Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jamaican Jerk Meat Pies

Almost four months ago I joined The Secret Recipe Club and because of that I have been having so much fun discovering new blogs and recipes.  Because of that group I’ve enjoyed making some great new recipes, Home Style Chicken Curry, Holy Guacamole and Cilantro Lime Chicken.  I’ve really enjoyed participating with other food bloggers in posting and sharing our finds, adaptations and new-to-us recipes all on the same day and at the same time.  I thought a once a month cooking and posting commitment would be a lot of fun and probably just the right amount of work and commitment to keep me motivated in posting to my previously neglected cooking blog.  Never did I imagine that it would really light a spark and get me posting more…and a lot more.  In the past four months I have posted a total of 53 recipes which isn’t much less than what I posted during the previous five years combined, which was a total of only 59 recipes.  Looks like 2011 is going to be a good and delicious year here in the Cook Lisa Cook house. 

Since I’ve been having so much fun with my Secret Recipe Club postings I decided to join another cooking group.  If you’ve read much of this blog or my Moments with Maisie blog, you know that we love to travel and we enjoy foods from all over the world.  So when I saw that German Mama of From Arepas to Zwetschgen was starting a new cooking group called Cook Around the Globe, I thought what a perfect fit for me and how fun it would be to join again with other food bloggers and explore recipes from an assigned region of the world.  I had fun cooking along with the theme this month and I’m looking forward to see where I’ll be visiting next with new food flavors and recipes.  Check out From Arepas to Zwetschgen on September 1st to see all the other bloggers who are participating as well as their recipes as we Cook Around the Globe.    

IMG_0234e For this, the inaugural month of Cook Around the Globe the theme is Bermuda & the Caribbean "North" (Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.)  As it worked out, I have had a recipe idea swirling around in my mind for many, many months, to combine a traditional Jamaican meat pie with my favorite Jerk Chicken marinade and make a Jamaican Jerk Meat Pie.  What had stopped me though from attempting this was really two things.  First, I’m not always great at making pastry dough and honestly I just couldn’t motivate myself to take on the challenge and second, I rarely fry things in the house.  When light finally dawned on Marblehead here and I realized that I could use ready-to-cook tortillas, well that took away the biggest hurdle.  Then, because my idea fit so perfectly with the theme this month, well I decided that this was my opportunity to give my recipe a try so I decided to fry.

The process of making the pies was quite simple.  First, the Jerk Sauce all comes together in a blender, easy peasy.  For the filling I browned my meat, added the veggies and Jerk Sauce and cooked it for a few minutes and the filling was done.  Then the dough was easy, open the package.  Forming the pies wasn’t difficult but I have included pictures of the process.  Then it was just a quick fry to cook the dough as the filling was already completely cooked. 

The ready-to-cook flour tortilla wrappers worked out perfectly, making a nice thin, crunchy crust.  The pies were best right out of the fry pan but they were still pretty tasty the following day when I heated them up in the oven so to “crisp up” the dough.  Eammon and I really enjoyed the flavor of the Jerk seasoning and the pies had just a little bit of spicy kick, not overly spicy or spicy “hot”.  Because we really enjoy spicy “hot”, I think next time I’ll add a second Scotch Bonnet to the mix.  These Jerk pies were also a nice change in flavor from the traditional Jamaican meat pies that we usually enjoy.  I’ll be making these again and I hope that you’ll give this recipe a try too and enjoy it as much as we did.

IMG_0210eWorking one (half) tortilla at a time, paint half of the straight edge with the water/flour “glue.”  Don’t be stingy as you want the dough to stick together and the “glue” will cook when the pies are fried so it won’t be noticed.

 IMG_0211eCreate a cone by wrapping the edge with the “glue” over the other half of the straight edge and squeeze along the “glue” line to seal.

IMG_0215ePlace approx. 1/4 cup of the cooked meat mixture into the cone.

IMG_0217ePaint the flour/water “glue” along half of the inside open edge.

IMG_0218eSqueeze the open edge closed to seal tightly.

IMG_0219eThe sealed up pie ready to be fried.

IMG_0221eThe pies fried up very quickly as I was only trying to cook the dough because the filling was already cooked.  Turn pies to cook both sides and when golden brown, remove to a paper towel lined pan to drain.


