Archive for Bacon

Week 3: Adapting Recipes

It’s all about flexibility. We are in Week 3 of the Dark Days Challenge , and I’m feeling more comfortable as the weeks go by. I’m learning more about available local food and am getting better about searching for recipes. Finding ingredients may not be as convenient as heading to the nearest grocery store, but I’m enjoying the challenge at this point. I’m learning to combine errands and pick up things as I find them. I’ve had to change the way I menu plan for this meal, as I’ve realized I can’t plan the meal before I head to the store because I can’t guarantee that the ingredient will be available.

This week, we had lunch downtown for my husband’s birthday at our favorite sushi restaurant. Our 2-year old devoured over half of our edamame and ate a whole order of gyoza, then insisted he try some “shushi”. I love seeing my boys receptive to trying food. This is the same son that requested broccoli for a snack this week, and sadly I had to tell him we were out. As we drove to the restaurant, I spotted a specialty grocery store I’d been wanting to try, Local D’Lish. After lunch, we stopped by and I found some local black beans, some pasta, and a whole chicken. I meant to make something with the black beans and the chicken, but I couldn’t find that perfect meal without using lime, cilantro, or some other non-local food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That led me to Epicurious, where I found a recipe for Creamed Chicken with Corn and Bacon over Polenta. I remembered seeing cornmeal and thought this would be the perfect recipe. However, when I got to the store, they only had corncake/waffle mix that was local. I considered “cheating” with organic polenta, but decided to try the mix. While I was roasting the chicken (first adaptation), I decided to do a trial run to see if the corncake mix would pass as polenta. The texture didn’t come out right and it just didn’t taste right. Thankfully, my neighbor stopped by and while I was explaining my dilemma, I realized that I could make corn cakes instead of polenta. The recipe turned out to be almost an upside down pot pie and it was delicious! All my boys loved it and Son #2 kept talking about the “bun”. Sometimes flexibility leads to an improvement – I don’t know that my boys would have loved the polenta as much as the corncakes.

New this week was Sno Pac frozen corn in place of fresh corn, some hydroponic tomatoes (which were on the small side, but locally grown), and the corncake mix from Whole Grain Milling from Welcome, MN, which is just over 150 miles from my house. The best part? I have leftovers and plan to make a pot pie tomorrow by adding some Sno Pac frozen peas and baking the corncake mix on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One other noteworthy part of my roasted chicken was my herbs. We’ve had an unusually mild winter so far. When I came home from the grocery store, I noticed some green in my abandoned herb pots outside. I was able to pick a bit of oregano and thyme to place in the chicken cavity. I was so excited to be able to use them just a week before Christmas! With that, I’ll wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope you are all as blessed as we have been this year. 

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Salmon dinner = three bandaged fingers

I intend to make fish more often.  Truth is, we don’t eat seafood at home as much as I’d like.  This dinner was conceived because of all the cabbage and potatoes you see in stores and restaurants around St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m not Irish (or at least not enough to claim that I am), but the Welsh/English in me must have some influence on my desire to prepare Irish-inspired meals.  Paging through my cookbooks, I came across a recipe for salmon with cabbage and bacon.  I added the roasted red potatoes as a side.

All my boys loved the salmon.  Son #3 asked for more at least twice.  The cabbage was another story.  Not even the bacon could save it.  My bacon theory has been proven wrong yet again (see my previous post “Bacon makes everything taste good”).  The potatoes were hit and miss.  One son ate them, the other two weren’t as excited.  In the end, I’m just happy they are all fish lovers.

Salmon, cabbage with bacon, and roasted red potatoes. I've spared you a photo of my injury.

The leftovers of this meal led me to the real story of my bandaged fingers.  I was so excited to use the leftover cabbage and potatoes for a hash served with eggs the next evening as a quick meal because we had a busy night.  I got set to work on the meal.  Son #3 was standing at his normal perch on the stool in the kitchen.  I usually give him a snack or things to wipe up, dump in, etc. while I cook.  At 20 months old, he’s becoming a pretty great helper.  As I scraped the potatoes into the hot pan with my brand-new, super sharp knife, I somehow missed the transfer from one hand to the other and the knife landed straight into the tip of my finger.  I knew right away it wasn’t going to be pretty.  I screamed, grabbed a bunch of paper towels, and immediately called my husband.

Fast forward one hour, I end up in urgent care with the craziest doctor I’ve ever encountered.  He decided to glue my cut instead of stitching it.  In the process, he glued his glove to my hand.  I’m not sure if he’d ever tried to glue a cut and found myself wondering if stitches would have been the smarter decision.  The jury is still out on that one – as I type with my bandaged finger, I don’t know how well it is going to heal.  The two other bandages were caused because I was trying to avoid my injured finder, which made me pretty inept.  I think I can chalk up my injuries to pregnancy clumsiness and trying to do too much at once.  Sadly, it took the third injury to make me slow down.

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Bacon makes everything taste good

I love bacon. I tell my husband that bacon makes anything taste good.  For that matter, cheese does too.  He disagrees, however.  Especially the one time a year I serve brussel sprouts.  Each year, our CSA sends us this beautiful bag of brussel sprouts. I look forward to it each fall, and eagerly wait for the email in which David from Hog’s Back Farm tells us the brussel sprouts are coming.  I roast them with bacon, apples and shallots and serve them to my family with excitement.  I still haven’t convinced them that they are as delicious as I promise.  But I refuse to give up.  Someday, I WILL have a brussel sprout lover like me.

Anyway, I use bacon more to flavor other foods and I keep it on hand at all times, because it makes a great basis for a meal that hasn’t been planned.  This week, when I was out of planned meals, I remembered the canned sweet corn that was given to us this fall and decided to make a corn chowder.  I combined a couple of recipes I found from my Epicurious app.  I highly recommend the Epicurious app.  The search capability is the best I’ve found and you can choose several ways to find a recipe, including specific ingredients.  My chowder consisted of two jars of corn, potatoes, onion, a few slices of cut up bacon, celery, chicken broth, milk, thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Yum!

The boys ate it, but Son #1 is the only real soup lover so far.  I think you are either a soup lover or  you are not.  I happen to love soup, and could eat soup several times a week.  Son #2 likes tomato soup and miso soup, but lots of chunks seem to turn him off.  He likes the broth best.  Son #3 is given mostly the chopped ingredients from soups right now.  Once he masters the art of using a spoon, we will give him his own bowl.  It’s a work in progress at this point.

 

Corn chowder and BLT night.

 

 

 

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