Sweet Potato Bacon

I love bacon. So much, that my kids joke that I put bacon in everything when I cook. That really isn’t true, but it’s cute, so I’ll go with that. Well, the joke is on them, because this time I didn’t really use bacon when I made this Sweet Potato Bacon, Egg and Greens Sandwich. I made sweet potato bacon!

Sweet potatoes, when sliced thin and slowly baked in a simple brown sugar, salt, and pepper coating, curl up and turn crisp just like bacon. It’s sweet, it’s savory, and it’s delicious! And just like real bacon, you just cannot stop at one piece…but unlike bacon, it’s pretty much a guiltless pleasure!

Paired with a fried egg and micro greens that have been lightly tossed with a sweet dressing, sweet potato bacon makes a pretty delicious sandwich, a perfect vegetarian meal for Meatless Monday, or any day of the week!

Life is good. It’s a “I admit that I had to make two batches of this because the first batch didn’t make it to the photo shoot… let’s just say I ate more than a couple of pieces…” kind of good!

Sweet Potato Bacon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Sweet Potato Bacon
  • 2 sweet potatoes, washed and sliced thin lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
The Sandwich
  • 4 Sourdough Rolls
  • 4 Eggs
  • 12 slices sweet potato bacon
  • Sweet Microgreens
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Sweet Microgreen Dressing
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp red onion, minced
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt to taste (I usually use around ¼ tsp)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Instructions
Sweet Potato Bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable spray, and set aside.
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes. Cut each end off of the potatoes to give them a more rectangle look when they're sliced. Begin slicing them into thin strips lengthwise.
  3. Melt the butter in a shallow dish. Dip each potato slice into the butter, coating both sides, and place on the cookie sheet. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Rub half of the brown sugar over each potato slice, flip, and rub the other side with the remaining half of brown sugar.
  4. Bake for about an hour or so, flipping the potatoes until they become caramelized and crisp.
  5. Remove to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
The Sandwich
  1. Slice the four rolls in half, and place under broiler until golden brown. Remove from broiler.
  2. Fry 4 eggs over easy (or your preferred type of egg).
  3. Place 3 slices of sweet potato bacon on the bottom half of each roll. Place a fried egg on top of the sweet potato bacon. Top with the sweet mirco greens.
Sweet Mirco Greens
  1. Place all ingredients in a jar. Cover jar with a lid, and shake. Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake before tossing with the micro greens. Toss last minute so that the greens don't turn soggy.

 

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Corn

I went to a town concert a couple of weeks ago, and settled in to listen to a Journey tribute band, and people watch. I swear that I am the biggest people watcher ever. I don’t mean to be. Well, I guess maybe I do. But I’m not a creeper or anything, and people amuse me. Intrigue me. And truth be told, sometimes annoy me!

While I was sitting there wondering why the people in front of me didn’t bring jackets for their little toddlers, or  how the lady to the left broke her leg…a man dancing in front of the stage playing a tambourine caught my eye. I sat watching him for a couple of minutes trying to figure out why a band member would be dancing around in front of the stage and not on it.

And then I realized..
He’s not a member of the band.
He’s a member of the audience!

I couldn’t stop watching this zany character dancing through the crowd, and playing his tambourine, and had my mind made up that he was a little on the crazy side. More than a little crazy. He was a lot crazy! But…he made me laugh. Happy, actually. The more I watched him, I realized that this man was loving life. He didn’t care that people were watching him dance around and play his tambourine. He didn’t care that I was sitting there amused and entertained by him. He was living in the moment, enjoying the music, and doing what he loved.

Tambourine Man most definitely has it right.

I think we all need to follow Tambourine Man’s lead, and live in the moment. Enjoy the summer, enjoy life, and just have fun. Time is precious..and even more so in the summer because it’s so short lived.

So, especially during the summer, meals should be simple and fresh, quick and easy to get you out of the kitchen and out the door!

A buttery and spicy sauce pairs well with the sweet cherry tomatoes and corn. This simple Angel Hair with Corn and Tomatoes is one of those meals. Because angel hair pasta takes just a couple of minutes to cook, you can have the sauce made right around the time it’s perfectly al dente!

A simple, fresh summer meal made in just a few minutes so that you can go and do what you love to do…even if it’s dancing and playing your tambourine at an outdoor concert!

