Bacon brittle

– 1 pkg bacon
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/8 tsp baking soda

– 1 1/3c sugar
– 1/2c water
– 1/4c light corn syrup
– 2.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1) Fry, bake or microwave bacon, dry and chop up. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp & 1/8 tsp baking soda. Set aside.
2) Grease a sheet pan or place a silpat mat on the pan.
3) In a pan: 1 1/3c sugar, 1/2c water, 1/4c light corn syrup, 2.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter.
4) Cook for 12 min. on high heat until you start to see caramel notes on the edges of the liquid. Continue to cook until you get more of a light color change.
5) When it is all over caramel quickly add bacon mix and stir quickly and in invert onto your pan. Quickly smooth out mix and let cool.

I think I’m going to add nuts too.

Very important: To store you must store in a plastic container or the condensation of a bag or any other material will turn your toffee to goo. Do not store in the refrigerator. Don’t worry about the bacon going bad if not stored in the fridge….this will also turn it into goo too.

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chocolate Mousse a la Julia Child (a la David Lebovitz)

Just made this absolutely amazing dessert – got the recipe from David Lebovitz…it’s a slight modification of Julia Child’s classic recipe.  Copied it directly from the website.  I’m going to add some bacon brittle to the top.

Chocolate Mousse
Six to eight servings

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) by Julia Child.

I tried to reduce the amount of butter in the recipe and found it wasn’t nearly as good. Since I’m not one to argue with Julia, I stuck close to the recipe tweaking it just slightly.

6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Serving: I like to serve the chocolate mousse as it is, maybe with just a small dollop of whipped cream; it neither needs, nor wants, much adornment.

Storage: The mousse au chocolat can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mango Creamsicles

Yummy, delicious desserts for summer.  You could probably use light cream or milk as well.  But, as they are “creamsicles”, heavy cream is best!


– 2 ripe mangoes, chunked
– 1 tsp. sugar
– 1 tsp. lime zest
– 1 TBSP lime juice
– 1 cup heavy cream


1.  Add mango to a blender and puree.

2.  Add additional ingredients and blend until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.  Stir by hand if necessary.

3.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Red Cabbage & Rice Soup

I was following a recipe for a Mushroom-Barley soup with cabbage from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen but I was missing ingredients and Nason doesn’t like mushrooms, so I ended up improvising…a lot.  The resulting soup was really good – “one of the best you’ve ever made!” according to Nason.  The red cabbage gives it a nice, deep red color.


– 1/2 C. cooked brown rice
– 4 cups beef stock
– 1 TBSP oil
– 2 medium onions, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 cup potatoes, diced (whatever you’ve got on hand)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
– 2 tablespoons dry white wine
– 1/2 of a red cabbage, shredded
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– water


1)  Add 1 TBSP oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until it softens and begins to brown.
2)  Add the garlic and potatoes and a little salt and pepper, reduce the heat, cover, and cook, stirring regularly, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3)  Add the thyme and white wine and cook until the alcohol cooks off.
4)  Add beef stock, sliced cabbage and paprika.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover.  Simmer for 30 minutes until the cabbage is tender, adding water gradually if it gets too thick.

Published in: on February 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Robust Kale Soup

This is my evolving combination of a bunch of different recipes.  It’s easy, hearty, and yummy.  You can make it as spicy as you want depending on the spices you add and what kind of sausage you use (chorizo is going to give it a kick).


– 1 yellow onion, 1/2 diced fine, 1/2 sliced
– 1 tsp Emeril’s Essence (or a mix of thyme, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper)
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 package chorizo (or other sausage), sliced
– 1 potato, turnip, parsnip or other root veggie, cubed 1/2″
– 1 bottle beer
– 1 can chick peas or kidney beans
– 4 cups veggie/chicken stock (can also use beef)
– 1 lb. Kale, coarsely chopped
– salt and pepper to taste


1.  Heat a TBSP of butter or veggie oil in a dutch oven on medium high heat.  Add diced onions and cook until soft and fragrant.
2.  Add root vegetables, Emeril’s Essence and bay leaf and stir.
3.  Add chorizo, cook for a few minutes and stir constantly.
4.  Deglaze the pan by pouring in all the beer.  Add stock and kale.  Cover.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low or low (just at a simmer).  Cook for 20 – 30 minutes and serve.

Note: the longer you cook the soup, the more the flavors blend.  This soup is really tasty the day after as well!

Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Savory Quiche

Quiche has been a great way to use the excess eggs that we now have at our house.  Mom says that quiches are really easy to freeze, but I haven’t tried that yet.  I got the basic recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I improvised quite a bit. I made it with 1% milk which was delicious and a little healthier, I think.

Serves 8.

– 1 recipe pie dough
– 4-5 pieces proscuitto or bacon
– 2 scallions, chopped
– 2 shallots, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
– 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
– 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
– 3/4 cup arugula, chopped
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
– pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
– 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled into large chunks


1)  Heat oven to 375 degrees and move oven rack to lower middle position.  Arrange pie dough in pie shell, cover entire crust with aluminum foil, fill with weights (I use dried beans) and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until crust is lightly browned.
2)  While crust is baking, fry prosciutto in a skillet over medium heat until browned, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
3)  Saute the white parts of the scallions along with the shallots in a tablespoon of cooking oil or butter until softened, about 5 minutes.
4)  Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl.
5)  Remove baked crust from the oven, maintain the oven at 375.   To assemble quiche:  start with crumbled proscuitto and goat cheese on the bottom.  Add sauteed scallions and shallots.  Top with cranberries, arugula and green parts of the scallions.  Pour in egg mixture.
6)  Transfer to the oven and bake for 32 – 35 minutes.  Quiche should be a light golden brown and a knife inserted about an inch from the edge comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 2:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Easy Pie Dough

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.  Super easy!  I know you can use both vegetable shortening and butter, but I didn’t have any shortening the day that I made it – and it tasted really good with just butter!  The best homemade crust I’ve ever made. Great for quiches and one crust pies. Make it in a food processor – it’s the only way to go!

