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What I did this weekend (Latergrams)

Hi all.  Like Rae, I miss this and you very, very much.  I’m brainstorming some recipes, and looking forward to our first guest blogger soon!  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I (we) did this weekend.

This is the second time I’ve really been camping.  We set up Friday with lots of help from friends, made pizza pudgie pies in the dark, and enjoyed talking by the campfire on a chilly September night.  Morning came quickly, and with it, an amazing breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries, delicious veggie eggs (not pictured) and of course bacon (full amount consumed also not pictured…).  There was coffee with chocolate marshmallows in my new favorite mug, and many games and laughs.  Even though it rained on the last night, and all morning as we packed up, I wouldn’t have traded it for a weekend at home!  It was memorable and happy and beautiful.   I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, too!

photo 3 (1)

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photo 1 (3)

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What is your favorite camp food?

XOXO

Jaime


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Dinner Party Side: Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

Hi.  It’s me again.  I know it’s been awhile, and I know it’s sort of still cold out.  So I thought maybe I should remind you (and Spring) that we’re supposed to be having a Spring dinner soiree!  This is one of two side dish options for your dinner party-to-be.  To help encourage Spring to show it’s good side (not the unpredictable weather patterns and muddiness but the grass and tulips and robins) I made something green.  With bacon on it.  It can’t hurt, right?  Just trying to do my part!

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

 If you’d like to make it without the bacon you are most certainly welcome  — just use 3 tablespoons olive oil instead of two, and add just a bit more salt.  But really, the bacon (and bacon grease) adds a salty, smoky flavor that cannot be beat . My husband RAVED over this and it’s a vegetable,  in fact, he’s demanding that it’s the only kind of asparagus we ever eat again. And that we eat it twice a day.  Which is sweet, but is definitely not going to happen.  Sorry, dear!

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon
{Modified from AllRecipes}

1 bunch asparagus spears (about 1 pound), trimmed
3 slices smoked, uncured bacon (I used Oscar Mayer)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon bacon grease (reserve from bacon after cooking)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan-Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or juice from 1/2 a lemon)

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Using kitchen shears, cut 3 slices of bacon into 1/4 inch strips vertically to make small pieces. Fry in a small saute pan over medium heat until partially cooked — about 5 to 6 minutes.  Remove bacon pieces onto a plate that’s been covered with two sheets of paper towel, reserving the bacon grease for the next step.

3.  Place your trimmed asparagus in a large bowl.  Top with reserved bacon grease (there should be about 1 tablespoon), 2 tablespoons olive oil, and  2 cloves chopped garlic.  Toss to coat.

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

4. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.  Spread your asparagus out onto the sheet in a single layer,  pouring any excess oil over the top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, sea salt, black pepper, and bacon pieces as evenly as possible.

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

5. Bake asparagus for 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness.  Once it’s tender, pull it out and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top.  The lemon brightens up the asparagus and balances the bacon flavor.  Serve immediately.  Or I can imagine chopping up leftover and topping a salad!  IF you have leftovers…

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

Stay tuned for our second side option…another delicious treat that’s sure to help usher in Spring if this doesn’t!

xo Jaime

#PrayersforBoston


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Dinner Party Appetizer: Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

I love throwing dinner parties — it’s so fun to have friends over and cook for more than just me and my hubby, especially since he’s kind of picky (love you honey!)  Plus, it allows me to try making some new things.  So for our first appetizer option, I bring you a tart.  Everything is better with bacon, and this honey-caramelized onion tart is no exception to that rule.  A little sweet, crunchy, and savory — this onion tart is pretty and impressive-looking.  But it’s really easy.  Perfect for a dinner party.  The thing that takes the longest?  Caramelizing the onions.  Which you CAN do the night before, and just store in an airtight container overnight.

{Slightly adapted from Full Fork Ahead}

Ingredients

1 sheet sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
8 center-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (or 6 regular bacon slices)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
4 medium white onions (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3/4 cup Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Savory Garlic flavor
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided

1. Carefully unfold your thawed puff pastry.  Dust your rolling pin and work surface lightly with flour, and roll pastry to about 14×10-inch rectangle. Fold 1/2 inch of pastry edges in toward center on all sides, forming 13×9-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to large rimmed baking sheet. Press firmly on pastry edges with fork to form rim. Chill crust in the fridge while you continue to the next steps.

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

2. Fry bacon pieces in small skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes or so. Transfer to a plate covered in paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from the skillet.

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

3. In a large bowl, whisk honey, wine, and 1 tablespoon bacon drippings until combined. Add onion slices; toss to coat.

4. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion mixture and let it come to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid has started to reduce (about 8-10 minutes), scoop about 1/4 cup of the liquid. To do this, I just tilted the pot and spooned it out into a 1/4 measuring cup until it was full.

 5. Continue stirring the onions occasionally until the rest of the liquid evaporates, about six minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally to allow for even browning, for about 35 minutes. When the onions have turned a deep golden color, they’re done. Take the pot off heat to allow onions to cool slightly.  

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

6.  When you have about 15 minutes left on the onions, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

7.  Mix cooking creme, 1 teaspoon of the fresh thyme*, sea salt, black pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl. Pour or scoop the creme mixture over the crust until you reach the edge of the crust, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly.

*Tip: To get the fresh thyme off of the stems, hold the top of the stem in one hand, and gently but firmly slide the thumb and pointer finger (like your pinching it) of your other hand down the stem to the bottom over a bowl.

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

8. Arrange onions on top of the creme and then sprinkle with cooked bacon. Bake tart until crust is light golden brown and topping is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining fresh thyme and serve.

Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart

Notes:

The original recipe called for sweet yellow onions.  I did a little research and found that sweet onions can become bland when caramelized, so I used white.  I haven’t tried caramelizing sweet yellows so who knows.  You can really use any kind you like.

I thought about adding some feta cheese on top of the creme, but didn’t — only because the majority of my family doesn’t like it and they were my taste-testers.  So think about doing it, and then let me know how it turns out!  I think it would add a really nice tangy-ness.

I ate some leftover tart cold, straight from the fridge.  And I gotta say, I didn’t hate it.  If you end up eating leftover tart and want it warm, I would recommend heating it back up in the oven so it doesn’t get soggy.

You will have about 1/4 cup leftover Cooking Creme (you can also use sour cream or creme fraiche if you like, though it won’t add the garlicky flavor).  Some suggestions for using up the leftovers:

  • Mix it in to a small batch of mashed potatoes
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for spicy chicken wings
  • Mix it in to eggs before scrambling for a kicked up breakfast

Honey-Caramelized Onion TartLater this week, Rae will post another delicious option for your dinner party appetizer!

What is your go-to appetizer when having friends or family over?

xo Jaime


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Foodie Finds from around the Web

Happy Saturday! No new recipes today. Today is about food and design – two of my favorite things. So enjoy a few foodies finds from around the web, curated by yours truly.

XO – Rae

In the mood to play with your breakfast? Designer Avihai Shurin created this sunnyside egg shaper. Oh…the possibilities… Via.

Pop Chart Lab has created an all-encompassing poster of kitchenware. Over 200 items. Prepare to lust. This is not a good thing for a girl who is about to register for her wedding. Eek! Have a closer look. Via.

Oh, David Schwen. You brilliant man. Schwen has created playful Pantone pairings for some of our favorite foods. Above, bacon and eggs. More here. Via.

Finally, a recent drawing by Marc Johns. Wouldn’t this be a fantastic piece to hang in your kitchen? Maybe you could do a set.