February 2012 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Quick Breads

Seems like this month has just flown by... I know, I say that every single time I post a challenge, but its true. It is amazing how quickly so much time can pass while it feels as though I haven't had a chance to blink! This month's challenge was really easy and something I've made a lot of. So I decided to try out some flavours and recipes I haven't experimented with much - first - Whole Wheat Soda bread with Oats & Rosemary and second - Coconut Banana Muffins. They both turned out deliciously.

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

First, I'll share the savory recipe with you -  its delicious. Prepare yourself so you don't end up eating two loaves of this stuff all by yourself. Find someone to give it away to, or put it in the freezer, whatever you have to do! Because if you leave it on the counter, you will eat it!!

Whole Wheat Soda Bread with Rosemary &Oats
Recipe minimally adapted from No More Secrets by Adrienne Johnston

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Stir together the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder and 2 tbsp of the rosemary. Add the oats and stir well. Mix together the buttermilk and the egg. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until it forms a dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until a sticky, but manageable dough is formed. Divide into two and form into flattish rounds about six inches in diameter. Place the loaves on parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with oats, remaining tsp fresh rosemary, kosher salt, and a bit of flour. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned. They should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

See what I have to resort to in order to get photos? Leaving threatening letters to my family: "Eat & Die!! No Touch!! Needs to be Photographed" LOL!! A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do right?!

Next up, these delectable muffins... coconut, banana and lime! It doesn't get any better than that for breakfast. Get ready to feel like you're somewhere tropical, because these babies will make you feel like you're on the beach!

Coconut Banana Muffins
Recipe adapted from Anna Olson's Back to Baking

  • 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cuppacked dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • finely grated zest of one lime
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk - refrigerate the can, scrape off the thick white portion and use the clear liquid from the bottom of the can for this recipe.
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Stir the bananas and sugar together, then stir in the egg, lime zest, and vanilla. Stir in the coconut milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until combined. Mix in the coconut and spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.
  4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when gently pressed. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely. The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.

Yep, these recipes are pretty delicious. You should try them out when you get a chance!

Thanks Lis for hosting a back to the basics challenge. Sometimes simple is a refreshing change from complex and time consuming. I really enjoyed the break this month, but hopefully back with a more "daring" challenge for March!! :)

This blog has been linked up with Mouthwatering Mondays over at the Sweet Spot. Head on over there to check out what other delicious treats bloggers have baked up this week.
Happy Baking my Friends!


Kale Chips {Gluten Free, Healthy}

Kale Chips. Ew gross!!! Thats what I initially thought when people started talking about these things. Then we went over to my good friend D's place for dinner and she had made these to serve to us along with some other delicious menu items. Not one to be rude and not try something when a guest in someone's house, I of course had to give these a try. To my surprise, they were delicious and addictive! Since then I've been craving these all the time. Who knew they were so easy to make?!

I decided to look into the health benefits of kale since I'd heard it was very good for you. Here's what Web MD says about the health benefits of kale:

"One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw."

Since kale is so good for you, you should make these - they taste so good and have many health benefits. You can do all kinds of variations to this recipe depending on your tastes and preferences. But this is a good starting place - basic, quick and flavourful.

Kale Chips
Recipe by Erin (me!)

  • 1 bunch curly green kale, trimmed into bite size pieces (discard the tough stems)
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • kosher salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Wash kale pieces, then spin in a salad spinner until dry. Place kale pieces into a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and then toss and scrunch leaves with your hands to make sure they are evenly coated with the oil.
  3. Spread kale chips onto a large cookie sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt (about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp should do it), and cayenne pepper (no more than 1/2 tsp). Then sprinkle with a small amount of parmesan cheese (about 2 - 4 tbsp).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the chips. Return to the oven and bake another 10 - 12 minutes until chips are crispy. Watch them carefully toward the end as they tend to burn quickly.

Enjoy these! This is one time when its okay to eat the whole batch. :D

This post has been linked up with Mouthwatering Mondays over at the Sweet Spot. Head on over to check out what other delicious treats bloggers have cooked up this week.
Happy Cooking my Friends!


Coconut & Blueberry Mini Tarts {Dairy & Egg Free}

Lately a lot of my lovely readers (thats you!!) have been asking me if I'll share some healthier recipes with you - some have asked for gluten free, some asked for dairy free, and some asked for low fat. Well, I've been trying to find some recipes that incorporate those diet restrictions but still taste good. I have tried a few recipes that haven't made the cut to be shared here, but this one definitely made the cut - Coconut & Blueberry Mini Tarts! I found the recipe in Anna Olson's new cookbook - Back to Baking. I made one or two very slight changes and arrived at these little beauties. They are delish with or without the blueberries and you could substitute other berries if you wanted to (raspberries would be amazing!!).

