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Today’s recipe that I’m sharing I’ve prepared twice in the last two weeks, and both times the reviews from my guests (and wife) have been the same — “This is delicious!  What flavour *is* it?!?”  Well, my faithful followers, I am here today to share with you the secret of Cucumber Sorbet.  🙂

Dead simple to make, tasty and refreshing on a hot day, and a perfectly-sized recipe to share with two other friends as a little pick-me-up.  So let’s get right to it:

2 large seedless cucumbers, peeled and chopped1 tsp mint/spearmint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C sugar
2/3 C water

Pop the chopped-up cucumbers, mint extract and vanilla extract into a blender or food processor and puree it.  Set aside.

In a small pot, heat the water and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Once you are certain all the sugar has dissolved, pour in the cucumber puree and thoroughly mix.  Place a sieve over a bowl big enough for the resulting liquid, then press the cucumber/simple syrup mix through the sieve (just to make sure there’s no big chunks sneaking through), and place the mixture into the fridge for at least 5 hours.  At that point, pop the mix into an ice cream maker (as per the maker’s instructions) and you should shortly have a small batch of refreshing, light-green sorbet.

**Note:  If you are preparing this for a diabetic, it is possible to substitute 1/2 of the sugar with Splenda (by volume) to cut back on the person’s sugar levels spiking a bit.  For my own personal cooking, though, I prefer to stay with ‘regular’ sugar.

Oh Breakfast Pizza, how I love thee.  Well, to be honest, I love pizza of pretty much every type, so that’s not really a thrilling claim, but still – breakfast pizza is something pretty snazzy to my mind, so here’s the how-to for it!

Ingredients
1/2 C warm water
1 tsp sugar or honey
1 tsp active dry yeast
1.5 C all-purpose flour
Dash of salt

5 slices bacon
3 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup hollandaise sauce *OR* ketchup, depending on tastes
**Other breakfast-type foods: a couple diced up (pre-cooked) breakfast sausages — sure!  Bell peppers — why not?  Tomato — yummy!

1 – Start the oven preheating to 200 degrees Celsius.  While the oven is heating up, dice the bacon and cook it up to a little under whatever done-ness you like it at, being sure to save all the bacon fat in a mug or bowl to the side.  Put the bacon aside for now.

2 – In a bowl, mix the warm water, yeast and sugar.  Let sit for about five minutes, until you see the yeast is foamy.  Once it has reached that state, mix in the flour half a cup at a time, as well as the salt.  Once you’ve got a good consistency to the dough (pulling together, springy and still a little sticky), turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead the dough for a minute or two before shaping it into a ball.  Pour the bacon fat from the mug into the bowl that you had the dough in, then place the ball of dough in the fat, turning it so that it’s got a nice coating of bacon-y goodness on all sides.  Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for one hour someplace warm.

3 – Punch the dough down (it’ll be pretty puffy by this stage), and then lift the dough onto a freshly-floured surface.  Shape the dough into the shape you want your pizza – rectangle if you’re cooking on a cookie sheet, circular for a pizza tray, etc, and get it onto a tray for the oven.  Brush some of the remaining bacon fat on the top of the crust, and place the dough into the oven for 10 minutes.
4 – While the crust is baking, use the eggs and milk to make yourself some scrambled eggs (seasoned with salt and pepper, of course) – a little on the moist side when you take it off the heat is best.

5 – Remove the crust from the oven, and being careful (after all, it’s pretty hot!), flip it over on the tray you are using.  Now you can add your sauce — myself, I would use a thin layer of hollandaise sauce, though for my wife I would do ketchup, instead – it’s just a matter of personal taste.  Next, add the already-cooked bacon and whatever other toppings you want – ham, sausage, peppers, mushrooms – pretty much anything goes, so long as your proteins are pre-cooked.  Spread your scrambled eggs over top of everything else, then cover with the shredded mozzarella.

6 – Pop the pizza back into the oven for another five to seven minutes (until the cheese has hit a nicely melted point), remove, slice and serve!!

This dish has proven to be a *big* hit with the people I’ve cooked it for – a tasty pizza crust coupled with all the best breakfast yummies you could want, smothered in cheese?!?  You can’t go wrong!

Enjoy, and let me know your own favorite list of toppings for this dish if you try it out!

I made this dish the other night to mixed reviews.  My wife enjoyed the taste, but apparently felt like a dragon had just done mean, nasty, unforgivable things to her mouth (ie: she found it a tad bit too spicy).  Me, well, I loved the taste and the spice of it.  This dish was inspired by some of the things I learned while researching Peruvian cooking a few years back — namely, there is magic to be had when you mix Chinese and Spanish-style cooking.

