Maple Bacon “Pops”

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Is there anything on earth better than one bite of bacon deliciousness?  For the life of me, if you put me on a desert island and told me I could only have one thing to eat I would want BACON! Sweet, salt, and fat! Yum, Yum, Yum!

The bacon I cure and smoke (usually on applewood) has a texture similar to canadian bacon.  It is meaty, with a small layer of fat, and has a nice outer smoke layer.

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Preserved Wild Mushrooms with Rosemary

 

Living in Denver has its advantages when it comes to organic grown produce and incredible artisan food producers.  I have chef  friends who have started “bacon” companies, jam and preserve companies, produce cheese, are bakers and have won James Beard Awards!  The talent in this state is incredible and I feel so blessed to live in one of the culinary hubs in this country.

At the farmer’s market in Cherry Creek last week I met two “mushroom” farmers!  I love my mushrooms and was thrilled to talk to these guys.  They have a “mushroom lab” in Fort Collins, Colorado and are growing some very interesting “shrooms” including one that is pinkinsh orange in color and tastes like shrimp!  I was fascinated and am planning on taking a field trip to visit them after my daughter’s wedding in a couple of weeks.

There are so many great ways to use mushrooms!  This recipe takes the seasons’ best “shrooms” and preserves them for use later. I had trouble not eating them straight out of the pot! Continue reading

Pickled Rainier Cherries

 

I’ve had an interesting two weeks!  The night before my had surgery (#7) I was up all night cooking.  I was determined to eat well during my recovery.  I didn’t want my husband going to any fast-food joints for meals.  With the garden going strong I pre-prepped lots of vegetables, made a killer tuna salad and had lots of easy things ready to be stir-fried for fast meals.

I have been in physical therapy rehab for two weeks and am finally able to hold a knife in my right hand now.  This surgery was not a slam-dunk.  The older you get ( I am officially no longer young – well maybe at heart – but my body is definitely giving me a different message now) the longer it takes to recover from most everything.  This surgery is a good example.  I have been working my butt off (wish I could say I was down a pants size) to be able to hold this knife.

Now that I can I have been cooking up a storm the past few days and have 5 interesting dishes ready to share with you. Continue reading

Grilled Thai Chicken Satays

I marinated the chicken overnight but if you are in a hurry you can leave the chicken in the marinade for 30 minutes to one hour.  They won’t be as flavorful but will still be delicious. Continue reading

Stir Fried Curried Thai Pork over Cauliflower Rice

This dish is going to become a family favorite.  It is fragrant and the flavors are exotic and complex.  This dish is versatile as well. You could use the meat mixture to make lettuce wraps for a fast lunch or a Thai-inspired sloppy joe! All of the wet ingredients could be added to ground pork to make a meat-loaf or added to ground pork to make an awesome grilled pork burger. Continue reading

Pan Fried Rock Fish With Tri-Flavored Sauce

 

 

I love this fish since it has a very light taste to it that allows me to play with the sauce.  Rock fish has a sweet mild flavor with a medium texture.  It is great for sauteing and poaching, not so much for grilling.  The sauce is the king in this dish.  The flavors burst beautifully on your palate.  Make sure you have extras when you make it. Continue reading

Spicy Pickled Cucumber Salad

This is a simple, yet refreshing, summer asian salad that really hits the spot on a hot day.  It is a great pot-luck dish and picnic dish. I am addicted to this salad and always look forward to picking cucumbers out of the garden to use to make this salad.  I like to use small cucumbers since they tend to be less bitter than the large ones.  If you don’t have access to small cucumbers you can peel large cucumbers to remove some of the bitter skin. Continue reading

“Thai-delicious” 4 Course Wine & Food Pairing Notes

All the years I have been teaching about wine, or wine and food pairing, people always ask about what wine goes with Chinese food. Or in this case, Asian cuisine. We call this kind of pairing a “cross-cultural” pairing. That is food from a country that does not have a wine and food pairing tradition paired to wines from a country that does have such a tradition.

Of course, since wine and food pairing is primarily a Eurocentric concept, you need to find wines that will go with the proteins, cooking techniques, and herbs and spices used in Asian cuisine. Interestingly enough, these will usually be wines coming out of Northern Europe such as Germany, Alsace (in France), Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy (particularly Trintino Alto-Adige).

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Better than Buttah

Are you in a rut when it comes to cooking?  Well, there is a very easy solution to spicing up your food and making it interesting.  It won’t take more than 15 minutes we promise.

Jocelyne and I just spent the morning creating 5 different compound butters that range from sweet to savory. 

What is a compound butter? It simply is butter with added ingredients! What does it do?  Jacks up the flavors of all the foods you use it on and makes you look like a culinary genius to your friends and family!  Not a bad investment for 15 minutes of you time.

All of the recipes below make approximately 1 cup of compound butter.  The directions are the same for each one.  You simply minced the ingredients, put everything into a food processor bowl and whirl for a minute to blend them all together.  Then put the butter in the corner of a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, form a log and roll it up into the paper.

3 Herb Butter

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Delicious on all grilled vegies, baked potatoes, pasta dishes and grilled meats.

1 1/4 tbsp minced chives

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp minced oregano

1 tbsp minced rosemary

8 oz grass-fed butter

Maple Cinnamon Pecan Butter

Black Pepper Coffee & Maple Sugar, Walnut Butter

Great for all breakfast pastries, pumpkin bread, and toast.

1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped fine

2 1/2 tbsp maple sugar

3/4 tsp cinnamon

8 oz butter

Lemon Chive Blossom Butter

lemon chive butter 1

Yummy on scones, fried new potatoes, in mashed potatoes, pasta dishes and on seafood and fish.

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 tbsp chive blossoms, torn apart, stems removed

8 oz grass-fed butter

Absinthe Orange Thyme Butter

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Citrus heaven on toast, scones, waffles, pancakes, and grilled seafood and fish.

8 oz grass-fed butter

1/2 tbsp Absinthe Orange Marmalade (you can buy on our store)

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced

7 drops orange essential oil (optional)

1 tsp orange zest

Black Pepper Coffee & Spice Butter

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Use this butter on beef , wild game and bison steaks, pork and poultry.

8 oz grass-fed butter

1/2 tbsp black dust coffee & spice rub (savory spice shop)

Adding hard chilled butter to complete a sauce is called “monter or beurre monté”means to emulsify with butter,which gives the sauce a lovely sheen and added flavor. Compound butters were used in this manner in French cuisine.

There are simply no limits to what kinds of compound butters you can create. Add berries to use on breakfast pastries like french toast, pancakes, waffles and scones. Wasabi for seafood and broiled meats, cranberries for turkey and poultry. BBQ rubs added to butter would make an interesting basting sauce when grilling or smoking meats this summer.

Get creative! Think exotic! You could add lobster, shrimp, truffles, saffron, juniper berries, or caviar to butter.

To finish the wrapping process twist the ends tight then label and date.

We like to store the butter in the freezer in a plastic storage bag.  Frozen butter will last for several months.

Herbed Eggplant Gratin with Zucchini & Poached Garlic

Last week I was really strapped for time and was craving some vegetables. 

Years ago I took a cooking class from Madeleine Kamman in a series of culinary classes that the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs was hosting.  This recipe is a scaled down version of a vegetable gratin dish that Madeleine Kamman taught to the class one chilly afternoon.

What is a gratin?  It simply is a dish that is topped with breadcrumbs and cheese!  Sounds fancy but it’s simple. Continue reading