Hope to see you next week!
Hope to see you next week!
We need to talk about Bacon. About dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon. Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. Tater tots wrapped in bacon. Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon. Meatballs stuffed with jalapeno Havarti cheese wrapped in bacon. Cake…you guessed it…wrapped in bacon.
And those are just things wrapped in bacon. There are also crackers made with cheese and bacon, topped with delicate prawns. There are Hungarian biscuits made with butter and bacon. Balls of cream cheese rolled in bacon bits. Tiny maple bacon tarts. Quiche with bacon. Creamy bacon dip. Yams with bacon. Bacon bombs. We’re talking literal explosions of BACON.
We haven’t even touched on the facon. Bacon that isn’t bacon. Because it’s facon. Infused with coconut mystery and embedded in cornbread and macaroni cheese.
In the nearly five years of running this fabulous group (Summerland Bakers’ 5th anniversary is coming up at the end of April – should we have a party?), I continue to be awed by our collective culinary creativity. Thank you to everyone who answered the call of BACON, and to the glorious Lisa and the Summerland Waterfront Resort for once again hosting our giant January potluck. Before I begin with the photos, SAVE THE DATE for our upcoming gathering:
Onward with the photos! There are several dishes that I’ve missed. When there are more than 20 of us at a meetup I get a little sensually overwhelmed and struggle to maintain focus.
Confession: I ate cookies for breakfast for three days in a row following our annual cookie swap. I feel no shame, for they were delicious. I have more in the freezer that I’m trying to save until July. I want to eat Christmas cookies in July, with an iced coffee. They say it’s good to set goals for yourself. Time will tell if this one is unrealistic.
I’m going to play a game of “were these your cookies?” with my photo collection. Lisa (hostess extraordinaire – thank you!) made a list of who made what, but sometimes I can’t tell my ginger cookies from my ginger crackle cookies. Forgive me if I get a few wrong or if I’ve missed some. You know how distracted I get around all the food. Look at this wonderful group! A huge welcome to our newest baking club foodies.
Before I begin with the cookie photos, Save The Date for January 11th, also known as The Epic Summerland BACON Potluck. The glorious folks at the Summerland Waterfront Resort will once again be hosting us. Start thinking of dishes that feature BACON in some way. For those who are vegetarian or who just want to try something new, “facon” is also welcome. We’ll meet at 6pm and start the whip-round at 6.30. We may try a film again, in this case Footloose, staring Kevin BACON.
To the cookies!
We certainly ate in style last month, hosted by the wonderful Peter and Dorthea in their home. In honour of Peter’s impressive book collection, our theme was “The author’s favuorite dish.” Like all our meetups, there was no telling what people would come up with. We had everything from Shakespeare to a cake made with Hemingway-inspired rum-soaked raisins.
Wendy even went so far as to write her own poem, which I love.
A literary theme, my brain went dead.
Compared to this group, few books I have read.
I looked at my cookbooks, I went online,
that perfect dish, I could not find.
I gazed at my pantry and what did I see,
my friend “Betty Crocker” jumped out at me.
Inspiration then struck me, as I grabbed me some booze
And I whipped up a Rum Cake for this culinary crew
I guess I’m an author, I wrote this silly poem
So enjoy this cake here
and please take some home!
Behold, the cake. I think this has been my favourite post-meetup breakfast cake so far.
Sticking with rum, it was Lory who saluted Hemingway with the rum raisins in her German Apple Cake.
Our new member Gina made beautifully gnarled Witches Fingers, in honour of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Dorthea chose an author closer to home for her flourless chocolate cake – Peter! Along being a long time lover of books, Peter has authored 10 of his own. He even has his own Wikipedia page.
As a financial advisor, it’s not surprising that Chantelle would take inspiration from books about finance and budget. The idea for her Double Chocolate Peppermint Bark was taken from a book that included tips on holiday entertaining on a budget. Simple yet decadent – how can it get better?
Sticking to her British roots, Tracy made Pork in Cider, inspired by Christopher Fry. I loved this dish and had two helpings.
Jean’s Mini Shepherds Pies were inspired by her love of Scottish literature. I love piped mashed potatoes!
The heart squeeze moment of the night for me was how Lisa honoured her friend, author Richard Wagamese, by making his favourite snack to have when he was writing – apples and sharp cheddar.
My beef stroganoff was inspired by Summerland’s own Don Gayton. In Okanagan Odyssey, Don writes about how he enjoys taking the idea of wine and food pairing one step further by including a good book to read at the table. I brought the stroganoff and Don brought the shiraz and the copy of The Tree of Man by Patrick White. Shameless author plug – check out Don’s new blog!