Life is good. It’s a “Go ahead and play your tambourine, I won’t laugh…. Okay…I might laugh a little….but it’s all in good fun” kind of good..

Angel Hair Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Corn
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅓ pound angel hair pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¾ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (or more to your desired spiciness)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 ear of fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Fresh basil, Lemon wedges, and Ricotta Salata for serving
Instructions
  1. Cook the angel hair according to the directions on the package.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter and add the onion. Sauté until translucent, about three minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for about a minute longer. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, black pepper, salt, and red pepper.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and corn. Sauté until the tomatoes are softened, about five minutes. Stir in the lemon zest.
  4. Using tongs, pull the cooked pasta from the water, and add directly to the tomato and corn sauce, tossing to mix.
  5. Serve with basil, lemon wedges, and grated ricotta salata.

 

Happy Summer!

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. – Wallace Stevens

Happy Summer Everyone!  I hope that yours is filled with sunshine and happiness…

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to make these summer cookies, you can find my cutout cookie recipe here.  The cookie cutters can be found here and here

 

 

Chili Lime Cod with Peach Salsa

I think you know by now that I love to cook. That I am happiest and most relaxed when I’m in my kitchen. And…I think that I’ve mentioned this before… but there are some things that make me a little timid, uncertain, or not so confident in the kitchen. I’ll make something, and wonder if it’s good enough to share. Believe me; I can get myself into the mindset that everyone is just being polite, and the recipe isn’t as good as they say it is. I don’t know why, I just do. It’s just those pesky little insecurities that we all put ourselves through, I suppose.

Silliness, really.

And maybe that’s the case sometimes.

But not today.

Today…I owned the kitchen!

Today…I can tell you with the utmost confidence that this meal is absolutely delicious! There is a savory, sweet, and crazy delicious flavor coming from every direction! The flaky cod is seasoned with a chili lime rub, and topped with a sweet peach and corn salsa that gives off just the right amount of heat.

This one is for those hot days when you just don’t want to heat up the kitchen. This fish can be cooked right on the grill, or sautéed in a pan. Either way, it takes just minutes to cook, and you’ll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!

Life is good. It’s a “In and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes to get outside and play…” kind of good.


Chili Lime Cod with Peach Salsa
 
Author:
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
The Peach Salsa
  • 2 ripe peaches, diced
  • Kernels from one cob of corn (or 1 cup frozen)
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 to 2 tbsp jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
The Cod
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ to ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh cod fish, cut into four pieces ½ tsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Garnish: Your favorite greens. (I actually used leaf lettuce for this, and it was delicious!)
Instructions
The Peach Salsa
  1. In a medium size bowl, mix together the peaches, corn, red onion, sweet red pepper, jalapeño, lime zest, red wine vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, and honey. Stir until combined. Season with black pepper and salt to your desired taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. (This can be made the day before, and refrigerated until ready to use. It will last up to one week in the refrigerator).
The Cod
  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the chili powder, parsley, oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Sprinkle the dry rub onto each side of the cod filet, and gently rub in.
  3. Heat the olive oil, butter, and lime zest over medium heat; or in a grill pan over low flame. Place the cod filets into the melted butter and oil mixture. Sauté for about 4 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked, creating a crispy outside. Remove from heat.
  4. Squeeze the ½ lime juice over the cooked fish, and serve on a bed of greens with the peach salsa, and lime wedges.. Drizzle with the juices from the pan.

 

Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli

I know that I promised to have this posted yesterday, and I would have. I had a whole post written about Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli, and how easy it is to make and fun stuff like that… but then I went to a party last night, and after talking to my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Duane about my photos, I decided that it might be a good time to discuss the props that I use for my recipes.

Of course, as my aunt and uncle, they were praising my work as any family member would do, and as their niece, I was eating that praise right up! My uncle mentioned one of my recent photos, and said… “It looks like there was a dirty towel in the photo…” Oh my goodness, I laughed, and had to explain to him that the towel wasn’t dirty at all. They sat there listening to me, with an incredulous look on their faces. So, so cute! And don’t get me wrong, in no way was he criticizing my work..not at all.

There are so many different food bloggers with different personalities, different tastes, likes, dislikes. Some you’ll find clean white backgrounds that are absolutely gorgeous. Their food stands out beautifully, pure, clean, and simple. I love that look, and always appreciate its beauty. Then there are bloggers who post close ups of food only. I love that too. They’re perfectly clear with every last ingredient that is in that recipe. Then there are the moody bloggers. A little dark, using vintage, sometimes tarnished, a lot of times stained props that we find in antique shops, attics, garage sales, and online.

