I made this for my Project Food Blog ‘Luxury Dinner Party’ and it was a HIT! I know the combination might seem a bit weird for some, but believe me when I tell you it’s totally delicious!! Hubby and I first tried this at the Dallas State Fair, of all places (weird, right?) about 4 years ago. There was a local chef there doing a cooking demonstration and this was the dish she made for us. When it came time to taste it, I took a sample, only because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings- but the truth was, I hated onions and wasn’t eager to try this at ALL. Finally I decided to get over my childishness and just go for it- thank goodness I did, because I discovered a winner of a recipe that day. There’s something about the tartness of the cranberries that pairs so well with the bacon and sweet caramelized onions. And the gorgonzola adds just a hint of extra flavor- it’s SO amazing!! This would be a perfect dish to add to your Thanksgiving table this year!

Needless to say, this was an enormous hit at my dinner party the other night- and since posting pictures from my party, this is the recipe everyone can’t wait to get their hands on. Well here it is, folks: a delicious Caramelized Onion-Cranberry Tart with Bacon and Gorgonzola – enjoy!!

Caramelized Onion-Cranberry Tart with Bacon and Gorgonzola
-Kathleen’s Sky Diner in Dallas, TX

For the crust:
1 cup flour
2/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
1 tablespoon milk

In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients; add butter until ingredients are the size of small peas. Add milk and pulse just until dough comes together in a ball. Do not overprices.
Press dough into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom until even and smooth. Prick crust with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Bake chilled crust at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Make filling.

Filling:
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 small-medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen- if frozen, don’t worry about thawing)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (blue cheese would work as well)

In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and pour off all but 3 tablespoons of fat. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, until soft and caramelized. Add cranberries and sugar and continue to cook on low heat until cranberries begin to ‘pop’ (they will literally pop in the pan!); season with salt and pepper; add the bacon back in and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk eggs and heavy cream together until smooth. Place the onion/cranberry mixture in the bottom of the cooked crust, crumble the gorgonzola on top, then pour the egg mixture last. Bake tart at 350 degrees until golden brown and center is set, about 20-30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

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Quickie Post: Pineapple Rice…

This is a really useful recipe to have around. Not only does it pair well with the quesadillas I made the other night, it goes great with grilled fish, chicken, pork chops….almost anything! The pineapple flavor is just delicious and adds a great sweetness to the rice. It’s amazingly simple and comes together in about 10 minutes. I make it all the time!

Pineapple Rice
1 cup quick cooking rice (I like brown)
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
1/2 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
salt, to taste
slivered almonds
cilantro

In a medium-sized pot, boil the chicken broth and add the rice. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Add the salt, chopped pineapple, pepper, almonds and cilantro. Stir and let sit for a couple more minutes before serving.
*Additionally you can also add a little soy sauce or in my case, lime Ponzu.

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BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos…

My mom made these for our 4th of July party. They’re insanely good. So good I was lying in bed around midnight that night wishing I had another one. I’m not sure what else to say here- those are the cold hard facts. Make these. Make them soon.

BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos

20 fresh jalapenos, cut in half and seeded
2 blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, cut into thirds
BBQ sauce
toothpicks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Spread some of the cheese mixture in each jalapeno half. Wrap each piece with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Brush with BBQ sauce, and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bacon is nicely browned.

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Quick and Easy Pickles…

I love all things tangy, briny, or “vinegary”. My favorite flavor of potato chip is hands down, Salt and Vinegar (YUM!). So of course, I love to make my own “pickles”- however, these probably can’t really be considered real pickles. They’re more like quick pickles. Let’s call them “Quickles”. Hehehe…quickles….. Anyway, anytime I go to the Dallas Farmer’s Market, I always linger over the short little pickle-sized cucumbers and think, “I could SO make my own pickles”. But I never do and still never have, really. Someday, though, I promise, I’m going to dive head-first into this whole pickling thing- pickles, beets, okra, you name it! Until then, these “quickles” will have to do.

Basically, I slice cucumbers (any size will do, but these little ones work perfectly!), throw them in with some vinegar, water, salt, sugar, pepper and dill; let them sit in the fridge for awhile and voila! Quickles! You can add in anything you want, really- garlic, cayenne pepper…the possibilities are endless! I like mine extra “puckery” so I use plenty of vinegar, but you can use less if you like a more mild pickle. These measurements are just approximations, as I just throw everything in without measuring, so think of them more as “guidelines”.

