Saturday, March 29, 2014
Yes, yes and yes! You’ve read that right, it’s Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam!! It’s as luscious, decadent, rich, ridiculously good and irresistible as it sounds!!! Yes, it has Bourbon, maple syrup, and of course, bacons in it; all transformed into this jam!!!! I think I’ve used too many exclamation marks in my sentences! But who cares? When you have something as outrageous as Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam, it deserves all the exclamation marks out there!!! Oops, sorry for using the marks again but I just couldn't help it.
This Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam is truly amazing! The Bourbon gives this jam a wonderful depth of flavor. The maple syrup adds an earthy and smoky sweetness that compliment well with the smoky and salty bacon. I used some uncured apple wood smoked bacon here. You can use anything that you like. I also added some apple cider vinegar to cut the richness from the bacon and that adds a wonderful tang to this jam. The fresh ginger and red pepper flakes give this jam the heat and spiciness that balance well with the sweetness from the brown sugar and maple. The flavor combination is complex, yet, it’s pure indulgence that you don’t want to miss. After all, who can resist bacon? Oink Oink....
Best of all, this Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam is a cinch to make. Come on into the kitchen with me to see how it’s done:
1) In a large stainless steel skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown and crisp; drain out melted fat/oil as necessary, stirring frequently, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
2) Remove fat from pan but leave 1 tablespoon of fat in pan. In the same skillet, add onions, shallots and garlic and cook over medium heat, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes and ginger, stir and mix well.
3) Increase heat to high and add the bourbon and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrap up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then, add vinegar and brown sugar; let mixture come to a boil again.
4) Next, add the reserved bacon and reduce to low heat. Let the mixture simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick glaze, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of a chunky jam. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!
Super easy to prepare, right? One of my favorite way to serve this jam is spread it on toasts and serve with fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme leaves. The freshness from the tomato and thyme really compliment the richness of the jam. Go ahead, make some and share the wealth. This jam would definitely make a wonderful homemade gift. I also have a few more serving suggestions at the end of the recipe. Feel free to check them out. What is your favorite indulging ingredient? Is it bacon? Chocolate? Or something else. I would love to hear from you.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Mimosa is a cocktail drink composed of one part champagne (or sparkling wine) and one part citrus fruit juice, usually orange juice. It is traditionally served in a tall champagne flute during brunch or to guests at weddings. Today, I’m twisting and changing things up a bit. As many of you know that I love having brunch at home, and a cocktail here and there. This Blackberry Lime Mimosa is a great new taste to try if you’re feeling a little adventurous.
I started this cocktail with a good amount of fresh lime juice for the refreshing citrus flavor; then I muddled some blackberries along with fresh mint leaves for a little sweetness and freshness. I couldn't help it but took a deep breath to take it all in. The citrus, berries and mints smelled divine! Then, I pour in a little simple syrup and shaken it well with some ice; next, I filled my champagne glasses half way with the blackberry lime mixture and top the glasses with some prosecco. That’s what I usually have on hand (or I should say, available in the fridge so I don't sound like an alcoholic! hahaha....). Of course, you can use champagne as well.
This cocktail is slightly sweet and tart at the same time, very refreshing and perfect for Spring. If you have a brunch to serve or gathering to host, this would make a great cocktail for your guests. You can make the blackberry lime mixture ahead of time and simply pour the prosecco when your guests arrive. This is a lovely recipe and I can see myself making it over and over again. Do you have a favorite cocktail recipe to share? What is your favorite ingredients to use in a cocktail (I love citrus)? Leave me a comment below and let me know. I can't wait to find out! Cheers to Spring!
Please drink responsibly. Health and General Disclaimers.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Have you checked out my Homemade Strawberry Roll Up recipe yet? It was a great hit and many parents shared with me that they love the idea of wholesome treats and recipes. Today, I have another great treat to share with you. But instead of a sweet treat, I’m sharing a savory one with you. I promise, these Whole Wheat Parmesan Crackers will rock your world! For sure you won’t be able to stop at just one, nor 10!