Jamaican Jerk Meat Pies

1 lb. ground chuck
1 Scotch Bonnet (habanero) pepper, seeded
8 scallions, trimmed, whites & greens
3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup white vinegar 
1 TBS soy sauce 
1 tsp dried thyme 
2 TBS powdered allspice 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
2 TBS Whey Low Gold or brown sugar
1 cup frozen veggie mix, I used peas, carrots, corn and green beans
8 (8-inch) ready-to-cook flour tortillas, cut in half

a bit of flour and water mixed together to form a paste to "glue" the dough together
Oil for frying, your choice: corn, vegetable, canola

In a large skillet brown the meat breaking it apart as it cooks into a fine mince. 

While the meat is cooking add the Scotch Bonnet, scallions, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, thyme, allspice, cinnamon and brown sugar to a blender and process until smooth.

Once the meat is mostly browned, add the veggies and all of the Jerk sauce from the blender.  Continue cooking the meat until it is fully cooked and most of the Jerk sauce has been absorbed.

Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a large fry pan.

Working with one half of a tortilla at a time, paint the water/flour “glue” along half of the straight edge and then fold the “glue” edge over the other half of the straight edge to form a cone.  Press well to seal.  Add about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture to the cone.  Paint the “glue” along half of the still open inside edge and then seal up the pie. 

Fry the pies on both sides until golden.  Remove to a paper towel lined pan and allow the pies to drain.  Serve hot or at room temperature. 


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Layered Crespelle with Bolognese, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil

Mary from One Perfect Bite started cooking her way through Gourmet’s list of the Top 50 Women Game Changers in Food and a number of other food bloggers have joined in on the weekly cooking and posting.  While I would love to learn more about these women who may have exerted the most influence over our food ways and cook some of their signature recipes, the commitment of once a week cooking and posting is more than I can organize myself to do so I happily read the posts of the other wonderful bloggers who are cooking and posting along with Mary.  A couple of weeks ago the ladies were cooking recipes of Marcella Hazan, number 6 on the top 50 list.  Over the years I have made numerous Marcella Hazan recipes and my freezer is never without her Simple Tomato, Butter & Onion Sauce* as it’s a great go-to sauce anytime I need it.

One of the blogs that I read is Girlichef and Heather has joined in on cooking her way through the Top 50 list.  For Marcella Hazan  Heather prepared a gorgeous Layered Crespelle (Crêpes) with Tomato, Prosciutto, and Cheese and after seeing the picture I knew that I had to make it…Well my version of it, of course. 

I am soooooo glad that I did make this as it was like lasagna gone high-end gourmet.  The crêpes were so delicate in both texture and taste, the best “pasta” I’ve ever had.  As I’ve become quite a pro at making crêpes lately and I used my homemade Bolognese sauce which I just pulled from the freezer and defrosted, this layered crespelle came together quite quickly and easily.  As there are just three of us and this Crespelle was far more than we could ever even think of eating in one meal I did worry about how it would hold up after the first night.  Thankfully there was no need to worry as individual servings reheated beautifully in the microwave and it was just as wonderful both taste and texture wise after being reheated.  Because I allowed it to rest properly, it cut beautifully so all the slices were gorgeous.  I’m thinking that this along with a nice salad would be fabulous to serve when entertaining guests.  I WILL be making this again…Delish!

I think that I’m on a crêpe kick.  Between my 24-Layer Crêpe Cake this Crespelle and my recent Nutella Crêpes, I’m in crêpe heaven but that’s okay as we LOVE crêpes.

IMG_9537eThis was like gourmet lasagna.  The crêpes were tender and delicious.

IMG_9478eMaking crêpes really is easy once you get your pan going and at the right temperature.  The first crêpe or two are always very buttery and not always the best looking but I’ll let you in on a secret, they’re super yummy from all that extra butter and a perfect little treat for the cook.  Hey sampling is important as I want the taste to be perfect.

IMG_9482eYou know that it’s time to flip the crêpe when the top looks dry and the edges are golden and begin to curl.

IMG_9495eOnce all the crêpes are made, gather the ingredients, the crêpes, Bolognese sauce (mine was homemade that I pulled from my freezer stash), fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and Parmesan. On a foil lined pan (foil makes clean up oh-so easy) start with a crêpe and top with a thin layer of sauce, some mozzarella, basil & Parmesan and repeat the process until all the crêpes have been used.

IMG_9503eReady to go into the oven. I ended up with 12 layers just because that’s how many crêpes were available after the cook’s portion and Maisie’s taste testing.