Makes one nine inch crust.

– 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1 Tbsp sugar
– 10 Tbsp COLD, unsalted butter (straight from the fridge!), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
– 4-5 Tbsp ice water


1) Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined.
2)  Add the butter pieces and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and clumps together (about 10 seconds).  Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
3)  Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture.  With a spatula, use a folding motion to mix.  Press down on the dough until it sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water, if necessary.  Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour (or freeze for 30 minutes) of up to 2 days before rolling.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 1:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fried Rice – an indonesian staple

Here’s one of the quintessential dishes that I learned to cook in Indonesia.  Makes a great use of leftovers whether it’s the rice or vegetables.  I make this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  Traditional indonesian fried rice uses sambal or a sort of garlic/chili paste and ketchup manis or sweetened soy sauce.  You can simply use normal soy sauce and can leave off the chili if you do not want the spicy heat.  There’s a lot of flexibility in this dish.  This recipe uses eggs but you can also add shrimp, chicken, or tofu.  Can easily be modified to be vegetarian.

Serves 4


– 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
– 2 eggs, beaten lightly
– 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
– 1 medium onion, minced or 2 shallots, minced
– 1 tsp chile paste or 1 thai chile, minced (both optional, if you like it spicy)
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tbsp ketchup manis or soy sauce
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup of veggies, chopped (anything will work: broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, eggplant, celery, carrots)
– 2 cups cooked white rice (can also do a mix of 1 cup white rice, 1 cup brown rice)

Toppings (optional)

– chopped scallions
– crushed peanuts or cashew
– chopped cilantro


1.  Heat oil in a large skillet or wok on medium high heat (better low than high) until shimmering.  Add eggs until cooked.  Remove eggs and set them aside.
2.  Add garlic and onions or shallots and cook until fragrant and onions are softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic and onions – you only want them to sweat.  If you are using any vegetables that require a longer cooking time (i.e. carrots) add them at the same time.
3.  Add chili paste or chili (if using) and garlic powder and any additional vegetables.  Cook until vegetables are softened, stirring frequently.
4.  Add rice and mix thoroughly.  Rice should absorb the oil and any juices released from the veggies.
5.  Add soy sauce and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.  Rice should be uniformly light brown in color.  Sauced lightly but not drowning in sauce – the dish is actually quite dry.  Serve in bowls and add toppings, if using.
6.  Enjoy!

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Naan Bread – the easiest, most foolproof bread!

Taken from Manjula’s Kitchen. Click on the link for the original recipe and a video of how to make it. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can also use a cookie sheet or unglazed ceramic tiles. Make sure the oven is good and hot!

Makes 6 Naan.


* 2 cups of All Purpose flour (Plain flour or maida)
* 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* Pinch of baking soda
* 2 tablespoons of oil
* 2 1/2 tablespoons yogurt (curd or dahi)
* 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Also needed:

* 1 teaspoon of clear butter or ghee to butter the Naan
* 1/4 cup All Purpose flour for rolling


1. Dissolve active dry yeast in lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy.
2. Add sugar, salt and baking soda to the flour and mix well.
3. Add the oil and yogurt mix, this will become crumbly dough.
4. Add the water/yeast mixture and make into soft dough.Note: after dough rise will become little softer.
5. Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough and keep in a warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should almost be double in volume.
6. Heat the oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone for at least thirty minutes so stone is hot. Using a pizza stone will help to give naan close to same kind of heat as clay tandoor.
7. Next turn the oven to high broil.
8. Knead the dough for about two to three minutes and divide the dough into six equal parts.
9. Take each piece of dough, one at a time, and roll into 8-inch oval shape. Dust lightly with dry flour to help with the rolling.
10. Before putting the Naan in oven, lightly wet your hands and take the rolled Naan, and flipp them between your palms and place onto your baking/pizza stone into the oven.
11. You can place about 2 Naan on the baking/pizza stone at a time. The Naan will take about 2 to 3 minutes to cook, depending upon your oven. After the Naan is baked(Naan should be golden brown color on top).
12. Take naan out of the oven and brush lightly with clear butter or ghee.
13. wait 2 to 3 minutes before baking the next batch of naan. It gives oven the chance to get heated again to max.

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Favorite Creme Brulee

Taken from Cook’s  I’ve made this recipe many, many times and it is delicious every time. It really makes a difference using a vanilla bean.  The critical thing is not to overcook the custard and to take it out of the oven just as it has set.

Serves 8.   Published November 1, 2001.

Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks after the cream has finished steeping; if left to sit, the surface of the yolks will dry and form a film. A vanilla bean gives custard the deepest flavor, but 2 teaspoons of extract, whisked into the yolks in step 4, can be used instead. The best way to judge doneness is with a digital instant-read thermometer. The custards, especially if baked in shallow fluted dishes, will not be deep enough to provide an accurate reading with a dial-face thermometer. For the caramelized sugar crust, we recommend turbinado or Demerara sugar. Regular granulated sugar will work, too, but use only 1 scant teaspoon on each ramekin or 1 teaspoon on each shallow fluted dish. If you don’t own eight individual ramekins, see the related Family Style version.


4 cups heavy cream , chilled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
1 vanilla bean , halved lengthwise
12 large egg yolks
8 – 12 teaspoons turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
  3. Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange eight 4- to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.
  4. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.
  5. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy and digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.
  6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
  7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer); serve.My F
Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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