Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

By Corinne

These little apps are a hit wherever I’ve brought them. I looked into them because I thought there was another name for them – and there is, sort of. Traditionally roumaki has chicken liver wrapped in there with the water chestnut. No thank-you, I’m good. That being said, there is one problem with these, it’s FAR to easy to eat a lot of them!

Time: 5 min to prep marinade, 2-24 hours marinate, 15 minutes prep, 25 minutes bake.

Oven: 400F

You will need:

  • 1 540mL (19 oz)can whole water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup sodium reduced soy sauce *GF as long as GF soy sauce is used
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 chili pepper minced or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • toothpicks

Combine soy sauce, garlic, chili, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to also accommodate the water chestnuts. Whisk to combine. Add drained, rinsed water chestnuts to marinade. Allow to marinate overnight, or at least 2 hours.

Cut bacon in half and lay on a plate. Partially cook – about 5 min in my microwave. This saves you time in the oven and ensures you end up with crispy bacon. Drain any fat that has come off of bacon.

Wrap half of a piece of bacon around each water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Place on a cookie sheet and back at 400F for 20-25 minutes until bacon is crispy.

 

 

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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B.L.T Soup

By: Julie

Time: 60 minutes – 20 min prep, 40 min cook

Serves 6

Adapted from Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic from Smitten Kitchen

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Lately I’ve been making soup out of my favourite non-soupy dishes.  BLT soup was born out of my love of hot crispy bacon, cool lettuce, and spicy sweet tomatoes.  Sadly, it’s not tomato season here, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a can of San Marzano tomatoes, picked at the perfect moment of sun-ripened goodness and packed immediately in a puree of their own yumminess.  Much better than those mushy hot-house things available for a zillion dollars a pound in the store in January, (a bit off topic but I saw a head of cauliflower for $9.99 today… needless to say it’s not in my BLT soup).

You Will Need:

  • 2 Mild Italian Sausage Links with casings removed.
  • 2 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, or diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed, or 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (that’s 1 carton)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • fresh basil and parsley for garnish (optional)

Cook

In a dutch oven, over medium heat, render the bacon until crispy and then add the sausage.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage as it cooks until it’s no longer pink and starts to brown.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pepper, and a pinch of salt.  Don’t remove any of the fat, you need it to brown the vegetables and for flavor.  This is a BLT soup after all and it needs that smokey bacon goodness.  There is already salt from the bacon and the sausage so a pinch is good enough for now.  Continue to cook until softened.

Add the lentils and stir them in, letting them soften for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, broth, water, and bay leaves.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cook uncovered until lentils are soft, about 40 min.

The soup will be thick, but trust me, it’s delicious.  See the texture in the above photo, that’s what you’re looking for.  Ladle into bowls and add a handful of spinach to each.  Stir it into the soup so it begins to wilt but will not be mushy by the time you serve.  Add a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl (be generous, this is the “mayonaise” part of the BLT and the creaminess is essential to knock this out of the park), garnish with some thai basil and some fresh parsley and enjoy.