Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pasta with bacon, onions, and tomato

I made this pasta dish a couple of days ago. It is adapted from a recipe I got off The original recipe has the bacon cooked in the pan with the onions, but I found it was a little greasy that way. My recipe has the bacon cooked on its own and then added to the pan of onions.
  • One 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, in tomato juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 500g bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Drain the canned tomatoes; save all the juices. Cut each tomato in quarters lengthwise; slice the quarters in strips, 1/2 inch wide.

Put 1/2 cup water in the wide skillet, and set it over medium-high heat. Put the onions in the water and stir them around in the pan as the water starts to boil. Cook the onions, turning occasionally, for several minutes, until they're softened and the water is nearly evaporated.
Pour the olive oil over the onions, add the crushed garlic cloves and salt. Stir well to coat all the onions with oil; cook for a couple of minutes or more, until onions and garlic are sizzling.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a separate pan until just cooked. Drain any grease and mix in the bacon with the onions.

Add the pepper flakes, stir, and let everything cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until the onions and bacon are caramelized and golden—adjust the heat so nothing burns. Add all the sliced tomatoes and their juices into the skillet, and stir well. Rinse the tomato containers with a bit of "slosh" water, and stir that in too. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring frequently, and then lower the heat to simmering. Let the sauce cook and thicken for about 20 minutes, or until it has the consistency you like for pasta.

Serve with the pasta of your choice and a generous helping of fresh grated Parmesan.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I made the most amazing brownies this morning. So much for watching what I eat...

I got the recipe from Dragon's Kitchen, and modified it slightly. Check out her blog.  She's a friend of my uncle, and an amazing cook. Haven't met her, but I've heard a lot about her and her food.

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp butter
1 cup sugar (2/3 cup white, 1/3 cup light brown)
3/4 cup + 2  Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, etc. (optional)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

3. Stir in the vanilla and coffee. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well-blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Okay, so as if I could wait for them to cool down. I ate them warm straight out of the pan.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Got 10 minutes? Make pickles!

I love Claussen-like crispy fridge pickles.  I found a recipe on-line, that I've modified slightly, that makes perfect pickles.  It takes no time at all to make.

1 litre boiling water
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tsp mustard seed
fresh dill
8 or so pickling cucumbers, cut into spears

2 sterilized 1-litre mason jars, with sterilized rings and lids

Place a large dill flower in the bottom of each sterilized jar.  Add a tsp of mustard seed and half the garlic.  Pack the jars with cucumber spears.  Put more dill on top and around the cucumbers.

In a large measuring cup, dissolve salt and sugar in the boiling water and vinegar.

Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, filling the jar to about 1/4 from the top.  Put on lids.  Refrigerate once cool.  The pickles will be perfect in about 1 week, and last about 2 months.

The picture is of the freshly-made pickles.  I'll try to add another one once they're done (assuming I don't eat them all first!).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heidi's 2nd Birthday cake

No time to blog, but I wanted to get pictures of her cake up to show the world.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Zucchini au gratin

So I made the best zucchini au gratin ever a couple of nights ago. It was so good that I ate half the 9x13 pan in one sitting. I justified that by the fact that zucchini is a vegetable, no matter how much cheese sauce was on it, and therefore, good for me, and it was pretty much all I ate for dinner that night anyway. I doubt I'll ever be able to replicate the recipe again. But, I'll definitely try.

1 large zucchini/mixed summer squash, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 Tbsp vermouth
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
bread crumbs

Mix everything, except the bread crumbs, in a casserole dish. Bake, covered in tin foil, for 35 minutes at 300. Stir, re-cover, and put back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top (and some more parmesan, if you like!) and put under the broiler until browned.

Now, I made this again a few nights later but I didn't have sour cream or cheddar cheese. What ever did I do, you ask? I used plain yogurt and gouda. Still delicious, although the gouda kind of clumped together so it required more stirring.

Clementine Cake

I wasn't sure I could do it when I first thought about it: taking a recipe with only 5 ingredients, changing 2 of them and still getting something that even remotely resembled what it was supposed to be. In this case, that something is a Clementine Cake. The recipe called for ground almonds, 5 whole clementines, 6 eggs, sugar, and baking powder. I set out to replace all 6 eggs and the sugar. Here's how it turned out:

I would say that's pretty successful!

Here's how I did it:

5 clementine oranges
1/2 cup honey
2 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 banana, mashed
1 Tbsp whole flax seed, ground + 3 Tbsp water
3 tsp egg replacer*
3 Tbsp water (or whatever liquid your egg replacer calls for)*
2 tsp baking powder

*I used commercial egg replacer. It's basically baking soda, corn starch, and other things, that you add water to. For this recipe, I used an equivalent of 3 eggs worth of egg replacer.

Wash the clementines. Put in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, covered, and let simmer for 2 hours. Check them periodically to make sure the water doesn't boil away. Drain and cool. When cool, split then open and remove and seeds. Put the clementines, peel and all, into a food processor and chop. Set aside.

This is what the clementines look like after boiling for a couple of hours. Oh, and the house smells divine!

And here they are chopped up:

Heat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Mix the ground flax and 3 Tbsp water in a small bowl. Let sit for a few minutes to become almost gelatinous.

I ground the almonds myself in the food processor. Cheaper than buying them pre-ground.

In a mixer bowl, combine banana, flax seed mush, egg replacer and water. Beat together. Add the ground almonds, honey, and baking powder. Beat again. Add the chopped clementines. Mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put in the oven.

This is where things may turn out different for you. My oven is wonky and things never cook how they are supposed to. The cake took 70 minutes to bake in my oven, but I would check it after 40 minutes and then every 5-10 minutes after. I don't expect it should actually take any longer than 55 minutes in a reliable oven. I'll have to recreate this at my mom's house soon to test the baking time.

When a toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and let fully cool on a serving platter.

The finished cake:

Just before you're ready to serve, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar if you wish. Next time I want to drizzle it with some melted dark chocolate or chocolate ganache!

So it was a successful day in the kitchen for me. Next time I'm thinking of trying an chocolate-avocado cake. Stay tuned.


I like food.  I really, really do.  The purpose of this blog is to share recipes I've created, recipes I've tried and loved, recipes I want to try, and just generally discuss anything food-related. 

I've always loved cooking.  I even enrolled in cooking school immediately following high school graduation.  That did not work out, but perhaps we'll discuss that later. I love sharing my creation and watching people's reaction of that first taste. I like experimenting; adding a touch of this, a little more of that, perhaps leaving this ingredient out.

Since having children, the internet has become an extremely important tool in guiding me to find new ways of doing things.  My daughter has food allergies and sensitivities, which we have managed to control thanks to a lot of web-surfing and a lot of time spent reading about other peoples' experiences.  I hope I'm able to help a few others in return.

I hope you will join me on this journey!