Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Turkey Bacon Wrapped Dates w/ Balsamic Reduction

Last weekend, J & I attended an underground foodie event called 25SF. It was a lot of fun and one of the items served was bacon wrapped dates. It was good, and so I decided to make some tonight. I used turkey bacon because 1. it's what I have 2. it's healthier. I try to be as healthy as I can regularly, so I can splurge when I'm out and not feel bad about it when I do.

Pitted dates
Turkey bacon, or bacon bacon (cut into thirds)
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

Make the Balsamic Reduction
1. Boil the balsamic vinegar. Simmer until reduced to half.
2. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Continue stirring until sticky and thick.
3. Let cool.

Cook the Bacon Wrapped Dates
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Wrap the dates in the bacon and seal with a toothpick (edges on the bottom)
3. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes (until crisp and edges are brown)
5. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve

Plate the dates and drizzle the balsamic reduction over to taste. Enjoy!

This is a great appetizer and I'll be making this for my bestie's baby shower in January!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Soup with Pumkin Seed-Mint Pesto

It's fall and the weather has turned. It's cold -- actually, let me take that back. I grew up on the East Coast, so it actually doesn't get as cold here in California. But, it's chilly. I've acclimated to the weather here, so I won't be able to stand the frigid temperatures when I go home for the holidays.

Anyway, enough about the weather. Let's get to the soup I made earlier this week. You would think now that I work at home, I would have more time to cook -- not the case. I actually haven't been cooking as much as I used to, but I'd like to change that. Over the weekend, I had time to read my magazines (I had a lot to go through).

On the cover of October's Sunset Magazine was a lovely photo of pumpkin soup and I decided I wanted to make this pumpkin soup. Because I love to cook stuff I've never cooked before. And I did! And you know what? It was pretty darn good. I wanted to serve it in a small pumpkin bowl just like the picture, but...let's just say I didn't read the instructions thoroughly enough and it didn't happen. You can find the recipe here.

  • large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 4 1/2 cups peeled, 1-in. chunks pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash (from a 2 1/2-lb. squash)
  • 4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • small garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, plus slivered leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds

Here are all my ingredients for the soup:

  • 1. Sauté onion and ginger in oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until golden, 5 minutes.  Add garlic and coriander and cook until softened.

2. Add pumpkin, broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered, until pumpkin tender.

3. Puree in batches.

PESTO (so good!)

It's really simple. Just pound the mint leave, salt, garlic and 1 tablespoon of oil together. Then add the remaining oil and pumpkin seeds and pound again. Until you get something like this:

That's it! Pour your soup into the pumpkin bowl that you made correctly, or just a regular old white soup bowl like I did. Either way, it will be delicious. And dollops of pesto and slivers of sliced mint leaves and enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Roasted Chicken Salad

I traveled to DC and when I got back, I caught some kind of cold. I have been sick all week and have been eating nothing but pho for a whole week. I love pho, but like everything else, too much of it is not good. I finally had some energy to make a meal. I was really craving some produce and this roasted chicken salad was the tastiest, least effort dish I could pull off.  Chopped some lettuce, tomato and avocado tossed in some vinaigrette and topped with a piece of garlic roasted chicken.