Tag Archives: potatoes

It’s All About BACON

Saturday, September 5th was International Bacon Day, so I decided to repost a few of my favorite (and EASY) bacon recipes:

Bacon Ice Cream

Bacon Ice Cream @ Home, MyLastBite.com
I’ll be mixing up a batch for family & friends on Saturday! 
Step-by-Step PHOTOS and Directions 

Bacon Wrapped Baby Potatoes
Bacon-Wrapped Baby Potato by MyLastBite.com
Easy to make, and perfect with grilled steak, burgers, chicken or on their own!
Directions

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks
EASY Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks, MyLastBite.com
So simple, you can have the kids help you make ’em!
Directions

Bacon Bowl
Bacon Bowl by MyLastBite.com
Step-by-Step “How to make” photos here

Hope you enjoy… and please have a safe and fun holiday weekend! 

Note: Bacon Day is held on the Saturday before Labor Day in the U.S.

More about International Bacon Day

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Greek Lemon Chicken

Allergy season in the San Fernando Valley is, by far, my least favorite time of year. It’s now been a month since my spring-time symptoms kicked in, and I’ve been feeling pretty lousy the entire time: Itchy and watery eyes, non-stop sneezing, postnasal drip (with congestion, which I don’t understand), loss of smell, and the worst part, for me, are those dreadful hours when I loose my sense of taste.

I’m currently taking two different prescription medications that definitely help ease the symptoms, but living with three dogs (who sleep in the bed) only adds to the problem. Peter and I will never get rid of our dogs (aka our “kids”), and honestly, most of the time I just feel really grateful that seasonal allergies are my only health issues.

But last week, on top of dealing with my sensitive sinus problems, I came down with a nasty, head cold. I didn’t even know it was a cold for the first few days because I hadn’t had a good night sleep in weeks, and already felt drained and depressed. I tried to shake the blues by drinking extra cups of green tea, reading my current favorite book on the sunny porch out front, and also by taking extra walks with the pups.

When I woke up Thursday morning still feeling gloomy, I suddenly remembered that one thing that was missing from my days. Talking aloud to myself (with my dogs tucked in snugly beside me), I sat up in bed and said, “cook, stupid”.

Because I was suffering from both allergies and a head cold, I hadn’t cooked a proper meal all week. Hot tea and cereal for breakfast, cold meds for lunch and “frozen entrées” for dinner. No wonder I felt like crap. Physically, I wasn’t getting any real nutrition, and I’d forgotten to do the one thing every day that makes my spirits soar.

I then decided to make one of my very favorite, super EASY one pan meals. Greek Lemon Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Potatoes. I first had it when I visited friends in the Greek Islands over twenty years ago, and it’s always a comforting plate of food. And as you can imagine, I felt amazingly better after just one bite.

Greek Lemon Chicken w/ Roasted Garlic and Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 1/2 to 4 pounds of chicken pieces (I prefer thighs and legs) with skin.

3 medium lemons (juiced, but save lemon halves)

3 pounds of baby potatoes (your favorite)

1 tablespoon of oregano

2 to 3 teaspoons of salt (to your liking)

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

2 medium heads of garlic

1/2 cup of olive oil

Greek Lemon Chicken 2, MyLastBite.com
Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Clean the chicken and potatoes, dry then place in large baking pan.

Cut tops of garlic (be careful) to expose cloves, and set face up in pan.

Next add olive oil, the juice of 2 lemons, then rub over everything.

Make sure there’s a nice coating of oil on the bottom of pan, so the chicken doesn’t stick.

Add oregano, salt and pepper. Coat everything in the pan.

Add the last two lemon halves in pan and let bake with the other ingredients.

Now, turn chicken pieces so the skin in facing down on the pan bottom.

Greek Lemon Chicken 3, MyLastBite.comCook for about 90 minutes total:
After 30 minutes, carefully remove hot pan from oven and gently turn over the chicken pieces so the skin is facing UP. This way you’ll get a nice, crispy and flavorful skin.

At the same time, turn over the potatoes and then place back in oven for 60 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

To serve: After the garlic heads have cooled, you can pop out each roasted clove with a knife and serve the sweet, mushy cloves on top of the chicken. Or, do what I did and serve the entire half of the clove itself. They’re delicious smashed into the potatoes or added to warm, crusty bread as well. The extra lemon halves (now soft and baked) can be eaten too. Enjoy.

Greek Lemon Chicken 4, MyLastBite.com

Note: The dish is terrific on it’s own, but it’s even better with a Horiatiki Salata (classic Greek country salad). I didn’t think to get the Greek salad ingredients at the market that day, so I tossed together a side dish with things I had at home: clementines, fresh green beans, and roasted beets.

Mentioned Above:

Horiatiki Salata: Recipe for Greek Country Salad

My Pups

In Greece

Cuties California Clementines

Current favorite book: “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg

“Cook, Stupid.” written by Jo Stougaard ©MyLastBite.com All Rights Reserved. No usage allowed including copying or sharing without written permission.