And while my tarts don't look perfect, they were a breeze to throw together and tasted quite delicious too. I didn't particularly care for the texture of the custard  - so I've changed the recipe to use about half the original amount of cornstarch to thicken. So if you find your custard isn't thick enough for your liking, just double the amount of cornstarch. :)

Coconut & Blueberry Mini Tarts
Minimally adapted from Anna Olson's Back to Baking

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey (or agave would work well too)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean and 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 24 cup mini muffin with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. For the crust, stir together the whole wheat flour, vegetable oil, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and salt until mixture has a wet and crumbly texture (like wet sand). Press crust mixture into bottom and sides of muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature.
  3. To make the custard, pour the coconut milk into a saucepan. Scrape in the seeds of the vanilla bean and stir in the vanilla extract. In a bowl, stir together the sugar and the cornstarch. Whisk into the coconut milk, then turn the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens, about 6 minutes. Scrape the custard into a bowl, cover the surface of custard with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cooled, pipe the coconut filling into the mini tart shells and top each with 3 blueberries. Chill at least two hours in the tin before popping them out to serve.
  5. Tarts will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note: You could also make the filling up to a day ahead of time and chill until you fill your tarts. If you use this make ahead option, be sure to puree the custard in a food processor or with an immersion blender prior to piping into the tarts to ensure it has that perfect, silky smooth texture it had prior to chilling.

Pretty easy right? With minimal ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! Isn't that the best kind of dessert? Hope you enjoy!

This post has been linked up with Mouthwatering Mondays over at the Sweet Spot. Head on over to check out what kind of deliciousness is going on in the blogosphere this week.
Happy Baking my Friends!


Potato Fish Cakes

Remember that delicious Pan Roasted Halibut in a Potato Dill Crust we made yesterday? Well, here is a perfect recipe to use up the leftovers. We all know leftover fish never tastes good like it did when it was first cooked. But this recipe turns leftover fish and leftover mashed potatoes into something fresh, crisp and delicious!! It was no problem getting hubby to eat leftovers when I served them to him like this. :)

Potato Fish Cakes
Inspired by Chef at Home - by Michael Smith

  • 4 pieces leftover pan roasted halibut
  • a couple cups of leftover roasted garlic mashed potatoes (or regular would work too)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked together
  • 1 tbsp hot sweet mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely minced
  • 1 red jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 recipe potato dill crust from yesterdays Pan Roasted Halibut in a Potato Dill Crust
  • a couple tbsp butter
  • a couple lugs of olive oil
  1. Preheat saute pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a splash of oil to the pan and a tbsp of butter to coat the bottom of the skillet with a thin film.
  2. With a potato masher, mash the leftover halibut and the potatoes with the eggs, mustard, dill, jalepeno pepper until combined. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Prepare potato dill crust. Using approximately 1/4 cup portions of the potato fish mixture, shape into patties. Dredge in the potato dill crust mixture until well coated. Add to hot skillet and fry until bottom is golden and crisp. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  4. Repeat until all cakes are cooked. Serve with lemon dill cream or leftover roasted garlic cream sauce from yesterdays recipe.
These are so unbelievably delicious! I couldn't get over how good they were. I never ever eat leftover fish, but going forward, I will always make an exception for this recipe. You can also use salmon or other types of fish in this recipe. You can mix up the herbs or omit the spicy pepper depending on your tastes. Be creative and cook what you like!

Happy Cooking my Friends!


Pan Roasted Halibut in Potato Dill Crust with Roasted Garlic Cream

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are over halfway through this week... and for me that is a good thing!! It is smokin' busy at work this week with deadlines everywhere I look. I can't wait for the weekend (even though I'll likely have to work part of it... Its still the weekend!!). I've been looking forward to sharing this post with you all week. Don't judge a post by its pictures (well at least, not in this case), because this is seriously good! You MUST make it this weekend when you have time. Even non-fish lovers will seriously love this meal. Its delicious and it doesn't get that typical "fishy" taste or smell that some fish dishes get.

This recipe is from my new cookbook No More Secrets, Recipes from the Cow Bay Cafe by Adriene Johnston. This is a seriously amazing cookbook!! The best part about it is that its written by a womon from a small town in Northern British Columbia right near where I grew up. Soooo of course I'm going to love it.

