Saturday, August 30, 2014

#BaconMonth Round Up for #InternationalBaconDay

Bacon Parmesan Twists
In my humble opinion, every day should be International Bacon Day, and I often treat each as if it were. But, all people rejoice, because today is the actual day. Happy International Bacon Day, everyone! 

In honor of this great holiday - Seriously who's working? Leave me a comment, I'll see what I can do about sending you some bacon in recompense. - I've stopped by every post from every blog in our linky tool for Bacon Month and created a link list, categorized for ease of clicking! We've got everything from Appetizers and Drinks to Cookies and Dessert and lots of great bacon recipes in between.

What are you making with bacon today in celebration? Might I suggest a few recipes from the following 116 links?

Enjoy!


Candied Habanero Bacon 

Appetizers and Snacks

Drinks

Condiments

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Cocktail Sausages 

Salads

Cheesy Bacon Baked Onions

Side Dishes

Spicy Roasted Bacon Tomato Cauliflower
Soups and Chilies

BLT Muffins 

Bread 

Breakfast

Bacon Butty 

Sandwiches

Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken

Main Courses


Cookies and Bars

Bacon Dark Chocolate Bourbon Cookies
Desserts and Sweet Treats

How to: 

Once again, many, many thanks to Julie from White Lights on Wednesday for organizing Bacon Month and sponsoring all the cookbook giveaways! 



Friday, August 29, 2014

Spicy Roasted Bacon Tomato Cauliflower #BaconMonth


The rich garlicky sun-dried tomato pesto adds a lovely flavor to the cauliflower as it roasts in a little bacon fat. A generous sprinkling of crispy bacon and Parmesan finish this dish to perfection. This one's a side dish that wouldn't mind taking center stage. 

Bacon Month Week Four
It is with great sadness that I tell you this is my final post for Bacon Month. Not that I will stop cooking or baking with bacon! As my daughters can attest, most of my best recipes start with bacon and its best friend, garlic. But it’s been great fun being part of the Bacon Month group, lead by our organizer and chief cheerleader of all things bacon, Julie from White Lights on Wednesday. We have had some belly laughs sharing bacon cartoons and quips in the Facebook group, and I’ve especially enjoyed having more inspirational bacon deliciousness at my fingertips. I know I’ll be coming back to the link list of photos often until I get through all the recipes I want to try. Make sure you scroll down to see the recipes from this week and enter the draw for our final cookbook giveaway!

This recipe is adapted from these two recipes from Eggton and Steamy Kitchen.

Ingredients
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (dry, not packed in oil – about 1 1/4 oz or 35g by weight)
4 slices streaky thin cut smoky bacon (about 3 1/8 oz or 90g)
1 head cauliflower (Mine weighed 1 2/3 lbs or 765g)
5 medium garlic cloves
1 hot chili pepper
3/4 ox or 20g grated Parmesan cheese, plus an equal amount for serving
Olive oil

Method
Place your sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and pour hot water over them. Set aside to soak and plump up.

Chop your bacon into small pieces and spread them around on a large baking pan. Put the pan in the oven and turn it on to preheat to 400°F or 200°C. The bacon will bake and get crispy as the oven preheats so keep an eye on it.



Meanwhile, cut the green leaves off of your cauliflower and break or cut it into florets.



Check on your bacon!

Drain the tomatoes but keep the water. Put the tomatoes, garlic, chili pepper and  Parmesan in the blender or food processor. Add some of the tomato soaking water and process until smooth. If it is too thick, just keep adding the water, a little at a time.

Check on your bacon in the oven. If it’s already crispy, take the pan from the oven and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces, leaving the bacon fat behind in the pan.

Put your cauliflower in a large bowl and pour the sauce over it.

Stir well to coat the florets.



Put your sauced cauliflower florets in the baking pan, stem side up, and separated so that they can get roasted.  If you make a big pile, they’ll just steam.



Roast for 15-20 minutes in your preheated oven, then turn the cauliflower florets over to roast the other side. Drizzle with a little olive oil or more bacon fat if you have some handy.



Put the pan back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is done to your liking.

To serve, scrape the roasted cauliflower, and all the good, roasted sticky bits from the pan, into a serving bowl. Sprinkle on the crispy bacon pieces and another generous handful of freshly grated Parmesan.



Enjoy!







Are you ready for more bacon deliciousness?!



