Wednesday, December 19, 2012

recipe: Home Fries with Duo of Dipping Sauces

As for many (especially kids), Christmas morning is one of my favourite moments of the year – not for the opening of gifts – but rather for the long leisurely brunch with my family.  Our Christmas morning spread always includes a big platter of fresh fruit, freshly baked scones (or coffeecake), an egg dish of some sort and the crowd favourite, twisted hickory bacon (see below).  This year I will also be serving “two-potato” home fries with a duo of dipping sauces.  These home fries can also be served with a roast for an evening meal – just switch the name to sweet potato & Yukon gold roasted potatoes and you’re all set.

 Here are a few other brunch ideas (recipes can all be found on my website at that would be lovely to serve if you are having a special breakfast or brunch this Christmas:

·         twisted hickory bacon with brown sugar rub

·         crepes with crispy bacon, syrup and cinnamon

·         orange yogurt

·         lemon cream cheese muffins

·         stuffed French toast with cream cheese and strawberries

·         banana butterscotch muffins

·         lemon buttermilk poundcake

·         cranberry orange biscotti

two potato home fries with a duo of dipping sauces


·         ¼ (one-quarter) cup good quality olive oil

·         1 (one) tablespoon vegetable oil

·         3 (three) pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” (one inch) cubes

·         1 (one) pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” (one inch) cubes

·         salt and pepper to taste

·         dipping sauces – see below


1.       Preheat oven to 425 F.

2.       Pour oils into a large roasting pan or baking dish and place pan in upper half of oven.

3.       Peel the potatoes and cut into rough chunks.  Put into a large saucepan and cover with water.

4.       Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 (ten) minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork – do not completely cook potatoes.

5.       Drain potatoes using a colander.  Put the drained potatoes back into the saucepan and cover with the lid.  Vigorously shake the pot – the intention is to bang up the edges of the potatoes – they should appear roughed up (this is why, once coated with oil, they get so crispy)

6.       Remove roasting pan from oven and carefully tip potatoes into the pan.  Toss the potatoes in the oil – each piece should be coated.

7.       Spread the potatoes evenly over the pan in a single layer and sprinkle with salt – return pan to oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until browned and crispy.

8.       Serve with one or both of these dipping sauces:  chipotle ketchup and/or lemon pepper aioli

 dipping sauces

·         Chipotle Ketchup:  add about two teaspoons (or more to taste) of pureed chipotles in adobo sauce to ½ (half) cup of ketchup.  Note:  chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found at most grocery stores in the Mexican food section

·         Lemon Pepper Aioli:  add the zest of half a lemon and two teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper to 1 (one) cup of good quality mayonnaise.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recipe: Date & Bacon Rumaki

Here’s a recipe for a yummy little appetizer that you can serve at your next holiday gathering. They are a delicious twist on “angels on horseback”, an old party classic consisting of oysters wrapped in bacon.

Prunes or dates wrapped around bacon are often called “devils on horseback”.
I’ve amped up the traditional recipe by using luscious medjool dates and goat cheese. Of course I had to tweak the name too – date & bacon rumaki just sounds more appetizing (classic rumaki are water chestnuts and liver wrapped in bacon and marinated in soya sauce, ginger and brown sugar).

You can’t go wrong with the combination of sweet dates, creamy goat cheese and salty bacon. That being said, feel free to experiment with other types of cheese (blue cheese works well, as does cream cheese) other types of dried fruit (such as figs or prunes) and even bacon (prosciutto and pancetta are equally delicious). You can also swap out the almonds for a pecan or walnut.  

Serve these warm with drinks or on top of vinaigrette- dressed salad greens for lunch or a light supper.

Date and Bacon Rumaki

Makes 24 hors d’oeuvres


  • 24 (twenty four) large medjool dates, pitted
  • 12 (twelve) slices bacon, cut in half crosswise (you should have 24 pieces)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 (one third – one half) cup creamy goat cheese (we use Woolwich Dairy brand at the shop)
  • 24 (twenty four) whole, blanched almonds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Halve dates lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Remove pit.  Place a small amount of goat cheese in the center of each date. Tuck in an almond and close. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick (preferably, toothpicks that have been pre-soaked in water so that they don’t burn in the oven).
  3. Place dates on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through and slightly crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes.

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