Finally, in keeping with blogging tradition, I neglected to get a photo of the Pumpkin Cheesecake. I’m sorry, maker of the cheesecake! Stephen King loves cheesecake and this one had a pumpkin twist for Halloween.
Thanks again to Peter and Dorthea for hosting us, and to everyone who got creative and came out to eat and visit and eat some more.
On Wednesday, December 13th we’ll be meeting at Lisa’s for our annual Cookie Swap. Also, few of us lingered back after the author meetup and came up with the theme for January – BACON! Date and more info to be announced!
I’m once again struggling to keep up with things. Please save the date for our October meetup.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the old post office in September for our “Harvest-tastic” meetup. My ability to be funny and witty is at a deep low, so please forgive me if I just post the photos below without my usual descriptions. I shall start with Val’s epic Okanagan charcuterie board.
We ate, we laughed, we ate some more, we swam/bobbed around the pool in our lavish fullness!
Our 3rd annual two-bite appie and pool party was another resounding success, with all manner of deliciousness to devour. Huge thank you to Lisa for hosting us again!
Our next meetup will land around the 3rd week of September. Who is up for Harvest Showstopper?
In the meantime, let’s relive the glory of August. Starting with the two dishes for which I have recipes to share!
Fougasse is a type of bread mostly associated with Provence and is often slashed or sculpted to resemble and ear of wheat. One thing is for sure – Jean is far braver with bread than I am. And what a result!
Grease a large container with a little olive oil. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of Kitchen Aid(don’t put yeast on top of the salt) Add olive oil and 3/4 of the water. Mix on low. As the dough starts to come together add the remaining water, very slowly.Add herbs and continue to mix. This is a tough dough and need a lot of work. Add a little more olive oil to loosen it a bit.
Put dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down.
Tip dough out onto counter(greased with some more olive oil) Divide dough in half.
Roll out 1st piece into an oval-shape to cover your baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, make 2 consecutive cuts down the middle. Now cut 6 diagonal cuts(6 on each side) of the centre cut, forming a leaf design, the stretch the dough out slightly to emphasize the holes. Cover and alow to rise again about 20 minutes. Preheat oven 450′ . Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with the other dried oregano. Bake 15-20 minutes until fougasse sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Remove from oven and while still hot, brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt.(I also put a pan of hot water in the oven under the bread-creates a little steam)
Janice’s Shrimp Dip (with cucamelons!)
According to Wikipedia, the Cucamelon (or Melothria scabra if you really want to get into it) is a vine grown for its edible fruit. Fruit are about the size of grapes and taste like cucumbers with a tinge of sourness. They’re so adorable. There is no better name for them than the one they already have. And the shrimp dip emerged perfectly from the mold and looked so elegant before we decimated it with our cracker spoons.
Heat soup and dissolve gelatin, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly, then put in mixer with cream cheese and mayonnaise. Mix in the shrimp, celery and onion by hand. Pour into a greased mold to set in the fridge, then unmold to serve with crackers.
That’s all the treats! We’re really rather splendid, I think. I didn’t manage to get a good photo of Margaux this time, but Lisa & Harry’s home is now resplendent with this artwork inspired by the glorious mini fur nugget that I adore. So I shall leave you with “Chapeau Margaux” in all its loveliness.
This month I learned that sangria goes with everything. Thank you Tracy – what a way to welcome summer.
Our theme was Western and in true baking club fashion, we gave it the old yee haw. There were two baked bean dishes, both slow cooker style (all those tender hours on low heat). Think of rich, tangy sauce, the flavour equivalent of a heavyweight boxer light who is on his feet.
In the salad realm, there were three. We decimated the entire bowl of spicy coleslaw. In goes without saying that creamy coleslaw next to baked beans is a glorious thing. I was initially suspicious of the kale salad (I’m always suspicious of kale – it’s just a built-in thing with me). But I I really liked it. Never underestimate the power of feta cheese and a zingy dressing. The Texas Caviar was resplendent in anti-oxidant-rich veggies, and added the necessary additional crunch for overall mouth-feel awesomeness.The bready things were paired with the saucy and salady things. We lavishly dipped the jalapeño & cheddar cornbread and the bannock made with BACON.
There were two kinds cookies. One kind was so decadent with rich ingredients, the dough had defeated a Kitchenaid and had to be mixed by hand. The other cookies were so gooey with chocolate, they inadvertently caused the eater to take time out for gentle reflection, just letting the mind wander on the silky softness of cookie bliss.And there was sangria and delicious white wine and lovely company and meeting new friends and the stunning view of Giant’s Head Mountain from Tracy’s porch.
So yeah. Just the usual baking club routine. Recipes next time and more of the same extravagance at Lisa’s August 3 for the two-bite appies and pool party.