Now for the The Bacon Cookbook* giveaway! Please be aware that the book will only be shipped to US addresses. Canadian winners will receive an Amazon egift card for the price of the book. Full disclosure details can be found by clicking on Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter. This cookbook prize is sponsored by Julie of White Lights on Wednesday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*This is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy after clicking on the link, I earn some small change for referring you to Amazon, at no extra cost to you.




Thursday, August 28, 2014

Watermelon Jalapeño Cocktail #BoozeWeek


Fresh sweet watermelon chunks blended with ice and the double kick of jalapeño and tequila make a refreshing summer drink that will heat you up and cool you down. 

Today my post comes to you from Canada! Virtually speaking. Isn’t the internet a thing of wonder? It’s Booze Week at Cravings of a Lunatic and Kim is taking a much-needed holiday with her hooligans so a few of her drinking friends are sharing cocktails while she puts her feet up and spends some quality time with the family. If you haven’t met Kim yet, you are in for a treat! She’s funny, creative and snarky with a heart of sweet chocolate and caramel turtles. And there is probably some crunchy sugary cereal in there too.

My contribution to the festivities is a sweet and spicy watermelon cocktail with tequila and jalapeño. So refreshing in the summer heat!






Booze Week cocktails galore! I’ll be adding the links for Friday and Saturday as they go live, so check back! All booze, all week long, courtesy of Cravings of a Lunatic!

Monday: Blueberry Mango Mojito from Samantha of The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Tuesday: Strawberry Ginger Kale Daiquiri from Davida of The Healthy Maven 
Wednesday: Wild Blueberry Mojito from Julie of Je suis alimentageuse 
Thursday: Watermelon Jalapeño Cocktail from Stacy of Food Lust People Love
Friday: Bourbon Pecan Pie Milkshakes from Cooking in Stilettos
Saturday: Fig Newton Cocktails from My Catholic Kitchen

In usual, over the top, Lunatic fashion, Kim has organized some great giveaways for you too! Scroll down to enter, but please head on over to Cravings to leave Kim a comment and to get instructions on how to make your own refreshing watermelon jalapeño cocktail.



Thank you so much to Quarry Spoon and Molecule R for donating prizes for Booze Week.


Keep in mind that prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Winner must be 18 years of age. Winner must answer a skill testing question when contacted. Winner has 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. Thanks so much for taking the time to enter. Keep in mind only the comment is mandatory. All other entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Disclaimer: Booze Week bloggers, including yours truly, have not received compensation or product for their participation.*




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bacon Dark Chocolate Bourbon Cookies #BaconMonth


Sweet, salty and smoky flavors combine gorgeously in these completely unhealthy but divine cookies baked with bacon and dark chocolate and dark brown sugar. 

I’ve said it before in this space but new readers would be fooled into believing the opposite: I am not much of a sweet eater. I love making them for others and I’ll try some, just to make sure the mix is right, but I am not tempted by cookies or cakes or even ice cream unless they have something salty or bitter or strong about them. They can’t be just sweet. These cookies have it all! Dark chocolate for just a little hint of bitterness, bacon and bacon fat for the salty component and, of course, dark brown sugar and bourbon for the sweet and strong. I took them along to a dinner party the other night and even the reluctant cookie eaters were sold. To save myself from temptation, I took my empty plate home and left behind the few cookies that remained. Now I am regretting that.

Next time I am going to add some toasted pecans as well. And keep them all to myself. :) Let me just warn you that if you don't have a problem with eating raw cookie dough, this one is trouble with a capital T.

Welcome to Week Four of Bacon Month!
Many thanks, once again, to Julie of White Lights on Wednesday for organizing this celebration of my favorite food and sponsoring the giveaway of The Bacon Cookbook* this week.

These cookies are an adaptation from this recipe on Recipe Girl. I figured, why use that much butter when you can use more bacon fat? Can I get a hell yeah?


Ingredients for two dozen cookies
6 slices thick cut smoked streaky bacon (about 8 oz or 225g)
Rendered bacon fat from the bacon, topped up with butter to 1/2 cup or 120ml
1 1/2 cups 190g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed or 150g dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 large egg
3 1/2 oz or 100g dark chocolate – I used a Lindt bar. So much better than cooking chocolate!

Method
Chop the chocolate up into little chunks and set aside.

Cut your bacon into small pieces and fry in a skillet until crispy. Scoop the bacon out with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much bacon grease as you can in the skillet.


