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Bibimbap Sopes and My New Crock-Pot©



I am such a lucky girl lately. I was asked to take a programable  Crock-Pot© for test drive and give it a review. I was giddy at the offer because I am still using the crock pot that my mother gave me over 25 years ago. To be very honest, after she gave it to me, I never used it. I packed it away and it followed me from house to house, city to city, unused and mostly forgotten, much like her gift of a dreaded red, orlon sweater with a giant asian dragon embroidered across the front. I would wear that hideous sweater once a year when I went to pick her up from the train station at Christmas. She would see that red dragon peaking out under my coat and squeal with delight "oh, that's the sweater I bought you!" and I would say, offhandedly, "did you buy me this? Oh that's right, you did" like I wore the thing so much I couldn't remember when it came from. The things we do for love.

Yikes!

Green Beans, Tofu and Mushrooms in Black Bean Sauce



I was craving chinese green beans with ground pork but I didn't have any ground pork, which was a problem. I also didn't have any dried shrimp or the chinese preserved vegetables that I would need to make them properly and they wouldn't turn out as yummy as the ones we get at Perfect Restaurant anyway so I gave up before I started.

What I did have was a big bag of green beans, some deep fried tofu and a big handful of brown mushrooms so it was time to improvise. I wasn't even going to share this one since it was just a quick weeknight dinner born of desperation and  the absolute lack of desire to go outside but it was so delicious that I changed my mind. We ate this over some brown sushi rice with a side of left over chinese bbq pork - clearly we have reached our sodium limit for the week. I guess we can eat greek yogurt with berries and drink pints of green tea until the weekend to try to even things out but, man, it was some tasty business.

Spicy Fig Honey Jam





I love spicy jams and jellies with cheese and I also have been cooking with these spicy jams lately. I have a pepper blast berry jelly that is really quite hot and it's great with roast meats. The PC Bacon Marmalade is is thing of beauty and I feel sorry for all of you Americans who can't get your greasy paws on this stuff but it's a fair exchange for rotel, I guess. The high sugar content in jam means it really caramelizes nicely and it gives a nice, sticky, sweet glaze to a roast pork tenderloin or some chicken thighs. I throw in some chicken stock with some of the jam and make a delicious pan sauce and we are good to go.

The magical asian produce store had a huge stack of fresh figs that were too cheap to pass up on so the only choice I had was to make a small batch of fig jam. Since I already know that I am only going to use it for dishes like this pork tenderloin with fig jam or with cheese, I decided to just throw some hot sauce right into the jam as it cooked and it worked really well. This recipe for fig jam made with honey has been sitting on the back burner for a while so I used that but took their suggestion and cut down on the honey so it wouldn't be the overpowering flavour. I am not sure I would use siracha if I were making a big batch of jam but it worked just fine for this. The Kid said to warn you that it is not his favourite jam to eat on toast or with peanut butter and I told him that everyone would already know that since it has hot sauce in it but he insisted so consider yourself forewarned.



A piece of toasty bread, some spicy fig jam, arugula and melty brie make life worth living.








Spicy Fig Honey Jam
adapted from fig preserves from chef in you.com





1 lb fresh figs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
the zest of one lemon, grated on a rasp
1 tbls grated fresh ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
squirt siracha to taste

Wash your figs, cut the stems off and cut each into four. Add all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat and heat until the sugar is totally melted. This is the time to taste it and see if you want to add a tiny bit more hot sauce. I like my fig jam to have a nice bite but it's up to you.

 Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. I keep an eye on it, stirring often and keep cooking it until it reaches 220F on my handy, dandy instant read thermometer. I hate giving a time because it's never really the same time from one batch to the next. It depends on the weather, the pot you use, your fruit, the position of the moon and the colour of your socks. Safest bet is to just keep stirring and checking the temperature (you can also use a candy thermometer that mounts on to the side of the pot)
Take it off the heat and then ladle into a clean, glass jar and after it cools down, store it in the fridge.


Italian Meatloaf, Take 2




Getting sick over the entire Christmas holiday is never fun, is it? When you are a food blogger, it's kind of your biggest holiday to showcase all kinds of great foods and fancy pants desserts but nooooooo, not for this kid. We did have a lovely Christmas eve party but I didn't really cook anything. We had mostly charcuterie stuff, cheese and cookies. Oh and waaaaaay too much prosecco but since the prosecco led to the spirited singing of caroles via some youtube karaoke videos, we don't regret the prosecco. Okay, maybe I regretted it a teeny, tiny bit on Christmas morning but not really.

Hankering for some Hirten




As always, one of the best perks that come from food blogging is getting to try all kinds of food that you might not normally get around to checking out. We get invited to events, we are sent samples and given vouchers to purchase different things. This is one of those times so let's get it out there and make sure I tell you that I was asked to try this cheese by Castello right up front.

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