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Saturday morning SupperInStereo original! It was good, real good. To serve two, this is all you need:

  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (chile powder also works)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped, toasted pecans (optional, but awesome)
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt, Pepper to taste

For the (quick) Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of smoked paprika (cayenne also works and is more standard, but we’re on a smoked paprika kick)
  • 1/3 cup butter

Instructions:

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan.
  • Grate sweet potato. Roughly chop onion. Mince garlic.
  • Give garlic and onion a head start in the pan, cooking them until golden before adding the sweet potato.
  • Cook until browned. Don’t stir too much or it won’t get crispy. About 20 minutes.

When sweet potato mix is almost done:

  • Poach eggs (not sure about that link’s last recommendation, saran wrapping the eggs)
  • Add toasted pecans to the sweet potato hash.

While eggs are cooking:

  • Melt butter in small frying pan.
  • Whisk egg yolk, salt, smoked paprika and lemon juice together until creamy.
  • While whisking, slowly pour the melted butter into the mixture. It will thicken into a rich sauce.

Serve poached eggs on a bed of sweet potato hash. Generously (more than pictured above) drench plate in Hollandaise sauce. Eat.

There was some talk a few months ago about Vosges’ new bacon-flavoured chocolate bar. When I first heard about it, I immediately started imagining the smoky saltiness of good bacon buried in smooth, rich chocolate. I went on chocolate-search alert. Unfortunately for me, I saw neither rind nor rasher of it. But I kept imagining those flavours. Last month, when I was contemplating–again–how much I love my ice cream maker, it suddenly hit me! If bacon works in a chocolate bar, why can’t it work in ice cream? I wrote the idea down, which is why for weeks, visitors have been puzzled by the note on our fridge that reads “Bacon-Choco Ice Cream.”

In my imaginings I always pictured dark chocolate, so when I started recipe planning, it was with something much darker than the milk chocolate Vosges uses. Our base recipe comes from Kate Zuckerman’s incredible cookbook “The Sweet Life.” (go. buy it. you won’t regret it.) In her recipe for dark chocolate sorbet, Zuckerman explains how the starches in chocolate absorb water at certain levels of heat, becoming incredibly creamy. I figured this was the way to go, as I couldn’t quite imagine the bacon bits nestled into a custard base. Maybe I’m wrong about this. Next go-round, anyone?

So. We had the concept of the base down. The bacon was next. I decided to candy the bacon so that it wouldn’t clash with the chocolate. I dipped the bacon in sugar and baked it until it was crispy. Then I mixed it into the incredibly rich, creamy, delicious chocolate sorbet. Quick note–this sorbet is an absolute must-try, bacon or no bacon. In her intro to the recipe, Zuckerman says that people are always shocked that the sorbet has no dairy. There’s a reason for this. Go look at the picture at the beginning of this piece again. Ignore our sub-professional photo skills and instead look at the sheen. It’s a thousand times silkier in the mouth than it even shows in the photo.

The chocolate sorbet with the bacon mixed in, however, is a whole different experience. Because the bits are mixed in after the sorbet, they don’t change the initial flavour or or silkiness at all. However, once your mouthful of chocolate has melted a bit, you get a little bacony, salty crunch. We liked how the salt cut through the heaviness of the chocolate, and how the smoky bacon flavour melted into the last vestiges of the rich chocolate at the end of every bite.

Cooking notes–
-Make sure your bacon is diced small. I was a bit lazy and left some larger bits (like 1/4 inch), and those few interfered with rather than complimented the chocolate.
-The candied bacon was beautiful coming out of the oven, but in hindsight we weren’t sure we needed to candy it. Maybe it was a cowardly move? You tell me. Next time, I might try just frying it up nice and crisp and mixing it in without the sugar protection.
- This is obviously not going to work with just any bacon. We got our smoked bacon from Porcmeilleur, at the Jean-Talon Market, but there are a few places around Montreal that might be worth trying. I think maple-smoked bacon would be delicious in this.
-If you don’t own an ice cream maker, I discovered that the base for this sorbet thickens into a beautiful silky puddingy mass in the fridge. So you can still play along. After you’ve prepared the sorbet base, ladle it into individual serving bowls and place them in the fridge. In a few hours, they will be thickened to a pudding consistency. Then, if you want to get in on the bacon, you could sprinkle the candied bacon on top.
-Use the best cocoa powder you can justify, as it is really the flavour base for this sorbet. Carlo went all crazy and insisted on Valhrona cocoa powder. It was <ahem> $13 for 250 grams, but WOW is it amazing.

DARK CHOCOLATE BACON CRUNCH SORBET

for the sorbet, adapted from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
2 1/4 cups water
3 tbsp. corn syrup
6 oz. dark chocolate (we used two Valhrona chocolate bars, one 55% and the other 66%)
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

for the bacon
app. 8 slices of bacon (more or less depending on the meatiness of your bacon)
1/2 cup white sugar

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and combine it with the cocoa, which you have sifted into a medium stainless steel bowl.

On the stovetep, combineĀ  2 1/4 cups water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove it from the heat.