That’s me.
I tend to be on the moody side.

Now, getting back to the incredulous look on my aunt and uncles faces…the props that I use are clean. As a matter of fact, the towel that Uncle Duane mentioned was actually brand new last week! While shopping at my beloved Wegmans, I came across the towel, a little green and white checked towel, that I knew would look lovely for the summer recipes that I have coming up. I brought that pretty little towel home, preheated my oven to 350 degrees, brewed a couple of cups of coffee, and poured that coffee right over the towel. I put the coffee saturated towel into the oven, and let it bake and get burn marks… all just to make it look old and tired…when in fact, it is a brand spanking new towel! Always know that I use vintage props, but the food that is shown in the photo, is always protected!

I’ve worked hard to create an image, one that people will know just by looking at one of my photographs, and say: “Oh, that’s Prudy…”
Now that? It just makes me happy!

And my inspiration? It comes from my readers. Truly.

Once I found my photography niche, it was easy to find people to share that same love of vintage with me. To me, it’s warm and welcoming, peaceful and comforting, with a touch of romance….and I think that is what draws them in, too. It’s old kitchen, warm and cozy, friendship and laughter…happy. It’s a common bond that that I have with my readers, and the excitement in sharing something new. I know that it makes me happy, and in turn, I hope that it will make all of you happy too.

 

Now, let’s talk about that mushroom ravioli. This recipe is all about the mushroom. Chopped mushrooms in a cheese filling, homemade pasta, rolled out and stuffed into ravioli… all topped with a mushroom ragout. It’s earthy, it’s saucy, and it’s cheesy. This is truly one for the mushroom lover, such as myself.

And it’s so simple to make! I hope that you never shy away from making your own pasta. Three ingredients combined into a dough that has to sit for a half hour, and then rolled through a pasta machine, which takes just a few minutes. In about an hour and a half (or less), you’ll have these ravioli made! The sauce? It takes about 20 minutes to throw together! The ravioli may not be as quick as I normally say… but I still maintain that it’s super easy!

P.S. There are a lot of photos following the recipe, so keep on scrolling!  This recipe is going to seem really long and intimidating.  It really isn’t, especially if you follow the photos!

Life is good. It’s a “Sometimes it takes family to make you see what others might be seeing…” kind of good.

Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli
 
Author:
Ingredients
The Pasta Dough
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
The Filling
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
The Mushroom Ragout
  • ½ pound bacon, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped (about ⅔ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh thyme, basil, or oregano for garnish
Instructions
The Pasta Dough
  1. Mix the flour and salt, and mound on a clean work surface. Make a well in the center, and add the eggs.
  2. Carefully mix the eggs and flour together, pulling more flour in with your hands, kneading as you go. Don't worry if it seems crumbly at the beginning, the more you knead, the more it will come together. This will form a stiff dough.
  3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliable.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes. (While the dough is resting, make the mushroom and cheese filling and start the mushroom ragout).
  5. Remove from plastic wrap, and divide into fourths. As you work with each fourth of the dough, make sure that you keep the others wrapped, so that the outside doesn't form a crust.
  6. Begin rolling the dough on the widest setting of your pasta machine. Fold the first strip into thirds, and pass the dough through the same width again. Pass the strip at least two times through each width of the pasta machine, ending with the narrowest width, and a smooth strip of pasta.
  7. Lay that strip of pasta on a flat floured surface. Cut off the uneven ends to make the strip uniform in width and height.
  8. Begin placing about a tablespoon of mushroom filling about an inch apart along the bottom portion of the strip of dough. Be sure to leave about ¼" of space between the edge of the dough and the filling.
  9. Dip your finger in a bowl of water, and moisten the edges of the dough, and in between the dollops of filling.
  10. Take the upper half of the dough, and fold it down over the filling, matching the top edge to the bottom edge of the dough.
  11. Using your fingers, push the edges of the dough together and in between the cheese to form the pillows of ravioli.
  12. Use a crimper, or a ravioli stamp to cut the pillows of ravioli from the strip.
  13. Place on a floured baking sheet.
  14. Bring a pot of salted water (about five quarts) to boil, and place about five or six ravioli into the boiling water. They will rise to the top, and let cook for about four to five minutes. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon, and place onto a platter until ready to serve.
  15. If you're not planning on using it immediately, put the baking sheet of ravioli into the freezer to individually freeze them. After frozen, they can go into a container or baggie, and back into the freezer for up to three months.
The Mushroom and Cheese Filling
  1. In a large saute pan, cook the mushrooms until the moisture is evaporated. About five minutes or so. Just make sure that all of the moisture has evaporated, otherwise you'll have runny filling! There is no need for oil or butter, the mushrooms will cook just fine without it!
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sautéed mushrooms, ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, and parsley. Stir with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
The Mushroom Ragout
  1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from the grease, and let drain on a paper towel lined plate, reserving the bacon grease in the pan.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic in the bacon grease for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the mushrooms, and sauté until browned. No need to worry about the moisture evaporating for the sauce. Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Add salt and pepper to your desired taste.
  3. Add the bacon back to the sauce reserving a few crumbles for garnish, and serve the cooked ravioli on top of the sauce with crumbles of bacon, and grated fresh ricotta salata. Garnish with thyme, basil, or oregano.