Any way, lets check out this recipe - I'm a little tired right now because I just worked a 14 hour day, so please excuse me if my post isn't as coherent (or as long) as usual. :)

 Pan Roasted Halibut
Recipe from No More Secrets


Roasted Garlic:
  • 6 bulbs garlic
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, halved
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Garlic Cream:
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (I would probably just use half a tsp next time i make this - it was a touch salty)
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • a little fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp whole fresh black peppercorns
Potato Crust:
  • 3/4 c instant dry potato flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry dill
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c fresh dill, finely chopped

  • 6 8-oz pieces fresh halibut (thawed, frozen halibut will work in a pinch too)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. To roast garlic, remove the excess outer skin, trim off the stem end and place the garlic bulbs in a small pie pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place the rosemary sprigs on top of the garlic. Drizzle the olive oil over the garlic bulbs. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast in the preheated oven for 50 minutes and reserve.
  3. To make the garlic cream, add the cream, salt, chile flakes, bay leaf and peppercorns. Squeeze out the soft garlic from the roasted garlic bulb and add it to the cream. Drop the skins into the sauce too. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until thickened and reduced by half.
  4. Strain the garlic mixture through a sieve and press on the garlic until it is all pushed through the sieve and you are only left with the skins and debris. Discard the stuff in the sieve and reserve the cream until needed. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent the formation of a skin.
  5. For the potato crust, simply combine the potato flakes, salt, garlic powder, dry dill, pepper, and fresh dill in a bowl. Mix together and reserve until needed.
  6. Place two large skillets in the oven and heat for 15 minutes.
  7. When you are ready to cook, dry the pieces of halibut and dredge them in the potato crust mixture.
  8. Remove the hot skillets from the oven and place over medium high heat. Pour about four tsp of vegetable oil into the skillet and then place fish in the skillets. Do not crowd the pans. Allow the fish to cook in the oil until the bottoms are golden brown and crisp-looking.
  9. Gently flip the fish over and then put the pans into the oven and cook for about 7 minutes per inch of thickness at the thickest part of the fish.
  10. When cooked, remove the fish to the serving dishes and pour some of the garlic cream into the hot pans. When cream is hot, pour it over the cooked fish. Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli.

I know, this seems like a lot of steps, but it really does come together relatively quickly. You can roast the garlic and make the garlic cream sauce ahead of time if you're having a dinner party and then all you've got to do is cook the fish and you're set to impress your guests.

Hope you enjoy this one. Stay tuned for a delicious post tomorrow on how to use the leftovers from this recipe (if you're lucky enough to have leftovers!).

Happy Cooking my Friends!


The Savvy Kitchen's Pizza Bites & Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels for SRC

After a long month off, we're back on schedule for the Secret Recipe Club! And I couldn't be more excited. This month I was assigned The Savvy Kitchen. The Savvy Kitchen is written by Amy and its a great place to find easy and delicious recipes - with a wide array of types of dishes! And since her parents are italian, she's got some great pasta recipes on there that I can't wait to try out when I have time. I loved her blog so much that I decided to make two recipes to share with you today.

First up I made these delicious pepperoni pizza puffs. They're a quick and easy appetizer and even your fussiest guest is sure to dive right into! Sorry for the quality of the pizza puff photos - we were so excited to eat them that these are the only photos I managed to snap before they were devoured.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
Recipe from The Savvy Kitchen

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded mozza
  • 1 cup pepperoni, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small can pizza sauce for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Whisk in the milk, eggs and seasonings. Then gently stir in the mozza and the pepperoni. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir the batter, then divide among the prepared mini muffin cups. Fill almost to the top, then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping and try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!! (good luck with that!!)

Those were such a hit in our house (we eagerly sat around the coffee table, devouring these until they were all gone!!), that I decided to try out another recipe from Amy's blog - this time something sweet.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
Recipe from The Savvy Kitchen

  • 80 mini pretzels
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Line large baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Beat peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Roll peanut butter into 1/2 inch balls and place in the center of 40 of the mini pretzels. Top each one with another mini pretzel, pressing down slightly to sandwich the icing between the pretzels. Once all pretzel bites are formed, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave on low, stirring often so the chocolate doesn't burn. Remove the pretzels from the freezer and dip each one into the melted chocolate. Place each chocolate covered pretzel onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

These were soooo addictive and delicious! We couldn't stop eating them. I'm afraid to make another batch in case I eat all of them too. But make these for a party - they're easy and quick and guests will devour them. :)

I'm so excited about finding Amy's blog! Its wonderful and I can't wait to venture back and try out some more of her recipes. They're so down to earth and low maintenance to make, which is a nice change of pace from some of the stuff I often find myself making. So, if you haven't already checked out The Savvy Kitchen, do it! I'll still be here when you come back.

And lastly, check out the blog hop below - it is a round up of all the other SRC Group C participants this month. Everyone always does a great job choosing and making delicious recipes and then in turn featuring the blog they were assigned.

Happy Baking my Friends!


Truffle Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are obscenely good... like unbelievably good. I will pause to let you drool over the pictures for a moment. Honestly, these pictures make these cupcakes look good, but they taste even better than they look!!! You must try them. Do it on a weekend or a day off when you have a bit of time, but make them! They're soooo good. Your peeps will be impressed that you even made the truffle thats all melty and delicious in the middle of the cupcake!

 The reason I ended up making this recipe is because my friend D who has the same Anna Olson cookbook as I do, made these a while back and raved about how good they were. Well, I was flipping through my cookbook this weekend and saw this recipe and was reminded that I needed to try this recipe out. So, I went out to the store and bought the chocolate and cream I would need for this recipe. Everything else was already in my baking cupboard! Can you tell I like recipes with basic ingredients?!

Truffle Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe minimally adapted from Back to Baking by Anna Olson


  • 6 tbsp whipping cream
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar

  1. To prepare the truffles, heat the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then gently whisk to blend. Chill this mixture until set, about 2 hours. Spoon this ganache into 20 truffles, shaping them between your hands into 3/4 inch balls. Chill the truffles until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F and line 20 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. For the cupcakes, melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium saucepan, stirring over low heat. Then stir in 2/3 cup of the brown sugar and 1/3 cup of the milk. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this mixture into a bowl, whisk in remaining 2/3 cup of brown sugar, and cool to room temperature. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, starting and ending with the four, and whisking well after each addition (the batter will be quite fluid). Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling to halfway.
  5. Gently place a truffle in the centre of each cupcake - do not press it in, as it will settle and become completely enveloped by the batter as it bakes. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
  6. For the frosting, stir the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Transfer this to the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, mix in the sour cream and the vanilla. Beat in the icing sugar until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Spread or pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. The cupcakes should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container and will keep for up to two days. Do not refrigerate.

So, these are a little bit of work, but they are so totally worth the effort. They are decadent and delicious. And if you wish to skip a step, these cupcakes are also delicious with just a fine dusting of powdered sugar instead. The truffle in the middle makes them rich enough and moist enough on their own. :)

This post has been linked up with Fusion Fridays over at Jennifer Cooks. Head on over there to check out some of the great things other bloggers have made this week. :)

This post has also been linked up with the Recipe Party over at the Sweet Spot! Check it out for some great recipes bloggers have posted this week.
Happy Baking my Friends! Here is to having something sweet to start the week. :)


Guest Post: Monster Burgers, the Man Way

Happy Thursday folks! Today is a special day - I've got a guest blogger filling in for me and he's a really special guy. My hubby asked if he could do a guest post on my blog, so of course I took him up on the offer. :) So today, you'll get a touch of manly along with some great food. Without further delay, I'll turn it over to my hubby Scott.

Erin was away this past weekend and so I was forced to fend for myself. Now man cannot live on takeout alone, so I decided to make at least one meal for myself. It was an easy decision what to make because I’m a man who likes his meat. So it’s only fitting I would make a big man sized burger. These are great for a summer BBQ or a case of the meat shakes.

1 lb Beef Patties - Man sized :)
What you will need:
  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef
  • Small yellow onion diced (you may want less in your burgers)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Big Buns of your choice
  • Montreal Steak Spice
  • BBQ sauce
  • Olive Oil to drizzle
  • 5 medium sized yellow fleshed potatoes
  • 1 lb Bacon
  • Lettuce
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Condiments of your wildest burger desires. Eg. Cheese, mayo, mustard etc.
Potatoes - tossed in olive oil, seasoned and ready to go in the oven

