Sweetheart Maple Bacon Shortbread

Fact: the real way to obtain your sweetheart’s love is through their stomach…with bacon! And this Maple Bacon Shortbread is a sure fire way to please.

A few weeks ago I attended a most fabulous themed pot-luck party: bacon! Everyone had to bring a dish made with bacon. We had bacon guacamole, a bacon cheddar apple pie, scotch eggs, bacon chocolate cupcakes. That was like a third of the menu. I brought a Maple Bacon Shortbread as one of two contributions.

Looking at my cookie cutter shapes I decided to go for a heart shaped one. And as soon as the cookies came out of the oven I knew this recipe was perfect for Saint-Valentine’s Day.

Maple Bacon Shortbread Hearts

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting 2 part

Welcome to part 2 of the special Gongfu tea Chinese Tea Tasting 2 ceremony I hosted for a few friends.

It was the perfect way to enjoy the 5 tea samples I received from Teavivre. Make sure to check Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting 2 part 1 to learn more about all the teas we tried and about the Gong Fu tea way!

I thought I would start of this post with a silly shot…perhaps I will regret it lol. But this my readers is what happens when you drink too much good tea and introduce a Tibetan Singing Bowl to the mix. I recently took a Tibetan Singing Bowl workshop and basically ran out to buy one that following week. This is us being silly with the said bowl, left to right top, and then bottom: Sandra, Melanie, Evelyne, Michele and (discreet) Rebecca.

girls

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting part 1

I had an incredible eye opening experience. And I have to admit I never thought I would say this following a Chinese Tea Tasting, but I was left in awe after trying 5 very high grade tea samples from Teavivre. A high quality tea is so much more refined, pure and crisp. An excellent tea is like enjoying a top vintage wine. I will never be able to look at the boxed stuff or tea chain stores the same way again.

Since this tea tasting was a rather unique opportunity, I decided to host my bastardized version of a Gongfu tea ceremony with the tools I had and a few friends. You can read more about the real traditional Gong Fu ceremony here but I will give you a quick resume here as well.

teavivre tea leaves

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Great book gift ideas

Still looking for a few great gift ideas for the chef or foodie in your life? I have a few excellent suggestions for you today. This is a very varied mix of books touching on recipes, travel, health and treasures to be found in the pantry.

I have been enjoying every moment spent leafing through these books, testing their theories, trying out recipe and planning a few future seasoning purchases. I am including the main description of the books and a “my-2-cents” paragraph for each. Enjoy!

Yunnan_Cookbook

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Halloween Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin & Cured Epidermis

The makings of a grown up halloween dish: seasonal squash, homemade squid Ink Pasta and “cured epideris”.

Well this year Halloween was not going to get away with just once post apparently. When I was hunting for black food coloring I came close to using squid ink in a sweet out of desperation to get my black color. My pastry chef friend Karyn saved that day … but now I really wanted to use the squid ink to. Fresh made Squid Ink Pasta to the rescue. Throw in some pumpkin for color and atmosphere, and a little bit of suspicious meat: Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin and Cured Epidermis.

Happy Halloween buaaahahahaha!

Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin and proscuitto

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Ultimate Coffee Smoothie and a guide

I have joined the smoothie craze this summer. I got a personal blender on my birthday in May and I have been drinking these down like there is no tomorrow. In fact on very hot summer evenings a well balanced smoothie is my dinner. There are many blogs out there with smoothie tutorials this summer. Well here is mine with a few twists that I have learned.

I have included 8 smoothie recipes below that cover a wide variety of tastes, exotic included. Try them and then go wild and change them up to suit your tastes. It’s all about experimenting. My favorite is the one I drink now every Saturday and Sunday morning, my Ultimate Coffee Smoothie. But first let’s look at my tried and true smoothie advice list.

Smoothie Turorial

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Olive Oils from Sicily, Spain and Israel plus a Lemon Olive Oil Mousse

Funny how coincidences happen sometimes! Can you believe in a 2-day period I received 3 completely different bottles of exquisite Extra-Virgin Olive Oil? I have to admit I have never invested in expensive olive oils myself but all three were an eye opener. But for now I think I am set for a while. Each oil was very unique and each came from a different exotic location: Sicily, Spain and Israel.

To be fair, I will describe them a bit in the order I received them. I had a spoonful of each olive oil and appreciated it like a wine tasting, which is the basic, yet simple,  right way.

The first one I got was the Olive & Olives 8 Hojiblanca, a lovely olive oil from the Seville region of Spain. The the Phoenicians and the Greeks brought the Olive tree to Spain and every since then it has always been considered a high quality olive oil. But up to a few years back it was not a know fact internationally. This one is a wonderful example of a fruity olive oil. It is said to have fresh tomato aromas and a note of young artichoke. I am no expert so this comment goes a bit above my head, but it was light, fruity and wonderful for sure.

———————————-

The second bottle, the Mimo Ultra premium Olive Oil, came from a Sicilian friend of mine who has been promising me a bottle since Christmas. He told he was going to start exporting the olive oil his family makes. He assured me that the olives are hand picked by his aunts and uncles right on their ancestral land which they have had for over 150 years in Sicily. The Russa family cultivates and bottles pure unfiltered first press extra-virgin olive oil.

May the Roman Gods strike me down if I lie, this is the most phenomenal and incredible oil I have ever tasted in my life. I never thought an olive oil could taste like this. This may sound weird but if I had to describe the taste I would say it tastes like the whole olive tree. You taste the bark, the leaves, the olives, the pit. I had 3 friends look at me in with confusion when I said this but after tasting the olive oil they knew exactly what I meant. This one falls under the bitter flavor but in the world of olives it is considered a positive attribute because it is indicative of fresh olive fruit. The Mimo Olive Oil  is a limited production so order directly through the family.

———————————-

This last olive oil bottle, Teamim, was a gift from my friend Raquel who just got back from a trip to Israel. She surprised me with this gift indeed, I had not expected it. Describing this one is a bit more of a challenge as all the words on the bottle are in Hebrew, as is the company’s website. I do know it has one medals.  This one had a bit more of a grassy taste on top of the fruitiness but it was on par with the Spanish one.

Any of the above mentioned oils would be perfect for the following recipe. Yes, yes is is a dessert, a sweet and tangy treat. I am warning you it does have an olive oil taste, BUT it totallyworks.

Ξ Lemon Mousse with Olive Oil Ξ
recipe from Very Easy…Kitchen

Fine zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon and half
2 egg yolks and 3 egg whites
5 tablespoons of good olive oil
2 tablespoons of sweet honey
50 g powdered sugar

– In a saucepan, heat on low temperature the egg yolks with the lemon juice and blanched zest.

– When the mixture has thickened, which will not take very long, add olive oil and honey. Chill the mixture (you can prepare the day before).

– Prior to serving, beat your egg whites until stiff while incorporating the powdered sugar.

– Mix your egg whites with the lemon cream. You get an airy foam. Pour in 4 serving cups and garnish if you like. Serve immediately or keep no longer then one hour in the fridge or the mousse will slowly collapse.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil comes from virgin oil production only and contains no more than 0.8% acidity. No two olive oils are the same because, as with wine, the olives are influenced by the variety of the olives, weather, soil conditions, and harvesting. Just like wine, no two olive oils are created equal. One should keep extra-virgin oils for salads, cooked veggie, dressings, stews, drizzling over slices of crusty bread, baked potatoes and vinaigrettes.  Heating such an superior olive oil is considered an etiquette crime.