Green Salad with Bacon & Peaches

Green Salad with Bacon & Peaches

I arrived home from Nova Scotia to an empty refrigerator.  Panicked, I moved to my cupboards only to find them as barren as my fridge.  I then succumbed to jetlag and shamelessly broke down and ordered sushi.  The next day dawned and all I had to show for the $30 I spent the night before was some sad day old sushi.  I knew I could not survive on takeout forever, my pocket book couldn’t handle such abuse, but I really didn’t want to go to the grocery store.  Grocery shopping in Toronto can be an extreme sport.

Peaches

Have I ever told you how much I hate grocery stores?  Well, I hate them!  I know it’s an odd thing for a foodie to say, but I do.  I love markets (I love that Toronto has so many of them), but I think grocery stores are the devil.  They’re always freezing, the staff is disinterested, other shoppers are oblivious (especially on Saturdays) and I always seem to select the worst possible cart.

Peach with Pit

My blood pressure is elevated just thinking about it.

But what else could I do, eat old sushi?  So I mustered up my courage, took a deep breath and threw myself into the fray… I should probably mention I’ve been on a war movie kick lately.

Red Pepper

I didn’t even have a list.  I was determined to give each isle one shot to inspire me or seduce me with an exceptional buy.  There was no plan; I was more or less blindly pulling things off the shelves.  When I got home I surveyed my loot and scratched my head.  What on earth could I make with all this stuff?  Well, the answer was this salad.  I started with some gorgeous Ontario peaches and the rest wrote itself.  A base of peppery greens, a red bell pepper, a bit of cucumber, some raw cashews and, of course, bacon.  Incidentally, I actually found the bacon in the fridge.  I can always rely on my beau to replenish the all important bacon supply.  Dish soap on the other hand…

Chopped Cashews

The dressing was made with a dollop of my aunt’s homemade strawberry jam (made with Nova Scotian strawberries), some rosemary, and garlic.  I married these bold flavors with some flax seed oil and balsamic.  I watered the jam down a touch to give the dressing the proper consistency.

Bacon

Not surprisingly my beau was a bit apprehensive about the peaches, but he came around and wound up liking the salad quite a bit.  I, on the other hand, think I’ve found the salad of my dreams!  I really dug this salad!  Peaches and bacon laced with punchy accents of rosemary on a bed of peppery greens; what could be better?

Green Salad with Bacon & Peaches

Give this salad a try before the peaches go out of season.

 

Green Salad with Bacon & Peaches: Serves 2

2 cups mixed greens (I used baby spinach and arugula)

1 peach, stoned and sliced

¼ red bell pepper, sliced

1/6 cucumber, sliced

¼ cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped

4 slices of bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped

Strawberry Rosemary Vinaigrette:

1 ½ tbsp strawberry jam

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup flax seed oil

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl whisk together jam and water.

Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined.

Place all salad ingredients (except the cashews) in a large bowl and pour in the dressing.

Toss until the ingredients are evenly distributed and coated with dressing.

Serve salad sprinkled with cashews.

Irish Whiskey Pie

Irish Whiskey Pie

Okay, if you put my last post and this post side by side, I can see how you would think I’ve been hitting the bottle pretty hard lately.  But, please cut me some slack, I’ve been on vacation.  Don’t worry; I’m heading back to Toronto tomorrow where sobriety will prevail once again.  So, enjoy these boozey recipes while they last, it’s not everyday I can afford to cook with a twelve year old Irish Whiskey.

Rolling out the pastry

Despite it’s name, this pie only contains about one ounce of alcohol (two ounces if you really want to push the envelope), so there’s no need to feel guilty if a piece finds it’s way into the hands of a child, although after you taste this pie you might not want to serve it at all.  I made two pies for my brother’s birthday yesterday and I greedily hid the second at the back of the fridge so I could eat a piece this morning after my run.  Breakfast of champions! *hick!  Pardon me!

Pastry in Pie Plate

This pie is really a glorified (and drunk) version of a butterscotch pie, but a wee nip of whiskey gives it something unexpected and makes it even more naughty.  The whiskey saves the pie from being sickly sweet.  It is a pie for grown ups, because it so faithfully steers the palette away from that intense candy flavor kids go for, but who am I to talk?  I still like sour patch kids.  Have ever poured them into a bag of hot popcorn? *drool!

Crimped Pastry

Sorry…

Got a touch sidetracked.  Too much beer I guess.

12 year old Irish Whiskey a.k.a Liquid Gold

Anyway, this pie is sure to capture more than a few hearts and like last week’s dessert I think it’s slightly more appropriate for the fall… Is it too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving?

Butterscotch Whiskey

Bite my tongue! I shouldn’t be thinking about life after summer when it’s still gorgeous outside.  I use to get so mad when they started running back to school ads at the beginning of August.  Sorry school age children (I’m sure you all read my blog faithfully), I won’t mention that hateful season again until it’s upon us.  I don’t mean to rush you back to school.

A Slice of Irish Whiskey Pie

I’ll be back in a few days with a summery recipe and to update you on my return to overpopulated civilization.  I’m expecting a total emotional breakdown in the first 24 hours.  Should be entertaining.

Wish me luck!

Irish Whiskey Pie: Makes one pie

Loosely adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

For the crust:

2 ½ cups pastry flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1 tsp salt

¼ cup cold water

¼ cup cold vodka

For the Filling:

½ cup evaporated milk

¼ cup cornstarch

5 egg yolks

½ tsp salt

1 cup light brown sugar

6 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups homogenized milk

1 oz Irish Whiskey

Directions:

For the crust:

Sift flour and salt together into a large bowl.

Using a food processor, a pastry blender or two knives and a good amount of patience, cut the butter into the flour.

Add water and vodka stirring after each addition until the dough comes together.

Form into a ball and cut it in half.

Flatten each half into a disc, wrap them in wax paper and refrigerate for at least half an hour before baking.

You will only need one half for this recipe, so feel free to freeze the other half for future pie emergencies.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°

Place pastry on a well-floured surface and using a well-floured rolling pin, roll out the pastry to fit a 9-inch pie plate.

Place pastry into the pie plate and trim and crimp the edges.

Prick the dough several times with a fork.

Wrap tin foil around the pastry and fill the center with pie weights or dried beans.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove weights and tin foil and bake for an additional nine minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the Filling:

In a medium sized bowl whisk together condensed milk, cornstarch and salt.

Add egg yolks one at a time, whisking until combined after each addition.  Set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan melt butter over moderate heat.

Add brown sugar and allow to bubble slightly.

Slowly whisk in milk.

Add egg mixture slowly, whisking constantly.

Bring back to a boil while whisking the mixture.

Once the mixture is boiling, let it cook while stirring for approximately one minute or until thick.

Remove from heat and stir in whiskey.

Pour into a cooled pie shell and cover with plastic wrap.

Place in the fridge and let set for four hours.

You may serve the pie with whipped cream if you wish, but I find it so rich that I like to eat it au naturale.