Greek Lemon Chicken W/ Roasted Garlic & Potatoes on Foodista

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She Takes The Cake!

Check out the beautiful birthday cake that my sister Janet gave me last week…  
Cake is what you make it! MyLastBite.com

Kindal, Janet, Chace, MyLastBite.comWhen I first opened the cake box, I was sort of stunned because she knows I’m not really into sweets (I like a bite or two), but then her kids (twins, ages 13) started laughing and I realized it wasn’t really a sugary “dessert” cake at all! My very health-conscience, loving, big sister had given me a MEATLOAF and MASHED POTATO birthday cake!

Janet doesn’t like to handle red meat, so of course I asked “where did you have this made”? 

I was absolutely shocked to learn that she mixed up the RAW ground beef herself and spent the whole day baking, molding and decorating it. 

It was the most thoughtful (and delicious) birthday cake I’ve ever had, and it was even better the next day with fried eggs on top! 

I asked Janet for the recipe and she said she pretty much made it up as she went along, but here are her notes in case you want to try it:

“I actually used about 2 1/2 pounds of meat and then added about 1 1/2 cups of  bread crumbs, 3 eggs, sauteed onion (large), about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt & pepper & 1 tablespoon of Ranch Dressing dry mix.

I baked the 2 tiers in a greased pan for about an hour…let cool and then placed in fridge overnight…

For the frosting, I first made the mashed potatoes and then let them cool. Then I frosted the white potato base on the meat cake.

Next I mixed yellow food coloring into the white potatoes and added the yellow potatoes to a piping bag. Using a cake decorating tip, I added the yellow potato to the cake, then I mixed in red food coloring to make the orange!”

Meatloaf & Potatoes! MyLastBite.com   Eggs on Meatloaf Cake, MyLastBite.com

Thanks again! Can’t WAIT for next year!

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Gjelina

I was in no rush to dine at Gjelina (pronounced “jelina”) when it opened last summer, adding it to my lengthy list of “places to eat”.

To be honest, I just didn’t care about ANOTHER pizzeria opening, so I pretty much just forgot about it. Then I read Patrick Kuh’s review in Los Angeles Magazine (Feb 2009 issue).

Gruyere Arugula Pizza, MyLastBite.comKuh wrote:
The cooking of Travis Lett is the main draw… only 30 years old, he has developed a remarkably sustained culinary style…

That sparked my interest a little because I love supporting our local up-and-coming chefs.

Then I read: 
Back when he was starting out, Lett had an epiphany while eating a meal at Mario Batali’s breakout restaurant, Babbo, shortly after it opened in Greenwich Village. “It wasn’t one thing they did. It was how they did everything,” he recalls of the food’s exacting forthrightness.

With Mario Batali, MyLastBite.comOne of my best dining experiences ever was at BABBO restaurant in New York. Peter and I had dinner there in October 2005, and we still talk about the amazing Bucatini all’Amatriciana. To this day, we’ve never tasted a better pasta dish and Mario Batali is a culinary king in our home. I’ve learned so much about Italian cooking AND culture from his old series, “Molto Mario” and it’s a shame he doesn’t “teach” on television anymore. If Gjelina’s chef was pulling inspiration from BABBO and Batali, then it could only mean good things for the restaurant.

Patrick Kuh ended his review with the following:
Certain restaurant openings are cautious, some careless, and some overproduced. Then there are those that sing. Gjelina is one of them. It has the snap of originality, a little strut. It knows it’s good. It captures a neighborhood.

At this point I opened my “places to eat” list and moved Gjelina up near the top. When our friends Kevin and Tamara (both oenophiles) wanted to meet for brunch in Venice recently, of course it had to be at Gjelina. They brought along a gorgeous bottle of Williams Selyem 2005 Chardonnay, which was a refreshing and crisp companion to our delicious brunch of pizzas, salads and sides.

Niman Ranch Bacon, MyLastBite.com
Niman Ranch Bacon $5. Is there any better way to start off a brunch?

Spinach Salad, MyLastBite.com
Heirloom Spinach Salad with Tomato, Olive, Feta, Pinenuts and Croutons $9. This was devoured within minutes of hitting our table. The large crouton pieces were a terrific crunch mixed with the super fresh vegetables. 

Guanciale Pizza, MyLastBite.com
Guanciale Pizza with Crushed Olive, Fresno Chili, Buffalo Mozzarella & Rosemary, $15
I LOVE guanciale, it’s my favorite type of bacon (the pig’s jowel) which is extra fatty. Notice how THIN the pizza crust is in the upper left of the photo. All the flavors were baked into (and almost through) the crust. I love thin-crust pizza so this wafer-thin heater was my kind of pie (or maybe I should say “cracker bread”!).

