Cauliflower crust pizza

kalebaconpizza

bbqchickenpizza

I guess it’s the last day of 2016. Weird, huh? It’s been a good year though! And I suppose next year we’ll be celebrating the new year in our new house! Crazy! Life is moving FAST and owning a house feels super way too adult. But I guess at some point I have to come to terms with the fact that I am an adult.

Today has been a good day so far. Started off with an 8:30am showing of Moana. I’ve been meaning to see it for a while now. In fact, I had planned to watch it last Tuesday ($5 Tuesdays at Marcus) but every showing that day was sold out! I guess schools are out right now and parents are all taking their kids to the movies. Anyhow, I finally saw it this morning and it was really good! Definitely recommend it if you haven’t seen it already.

Then some friends and I made these cauliflower crust pizzas. Super delicious! We made two pizzas – one with bacon and kale (traditional red sauce and mozzarella cheese), and one with chicken and red onions (with homemade bbq sauce and cheddar jack cheese). Recipes for the crust and bbq sauce are below.

To assemble we put the sauces down first, then cheese, then the bacon/kale or chicken/onions. And then with the bbq chicken we drizzled more sauce on top before and after baking.

Then we sautéed the leftover chicken, kale, and onions in the leftover bacon grease! A simple but excellent use of all the leftovers!

Now we’re just lazing around watching the Little Prince and tonight we’ll be heading to our pastor’s house to ring in the new year. A great day to end a great year!

Well, I think that’s all I have to say for now. Happy New Year!

Cauliflower crust (per pizza):
1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 cup shredded cheese (we used Mozzarella)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt

Process cauliflower florets in a food processor until it has a rice-like consistency.
Bake 20 min at 400 degrees.
Use a dish cloth or cheese cloth to squeeze out all the liquid.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Spread on parchment paper covered baking sheet and bake for 20 min at 425 degrees.
Add sauce and toppings, then bake 5-6 minutes at 425 degrees.

Homemade BBQ Sauce:
I started with this recipe but didn’t really measure anything. I used all the ingredients from the recipe and added garlic powder, chili powder, and a few drops of liquid smoke. I also manually whisked everything instead of using my food processor.

Bacon Rangoon (aka Bagoons?)

So I have this theory. I don’t know if I’ve written about it before, but here it is: I believe that anything that tastes good with some form of carb (bread, noodles, rice, etc) would taste good wrapped in a wonton skin and deep fried. So far I’ve tested this theory with nutella, nutella and bananas, samosa filling, and peanut butter and chocolate.

I have plans on eventually trying:
– Tex-mex: ground beef with taco seasoning and cheese inside, served with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
– Italian: meat sauce, cheese (some combination of mozzarella, parmesan and/or ricotta). Kind of like a deep-fried ravioli I suppose.
– S’more: chocolate and marshmallow inside, dusted with graham cracker crumbs

Anyway, this time I decided to try something like crab rangoons, but instead of imitation crab meat, put bacon. All in all it turned out really well, although in the future I’m not sure I would use this folding style for wontons. When I was deep frying them, any air caught on the inside would cause them to balloon up and look mildly ridiculous. Folding them in half into triangles is much much much easier.

With them, I also made a dipping sauce. I really wanted to fit both secret ingredients in (see previous post for explanation), so I was trying to think of how to incorporate chocolate. I randomly thought of mixing ranch, chili powder and cocoa powder together. I ran this past a friend, and he thought it needed more of a kick, so I subbed in sriracha sauce for chili powder. When I tried it, I had absolutely no concept of what it would taste like, but it turned out to be pretty good. The ranch and cocoa powder offset the spiciness of the sriracha well, and none of the flavors was too overwhelming (although some people thought it was too spicy…). Sadly, I didn’t measure anything when I made it… but the proportions are mostly based on personal preference anyway.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients
9 strips of bacon
2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
~38 wonton wrappers
oil for frying (a lot)
ranch dressing
sriracha sauce
unsweetened cocoa powder

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic powder and paprika. Chop the bacon into small pieces (I used kitchen scissors and cut them into ~1 cm squares) and add them to the bowl. Mix until spices and bacon are evenly spread through the cream cheese.

Place ~1.5 teaspoons of mix in the center of the wonton wrapper. Use water to wet the edges and fold in the style of your preference.

