Monday, November 22, 2010

Pear, Pecan and Sweet & Spicy Bacon Salad

Someone has been a naughty blogger. If santa read food blogs, I would've gotten nothing but coal in my stocking. Lucky for me, he doesn't :) Here's a yummy holiday salad if you're feeling naughty OR nice!

Pear, Pecan and Sweet & Spicy Bacon Salad

1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
Dash cayenne pepper
3 slices bacon
6 ounces spring greens
1 pear, sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
Balsamic vinaigrette

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the sugar and spices, then lightly coat bacon with the spice mixture. Lay on a baking sheet and cook until crisp.

Meanwhile, toss together the spring greens, pear, pecans and gorgonzola. Add in the cooked bacon and dressing, then toss to combine.

Enjoy as a light meal or pair with your favorite bread or salad for something a bit heartier.

Bacon Squash Risotto

What is perfection in a bowl? Salty bacon, creamy risotto and sweet butternut squash. This recipe has a short ingredient list, but it definitely isn't short on flavor! This was a perfect meal for two using up a leftover half of butternut squash and finishing up the bacon in the fridge. It's a fantastic post-Thanksgiving treat when you're tired of turkey :)

Bacon Squash Risotto

1 pound butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
5-6 cups chicken broth, warm

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread out butternut squash over a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes and remove. Set aside, keeping warm.

Meanwhile, heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook bacon until crisp; remove from pan, reserving drippings.

Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings and saute 2 minutes. Add rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in wine and stir one minute, until nearly evaporated. Add chicken broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring often and pouring in more broth once it has been absorbed. This process should take about 25 minutes.

Remove risotto from heat and stir in parmesan cheese, reserving a few tablespoons for garnishing at the table. Stire in squash, reserved bacon and fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coq au Vin-Off

What do you do when Bon Appetit has a recipe for Quick Coq au Vin one month, and Cooking Light shares a recipe for Easy Coq au Vin the next month? Why - you try them both! Emily of Cooking Inside the Lines and myself often have similar tastes in magazine recipes, so we were tickled to find out that I had tried Bon Appetit's and she had tried Cooking Light's rendition. Naturally, we decided to flip flop and try the other and compare which coq au vin dish would reign supreme.

Quick Coq au Vin - courtesy of Bon Appetit

I made the Bon Appetit version with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and absolutely loved it for its depth of flavor and simplicity. I thought, how can a Cooking Light recipe match up against this?

Easy Coq au Vin - courtesy of Cooking Light

Although the ingredient list for Cooking Light's was longer, I enjoyed the added benefit and textures of veggies mixed in. Not to mention I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks.

In the end, Emily and I came to the same conclusion - we wish we could combine the two recipes! Either one you try, you'll be the hero of your dinner table - give it a shot!