Summer Corn and Smoked Gouda Pizza

By Corinne

One of the things I love about summer is fresh, seasonal produce. There is little that says ‘summer’ meal to me more than something on the BBQ and a steamed cob of fresh corn. This year our local sweet corn seems better than ever somehow! When I prepped this recipe, I thought I might need the kernels from two cobs, but two cups was going to be way too much for one pizza. What to do with the extra corn… um…apparently eat it raw because it was delicious! My inspiration for this was essentially I wanted corn chowder in flat bread form. I think it was a success. While these are pretty non-traditional toppings, my husband said this was the best pizza he has ever had… and we may have eaten the entire thing in one sitting. Shout out to Belluz Farms for the amazing corn, Tim’s Meats for the utterly unique bacon jerky and Thunder Oak Cheese Farm for the delectable smoked gouda.

Makes: 1 pizza 15″ diameter

Preheat oven 400F

Time: 20 min prep, 1 hour rise, 20 minutes bake.

You will need:

  • 1 cob of corn, kernels removed, about 1 cup
  •  1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese – Thunder Oak if you can get it + 1/4 cup more if desired
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits – use Tim’s Bacon Jerky if you live in Thunder Bay and can get it- shortens your prep time and is amazing
  • snipped fresh parsley if desired

Tl’s-works-every-time pizza dough* this is a half recipe to make one pizza rather than 2

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast (quick rise or traditional, either works, traditional will just take longer to rise)
  • 2/3 cup very warm water

Mix dry ingredients, including yeast, for dough. Add very warm water and knead a few minutes until all ingredients have come together in a smooth dough. If dough seems too sticky, add a bit more flour. Rub dough with a tbsp or so of oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place until you are ready to roll out for ingredients. Your dough will probably double in this time.

Cook bacon for bacon bits if you are not using delicious bacon jerky from Tim’s Meats. If you are using the amazing bacon jerky,  you can just snip into bits using kitchen shears. I find this is the quickest way to get it into little pieces.  Remove kernels from cob and set aside. Shred cheese and set aside.

In a shallow pan, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk in 1 tbsp flour. Add the 1 cup of heavy cream a bit at a time, whisking until liquid is absorbed. When all liquid is added, let bubble a minute or two more, whisking frequently. If desired… you can add an additional 1/4 cup of shredded cheese to the sauce and whisk in. Do this after you have removed the sauce from heat to avoid separation.

When oven is preheated, and dough has risen roll out dough and transfer onto pizza stone. If dough is quite sticky (which sometimes happens because measuring flour can yield varying amounts!) then rather than add more flour, if you stretch and spread the dough with your fingers over the stone, a slightly sticky dough will bake up very crisp and delicious! There are some recipes such as this one that actually do this on purpose 🙂

Spread the white sauce over the dough. Sprinkle on cheese, corn and bacon bits. Note that this may seem like a scant amount of cheese for a pizza, but with the creamy sauce you really don’t need a lot. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. Garnish with snipped fresh parsley. You may notice that my pictures do not have snipped fresh parsley. That’s because we ate it and I forgot. But it would be wonderful 🙂

Smokey Caramelized Onion Dip

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By Corinne

This is a riff on one of my favourite dips- but I’ll post this one first since people were crazy for it at a recent staff get together and demanding the recipe!

There are two things that make this amazing, one is caramelizing the onions. Do them low and slow and you end up with delicious, sweet, complex flavours and none of the harsh onion bite.

The other thing that makes this amazing is using bacon jerky from Tim’s Meats. If you live in Thunder Bay, I highly recommend making your way to Tim’s Meats (300 Empress Ave S) and pick some up. It’s marinated in apple juice and honey, naturally hickory smoked, and then cooked. Which means not only is it delicious and amazing, but because it’s already cooked it means it takes no time to make more delicious things with bacon.  It also makes for some amazing carbonara(see photo below!), omelettes, sandwiches or basically makes any bacon application even better!

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Roasted tomato carbonara  made with bacon jerky from Tim’s Meats, Deli and Grocery

Tim’s also has amazing store made smokies, sausages, and very popular spiral stuffed pork with an apple raisin stuffing.  The staff there are lovely, friendly and always helpful. If you aren’t a regular, become one 🙂

If you don’t live in Thunder Bay you can substitute the smokiest thick cut bacon you can find… but it won’t be as good!

Makes: about 2 cups

Time: 1 hour

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 -3 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp butter (less if using regular bacon – see cooking instructions)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 4-5 strips of thick cut smokey bacon or 4-5 strips of Tim’s Bacon Jerky
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • fresh snipped parsley to garnish if desired

If you are NOT using the most amazing bacon jerky, you need to cook your bacon first! Cook bacon in the same pan you are going to do the onions in. While the bacon is cooking, roughly dice onions. It will look like a lot of onion, but don’t worry, it’s going to cook down.

Reserve about a tbsp of bacon fat, add 1 tbsp of butter to pan and then the onions. Cook on low heat for 45min-1hour stirring occasionally until golden and reduced to caramelized heaven.