In a pot or a deep fryer, heat oil. Deep fry the wontons in small batches. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place in a dish lined with paper towels to drain some of the extra oil.

To make the sauce, combine the ranch, sriracha and cocoa powder and stir with a whisk until well combined. I think I used about 1/4-1/3 cup of ranch, 1-2 tbsp of sriracha, and 1-2 tsp of cocoa powder. But I really don’t know because I didn’t measure at all.

Beer Batter Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Frosting

My friend had his 26th birthday party today and for his birthday celebration we had a cooking competition/potluck where the “secret ingredients” were bacon and chocolate. The prize was the winner and up to two friends got dinner either cooked by the birthday boy man(?) or at a restaurant of his/her choosing. Seems counterintuitive that someone would give out prized to others on his birthday, but I do love a cooking challenge.

So I decided to make an appetizer (next post) and these cupcakes. I’ve always been a little bit of a skeptic when it comes to putting bacon (or other salty things) in my desserts, but a) I have two friends from college who would always get bacon with a little cup of maple syrup for dipping at Sunday brunch, and b) I kept seeing maple bacon dessert recipes popping up all over Tastespotting and Foodgawker, so I decided to give it a try.

I pretty much stuck to the recipe I found, with a few very minor exceptions listed below. It was definitely a success- I got a lot of compliments throughout the night, and I did end up winning the competition (caveat – there were only two other competitors, so don’t be too impressed).

– I didn’t have Guinness and last night when I was getting the ingredients I got to the supermarket after 9pm. Little did I know that there’s some state or city law that prohibits stores from selling alcohol after 9pm. I didn’t really feel like going out again today to the supermarket, so I just used a cup of Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark. I guess it gives the recipe a bit of Wisconsin flavor 🙂

– I used four strips of bacon instead of three.

– I guess I measured poorly because I only made 21 cupcakes instead of 24.

– I don’t own a piping bag, a gallon-sized ziplock bag sufficed.

– When I baked the bacon I just put it in a 9×13 pan lined with aluminum foil and drained the grease every 5 minutes when I took the pan out to re-baste.

I’m too lazy to copy over the ingredients and instructions, so I’m just going to link to the original recipe.

Baked Potato Soup

Well, I’m back. Not to the states yet, but reunited with my laptop in Singapore. Hong Kong was good! Lots of interesting sights and awesome food. If you’ve never had dim sum, it’s definitely something you want to experience. Sadly a lot of dim sum places these days just have paper menus where you write the quantity of each dish you want next to dish name, but there are still some old school places with the carts. I love the cart ladies. They’re these (usually) cute little old(er) ladies who push carts of food around the restaurant calling out what they have.

If you’re in the Boston area, the three places I would recommend are: Hei La Moon (Chinatown), Winsor Dim Sum Cafe (Chinatown) and China Pearl (Woburn). Winsor is really small, so get there early, but it doesn’t have the carts. The other two still have the carts and are much bigger, but they still get extremely crowded, so get there early!

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with the recipe I’m posting for today. I wish I could make dim sum food. Maybe one day. Today’s recipe is one for baked potato soup. I am a huge fan of soup. From the healthier variety (chicken noodle, tomato) to the not so healthy (pretty much anything cream-based), I love soup. My parents once had a “theory” that the reason I loved soup so much was that I was indeed so lazy that I preferred foods that didn’t involve chewing. They have now revised that “theory” in light of the fact that my jaw joint is messed up. Chewy foods do make my jaw click, so it’s possible that the jaw thing would lead me to prefer soup (not very chewy).

I decided to make this after a friend and fellow college alum posted her recipe on her food blog, Dorsey Kitchen. I made some modifications, mostly scaling it down, but all in all it was a great recipe!

Ingredients
2 large potatoes
1/2 sweet onion
6 slices of bacon
1 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation
Wash potatoes and use a fork to poke holes all around them. Bake at 400F for around 60 minutes.

Dice the onion. Chop the bacon into small squares. In a nonstick saucepan, fry bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and place in a bowl lined with a paper towel.

Saute the onion in the bacon grease. When they turn translucent, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add milk and simmer for a few minutes. While mix in simmering, coarsely chop the potatoes into cubes. Mix the cornstarch and water and add this mixture to the pot.

When mix thickens, add potatoes and chicken broth. Mash some of the potato chunks against the side of the pot. Stir in cheese and most of the bacon bits. Let simmer until the soup reaches desired thickness.

