Appetizers and Snacks · Bacon · Chocolate · Cocktails · Dessert · Main Dish · Recipes · Salad

Pig Fest

Pig Fest 2011.  That’s right.  Sorry my vegetarian friends, this is not for you.  We had pig cocktails, pig appetizers, pig wrapped in pig and pig for dessert.  Laura even made bacon vodka.  It was quite a glorious feast.  We kind of felt like, well, pigs at the end of the night.

This is our Candied Bacon martini.  The candied bacon made a great stir stick.  We forgot the apple slice called for in the recipe, but it was still good.     We found this recipe in the Los Angeles Times.

Candied Bacon Martini

Candied Bacon:

  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Candied Bacon Martinis:

  • 6 ounces premium vodka
  • 4 ounces Applejack brandy
  • 2 ounces amaretto liqueur
  • 2 ounces maple syrup
  • 4 thin slices tart apple
  • 2 slices candied bacon, halved crosswise

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Dredge the bacon on both sides in the brown sugar and arrange slices so they do not touch on the baking sheet.  Bake until bacon is richly caramelized, 15 to 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and allow excess fat to drain.  In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, brandy, amaretto and maple syrup with ice.  Shake until combined and chilled.  Strain into 4 martini glasses and garnish with apple slice and candied bacon.

Laura made her bacon jam.  It was awesome with a little crumbled blue cheese as a bruschetta.

Donna made the most amazing prosciutto wrapped salmon and scallops.   Oh man were they good.  We couldn’t take a picture fast enough to get the whole platter.  Sunshine said they were the best scallops ever.  The salmon was really good too!  Here is her recipe:

Salmon Kebabs with Parsley Vinaigrette

  • 5 tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar, such as Kimberley
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinned King or Coho salmon fillet (1″ thick), cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (or sea scallops!)
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Donna used prosciutto)
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.  Set aside.
Heat grill to high (450° to 550°).
In a large bowl, combine remaining oil with 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Toss with salmon or scallops to coat.
Set out 3 rows of salmon chunks on a work surface.  Unroll pancetta slices into strips and wrap strips once or twice around salmon, weaving long pieces between chunks.  Skewer each row of salmon with chunks slightly separated.
Oil grate using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels.  Set kebabs on grate and grill, covered, turning once until fish is barely cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Remove salmon and scallops from skewers and arrange on a platter.  Stir parsley into the dressing, spoon on top of the salmon and scallops.  Serve warm with crusty bread for dunking.

Pig wrapped pig.  We served it with a refreshing arugula salad.  This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentis.  I’ve adjusted the cooking time according to the new chart on the National Pork Board website.

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon


  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 1/2 pound center cut boneless pork loin roast
  • 12 slices (1 pound) bacon


  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups (5 ounces)  baby arugula
Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°.
In a small bowl, mix the mustards, honey, garlic and rosemary until smooth.  Spread the mustard mixture evenly over the pork.
Starting at one end, wrap a piece of bacon around the pork roast.  Wrap slice of bacon around the roast, making sure to slightly overlap the first piece.  Continue with the remaining bacon until the roast is fully wrapped.  Using 6 to 8 pieces of kitchen twine, tied at regular intervals around the roast, secure the bacon in place.
Place the pork in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and roast for 1 hour.  Cover the pan loosely with foil and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 145°.  Remove from the oven.  Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  Remove twine and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.
For the salad:  While the pork is resting, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the arugula on a large platter and drizzle with dressing.  Lay pork slices on top and serve.

Chocolate covered bacon.  Okay, this was not for me.  But Laura liked it.  She’s kind of like Mikey.  Remember him?  The Life cereal kid?  Give it to Laura, she’ll eat anything.

Now this was good.  Really good.  INSANELY good.  It’s the maple-pecan sundaes with candied bacon.  I made the vanilla ice cream with the last of the Tahitian vanilla.

What’s so funny, Stephanie?

Donna!  You look like you’re up to something.

Manly men tending the fire and talking about manly things, like fire.

Classic Laura.

Paige barks a lot.  The only way to get her to shut up is to pick her up.  So we bought this contraption.  God bless Steven for wearing it.  Of course it didn’t work, so we gave her some Benadryl.  Of course that didn’t work, so we’ve resorted to on-line training with the Dog Whisperer.  And I have some shocking news.  Mom, you might want to sit down for this one.  Paige is an ANIMAL.  And then she’s a DOG.  She is not our child in a furry coat.