This recipe is done in two parts.  If you do part one first, while it is cooking, you have a half-hour to do the second part — plenty of time!

Part 1

1 Batch of Asparagus Pilaf  *BUT* add the following before placing in oven:
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Tumeric
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 Dried Thai Bird Chilli (or other hot’n’spicy pepper)

Part 2

500g Ground Pork
1/4C Soy Sauce
1/4C BBQ Sauce
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

In a wok (or deep frying pan) get the pork over high heat to start browning.  Once the pork is about half-way cooked, add the ground pepper and the soy sauce, and continue to cook until the pork is cooked through (Please, PLEASE make sure it is cooked fully).

Once the pork is fully cooked, add in the BBQ sauce — a basic BBQ sauce is fine for this – there are so many other bold flavours that a fancy BBQ sauce would just muddle things, or get lost itself.  Mix the sauce into the pork until the sauces are both well incorporated.

Once the Pilaf is ready, remove it from the oven and in a large dish combine the pilaf and the ground pork.  Mix thoroughly and serve!

Surprisingly easy to make – this is one of those recipes I firmly believe that anyone can make, and make easily, if they just follow the instructions.  If at all possible, make the sauce the day before as its flavours will only grow more enticing as the sauce has a chance to marry.

Almond Chicken (for 2)

1 Cup Almonds3 Chicken Breasts (thawed) cut into strips approximately .5 inches wide
3 Eggs
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 Cup Corn (or Potato) Starch
1 Cup Flour
Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Using a coffee grinder, blender, or even just a mortar and pestle if needed, grind the almonds down to a powder.  Place the almond powder into a large bowl along with the salt and pepper, ground cloves, and 1/2 cup of starch, 1/2 cup of flour.  Mix these ingredients together well – this will be your breading.
  • In a separate bowl, lightly whip the 3 eggs.  Place this bowl next to the breading one.
  • In a third (and final) bowl, place the remaining 1/2 cups of starch and flour (again, mixed together well)
  • Simply take a strip of the thawed chicken, dip it on all sides in the flour/starch mix, then run in through the egg so it is completely covered, then roll it in the almond mixture.  Place the breaded strip onto an oven-sprayed sheet pan, and repeat until all your strips are breaded.
  • Place your sheet pan into an oven set to 400 degrees (on Bake), and let cook for ten minutes, then use a spatula to flip the strips over before baking an additional ten minutes.  Break one of the strips open to make sure the chicken is cooked through, and then serve!

My personal approach to the dipping sauce is something nice and spicy, to play off the sweetness of the almond chicken.  This is a recipe I’ve come up with to suit my own personal tastes.  (Ideally, I would use aji amarillo or aji panca (really really hard to get up here in Canada) instead of the jalapeno, but I have to make do with what I can get…)

3-B Dipping Sauce

1 C BBQ sauce (my wife buys Bulls-Eye, but any strong sauce would do)1/4 cup Blackberries, crushed
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp aji panca paste, OR 2 roasted and pureed jalapenos, OR 3 Tbsp Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp Lime Juice

Mix the ingredients together well, place in a sealed bag or jar, and let sit overnight for the flavours to ‘marry’.  Adjust the spice as needed by either adding or reducing the amount of peppers/hot sauce in the dip.

**Note: for those of you that know me, you’ll know that I can’t eat/drink lime juice, so I will use minced ginger instead of lime juice, just to give the dip a slightly different ‘kick’ beyond the pure spice.

 

Hey there – for the next recipe I will be posting you need roasted peppers, so I am going to explain how to make them in a way that is super-easy and can be done in nearly any kitchen.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, set on “Broil”.
Chop your pepper in half, from bottom to top.  Do not worry about taking out the seeds or ‘ribs’ of the pepper – those will come out easier a little later.
Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet so that the outside of the pepper is facing up, and then place the tray in the oven on the top rack.  Let cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin of the pepper is blackened.
Remove the tray from the oven, and place the peppers in a sturdy (preferably oven-safe) bowl, then cover tightly with plastic wrap.  The heat from the peppers should make the plastic wrap shrink a bit almost immediately, sealing the bowl nice and tight.
Leave the bowl for 30 minutes, then one at a time take the pepper halves and hold them under cold, running water while rubbing the blackened skin.  The crisped parts of the skin, as well as the ribs and seeds inside the pepper, should all come off easily, leaving nothing but a soft but firm pepper ready for cooking with!

 

These peppers are amazing on pizza once they’re chopped up a bit, and they also work beautifully as a crostini topping, either alone or with a bit of goat cheese.