IMG_9511eHot from the oven.  Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before carefully moving to a serving platter.  I wish that you could smell this, DELISH!!!


Layered Crespelle with Bolognese, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil (Adapted from here)

1 c milk
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 eggs
couple pinches salt
butter, for pan

1 1/2 lbs. Bolognese sauce (I used homemade but use what you like)
10 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or ripped

Add the milk, flour, eggs and salt to a blender and process until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour to allow the batter to rest. 

Heat  a 9" crêpe pan (or whatever you have) over medium heat.  Add a small amount of butter and swirl it around to coat the pan.  Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Lift and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry and the edges are golden and start to curl.  Flip and cook 5-10 seconds longer. Remove to a cutting board. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to skillet as needed. When cool, crêpes may be stacked with or without waxed paper in between.

Preheat oven to 400° F.  On a foil lined pan (foil makes clean up oh-so easy) start with a crêpe and top with a thin layer of sauce, some mozzarella, basil & Parmesan.  Repeat the process until all the crêpes have been used and finish the top crêpe with a very thin layer of sauce, nice small whole basil leaves and dots of fresh mozzarella.

Bake uncovered on the top rack for 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before carefully moving to a serving platter using spatulas to help lift and guide the "pie".  Serve hot or at room temperature.


I actually made this a few weeks ago but never got around to posting the recipe.  IMG_9551eHere is my Layered Crespelle with my 24-Layer Crêpe Cake.  Yes I’ve been on a crêpe kick!  

* Marcella Hazan’s Simple Tomato Butter & Onion Sauce.  This recipe can be found all over the web but simply it’s: One 28 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes, 5 tablespoons butter and 1 onion, peeled and cut in half.  Put everything in a pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Discard the onion and serve over pasta with Parmesan.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Roast Beef & Garlic Herb Cheese Sandwich

I *maybe* eat one or two sandwiches a month as I’m just not a real sandwich lover.  I think in part this due to the fact that I don’t eat a lot of bread and other than my once-in-a-while craving for some nice rare deli roast beef, I don’t eat cold cuts or deli meats.  So between not wanting the bread or the meat, it really cuts down on eating sandwiches.  When I have the desire for a sandwich it has to be something different and really delicious like my Grilled Chèvre & Fig Panini or my go-to Fried Green Tomato sandwich at my favorite little lunch place.  And when I have my craving for that rare deli roast beef, well this is my favorite way to enjoy it in a sandwich.

IMG_0137eBakery fresh thin-sliced sourdough bread spread with homemade garlic herb cheese, fresh from the garden tomatoes, super thin slices of rare deli roast beef and baby spring mix salad.  Now this is a sandwich worth eating!

Garlic Herb Cheese

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 TBS salted butter, softened
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp finely minced fresh basil leaves
1 tsp finely minced marjoram leaves
1 tsp finely minced fresh oregano leaves

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until blended into a spreadable consistency. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or up to a week to allow the flavors to blend and mellow.  It is best to bring the cheese to room temperature before using or serving.  This is wonderful not only as a sandwich spread but also just spread on crackers or melting in to the top of a hot grilled steak or lamb chop…YUM!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mango, Lime & Chile Spiced Ice Box Pie

If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that I adore mango, spicy foods and often recipes that are just a bit different so when I saw a recipe for Mango-Chile Ice Box Pie on Rachel’s Coconut & Lime blog, I knew that I had to make it.  I’ve never made an ice box pie so this was my first attempt and wow was it easy and not having to turn on the oven in the middle of the summer was an added benefit.  The pie was definitely different but wonderful with the sweetness of the mango, the tang of the lime, the creaminess of the cream cheese and then the heat of the chipotle, well it was a fun and perfect combination for these hot summer days.  The chipotle wasn’t a hit you in the face sort of spicy but more of a nice little heat and wonderful flavor on the finish.  If you’re afraid of spice you could cut it back a bit but don’t cut it out completely as it really is delicious!

IMG_9312eMango, Lime & Chile Spiced Ice Box Pie (Adapted from here)

Pie filling:
4 mangoes, flesh removed and chunked
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I used low-fat Neufchâtel cream cheese)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (or less if you’re a bit spice phobic)
zest of 2 limes

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
2 TBS. granulated sugar

To make the crust: Stir together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs & sugar and then press into and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Set aside.

To make the filling: Add the mango, cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice & chipotle chile powder to a blender and process until smooth and free of lums.  Stir in the lime zest.