Serve topped with cheese and bacon.

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

I saw this recipe (probably on Foodgawker or Tastespotting) and knew immediately that it was going to be delicious. I mean, pasta, 3 kinds of cheese and bacon? How could it not be?

This mac and cheese dish is hearty. I made it with a couple friends and ended up with probably close to 3/4 of the pan leftover and we were all full. Also a good thing to note: it’s not as delicious when it’s reheated. So make this dish for a party or something where you’ll be able to finish it in one night!

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni until al dente.

Fry bacon until crispy, then cut until small pieces. Reserve 1 tablespoon of grease.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and saute onions on low heat until soft and browned. Set aside.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and add 1 tablespoon of grease. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Add milk and half and half and heat until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Beat eggs and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mix into beaten eggs. Stir to combine. Then add egg mix to the sauce and cook for about a minute.

Add cheese and stir until melted. Add 3/4 of the bacon and onions, saving the rest for the top. Add macaroni and stir to coat.

Pour into a 9×13 baking pan and top with remaining bacon and onions. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sizzling. Serve immediately.

Pasta Carbonara

I don’t really know what to say about this recipe. My best guess is that they make it occasionally at the dining hall and I decided I liked it because compared to pasta with red sauce (which they serve probably 5/7 days), anything is exciting and delicious.

So I tried this recipe… and I liked it, but my parents are not really fans of cream-based/cheesy things… so it was not their favorite. But if you like pasta with cheese and bacon, this is a really easy and delicious recipe.

Also this is a pre-SLR picture… so… it’s pretty awful. But it tastes good and that’s what counts right?

This recipe came from Our Kitchen.

Ingredients
8-10 strips of the leanest bacon you can find
16 oz cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 box pasta (any kind)

Preparation
Cut the bacon into 1 cm strips and fry over medium heat.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.

Once bacon is cooked, add cream, salt and pepper and simmer until creamy. Whisk together the egg and parmesan. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the pan and stir through the cream sauce. Add the egg and parmesan and stir again.

Fried Rice

Fried rice became a staple of my diet during my senior year of college. It’s easy and you can put whatever you want in it. At the minimum, all you really need is rice and soy sauce… of course that’d be a really boring plate of fried rice. When I was younger and incredibly picky about food (I still am, but much less so now), my mom used to make me fried rice with just corn (from now on we’re just going to assume that there’s rice and soy sauce).

At the core, I would say you at least need, eggs and peas. I usually like to also add carrots, corn and some form of meat. Normally that means chicken, but occasionally I’ll use other things like bacon (pictured above) or spam (I’m not a huge fan of spam… meat in a can? No thanks. But other people like it).

So over the last year, I’ve been perfecting my fried rice technique, and during senior week I got a review of “better than anything I’ve ever had at Sushi Thai” (the Asian place near campus) from a friend. Woohoo!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got.

Ingredients
2 cups (uncooked) rice, cooked and cooled down
5 eggs
4-5 oz frozen peas
2 carrots, diced
8 oz corn
1/2 sweet onion, diced
soy sauce
vegetable oil
salt

if using chicken:
1 chicken breast, sliced thinly
garlic and/or onion powder
cornstarch
JES Yakitori sauce

if using bacon:
6-7 sliced bacon, cut into small pieces

Preparation
If using chicken:
Marinate chicken with vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic powder (and/or onion powder), salt, and cornstarch. (See this post for *slightly* better instructions).

If using bacon:
Fry bacon in a frying pan. When crispy, remove bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel. Leave bacon grease in the pan.

Saute onions either using vegetable oil or bacon grease. When onions begin to turn translucent, add peas, carrots and a pinch of salt. Cook until vegetables are of desired tenderness. Add rice and mix in the pan. Pour soy sauce in and mix, adding more soy sauce until the rice is a light brown or until the rice reaches your desired saltiness.

If using bacon:
Mix in bacon, then remove from heat and set aside.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add a little salt and soy sauce. Scramble the eggs in the frying pan. Add eggs to the rice and mix.

If using chicken:
Coat pan with vegetable oil and heat. Add chicken in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and allow to brown until the side facing upward begins to change color. Turn and cook the other side, then add enough Yakitori sauce to cover the chicken and stir. Remove from heat and toss chicken with the rice.