Chickpeas & Truffle Potatoes, MyLastBite.com
Two more sides we enjoyed:
Chickpea Stew with Greens, Cous Cous, Spiced Yogurt and Harissa, $12. It was more like a belly-warming soup than a stew and I found myself craving it when I had a cold last week.
Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Truffle Oil, Herbs and Parmesan, $5. Perfectly crispy on the outside with just a hint of truffle oil.

Gruyere Arugula Pizza, MyLastBite.com
Gruyere, Arugula Pizza topped with Caramelized Onion, Fromage Blanc Pizza and Sunny Eggs, $18. This pizza came after the Guanicale, and we all decided that this one was our favorite. Again, the toppings were almost baked through the thin crust and the runny eggs on top added a creamy-like richness.

View from our table, MyLastBite.com
In the relaxing, sunny back patio area, the view from my seat.

Butterscotch Pot de Creme, MyLastBite.com
Butterscotch pot de creme. Very similar to Mozza’s Butterscotch Budino, (except you don’t get the rosemary cookie here). Gjelina’s version was rich enough that we were happy sharing one together.

Blackberry Crisp, MyLastBite.com
Blackberry and Cornmeal Crisp. I only had one bite (too full!) but my husband said he loved the tartness and crunch.

Beautiful Fixture & Wall, MyLastBite.com
I loved the decor, especially the chocolate brown wall, with what looked like “tooled leather” engravings. The light fixtures were also fun and funky throughout.

Gjelina, MyLastBite.com
From top left: Lighting above bar, Back patio, Vintage glass, Wine bottle chandelier.

I can’t wait to go back!

The L.A. Times writes: Though they’re only a small part of the menu, the pizzas at Gjelina in Venice keep getting better. Six months in, chef-owner Travis Lett has his pizza mojo down. His pies have a graceful aesthetic, beautiful to look at, even better to eat, and farmers market all the way. Like the seductive vegetable dishes here from the wood-burning oven, the eight pizzas on offer shift with the seasons. A pie blanketed in Fontina cheese and bitter greens accented with bacon lardons or one that melds Taleggio cheese with dusky wild mushrooms and pea shoots may give way to a pizza topped with sweet porky guanciale, crushed olives and bufala mozzarella. The crust is very thin, very crisp. Pizza is such a popular item, though, you may have to wait for yours: The oven is only big enough to cook four pies at a time.  Full Article Here

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 450-1429
(no website as of this writing) 
Dining Date: 3/7/09 

Mentioned Above:

LA Magazine Gjelina Review by Patrick Kuh

BABBO

Mario Batali

Molto Mario

Williams Selyem Chardonnay

Niman Ranch

Gjelina on Urbanspoon

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Bacon Wrapped Baby Potatoes

I recently found a recipe for bacon-wrapped baby potatoes on Tastespotting and was sort of dumbfounded because I hadn’t made them before. I’ve wrapped bacon around breadsticks, hot dogs, scallops, beef, chicken, salmon, shrimp, jalapeños, cipollini onions, cherry tomatoes, dates, pineapple, prunes, figs, asparagus and even wrapped bacon around slices of fried SPAM. I know… pork on pork (Oink) !

When I clicked on the link to the recipe, I realized it was incomplete but decided to try them anyway. How difficult could it be?

Bacon-Wrapped Baby Potato by MyLastBite.com

Well it was EASY and FUN. I brought the ingredients to my sister’s house last night and the kids did all the work! We made two batches so there was plenty leftover for breakfast. The kids (who all cook) were discussing the best way to use the bacon-wrapped potatoes in the morning. Maybe cut them into chunks and scramble with some egg whites. Or smash them in a frying pan with a couple of eggs on top then add some cheese and broil everything. How about slicing them with some herbs for a simple side of hash browns? 

The Recipe:

4 lbs. of baby potatoes, washed & patted dry

1 pack of regular bacon (not thick)

Toothpicks. Soak in water first to prevent burning.

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

Depending on the size of the potato, cut and wrap the bacon around the potatoes and secure with a toothpick.

Place potatoes in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender and bacon is cooked to your liking.

Remove and drain on paper towels before serving.

Note: We served them with some fried crispy onion bits (the kind you find in the produce section), chives and sour cream.

The original (now corrected) recipe link

Tastespotting (warning… this site is highly addictive!)

Bacon Wrapped Baby Potatoes on Foodista

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Mario’s Peruvian Restaurant

Who knew Peruvian food was so obscene? And I mean OBSCENELY GOOD!

My Favorite Bite? The Lomo Saldato: Tender beef, tomatoes, red onions… sauteed with french fries. This is NOT a place for carb counters because the dishes come with a side of rice! Yes, that’s right… TWO starches! Wicked good.

Lomo Saltado at Mario's Peruvian

Address: Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood
5786 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, California 90038
cross street of rossmore (where it turns into vine)

Tel: (323) 466-4181

Dining Date: 6.12.08

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