Pour the filling into the crust. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nutella Crêpes

Yesterday was the big reveal day for our Secret Recipe Club group and on that day all the participants are excited to post not only what they made but to see what recipe was made from their blog.  See the rules of the club are, each month you are assigned a different participating food blogger and without telling them, you make one of their recipes of your choosing.  Then on a specified date everyone who is participating that month posts their recreation or version of the recipe they made.  It’s really a lot of fun.  Unfortunately one blogger didn’t hold up her end of the bargain and didn’t post a recipe from her assigned blog.  So as not to leave any cook behind, Amanda arranged for a number of Secret Recipe Club bloggers to come together and cook from Connor’s Cooking blog.  Thus, this special edition of The Secret Recipe Club.

Generally when I get my assignment I read, list, save and stress over which recipe to make but I have been a reader of Connor’s Cooking for many months and have already read though all the recipes so today I just scrolled through to see what would strike my fancy.  In the end it wasn’t *my* fancy that got to pick but my darling and always helpful little Maisie Miao Miao who decided what I would be making. 

IMG_9906eUnfortunately because of gymnastics practice she wasn’t able to help me in the kitchen but she did enjoy the fruits of my labor.  

IMG_9911e So what recipe did Maisie pick?  Well you obviously already know from the post title and seeing the pictures but Maisie chose crêpes and asked that they be filled with her favorite Nutella

IMG_9907eAs luck would have it, I had all the ingredients in the house so I set off to make Connor’s Cooking Basic Crêpes.  The batter came together easy in my blender and cooked up beautifully.  As you can tell, they were a hit with taste tester Maisie and everyone else.


Nutella Crêpes (adapted from here)

1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1 1/4 cup fat-free and 1/4 cup heavy cream as that’s what I had in the house)
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Whey Low Granular or sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons butter, melted plus more for pan


Add the milk, eggs, flour, sugar, salt and 8 teaspoons of melted butter to a blender and process until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate the batter for one hour to allow it to rest.  Melt a small amount of butter in a crêpe pan or skillet over medium heat.  Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Lift and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry and the edges start to curl.  Flip and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a cutting board. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to skillet as needed. When cool, crêpes may be stacked with or without waxed paper in between.

When ready to serve, take a small amount of Nutella and using an offset spatula gently spread the Nutella over the entire surface of the crêpe and then either fold or roll.

If you’re like Maisie you pick them up with your fingers and enjoy.  If you’re more grown up you could make the crêpes fancy with fruit and cream or you could make my 24-Layer Crêpe Cake but now you see how we generally roll in this house.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Cilantro Lime Chicken

IMG_9576e1It's Secret Recipe Club time again and for my third month participating Amanda assigned to me another very interesting and recipe filled blog.  This month my assigned blog was Once a Month Mom.  Like a man with a new toy who doesn’t bother to stop and read the directions, I jumped right into the blog looking at recipes but found I was a bit confused as to who was Once a Month Mom as I was seeing different contributors.  I finally pulled myself away from reading recipes and read the “About” page and learned that while Tricia started the blog there are other women who specialize and contribute various menus to meet the dietary needs of their readers.  I had fun searching through all the different menus and checking out recipes by ingredients. 

Like my first month and second month participating I was once again in a quandary as to which of the many wonderful recipes to make but what finally led to my decision was a major grocery shopping faux pas on my part.  The market had limes @13 for $1 so I stocked up as it’s summer and I use lime juice all the time.  I make a lot of Thai food and depending on what I have in the house I’ll often use lime juice in place of lemon juice in my Watermelon Frosty, Cantaloupe Agua Fresca or Melon Agua Fresca so I go through them.  My faux pas wasn’t in buying 13 limes it was when I forgot that I had almost a dozen limes at home and purchased a second baker’s dozen.  I was in lime overload so when I saw a recipe for Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken and realized that not only did it use limes but that I had all the other ingredients in the house, well it was a no-brainer!

Also working in the recipes favor was that it was EASY!  I did make a few changes to the original in adding the zest from the limes along with some additional spices but even with my additions it was super easy.  The recipe was a huge and I mean HUGE hit.  Eammon raved about the chicken and told me that the recipe was a keeper and asked when I would make it again.  Considering that the ingredients are ones that I almost always have in the house, I will definitely be making this chicken again.

So how easy was this recipe?