If you are using the most amazing bacon jerky, add 2 tbsp of butter to pan and add the onions. When onions are just about finished, roughly chop the bacon jerky and add to onions just to render a bit more of the fat/flavour out of it.

Add 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup cream cheese, pepper, onions, and bacon to food processor. Go a head and scrape any melted butter/bacon goodness that is in your pan into the processor too. Give it a couple blitzes until it everything is combined.

This can be served immediately while still warm, or refrigerate for later. Feel free to prepare the day ahead. Delicious served with plain chips, pita breads, tortilla chips, or even vegetables 🙂

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TL’s Simple Sautéed Fiddleheads with Lemon

By Corinne

TL is one of my favourite people to cook with. We often bounce ideas off of each other, and some of the things she’s introduced me to have become go to favourites. TL not only introduced me to fiddleheads – which I had long known about, but hadn’t gotten around to trying- but she prepared them as this lovely simple side.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2- 2 cups prepared fiddleheads – see here for instructions on how to safely prepare fiddleheads for cooking
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • zest of one lemon, plus juice from one wedge
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add butter to pan on med-med high. Add fiddleheads and garlic once butter is melted. Sauté for 10 minutes. You will see the fiddleheads release some of their moisture.

When ready to serve, zest lemon and hit with the juice from a wedge of lemon. If you zest/juice too soon, they will discolour.

Tonight I served them with rice and grilled pork chops that had marinated in beer and drizzled with apricot white balsamic vinegar to finish.

Fiddlehead Omelettes

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By Corinne

Today I got up early to go birding, it was supposed to be clear, and looked promising at 6am. However, by 7am it had clouded over and was no longer great light for photography. As I was wandering looking for warblers, I noticed a few fiddleheads around. Deciding all was not lost for my morning adventure, I decided to do some foraging.

When I got home I went straight to rinsing and then boiling my fiddleheads. My original idea had been just to pick enough for supper, but since it was a breezy bug free morning I ended up collecting quite a bit. Fiddleheads have a bit of an asparagus/spinach flavour and I thought they would be nice in an omelette. They weren’t just nice, they were amazing! I can’t wait to make this again 🙂

For how to prep fiddleheads for cooking, please see this post here. It is important to properly prepare fiddleheads for eating as they have been associated with food borne illness when not fully cooked.

Time: 15 to 20 min – if using already prepped fiddleheads

Makes: 2 omelettes

You will need:

  • 1 cup boiled fiddle heads – see preparing fiddleheads
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 6 tbsp grated asiago cheese
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives + more for garnish
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp butter

In a frying pan melt 1 tbsp butter, add previously boiled fiddleheads and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk two eggs. Melt 1 tsp of butter in a small frying pan, when melted, but before browned, add eggs slowly to pan, swirling to distribute evenly.

Add 1/2 of the prepared fiddlehead/garlic saute, 3 tbsp grated asiago and 1 tbsp snipped chives. When eggs have just about set, using a spatula, fold omelette in half. Cook a few more min as necessary. Serve with additional snipped chives.

Repeat using the remaining butter, eggs, fiddleheads, cheese and chives for a second omelette.

 

 

Fiddleheads

img_2851By Corinne

There is something especially satisfying about eating things you’ve grown yourself. I find that same sort of satisfaction even when I haven’t grown it myself, but have done the footwork of finding, collecting and preparing something mother nature has provided.

Fiddleheads aren’t an especially northwestern Ontario treat, they grow all over Canada. They are only in season for a few short weeks, making them an easy to miss treat if you aren’t watching out for them.

When foraging, it’s always important to be able to properly identify what you are picking. Most ferns make a ‘fiddlehead’ but not all are edible. The Ostrich fern is the one you are looking for. It’s also important to never pick all of the fiddlheads from a ‘clump’. Only take a few, if you take them all the fern will die.

Ostrich fern fiddleheads have a deep, ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the smooth stem with thin, brown, paper-like scales covering the newly emerging fiddleheads. The scales fall off as the fiddlehead grows. Bracken fern (a questionably edible species) have fuzzy fiddleheads and lack the “U”. Here is another site with some helpful photos to help with identification, as well as tips for identification at other times of year.

Preparing fiddle heads for eating

  1. Remove as much of the papery covering as you can with your fingers.
  2. Rinse, shaking them up and rubbing off more of the brown papery covering in several changes of cold water. Fiddleheads often grow in sandy soils, so they can be gritty as well.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  4. Health Canada recommends boiling for 15 minutes – many other sources recommend between 7 and 10.
  5. After fiddleheads have been boiled, they are now ready to cook however you are going to prepare them.

To prepare to freeze

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above
  2. You now have two choices, you can blanch them- boil for two minutes then plunge into icy water.
  3. Drain and lay flat on a parchment covered cookie sheet, place into freezer bags when frozen.
  4. If you choose to only blanch them, they STILL MUST be boiled before cooking with them.

OR

You can boil them for the 15 minutes and then plunge into icy water- this way when you go to cook with them you don’t need to do the 15 minute boil.

These fiddle heads have been boiled and are ready to cook with. img_2859