What’s next?  I think maybe a retirement party.  Not what you think though.  I’ve got a Mexican dress that I’ve had for way too long.  It’s been my go to dress for every party.  So, one last hurrah for my mexi-party dress, and then I’ll retire it.  Anyone who has something they’ve worn to death and need to retire is welcome.  Send Sunshine your pictures dressed in your oldies but not so goodies and he’ll make us a slide show for the party:)

Appetizers and Snacks · Bacon · Recipes

Jalapeno Poppers

Super Bowl requires cheesy finger food.  Sunshine usually makes his Velveeta cheese dip and serves it with Fritos.  This year we wanted to “health it up”.  So we made onion dip with non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Stephanie REALLY liked that.  And now for the cheesy part, BBQ jalapeño poppers.   I love The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Lee Drummond and this recipe is from the book.  I made a few adjustments, like using low fat cream cheese.  They were still a hit.

BBQ Jalapeño Poppers

  • 18 fresh jalapeños
  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese (I used low fat)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion (or minced shallot if you forgot the green onion like I did)
  • 18 slices thin bacon, cut in halves (well…mine was thick, just required additional cooking time)
  • Bottled barbecue sauce
  • Toothpicks (I got the wrong kind and had to cut them in half, oh brother)
  • Rubber gloves for working with the jalapeños (Oops, didn’t do that….ouch, I rubbed my eyes.  I won’t use gloves next time either, what a dork. )

Preheat oven to 275°.  Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise.  Scrape out seeds and membrane.  Combine the cream cheese, green onions and cheddar cheese in bowl.  Stuff each jalapeño half with cream cheese mixture.  Wrap each half with bacon.  Brush with BBQ sauce, then secure with a toothpick.  Pop them in the oven on an unlined baking sheet for 1 hour, or more if you’re using thick bacon.  I liked them best at room temperature.

Ooooohhh…Lee mentioned something about placing two of these on top of your burger.  I like that idea!  Maybe I’ll try it on top of a chicken slider!

Really?  No one wants the pizza stone for the grill?  It’s still up for grabs if you want it.  Thom??

Bacon · Main Dish · Pizza · Recipes

New Year’s Eve Pizza Party!!

Happy New Year!!!!  We had a great time making pizza with our friends on New Year’s Eve.  And when I say we had a great time, I mean we had A GREAT TIME!!!!   I’m still in my pj’s.  It’s January 2nd.

Laura had the genius idea to spread a little bit of her bacon jam on her pizza.  It was delicious!  Luckily I have another jar.  I think I’ll try a little bacon jam and blue cheese the next time I make pizza.  Here is her recipe:

Laura’s Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon
  • 2 medium yellow onions, small dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee

Cook bacon until lightly browned.  Remove bacon and  drain fat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the skillet.  Add bacon and stir to combine.  Transfer mixture to a 6 quart slow cooker .  Cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Transfer to a foood processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Let cook, then refrigerate.

Nice dough ball.  Making your own dough is worth the effort.  Check out the recipe on my other pizza party post.


Laura’s pie!  Yummy….I see the bacon jam!

Fully loaded!!

Tawny and Shawn’s pizza!

Have a slice!

Veronica’s pizza…


A little bubbly.

Happy New Year!!!

Oh Sunshine, you are so funny!

Good night Thom.

Good night Laura.

A little slide show…I told you we had fun:)

Bacon · Main Dish · Recipes

another French lesson

I made these veal chops with mustard for Sunshine, my sister Veronica and her husband Joey.  They were so delicious and very tender.  This was another French lesson from Anne Willan’s book,  The Country Cooking of France.  I love all of the pictures in the book, not just of food, but of the rural France as well.
I’m sad I just missed a series of classes she was teaching in Los Angeles.  Hopefully she’ll be teaching more classes soon.  Here is the recipe from her book:

Cotes de Veau Dijonnaise

  • 4 veal chops (about 2 pounds total)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces lean bacon, cut into lardons
  • 16-18 baby onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup white wine, preferably chardonay
  • 3/4 cup veal broth (I used veal demiglace)
  • 1 bouquet garni (a tied bundle of fresh thyme sprig, dried bay leaf, and several sprigs  of fresh parsley wrapped in a the leek greens)
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan.  Add bacon lardons and cook until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes, remove and drain, set aside.  Add onions to the pan a saute until golden brown, 7-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the chops to the pan and brown, 2-3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan, set aside.