Drain the bacon bits on paper towels. Separate out a small handful for decorating the cookies before they bake.

Pour the warm bacon fat into a 1/2 cup or 120ml measuring cup and top up with butter until it is full. Allow to cool.

I'm guessing I had to add two to three tablespoons of butter to reach
my level as there was more than one-third a cup of rendered bacon fat from the fried bacon.



Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.



Chop your chocolate into small chunks. Separate out a small handful for decorating the cookies before they bake.

With electric beaters or in your stand mixer, beat the bacon fat/butter with the brown sugar, bourbon and salt until the mixture turns light brown.


Add in the egg and beat again.

Isn't it amazing how light the brown sugar mixture becomes? Like magic.


Now tip in the flour mixture and beat again until well combined. Add the larger piles of bacon pieces and chocolate chunks to the dough and stir until combined.



Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

When you are almost ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a baking pan by greasing it or lining it with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls on the prepared pan and press slightly with a wet spoon to flatten. I like to use a little scoop.



Top with a few of the reserved pieces of bacon and chocolate.



Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.



Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly. Place cookies on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

If you can resist eating these warm, you are a better person than I! 

Enjoy!









Are you ready for more bacon deliciousness?!


Now for the The Bacon Cookbook* giveaway! Please be aware that the book will only be shipped to US addresses. Canadian winners will receive an Amazon egift card for the price of the book. Full disclosure details can be found by clicking on Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter. This cookbook prize is sponsored by Julie of White Lights on Wednesday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*This is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy after clicking on the link, I earn some small change for referring you to Amazon, at no extra cost to you.






Monday, August 25, 2014

Becca's-Pistachio-Oat-Cookie Muffins #MuffinMonday


With only one half cup of sugar and one quarter cup of oil in 12 muffins, not to mention the steel cut oats, flax seeds, pistachios, raisins and cranberries, these guys are reasonably healthy but, more importantly, for me at least, they are chock full of flavor! 

Ever since I started participating in Muffin Mondas more than two years ago, my mind has worked in strange and wonderful ways. I am always, and I mean always, on the lookout for muffin inspiration. Doing my shopping, cooking other recipes (sweet or savory) and especially when I am trolling the internet and reading posts on blogs that I love. This week’s inspiration came from the no-bake pistachio oat cookies made by my friend, Becca from It’s Yummy. Becca does share decadent sweets and desserts from time to time, and she’s a fan of all things bacon – so we have that fabulous love in common - but overall, she tries to keep things reasonably healthy. Part of her mission is to turn an unhealthy meal into something delicious and nutritious, without spending a fortune! And who wouldn’t appreciate that?!  If you haven’t met her yet, please do go on over and say howdy and give her a little love. Besides being a great recipe developer and blogger, she is also one of the sweetest, kindest, most generous people you would ever like to meet.

Anyhoo, here’s my muffin take on her great no-bake cookies! Thanks for the inspiration, Becca!

Ingredients
1/2 cup or 90g steel cut oats
1/2 cup or 120ml orange juice
1/2 cup or 65g shelled roasted pistachios (unsalted, if possible)
1/3 cup or 50g golden raisins
1/3 cup or 60g dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/3 cup or 45g toasted flax seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup 180ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
Because the steel cut oats need soaking to soften enough to add to this recipe, start the day before you want to bake. Warm your orange juice and pour it over the oats in a small bowl. Cover it and set it aside until it is cool. Now put it in the refrigerator overnight. Ideally, you’ll want to let the oats soak for at least 12 hours. Give it a stir occasionally, if you think about it.

Warm orange juice just poured in on the left. After an overnight soaking on the right.
It turned a little starchy and sticky but don't let that bother you. 


When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper cases or grease liberally.

Chop your pistachios roughly and do the same with the dried cranberries if they are large. Set aside a small handful of the pistachios, cranberries and raisins for decorating the tops of the muffins before baking, if desired.



In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Toasted flax seeds are crunchy and delicious! I'll be putting them in and on everything from now on.


In a smaller bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the soaked oats and any liquid with them to the eggs/milk/oil bowl and stir well.



Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just moistened. Some flour should still be showing.



Fold in the chopped pistachios, cranberries and raisins.



Divide the batter into the muffin cups and decorate the tops with the reserved pistachios, cranberries and raisins, if using.



Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.



Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Or break one open and start eating it warm!


Enjoy!