Bacony goodness crisping up to go on the burgers
Making the Magic Happen:
  1. Mix the beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add a dash of  steak spice and lots of pepper. Now as I mentioned, I like meat so all that beef made three patties (1 lb patties), but you could reasonably make 6- 8 patties out of all this meat if you're not the meat lovin' type.
  2. Fire up the oven to 400F. While the oven is firing up, make your bacon. I like crispy bacon. A lot. Bacon!
  3. While the bacon is crisping, slice potatoes into 1/8 - 1/4 inch slices and toss with olive oil in bowl. Season with steak spice. 
  4. Lay out potato slices on cookie sheet and bake. I like mine crispy so they stayed in for as long as it took to prep and make burgers, flipping once in between. About 25-30 min.
  5. Oh yeah. Now its time to cook those burgers! I slathered some BBQ sauce on them as I flipped. Cook til done in the middle.
  6. Slice some fresh Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and melt it on to the patties. as they're finishing on the grill. While the cheese is melting toast the buns on the bbq.
  7. Finally assemble the little masterpieces as desired. I garnished mine with lettuce and sliced red onions and of course more bacon. Serve with a pile of potatoe rounds. 
Little old grill, but it does the trick
 Burger patties are based on a recipe from Erin's Chef at Home Cookbook by Chef Michael Smith and the potato rounds are right outta my head. Hows that for fending for myself?


Thanks for stopping by to read my debut guest post! I'm pretty stoked with how these burgers turned out. I hope if you readers like my post enough, maybe Erin will have me back for another post... maybe to share my fabulous Fettuccine Alfredo?!

This post has been linked up with Fusion Fridays over at Jennifer Cooks! Check it out for some weekly inspiration in the form of baking, cooking, crafts and other cool stuff.


How To... Dice an Onion

Woohoo! We are over halfway through this week!! It seems to have flown by for me... what about you guys? Is your week going by fast too? Hope so! Its always nice when the weekend sneaks up on you. :) This week's how to post is how to dice an onion. A lot of people don't really have much technique when they chop onions and the result is non-uniform pieces of onion that don't cook at the same pace because they're different sizes. This technique results in uniform dice and uses really basic knife skills to get it accomplished. Hope these step-by-step photos help you to visualize the technique and process so you can have perfect dice every time. Remember, knife skills take practice! So the more you do it, the better you'll get.

Step 1: Cut off ends of the onion
 Step 1: Cut off the ends of the onion - just the top 1/2 inch or so. Stand the onion up on one of the cut ends (as pictured above).

Step 2: Cut Onion in Half
 Step 2: Next, cut the onion in half (starting at a cut end and finishing at a cut end). This makes the onion really easy to peel. You should peel both halves if you are using the whole onion.

Step 3: Slice the onion horizontally
 Step 3: Now you need to slice the onion horizontally at even intervals without cutting all the way across the onion. I usually do 1/8 - 1/4 inch intervals which for a medium onion results in 4-6 slices, leaving about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of the onion in tact at the end so it doesn't fall apart on you.

Step 3: Slice the onion horizontally

End result of step 3 - onion should have even horizontal slices - leaving about 1/4 - 1/2 inch in tact at the end of the onion

Step 4: Slice the onion Vertically
 Step 4: Slice the onion vertically - similar to step three, but going the other direction! Slice at regular intervals (usually about 1/8 - 1/4 inch depending on the size of the dice you want) leaving the same 1/4 - 1/2 inch of the onion in tact at the end.

End result of step 4 - see how the onion is set up for perfect dice?! Cool eh?

Step 5: Lastly, just slice the onion as pictured above - again at about 1/8 - 1/4 inch intervals depending on the size of the dice you want. The end result is pictured below - uniform, perfect dice that will cook evenly.

Finally, a few words of wisdom for cutting, chopping, dicing and slicing:

Use a Sharp Knife - its way easier to dice an onion nicely when your knife cuts through it easily without much pressure being applied. And believe it or not, you have less chance of cutting yourself when your knife is sharp because again, you don't need to lean into it or apply much pressure to get the knife to move through the item you're chopping.

Use the Knuckle Trick - this doesn't work for everyone, but a good protective measure is to use the knuckle trick when cutting. Bend your fingers so your finger tips aren't exposed to the edge of the knife and use your knuckles as a guide for your knife - this way if the knife slips it will just rub along your knuckle instead of slicing into the tip of your finger.

Stabilize your Cutting Board - Place a slightly damp tea towel or dish cloth under your cutting board if it is sliding around on your surface. This will secure the board and ensure it doesn't slip while you're cutting.

Hope this post was helpful! If you have any other good tips and tricks for cutting, dicing, chopping and slicing, I would love it if you left a comment to share your knowledge!

Happy Cooking my Friends!