IMG_9555eI zested my limes right into a zipper bag.

IMG_9557eI added the lime juice, garlic, cilantro and the other marinade ingredients.

IMG_9563eI then added the chicken and my beautiful little Maisie Miao Miao smooshed everything around so that the chicken was completely covered with the marinade.  We let the chicken marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator then baked it and dinner was served.

IMG_9573eCilantro Lime Chicken served with a variety of tomatoes fresh from our garden over arugula with Balsamic Dressing.

Cilantro Lime Chicken (Adapted from here)

3 chicken breast halves with bone and skin
2 TBS olive oil
2 medium limes, zest and juice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. honey
salt & pepper to taste

In a zipper bag add the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, honey, salt & pepper and smoosh to mix.  Add the chicken breasts and mix to coat.  Refrigerate for a few hours to marinate. 

Pre-heat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with foil (because it makes clean-up so much easier) and then spray with cooking spray.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it skin side up on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the juices run clear.

Easy peasy!


Also for directions on how to have this as a make ahead meal where you prepare, freeze and then cook the chicken later check out Once A Month Mom.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pesto Pita Pizza

The other night for dinner I was in the mood for pizza but as it was late I didn’t have time to make dough and I couldn’t be bothered to run out to get some so pita bread became our crust.  It worked out great, we all decided what we wanted on our pizza and within a short time we were enjoying our meal.

IMG_9617eMy pizza was pesto topped with a variety of fresh from our garden tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  So very fresh tasting and delicious.

IMG_9622eEammon’s first pizza was similar to mine with pesto, fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella but it also had mini pepperoni slices

IMG_9625eOkay so they didn’t all have pesto.  This was Eammon’s second pita pizza topped with tomato sauce, fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mini pepperoni slices and bacon bits.

IMG_9627eThen of course there’s Maisie’s pita pizza with tomato sauce and her favorite Fiesta Blend Cheese

Pita pizzas are oh-so easy to make, you can use ingredients that you have in the house and you can add as much or as little as you’d like and tailor each pizza to the diner’s taste. 

Top your pita with sauce of your choice, add as many or as few toppings along with some cheese if you choose and then on a baking sheet, place into a pre-heated 400F oven.  Bake until the pita is crispy around the edge and the toppings are bubbly hot. 

The only prepare ahead thing to note is that if you use meats they need to be precooked and if you want your veggies to be quite soft, they too need to be cooked ahead.

Make, create and enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kicked Up Piggy-Out Cookies

IMG_9701eSo the other day I made Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon and before Maisie gobbled down the entire pound of bacon I decided that we needed to use some of it in a kicked up version of the Piggy-Out Cookies that we made a few weeks ago.

IMG_9690ePlus, look at all that gorgeous sweet & spicy bacon fat just begging to be used in something special.  Also, see why I advocate the use of foil, it makes clean up *SO* much easier.

IMG_9691eLiquid gold…the bacon fat that I poured off from the pan and the perfect amount for my cookies.

IMG_9706eMaisie watched to make sure that all the ingredients mixed together properly.

IMG_9714eThen it was time to mix in the chocolate chunks and Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon

IMG_9717eReady for the oven.

IMG_9745eMaisie proudly showing off her Kicked Up Piggy-Out Cookies.  Oh and these cookies kicked some piggy tush…Awesome!

IMG_9734e Kicked Up Piggy-Out Cookies (Adapted from here)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of chile powder
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
5 strips of Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon or cooked bacon, diced or crumbled (I used hickory smoked) ~ plus more for the cook and helper to snack on
2 tbsp reserved bacon fat drippings (see that container behind the butter, well I keep bacon dripping in my freezer and every time I make bacon I just add to my stash)
4 TBS butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, chile powder and salt. With a stand mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter and reserved bacon fat drippings on medium-high until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until creamy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating about 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined and then by hand stir in the chocolate chunks and crispy bacon.  Using a medium scoop portion out the cookies onto prepared baking sheets. (I got 22 cookies)  Flatten the cookie balls slightly with your fingers and then bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. The cookies were wonderful when they were still a bit warm from the oven but I preferred them even more the next day.  I stored them in a zipper bag in the fridge over night and the next day were awesome, a bit crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  I’m telling you, make these cookies then pour yourself a giant glass of milk and prepare to pig-out on these seriously sinful cookies.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon

I saw a recipe on Zestuous for Brown Sugar-Chili Bacon and I knew that I had to make it.  She warned that if you already have an addiction to bacon she can't be held responsible if this recipe feeds your addiction and leaves you craving it morning, noon and night and I am going to second her on that.  This recipe was off-the-charts crazy good and surprisingly the person who couldn’t keep their fingers off of it was Maisie

IMG_9701e Thankfully I knew not to follow the original recipe and only use a half pound of bacon and went whole hog for the full pound and it’s good that I did because Maisie ate a good half pound worth on her own. 

