Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a brunch so good you’ll need to detox - recipe: twisted hickory bacon with brown sugar rub

I’ve got brunch on the brain these days. My husband and I hosted a brunch on Easter Sunday and this coming week, I’ll be teaching a brunch-by-the bite cooking class at Household China.

Easter morning began with an egg hunt for our son and his good friend Avery. It was so much fun to watch them run around and squeal with delight as they found the eggs and discovered the jelly beans and chocolates tucked within them.

“Detox” the next day, however, was not so fun.

Anyway, they certainly worked up quite an appetite running around — as did the rest of the doting adult guests, chasing after them with cameras.

For starters, I served a few quiches and stuffed chicken breasts. By the way, David does not like quiche. He claims it’s the texture he’s at odds with.

I also served home fried potatoes, cream cheese coffee cake, mini blueberry muffins, cinnamon raisin scones, fruit salad, and twisted hickory bacon with brown sugar rub.

In addition, my friend Kelly brought her addictive lemon squares and a festive Bunny cake... for the kids. Well, to be honest, we all devoured it.

The most popular item was the bacon, which truthfully, didn’t surprise me. You can never make enough bacon at a brunch. The same goes for mashed potatoes and gravy at Thanksgiving.

I love the combo of the salty, smoky bacon with the sweet brown sugar. If you like bacon with maple syrup and pancakes or waffles, you’ll love this recipe.

Warning — the resulting bacon is highly, highly addictive.

twisted hickory bacon with brown sugar rub

Makes eight long pieces. I cut each piece of bacon into two or three. Best to do that after cooking and before serving.

note: this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled


  • 16 slices/strips bacon (not thick cut)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with parchment paper.
  • Place 8 slices of bacon on the tray.
  • Sprinkle each slice of bacon with about two teaspoons of brown sugar.
  • Cover these eight sugared slices with the other eight slices of bacon so that the brown sugar is sandwiched between two slices of bacon.
  • Twist each of the double bacon slices until it is entirely “spiraled” like a twisted cheese straw.
  • Bake in the oven until bacon is crisp, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Check half way through cooking and turn tray if required.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

how to sneak fruits and veggies into a toddler’s meal - recipe: sneaky cheddar cornmeal muffins

Much to my disappointment, my not-quite-two-year-old son John has been going through a starch and sugar phase. All John wants to eat is yogurt, toast with jam, plain pasta and crackers. So, I dusted off my copy of “Deceptively Delicious” — a cookbook written by Jessica Seinfeld (yep, Jerry’s better-half) geared to frazzled mothers like myself.

Every recipe “hides” fruit and/or vegetable purees into kid-friendly favourites such as chicken nuggets, pasta dishes, pancakes and of course, baked goodies.

Many of the recipes actually worked! I was shocked that John didn’t notice the quarter-cup of parsnip puree that I added to his morning yogurt. And although it took a bit of time, cutting up vegetables into unusual shapes did pique his interest, if only for a day or two.

In addition to Jessica’s recipes and tips, I’m doing my best to be a sneaky chef of sorts at home. John loves fruit muffins so I figured a savoury breakfast muffin was worth a try.

I took a basic recipe for cheddar cornmeal muffins (credit goes to the cookbook “Muffin Mania”) and added corn niblets, diced red pepper and finely chopped ham. John loved them. I enjoyed these savory muffins, too. They would be terrific served alongside chili or soup.

If you’re serving them to adults, you could easily dress them up with asiago or parmesan cheese (instead of the cheddar) and perhaps replace some diced red onion for the corn niblets.

On the topic of baking, please join us for our second annual Bake Sale to Benefit KidsAbility on April 16th, from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. All of the profits from the sale will benefit children with disabilities right here in our community; helping them reach their potential. Please consider dropping by our shop to support KidsAbility.

We’ll be selling all sorts of delicious baked goodies, including cupcakes, squares, cookies, scones and muffins — in individual and family-sized portions.

sneaky cheddar cornmeal muffins (makes 12 muffins)


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup cooked corn niblets
  • 1/4 cup finely-diced red bell
  • pepper 4 slices deli style ham, very finely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 375º F. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
  • Beat egg with milk and butter and add dry ingredients, stirring to moisten. Stir in one cup of the cheddar cheese, corn niblets, red pepper and ham. Spoon into greased muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with the remaining cheddar cheese.
  • Bake for 16 – 23 minutes or until muffins are cooked through. Serve hot with butter or freeze and reheat before serving.

catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets