Friday, June 23, 2017

And for Dessert...Bacon!


t's a proven scientific fact that bacon makes everything better, and that includes dessert.  Author Steven Raichlen, who wrote Man Made Meals - The Essential Cookbook for Guys, told Tonia's Kitchen about his Candied Bacon Sundae!  And it is as good as it sounds. Steven told Tonia
he caramelizes bacon with walnuts, and puts it over ice cream.  It's a salty/sweet taste treat that's super-easy to prepare!  Steven's has a lot more great ideas to share, and he'd like you to learn more.  Visit his website at barbecue bible and sign up for his newsletter, Up In Smoke.

For the candied bacon and walnuts:

  • 4 thick slices bacon (4 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or rice vinegar

For the sundaes:

  • 3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 pint (2 cups) maple-walnut ice cream, or more to taste
  • Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
Step 1: Make the candied bacon and walnuts: Place the bacon in a cold skillet over medium heat. Cook until the fat renders and the bacon begins to brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the walnuts and continue cooking until the bacon and walnuts are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Do not let them burn. Drain the bacon mixture by placing it in a strainer over a heatproof bowl. Save the bacon fat for a future use, like frying potatoes.
Step 2: Return the bacon and walnuts to the skillet and add the 1/2 cup of maple syrup and the vinegar. Cook the bacon mixture over medium heat until it is thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. The mixture should have a pourable consistency. Set the skillet aside and keep warm. The candied bacon can be made earlier in the day; cover the skillet and set it aside. Rewarm the candied bacon over low heat when you are ready to serve the sundaes.
Step 3: Make the sundaes: Place the cream and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a chilled metal bowl and, using a mixer or whisk, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Alternatively, pour the cream and maple syrup into a CO2 charger and shake well to mix, 7 or 8 times. Invert the charger and squeeze the handle to release the whipped cream. Refrigerate the maple whipped cream, covered, until serving.
Step 4: To assemble the sundaes, scoop the ice cream into balls and place 1 scoop in each of 4 sundae glasses or bowls. Spoon the warm candied bacon and walnuts on top. Top with the maple whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Smokey Husk of Corn


Let's face it, the husk of an ear of corn is at most, an inconvenience to most of us who like this delicious vegetable.  Cookbook author Molly Katzen says that need not be the case.  She told Tonia's Kitchen the husk can play an important role in sealing the flavor of the corn when it's on the grill! Molly says, when it comes to grilling corn, there's really no rules; it's all a matter of how much smokey flavor you want the ear to be infused with. If you're grilling the corn her way, pull back the husk, but don't tear it off, brush the corn with a mixture of lime juice and chili mayonnaise and grill it!  The husk preserves the flavor, and keeps it tender.

From Mollie's website
Corn is delicious grilled over hot coals. If you leave the husks on, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes, and if you remove the husks and silks, it only takes about 3 minutes. Turn the corn frequently, to cook it evenly.

It's also fun to "grill" corn directly over the flame of a gas stove, exactly as you would a bell pepper. Remove the husks and silks, and hold the corn with tongs. Let the kernels darken evenly on all sides (a total of 3 to 4 minutes).

Butter (plain or garlic-infused)
Olive oil (plain or herb-infused)
Coarse salt
Lime juice
Chili Mayonnaise (Use 2 tablespoons good chili powder per cup of mayo. Mix well.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Different Way to Make Pizza


You might never think of pizza the same way again.  Chef Billy with Compass Restaurant Associates stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about his idea for Grilled Pizza, and we think it's a winner!  It's really simple too, just make or buy pizza dough, roll it out and put it on the grill under low to medium heat.  Once it gets marked, just flip it over and repeat for the other side.  Once that flip side is done, place the sauce and cheese over the dough.  Let it sit on grill for about 4 minutes.  A few items of note, if you plan to top your pizza with vegetables, make sure they're cooked first, also try to keep the dough as thin as possible.  If the bread is thick, it'll be easier to burn.  Chef Billy recommends trying a practice pizza before you serve one out, because it does to take a little work to get it just right. Once you do though, it's fantastic!

Reprinted from website

1 ball pizza dough (about 1 pound), store-bought or homemade
1/2 to 1 cup tomato sauce, store-bought or homemade
Cheese such as torn mozzarella, grated Asiago or Swiss, and grated Parmesan
Toppings such as herbs, thinly sliced vegetables, pepperoni and salami, prosciutto, chopped greens such as kale, or diced tomatoes
Olive oil
Grill, gas or charcoal
Metal tongs
Metal spatula
  1. Heat the grill: You should heat it quite hot; around 550 to 600-degrees. Set it up so the pizza is over direct heat.
  2. Gather your ingredients and toppings: Set up a table or bench near the grill so you have easy access to everything. Good grilled pizza is as much about the organization and logistics as it is about actual cooking!
  3. Also have your tools close to hand: You will want a pair of long metal tongs. A spatula may be helpful, although not absolutely necessary. You may want a hot pad or oven mitt if your grill lid gets hot.
  4. Prep your dough: It should be stretched or rolled out into a thin circle. (Circle-ish — as you can see, my pizzas usually resemble continents more than they do the moon!)
  5. Brush the dough with olive oil: Brush one side of the dough with oil; this is the side you'll lay down on the grill.
  6. Grill one side of the pizza: Take the lid off the grill. Lay the dough round on the grill with the olive-oil side down. Brush the top of the dough with a thin layer of olive oil, too. Let the dough cook for about 3 minutes, with the lid off, or 1 to 2 minutes with the lid on. Use the tongs to lift up the dough from time to time, checking on how it is doing. You want grill marks on it, but you don't want the dough to get crispy; it should be just set.
  7. Top the pizza: Flip the dough over with the tongs or spatula. The dough should come up easily and flip without tearing. Now is where your organization comes in! You need to top the pizza quickly. Spread on a thin layer of sauce, some cheese, and toppings. It shouldn't be too heavily loaded, or the pizza won't cook well.
  8. Cook the pizza: Put the lid on and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Use your sense of smell; if the pizza smells like it's scorching, take the lid off and move the pizza to a cooler part of the grill or turn the heat down.
  9. Remove the finished pizza: Remove the lid and check the pizza. The edges should be crisp and well-done, and the cheese should all be melted. Drag the pizza off with the spatula or tongs. Let cool for 3 minutes, then cut into pieces and eat!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017



Not vinaigrette but Vanillagrette!  Would you ever think of using vanilla in your salad dressing.  Now one author says you can (and should!)  Natasha MacAller, who wrote Vanilla Table, stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her recipe for Vanillagrette and what you can do with it. Natasha told Tonia there's a lot of possibilities for vanilla, beyond its use in cookies and cakes.  Case in point, a delicious vanilla vinaigrette dressing that goes especially well with grilled fish

Pineapple Juice
Jalapeno Juice
Vanilla Pods (split in half)
White Cider Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tamari or Light Soy Sauce
Kosher or Sea Salt And Fresh Black Peppper
Bamboo Skewers
Firm White Fish
A selection of tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, etc)

Pineapple vanilla vinaigrette

Gently simmer the freshly extracted pineapple juice, jalapeno juice and scraped vanilla pods, with seeds, into asaucepan/pot and simmer until reduced down to 250 ml/8 fl oz/1 fl cup, stirring occasionally.

Place the reduction in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, season with salt and 
pepper, then cover and chill until needed.

Grilled fish and fruit

Soak skewers in water.

Pat fish dry and place in a baking dish. Brush each piece with a generous portion of the vinaigrette and allow fish to marinate for 20–30 minutes as the grill heats up.

Carefully skewer fruit, brush with marinade and set aside.

When ready to cook, wipe the grill lightly with oil and place fruit skewers and fish on the grill. 
Carefully turn when sides of fish turn opaque and fruit has seared.

Serve immediately with additional vinaigrette on the side

Monday, June 19, 2017

Excuse Me, But is that Vanilla in Your Salmon?


Yes, you read that right, vanilla and salmon.  Not the first things you think of as a combo, but trust us, together it's amazing. Natasha MacAller, who wrote the cookbook Vanilla Table stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her recipe for a delicious smoked salmon tartine.  It includes Vanilla of course, along with Goat Cheese and capers.  It's an elegant, yet modern take on classic smoked salmon, with a taste that's deliciously unique  

Vanilla sauce
In a medium bowl, whisk yolks with a pinch of sea salt, lemon juice, vanilla paste and honey until well blended.

Tuck a twisted tea towel around base of bowl to hold it steady. While whisking egg mixture continuously, drizzle oil in a slow, steady stream until sauce begins to come together and thicken. If too thick, whisk in a teaspoon of water until well combined. Alternatively, use a hand-/stick- blender to emulsify the sauce. Cover and chill until ready to use. Herb cheese spread In a small bowl, combine the cheeses, fresh herbs, vanilla seeds and pepper until smooth and creamy. 

Assemble and serve

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Split the bread lengthways and brush both sides with olive oil. Toast in oven oiled-side-up until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove and cool. Spread bread with herb cheese spread and arrange on a serving platter. Top with the chopped caramelised onions andsmoked salmon. Drizzle with vanilla sauce. Sprinkle with capers, lemon zest and additional fresh herbs or microgreens. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut into slices. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

For Strawberry Season, Be Adventureous!


Strawberries aren't supposed to be spicy, right?  Wrong! Author Dave DeWitt who wrote The Spicy Foodlovers Bible stopped by Tonia's Kitchen with a simple, elegant and most importantly delicious recipe for a great dessert.  He told Tonia about his Black Pepper and Tequila Strawberries.  It couldn't be simpler to make!  Just bring strawberries, black pepper, tequila of course, and some balsamic vinegar together. Stir it all up and serve!  Chances are good, your guests will ask for more.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Great Cake can be Gluten-Free!


It's true, gluten-free is the way to go for many people.  It's probably to safe to call this a food-revolution!  But for the longest time, those choosing to observe gluten-free diets had a hard time with baked goods, simple because replicating the flour without gluten was incredibly hard. Caroline Wright, who wrote the new cookbook Cake Magic, came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about it.  Caroline told Tonia all of the recipes in the book can by made gluten-free.  She's developed a cake-mix that uses a substitute flour without the gluten!

Recipes by Caroline Wright, Cake Magic, and Workman Publishing and photos courtesy of Waterbury Publications, photographer Ken Carlson.  

For Gluten Free Cake Magic! Cake Mix – makes 4 cups
  • 1 cup white rice flour (see Notes)
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ⅔ cup millet flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (see Notes)
For the Cake - makes one 8 or 9-inch two-layer cake (or one 10-inch bundt cake, one 13 x 9-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pans
  • White rice flour, for dusting the pans
  • 4 cups Gluten Free Cake Magic! Mix – see above
  • ¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup rainbow sprinkles
For the Vanilla Syrup - makes 1 cup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
For the Gluten Free Vanilla Frosting - makes 4 cups
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups (one 16-ounce box) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsps pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8 or 9-inch, round cake pans. Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)
  2. Place all of the dry cake mix ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine.
  3. Stir in the yogurt, butter, water, vanilla, and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (Be careful not to overmix).
  4. Stir ½ cup rainbow sprinkles into the batter.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  6. Bake until the layers are domed and golden brown, and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for a Bundt, 25 to 30 minutes for a 13 by 9-inch cake, and 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes).
  7. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup.
  8. Combine the sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat. Pour syrup over the cake when it’s warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature.
  10. After removing the cake layers from the oven, pierce them (still in the pans) at 1-inch intervals with a skewer or paring knife.
  11. Pour or brush the syrup over the layers, dividing it evenly.
  12. Set the layers aside, in the pans, on a wire rack to cool completely. (The syrup will soak into the cakes.)
  13. When the cakes are cool and no longer wet to the touch, 1 to 2 hours, make the frosting: Combine the butter, salt and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  14. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  15. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of one of the cake layers to loosen it. (Turn the layers out of their pans 1 by 1, as you frost them.)
  16. Place the layer on a cake plate with strips of waxed, or parchment, paper underneath; these will catch any drips and keep your cake plate clean.
  17. Spread the layer with about a third of the frosting on top.
  18. Frost the rest.
  19. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of the remaining cake layer.
  20. Invert it onto the frosted layer.
  21. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
It's important to use table salt in the cake mix; other types will eventually settle out of the mix.
Recipe used with permission from Workman Publishing Company