The recipe was so very easy, only three ingredients.

  • thick sliced bacon
  • brown sugar
  • dark chili powder

That’s it!

IMG_9666eMix brown sugar and chili powder in a bowl.

IMG_9668eAdd the bacon and toss to coat.

IMG_9673eLay the bacon out on a foil lined baking sheet.  (Use foil, it makes clean-up so much easier!)

IMG_9686eAfter 25 minutes in a 400F oven it looked like one hot mess!

IMG_9688eWorking in batches, very quickly place the bacon on paper towel to remove some of the extra grease and then remove the bacon from the paper towel before it sticks.

IMG_9704eThis was bacon candy.  Crispy, smoky, sweet and just a tiny bit spicy.  Not one healthy redeeming quality but off the charts crazy delicious.

Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon (recipe from here)

1 pound thick sliced bacon, slices cut in half
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBS dark chili powder

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix the brown sugar and chili powder together in a large bowl.  Add the bacon and toss to mix.  Lay the bacon on a foil lined baking sheet and then bake for about 25 minutes.  Once the bacon looks like all the fat has been rendered out and it’s one hot bubbly mess remove from the oven.  Working quickly and in batches, drain the excess fat from the bacon on paper towels.  Quickly remove the bacon from the paper towels before it starts to stick.  As the bacon cools completely it will become crispy hard like candy.

Other than just eating this like candy, what do you do with it?  On Zestous she suggests to use it on a BLT, a grilled bacon cheese sandwich or crumble it up and toss it on a salad.  What did I do with the bacon that Maisie didn’t inhale?  That is coming in a future post so you’ll just have to come back and visit again.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grilled Prawns

IMG_9168eEammon asked for grilled prawns so I happily obliged as we all adore shrimp and we really enjoyed these little beauties.  I marinated the prawns for a few hours in a mango chipotle sauce and quickly grilled them using my grill basket.  The only down side of grilling the shrimp this way is…well there are really two* down sides but the first is that you really have to work for your dinner peeling the shrimp.  That though isn’t a total downside as peeling and eating these with friends and family makes dinner last a lot longer so more fun times together and also, I at least get to the point where I’m just done peeling so no over-eating there.  Cook the shrimp quickly on a super hot grill taking care to remove them as soon as they turn pink so not to overcook.

IMG_9155eGrilled Prawns

2 lbs. whole prawns
1 bottle Mango Chipotle Sauce

Wash and dry the prawns.  In a large bowl gently toss together the prawns and 2/3 to 3/4 of the Mango Chipotle Sauce and save the remainder to be used as extra dipping sauce.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.  Preheat grill and grill basket to high.  Spray the grill basket with cooking spray and working in batches quickly grill the prawns turning as necessary.  Cook just until the prawns turn pink being careful not to over cook.  Using cooking tongs remove the cooked shrimp from the basket to a serving platter.  Serve immediately with the leftover Mango Chipotle Sauce.


*  The second down side to making these prawns is the state of the grill basket which will be one baked on hot mess.  I didn’t think to take a picture of how bad the grill basket looked with baked on black antennas, pleopods & uropods crusted and stuck.  But I have an easy no-mess way to remove all that baked on mess and that’s to run the basket though the self cleaning cycle of my oven.  This is also the way that I clean my grill grates and since both my grill basket and grates are stainless steel, it works like a charm. 

IMG_9266eHere’s the grill basket after it’s been run through the oven’s self-cleaning cycle.

IMG_9280eAnd after a quick rinse and dry, clean of all debris.  I love my no scrub/no work method and to me it’s totally worth the three-hour cleaning cycle.  I do actually have another method for when my oven doesn’t need to be cleaned and it works almost as well.  Spray the grill basket with oven cleaner and place it in to a rubbish bag, seal it up tightly and leave it for about two days.  Remove the grill basket from the bag and run it through a cycle in the dishwasher.  Happy cleaning!


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