Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

You know how everyone has those foods that bring them back to their childhood? Mine are my mom’s home made mac and cheese (nothing like it!) and bacon wrapped scallops. I have memories from when I was little of my parents making them after my brother and I had gone to sleep. I would sneak out of my bed and see them eating them while watching TV and tip toe my way over and give them a coy little smile until they handed one over.

The memories extend into my adult life, and while a lot has changed one thing that has stayed the same is we all love bacon wrapped scallops. Scallops are not the most budget friendly choice, so while I would love to eat them everyday, they are special occasion items. So you can imagine my pleasure when a coworker brought in what looked to be bacon wrapped scallops for everyone to snack on. I took a bite and there was an uncharacteristic, yet amazing, crunch. What a weird scallop. Wait – this isn’t a scallop. It’s a water chestnut.

What? Why hadn’t I heard of this? It had the same satisfying flavour I loved, and for $1.50/can instead of $15 a bag. WIN.

baconwaterchestnuts

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ingredients

1 can whole water chestnuts

1/2 – 1 whole package of bacon, sliced into halves (depending on how many water chestnuts pieces you end up with)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 – 400 degrees – this recipe is not high maintenance. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil for easy clean up. If your water chestnuts are large, simply slice them in half. Wrap in bacon slice half and secure with moistened toothpick. Arrange on cookie sheet and put in the oven until they start to brown (about 10 minutes, although I didn’t really time them as much as just kept an eye on them) and flip over. Cook until bacon is as crispy as you like it, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t get toooo crispy. No one wants that. Unless you do, that’s cool too.

Let them sit for a few minutes, they’re darn hot. Eat up and enjoy!

PS I did some research after the fact and found several recipes that suggest marinating the water chestnuts in soy sauce and rolling in brown sugar before you roll them in bacon. Damn. I’m doing that next.

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The Best ( + Easiest) Pizza Ever

I have a serious thing for pizza. Not just any old pizza though, I’m talkin’ about the stone fired goodness that comes out of the handful of amazing pizza joints (holes in the wall, really) popping up around Vancouver.

My favourite pizza place by far is Pizzeria Farina on Main St.  The best pie from Farina is, in my opinion, the Calabrese. Spicy calabrese, fresh arugula and salty black olives – what more could you want? Not to mention that crust. Crisp, blistered, thin and blackened. Delicious.

Now, I don’t have a fancy oven or a pizza stone or any of those fancy shmancy pizza making accessories, but the good news is, you really need next to nothing to make delicious pizza.

pizzacrust

Would you believe me if I told you all you need for an amazing crust is flour, salt, water and yeast? It’s true! I mix some olive oil in because I mix olive oil with everything.

Thin Crust Pizza Crust

Ingredients

¾ c. warm water

1 tsp. instant yeast

2 c. all purpose flour

salt

crust

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (or more if you’re feeling adventurous). Stir yeast into warm water in a small bowl. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl. When you add the salt, add how much you think you’ll want, then add more. Salt makes the crust, I promise. Stir in the wet ingredients and combine until the dough looks rough. Move the dough to a smooth, clean surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until well combined and a smooth ball is formed. Set aside in a covered bowl for 30 minutes – 1.5 hours. Because this is thin crust, you don’t need to allow it to rise for long, so if you’re short on time, don’t worry. I just like seeing it rise, really. I think it’s part of the fun.

You’ll see some recipes that do this and some that don’t. I like to “par-bake” my crust a bit so it stands up to the sauce. I push it out into my square baking dish and pop it in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Take it out and use a spatula to take it out of the pan.

Top that pizza. Remember the cardinal rule: less is more.

topped

Calabrese Pizza

Ingredients

6 strips calabrese salami

fresh mozzarella cheese

sundried tomatoes in oil

feta

fresh arugula (for topping)

tomato sauce (I insist on homemade. I’ll post that recipe soon. It’s so easy and so worth it)

My boyfriend doesn’t like olives so I often exclude them, but adding little black olives makes it even more delicious.

Method

Spread tomato sauce (remember, less is more) across par-baked crust. Lay out the salami strips and top with sliced fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and crumbled feta. I can’t stress this “less is more” phrase enough. In a land of over indulgence, let me assure you that the less you put on the more lovely the flavours will be. Don’t overdo the cheese, don’t double layer your meat. You’ll believe me when you taste it.

Bake directly on rack of preheated oven until cheese is bubbly and edges are golden brown. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and top with fresh arugula before cutting.

Share + enjoy!

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