Whisk flour into the pan and cook until bubbling.  Add wine, bring to a boil and stir to incorporate the browned bits stuck to the pan.  Stir in broth and whisk until smooth.

Add the bacon and chops back into the pan, tuck the bouquet garni in between the chops.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes.

Uncover, add the onions and cook for an additional 15 minutes.   Transfer chops to a serving plate, remove the bouquet garnis.  Whisk the creme fraiche into the sauce and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the mustard and parsley, spoon over the veal chops and serve.

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:  Veal chops wine pairing: I’m going with the Brown Estate 2007 Chaos Theory Proprietary Red.  This is a dark, deep, brooding yet  seductive wine that glides over your palate toward a long, elegant finish. The perfect wine to pair with the veal and mustard based sauce.

Brown made a beauty here.  It has a dense crimson color, with a blue scarlet rim, that leads to a fragrant nose of exotic Asian apple blossom, crushed rose petals, and cloves.  Its soft, silky texture gives way to ripe, forward fruit that is  balanced with layers of complexity. Flavors of blackberries, black cherries, cappuccino, and tobacco lead to an earthy undertone of big game and fresh sage and rosemary. I’m drooling over this one!

Bacon · Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

bacon for dessert

I’m usually pretty open to trying new flavor combinations, but when Silvia said she HAD to have the Maple-Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon for her birthday dessert from a recent issue of Bon Appetit, I was a bit skeptical.  Maple syrup, candied ginger, candied bacon…who comes up with this stuff?  Turns out it was actually another surprisingly delicious treat! We made the vanilla ice cream old school style, with the big ice cream maker you surround with ice and rock salt.  I have a super simple vanilla ice cream recipe that’s so good.   It’s just that my ice cream maker is electric, and very noisy, so we shut the door while it was churning and forgot about it.  My ice cream turned out a little too icy for my taste.  I have to make this again for Silvia, this time with the perfect ice cream.  Check out the recipes below, with a few tweaks of course.

So I got cocky, and decided to try another bacon-laden dessert.  This time I tried Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars from the Food & Wine website.  This was a big hit with Sunshine.  It really tasted more like a candy bar, so decadent!!  You don’t need much!  The recipe called for browning the butter first to give the crust a nutty flavor, but it got lost when you put the whole dessert together.  I like the idea though, and will probably try in a dessert that would showcase the flavor of the brown butter.  Sunshine and I went to breakfast the day I planned to make this.  He ordered a side of pepper bacon that was so good we decided to take another order home with us for this recipe.  It saved our house from  smelling like bacon grease for hours, and saved me a little time in the kitchen too.   I used milk chocolate chips instead of the semi sweet chips called for, and used raw almonds instead of roasted almonds, all preferred by Sunshine.  Check out the recipe below.

Maple-Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon

  • 6 bacon slices
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 ounces pure maple syrup, grade B
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil, and lay bacon slices on top.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar on top.  Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar.  Continue backing until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes longer.  Cool.  Cut into 1/4″ dice.

Combine maple syrup and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to simmer until sauce is reduce and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, remove cinnamon sticks, add lemon juice and ginger.  Let stand at room temperature.  Stir in pecans and bacon just before serving on top of ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream

Scald milk.  Remove from heat and add sugar and salt, stir to dissolve.    Add vanilla and whipping cream and chill.  This recipe makes 2 quarts.  I double the recipe for my big ice cream maker.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the directions.

Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars

  • 6 ounces butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bacon
  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 16 ounce jar dulce de leche
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment, coat with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle.  Add flour and salt, mix until a wet crumb consistency is formed.  Press crumbs into the baking pan, and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Combine dulce de leche and condensed milk.  Pour over top of crust.  Combine bacon, coconut, chocolate chips and almonds, and press into the dolce de leche.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about an hour.  Remove from pan, peel off paper and cut into squares.

Warning.  This could happen to you too.  It must have been the candied bacon…. or was it the wine?  Hmm.