, cut into bite sized pieces, place on a party pick and serve in appetizer cups with a white wine cream sauce (recipe below).

The Sauce: ( Not from P90X)
White Wine Cream Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine, divided
  • ground white pepper to taste
  • 1cup heavy cream at room temperature
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional:  Add the pan juices from the tenderloin for added flavor.  
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir the shallots until they become translucent and tender; stir in garlic and cook until tender and aromatic.
  2. Stir in 1 cup white wine, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add the remaining 1/2 cup wine. Reduce to half.
  3. Slowly stir in cream, lemon juice salt and pepper.   Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. 
Some of you have asked about making it without wine.  The Sauce: ( Not from P90X)
Without Wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Pan juices from tenderloin and/or 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1cup heavy cream at room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Large pinch of tarragon
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2.  Cook and stir the shallots until they become translucent and tender; add garlic.
  3. Pour in pan juices and or chicken broth  
  4. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream. 
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken.  
  6.  Serve with tenderloin and garnish with tarragon

Grilled Lamb Porterhouse with Fig-Cascabel Sauce

Can also be used to make Lamb Skewers for a cocktail party (recipe follows)

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay


  • 8 lamb porterhouse chops, 4 to 5 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fig-Cascabel Sauce, recipe follows
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish


Heat grill to high or heat a grill pan over high heat. 
Brush chops on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the grill or grill pan and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over the chops and continue grilling to medium doneness, about 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Ladle some of the sauce into the center of each dinner plate. Place 2 chops per order in the center of the sauce and drizzle the edges of the meat with some more of the sauce. Garnish with parsley leaves.

Fig-Cascabel Sauce: (many steps but worth every minute)

  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup cascabel chile puree (make just like the fig puree)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Touch of honey
  1. Place figs in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit until softened, approximately 30 minutes. Place the softened figs in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid and process until smooth.
  2. Combine the vinegar and port wine in a medium nonreactive saucepan and reduce by half over high heat. Add the sugar, orange juice, and fig puree and reduce by half again, stirring occasionally.
  3. Combine the chile puree and chicken stock in another saucepan and reduce by half over high heat. 
  4. Add the reduced vinegar-fig mixture to the chicken stock mixture along with a touch of honey and reduce by half again, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Strain the mixture into a clean medium saucepan and reduce to a sauce consistency. 
Lamb Skewers
4 pounds top round lamb
2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 5 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
½ cup mild olive oil
½ cup dry red wine
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
1 large red pepper
small wooden skewers (soak in water for 20 minutes)

  1. Cut the lamb in 1½-inch cubes. You should have about 40 cubes. Combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, red wine, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl. 
  2. Add the lamb cubes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. Toss occasionally.
  3. Heat a charcoal grill with coals. Spread the coals in one tight layer on the grill.
  4. Cut the red peppers in small squares Loosely thread a piece of lamb and a slice of pepper on skewers. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb with salt and pepper. 
  5. Place the lamb skewers on the hot grill and cook for 5 minutes, turning once, until the lamb is medium rare. 
  6. Place a dollop of fig cascabel sauce on the bottom of appetizer cup, place skewer on top.  may garnish with a sprig of mint.  

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine

10 oz. goat cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

  1. Line the inside of a 2-cup sharply sloping bowl (about 4 inches across the top) with plastic; let the ends extend over the sides a few inches. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the goat cheese and 1/4 cup of the cream with a fork and season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper; add more cream if the cheese hasn’t softened.
  3. Spoon about one-third of the cheese into the lined bowl and pack it into an even layer. 
  4. Spread the pesto almost completely to the sides of the first layer of cheese. Top with another third of the cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes, and all but 1/2 Tbs. of the pine nuts. Top with the remaining cheese. 
  5. Pack down, fold the plastic over, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Half an hour before serving, take the bowl out of the refrigerator. Pull on the edges of the plastic to loosen the terrine from the bowl. Invert the terrine onto a plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, and let sit for 1/2 hour to warm up.  Sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts, season liberally with pepper, and serve.
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