 

 

 

 

Pizza Dough

I am obsessed with making pizza dough lately…You know, I used to think that pizza was all about the toppings. Now, don’t get me wrong. I take my toppings seriously. I do love a good cheese and pepperoni once in a while, but most of the time, I like a sloppy pizza. I want it almost impossible to eat. But really…the toppings, they’re just secondary. They don’t mean a thing if they’re not on the right foundation. A crust that is thin, but not too thin. A slight crunch on the bottom, but doughy and chewy in the middle. It’s all about the pizza dough.

I’ll tell you, this has been a long trial and error “perfecting pizza dough” quest that I’ve been on. Years, actually. Always hopeful, always thinking “this has got to be the one”… only to be disappointed time and time again.

Well, what I’ve found out over the years, with the advice of a friend at work who taught me that weighing ingredients gives you a much better result than measuring, and the amount of time you let the dough sit, and the temperature of the oven all play into the perfect crust. And the beauty of it? It’s not complicated at all!

This crust is made of simple ingredients, flour, salt, yeast, and water all mixed together in a bowl and left to rise overnight. What I’ve learned is that measuring the flour is inconsistent. There is a difference in the amount of flour measured versus weighing the flour. By using a scale, you will get the same result each time.

Okay, so I get that. I really do. Especially for the professional baker. But does the home baker really need to weigh ingredients? No. I don’t think so. I think of my Grandma Bucolo who used a little coffee cup and a spoon to measure everything. I don’t remember once thinking, “Geez grandma, you’re off your game. You should have weighed your ingredients”. No. When grandma baked, it was delicious. Perfect? Probably not. But it was grandmas home baking, and there was nothing better.

Now, having said that.. for this pizza dough, I weigh my flour. And that’s because I want it to turn out exactly the same every single time I make it. It all goes back to the perfect foundation for the toppings. I want it to be perfect. Every time.

If you let the dough sit for a few hours, it’s going to rise normally, and you really could use it then. But if you let it sit overnight, the yeast ferments releasing a sugary, tangy flavor that makes the wait all worthwhile!

And finally, the heat. A hot oven (between 450 and 500 degrees) will produce a pizza with that crisp on the outside, and that chewy goodness on the inside. A slightly charred crust that gives it a hint of that smoky flavor that comes from a wood fired oven!

As far as the toppings, that’s a personal preference. My cravings change constantly. Sometimes I want sausage and peppers, sometimes I just want cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms. But most of the time? I want it all. (sans anchovies of course…) Like I said before, I want it sloppy, impossible to eat, with a stack of napkins and a fork and knife if need be. But no matter how you like your pizza, this is the perfect foundation for your toppings!

Life is good. It’s a “Simple ingredients, simple process, crazy delicious crust!” kind of good.

Pizza Dough
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 500 grams all purpose flour (or 3½ cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1½ cups warm water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, yeast, and water until it forms a lumpy dough. Move the dough to a floured surface, and knead for about three to five minutes until it forms a smooth ball of dough. Place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight.
  2. This will make 2 pizzas. Roll out and top with your favorite toppings. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pizza is bubbling and golden brown.
  3. Enjoy!

 

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