I've my fair share of trying different types and brands of whole grain flour, and this is by far my favorite one to use (see picture below). I love this brand because the flour is super smooth and tender, you can hardly tell it’s whole wheat at all. But then, you get the benefits of eating whole grains, the fiber, the nutrients,
I usually buy Parmesan cheese in a block/wedge and freshly grate the amount that I needed right before using. That is the best way to keep the moisture and flavor of the Parmesan cheese. So, don't even bother using the pre-grated ones. Because, yes, you can totally taste the difference! Period! I always say, use the best ingredients possible. It is especially true when there are only a few ingredients on your recipe list.
These Whole Wheat Parmesan Crackers are slightly salty with a hint of nutty flavor from the whole wheat flour. The texture is crunchy and slightly crumbly. A little buttery and oh so good! Who say eating healthy snack have to be boring or bland? As you can see, I made them in rather small size, 1 by 1-inch squares to be exact. These are really the perfect 1 biters. Easy for the kids to eat and no guilt for the grown ups who can’t stop eating them one after one.
Want to check out how I made them? Follow me to the kitchen!
1) and 2) In the bowl of the food processor, pause the flour, cheese, salt, and butter until the mixture resemble wet sand with no big chunks of butter.
3) Then, add 4 tablespoons of cream and pause the mixture again.
4) If the mixture form into a dough ball, you can stop right here. If the mixture is a little dry, add more cream, a teaspoon at a time. I usually use 5 tablespoons of cream in a batch.
5) and 6) In a slightly floured board, roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness.
7) With a fluted pastry wheel, cut dough into 1 by 1-inch squares.
8) Place cut out dough on prepared baking sheet, 1-inch apart. With a fork, gently prick each of the cut out cracker dough. This will prevent the crackers from puffing up too much. Baked until bottom and edges are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool crackers on baking sheet over wiring rack until completely cooled. Store crackers in air-tight container and enjoy.
Super easy, isn't it? These are one of our family’s favorite savory snacks to enjoy. Once you have made them, I'm sure they'll be your family's favorite as well. They are easy to pack for school, picnic, or afternoon snacks. And I bet they’ll be great for parties and gatherings too. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy today’s post and recipe. If you try the recipe, be sure to leave me a message to let me know how you like it. Until next time!
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Fruit Roll-Ups or fruit leathers are quite popular snacks or treats here in the U.S. that the Kids are so crazy about. Honestly, I didn’t grow up with this stuff and didn’t learn about them until one day, my Kids brought some home from school. It was given to them as a treat after the soccer practice. The store-bought version was mixed with rainbow colors along with different flavorings. I’m not too fond about the colorings and artificial flavorings. But I have to say, it’s quite a fun thing to eat as you can un-roll it like a roll of film (oh….this sentence might have given my real age away!) as you eat. I know I would be super excited to eat this roll of sweet and colorful thing if I’m a 5 year old. But as a Mom, I can’t help it but to create a homemade version that is more wholesome without anything artificial. Best of all, it taste even better than the store bought version because it’s made with real fruit! Want to check out how I make them? Follow me to the kitchen.
There are only 3 ingredients in this Strawberry Roll-Ups. They are organic strawberries, of course, lemon juice to brighten the flavor, and a little bit of sugar to sweeten it up. Put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are nicely pureed! I used 12 ounces of strawberries here and only added 2 tablespoons of raw sugar. You can use 4 tablespoons of sugar if you like yours sweeter.
Next, pour the puree in a small saucepan and cook on medium to medium low until thicken, about 15 to 18 minutes. Stir the mixture often to prevent burning.
Next, spread the mixture on a silpat lined baking sheet. Mine goes all the way to the inner border of the silpat. So the dimension is around 10 by 15-inch.
Then, baked at the lowest temperature in the oven, I used 170 degree F and baked for 1 1/2 hour, turning the baking sheet once in the middle of baking. Then, let it cool on a wiring rack. You should be able to peel it off easily, as shown in the picture above.
Next, transfer the the Strawberry Roll-Ups to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper, leaving an 1/2-inch excess of the paper on both sides. With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the Roll-Ups into desired width. I cut mine into 1 1/2-inch.