Quick and Easy “Pickles” (or Quickles!)

10-12 small pickle-sized cucumbers, cut into thick slices
1/2 – 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons dill (fresh or dried)
1 – 2 teaspoons salt (depending on how salty you like them)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Check for seasoning. Make sure all the cucumbers are covered by the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve cold.

*I should mention that these small cucumbers are delicious by themselves with just a little salt and pepper – a great side dish!

And now onto more important matters- the winner of the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Cookbook! And the winner is…………

Congrats, Jen! And thank you to everyone for your sweet comments! I’m so lucky to have such wonderful readers!!!

*On a separate note: if any of you are having issues with my blog not loading…please be patient- hubby is working on it. Once again, (it seems like this stuff never ends!) thanks to Go Daddy.com, we’re having server issues. Sometimes it kinda sucks hosting your own site……

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Quickie Post: A-1 Potatoes…

Pretty much everyone in my family or close circle of friends is well aware of my undying love for A-1 Sauce. I could eat it on just about anything…seriously. Growing up, anytime my dad would grill steaks, I would literally pour almost half a bottle of it all over my plate (including my baked potato) – over the years he learned not to be offended at me drowning his steaks in A-1; it’s not personal – it’s just what I do. :-) To this day, my favorite thing to eat A-1 on is my baked potato – I don’t eat one without it. Which is how I arrived at these. I was making sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches (coming soon) and wanted to make my yummy Southwestern Potatoes for a side dish, only I discovered I had no barbeque sauce. I noticed a bottle of A-1 in the fridge and thought about how much I love A-1 on my baked potatoes…so why not try it on these? Bullseye! These were SO good (even though, judging by the picture, they don’t look so appetizing…). We both gobbled these up in no time; and I can definitely say, I’ll be making these again soon.

A-1 Potatoes

2 unpeeled large potatoes, scrubbed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup A-1 Sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 sour cream, optional (for dipping)

Line a large baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Toss the potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper in a big ziploc bag to coat the potatoes. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Brush with A-1 Sauce, then top with the shredded cheese. Bake until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes. Top with sour cream, if desired.

*You want to go easy on the salt, since the A-1 already has so much salt in it.

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Extra Devilish Deviled Eggs…

What picnic, barbeque or 4th of July party would be complete without deviled eggs?? It just wouldn’t be right to have barbecued chicken and not have deviled eggs with it. I seriously love deviled eggs. I stuff my face with them whenever they show up to a party, and I make them every chance I get. Yummmmmmm. Recently, at Easter dinner, my Uncle Steve (who is an amazing cook – his food is to die for!) was in charge of the deviled eggs. Not only did he bring the deviled eggs – he brought Jalapeno deviled eggs, with chopped, fresh Jalapenos mixed right in. SO GOOD! They were gone in seconds! I know it sounds simple, but even a small change like adding a little jalapeno made these so amazingly good – they’ve stuck with me since then, and I set out to make some of my own!

I wasn’t able to find out exactly how Uncle Steve made them, because the same night I was making them, he somehow managed to break a rib -I didn’t think it would be the best idea to call about deviled eggs when the man had a broken rib…call me crazy… So I just decided to wing it. I ended up just making them the way I normally do, but then adding a handful of fresh jalapeno. I don’t know if he did that or not, but oh well – these were delicious!

Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
(*makes enough for 2)

*Reminder: when I make stuff like this, I don’t measure, so all of these measurements are approximations. If you like more, add more; if you like less, add less! It’s all about personal taste, here!

4-5 large eggs, hard boiled
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (you can use the real stuff or Miracle Whip…whatever you like)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
splash of white vinegar
small handful of finely chopped dill pickle
handful of chopped fresh Jalapeno pepper
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
paprika for garnish
*I like to keep some pickle juice handy just in case it’s too thick at the end- then I thin it out with the pickle juice

Slice the eggs in half length-wise and scoop the yolks out into a small bowl. Set the white aside. Mix in all other ingredients with the yolks and mash it all together, making sure to get rid of all the lumps. Taste for seasoning/texture and add extra mix-ins (ex: mayo, pickle juice, salt, etc) if needed. Scoop a small amount into each egg white and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle eggs with paprika. Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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