Whisk 1/3 of the sugar syrup into the waiting bowl of chocolate. The chocolate will make you nervous at first, as it seizes a little. Add another 1/3 of the syrup, whisking all the time. By the time you add your last 1/3 of sugar syrup, the mixture should be smooth and silky. Continue whisking this mixture for about five minutes, until you think it’s smooth and silky. If you notice any chunks of cocoa in your sorbet base, you can pass it through a fine-mesh strainer. Cool the mixture over an ice bath (fill a bowl larger than the one your base is in with ice cubes and water. Place your bowl inside the icy bowl, and continue to whisk it until it is cool). Place your base in the refrigerator to cool completely and thicken. Zuckerman recommends at least four hours.

While your sorbet base is cooling, prepare your bacon. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Next, coat your bacon slices with sugar. I did this by pouring a small amount of sugar onto a plate and then pressing the bacon into it. Next time, I might try just sprinkling it over the bacon, like this method. Place the bacon on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake it for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, remove it from the oven, and turn it over, baking it for another 8 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, because it burns fast. When the bacon is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool before dicing it into small pieces. You should have about 1/2 cup of bacon bits to add to your sorbet. If you have any extra, reserve it for garnish.

After the sorbet base has cooled for a few hours, freeze it in your ice cream maching according to manufacturer’s instructions. It is done when it has gained volume and it holds the marks of the stirring mechanism, like stiffly-whipped cream. Now you have to work quickly. Remove the sorbet from your machine to a storage container, quickly stirring in your bacon bits in batches as you fill the container. Store your sorbet in the freezer for a couple hours to harden it. Or, if you’re like us, just ignore the last instructions and eat super-soft sorbet.

From http://www.supperinstereo.com’s Album

So it’s Saturday again, and like always, I made some breakfasty baked goods. Pumpkins are on sale post-Halloween, so I picked up a nice big one and roasted it last night. When I think of what to do with pumpkin, I always think of pumpkin muffins. When I was growing up, my mom would often make pumpkin muffins with her freezer store of roasted and pureed pumpkin. When I decided to do the same, I realized I don’t have her recipe! I resorted to another one I’d copied out of my friend’s copy of the November 2006 issue of Gourmet. We’re getting a little Gourmet-heavy, but what can I say? I love that magazine.

I love these muffins too. The pumpkin makes them light and tender. The only changes we made to the recipe were that we used pumpkin we roasted ourselves (instructions on doing that later– I’ve got to spread these things out a bit if we want to have a post a day for the whole month!), and that I added a bit of whole wheat flour instead of using 100% white flour. I think these muffins are good candidates for some whole wheat flour, especially if you’re using home-cooked pumpkin instead of canned, which is a bit thicker. The pumpkin makes the muffins light enough to take a bit of whole-wheat heaviness. The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, but I’ve never understood the point of pumpkin pie spice. I want to have control over my proportions! So for the spices, feel free to adjust the ratios to your own liking. I’ll have to get my mom’s recipe so I can do a taste test.

Without further ado:

Pumpkin Muffins adapted from Gourmet Magazine

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all -purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, spices, sugar and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and stir them just until you don’t see any more flour powderiness. The mixture should be lumpy, so make sure you don’t overstir these.

Plop generous lumps of dough into a well-greased 12 cup muffin tin. If you have muffin liners, use those instead. You’ll save yourself time and oil. Sprinkle sugar onto the tops of each muffin.

Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes. They’re done when the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into their centres comes out clean.

Oatmeal and Apple Pancakes from www.supperinstereo.com

Saturday mornings, I like to play housewife. Instead of telling Carlo “make your own breakfast. You’re a grown man,” I get out of bed and cheerfully mix flour and baking powder together to make a weekend feast. Sometimes it’s muffins, but usually it’s pancakes because they come together so fast and cook quickly enough that my hunger doesn’t overwhelm my good intentions. When the food is ready, we douse our pancakes in maple syrup, sprinkle a little sugar on our lattes, and curl up in armchairs with our plates on our laps. It’s a good way to start a Saturday.

Last time I made these pancakes, I used whole wheat flour. This time I used all-purpose. It’s good both ways, but the whole wheat does make them a bit heavier. They’re very filling because of the oatmeal, which adds a rich creaminess that goes really well with tart grated Granny Smith apples.

1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal (I use instant oatmeal, but this would be great with rolled oats)
3/4 cup milk
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
unsalted butter

Preheat a skillet on medium heat.

Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Add wet ingredients and mix gently.

Melt a generous pat of butter onto the skillet and pour batter in 1/4-1/2 cup servings onto skillet. Allow to cook until bubbles show on one side, then flip and cook on the other side until both sides are golden. Flip pancakes onto a plate, cover with maple syrup, and relax.

*By the way, can you tell we just bought a new camera? You could if you looked at any of our earlier posts. It’s a Canon Powershot G7, and we loooove it. But now that we have no excuses about image quality, any ugly photos are entirely our own faults. I’d love to hear some food photo tips!*

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