Last but not least, roll them up with the parchment paper. Pack them in a ziploc bag or air tight container and enjoy. Oh…one more important step, try to save some for the kiddos. These are so good you might finished them all before they get off school. I say, these really are fun and healthy snacks that you and your kids will enjoy. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you like today's post and recipe.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Is it Spring yet? It sure feels that way in Southern California. In fact, it’s been feeling like Spring (even feels like Summer in some days) all winter long. I had been wanting to take the kids up the mountain to play with snow. Unfortunately, we might have to wait till next winter and hope for some colder temperature before that can happen. All these Spring-like weather made me long for some cool desserts. That was how this Coffee Panna Cotta with Mascarpone Cream was created. Well, the warm weather is not totally a bad thing after all, I guess.
I adore coffee, and any coffee flavored desserts. If you are like me, give this recipe a try. I’m sure you would agree. The panna cotta itself is smooth, tender and with a well balance of sweetness and a hint of bitterness from the coffee. The mascarpone cream is silky smooth with a hint of creaminess. I topped each dessert cup with a whole coffee bean for some crunch and extra coffee flavor. It’s a decadent dessert so I put them in small serving cups, a good measure for portion control. Yes, I need portion control when it comes to coffee desserts.
This is a super easy recipe to prepare and definitely a perfect made-ahead one. Therefore, these Coffee Panna Cotta cups are perfect for parties and gatherings, or simply everyday enjoyment. I’m a happy camper to find these little dessert cups whenever I need to get something from the fridge! Hm….My Hubby might tell you that I had been “needing” things from the fridge more often than usual lately.
I hope you enjoy today’s post and recipe. If you've tried this recipe, don’t forget to stop by and leave a comment and let me know what you think. Until next time....always remember, share a little love and dessert with your loved ones for a sweet ending.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
I finally gave in! You might ask what have I given in to? Well, as many of you know that I’m weak and softhearted when it comes to kitchen gadgets, photography props and my Kids; okay, and probably my Hubby, too (all in no particular order). This time around, I gave in and got a waffle maker! Well, I still can’t quite believe that I didn’t have a waffle maker until recently. But ever since Alice (yes, sorry I can’t help it but to give the waffle maker a name, she’s a beauty!) arrived in my kitchen, I had been putting it/her to great use. From these basic waffles, to chocolate ones, and waffle cookies, etc (I’ll be sharing the other two recipes with you in the near future). Oh my, I’m so glad I took Alice home and didn’t hesitate a bit, okay, maybe just a tad. But it’s totally worth it in the end.
These basic waffles are light, crispy on the edges, airy, fluffy and tender on the inside. The perfect waffle with a hint of vanilla aroma. I love the subtle tanginess from the buttermilk which balance well with the sweet maple syrup.
My Hubby loves his waffles in the more traditional way, which is served with a slice of soften butter and maple syrup (just like the one shown in the picture above). I love it like that too but the full size waffle is a bit too big for me and the Kiddos. So, I made them in smaller sizes as well and they were perfect portion for a light breakfast or an afternoon treat.
I totally adore the smaller version as I can get more crispy edges for each waffle. These basic waffles are a cinch to make, too. Best of all, they can be stored and reheated really well. I usually double the recipe and cook all the waffles at once. The extra waffles can be stored in freezer-safe ziploc bags until you need them. To reheat, simply pop one or two in the toaster oven until warmed up and crispy. They are perfect when you’re in a rush to get breakfast on the table (and I always seem to be in a rush, especially in the morning!)
My Kids love their waffle with a little freshly whipped cream and strawberries slices. I like this version just as much as the traditional one with butter and maple. I highly recommend that you try both and decide which one you like better. I bet it’ll be a tough decision for you to make too. But hey, why just pick one when you can enjoy both, right?
I hope you enjoy today’s post and recipe. Stay tuned for more yummy recipe and restaurant reviews in the near future. Last but not least, thank you, Alice, for joining our family! We love you! And we will live happily ever after. The End!
P.S.: Click here to see the adorable pictures of Alice!