Bakin’ Package Giveaway, Free Books and Recipes!

Bakin’ Package Giveaway!

I’ve been wanting to do a giveaway for a very long time, but I didn’t know how! Some quick reading suggests that the rules/laws are somewhat complicated, plus I didn’t know what to give away!

I finally decided it was time to throw a stake in the ground and alerted my Facebook page that I was going to be doing a giveaway, that I didn’t really know how, but that by telling them I’d be doing one, I’d be forced to do one! I LOVE using self-sabotage as a motivational tactic!

I wanted the whole thing to be fun, so I came up with two different package ideas and asked people to vote for their preference, knowing in my heart of hearts that bacon will win. Bacon ALWAYS wins!

Here are the two package ideas I presented. Each worth about $100.00 USD. Check them out. People really seemed to get a kick out of them!

Door #1: BACON Package

Door #2: BAKIN’ Package

In the end … 68% of all voters … voted for the Bakin’ Package! Bacon lovers everywhere are still in denial. The main reason given, “I can get bacon anywhere, but the Bakin’ package has things I can’t usually find in my area … plus it’s just the more practical choice.” Bacon lovers everywhere maintain a deep sense of denial.

The giveaway officially starts today and will run until midnight, on September 30th, where the winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email. I’m excited!!

Coming Soon!

Mock Danish

Banana Bread

Thai Pumpkin Custard

Free Books!

I give a micro review for a free eBook on my Facebook page, just about every single day. More often than not, I link to two or three throughout the course of a day. Here are two which are available TODAY ONLY! They’re eBooks for a Kindle, but that doesn’t mean you need a Kindle to read them. Just download the free Kindle App, and you can read these eBooks on your various devices. I read them on my Samsung Tablet and also on my computer.

Rememberthese are only free for the next 24 hours. Get ’em now!

Cauliflower: The Other White Vegetable

Do you need more ways to cook the Faux-tato? I can always use some fresh ideas & inspiration! Here we have a few classics, but also some new ideas. No pictures or nutrition, but if you ignore the low-fat dairy suggestions and the black beans, the other 29 recipes are perfect, as is!

Free eBook –>
Free in the UK –>
Free Kindle App –>

The 12 Essential Low Carb Cooking Skills

Here’s kind of a fun one, for a variety of reasons. First, I love how it was conceived. It’s a Father/Son effort. Based on the reading, the SON was the one who started writing eBooks, about other things. Discovering that this was a method that worked for him, he convinced his father, a self-taught amateur chef and low-carber, to put his thoughts and tricks into an eBook. The son assumed the father would throw a few recipes into his word processor and call it a day. Instead, the father POURED his heart and soul into a massive book filled with all manner of tips and recipes.

I love this book, simply because of what it is and how it came to be. I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of it, but that’s because of my stuffy training that makes it a challenge for me to see things any other way, some of the time. It’s true. I can be a bit stubborn. The sincerity behind this book is what really wins me over, even though a lot of ingredients are in use, that I’d never suggest a low-carber use.

Some of those ingredients are: Pretty much all beans, sweet Thai chili sauce, Mirin, rice, flour, panko, etc. The author makes it clear that these are used sparingly and respectfully. While I believe that to be true, and probably a good argument, I also believe alternatives are available which are just as good and far more healthy. Using some of these ingredients undermines a lot of the effort, in my opinion.

* AHEM *

In any event, this gentleman REALLY goes into just about everything he knows! It’s written in somewhat of a stream-of- consciousness manner, which makes it a bit of a challenge, from a reference standpoint, but it REALLY brings out the gentleman’s charm.

This book REALLY sizzles! He covers just about everything any home cook could want to know, from storing spices and oils, to pan selection, stocking a kitchen with food AND equipment, etc. It’s very thorough.

He introduces a lot of culinary “foundation” techniques, which truly are the basis for most things. There are some core competencies that exist in a kitchen. If you master those … you can pretty much cook anything! He covers most of them, without getting too deep. I love the overview, though.

Then … the recipes! The man spans the globe, using a wide variety of ingredients, from a worldly grocery list. CLEARLY the man loves to cook! He offers up 49 tantalizing recipes! Some break my personal rule of “10 net carbs or less”, but … thankfully, all the nutritional information is there for you to form your own choices!

A fun, informative and fantastic read; definitely recommended! There are techniques that you’ve hopefully picked up from hanging around this place to help you lower the carbs in some of this gentleman’s recipes. Remember … a recipe is only a guide!

In this book … you’ll learn quite a bit about running around a kitchen, to be sure!

12 Cooking Skills –>
12 Cooking Skills (UK) –>
Free Kindle App –>

Ok … that’s all the news that fit to print! I hope y’all enjoy the giveaway!

We’ll speak soon!

~ DJ

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef HashCorned Beef Hash is sort of a weird one, for me. I grew up on this stuff, but … not in a good way, exactly. My mother would buy cans of it, pop the cans, plop out the cylindrically shaped meat-n-potato blobs and fry them up for dinner! I remember hating it, as a kid, even though I think I might have secretly loved it. I’m not totally clear on my childhood feelings of the stuff, even though I do remember that they were strongly held!

My father, I believe, DID love the stuff! Someone, somewhere liked to fry it up, then fry and egg and slide that on top of the fried meat-n-potato pile and eat it. I also have fairly strong memories of that! … but am not entirely certain that it was my father.

Point being, I was introduced to Corned Beef Hash, with a fried egg, at a VERY young age. Something about canned meat and the sound it makes as it jiggles out of the can … just makes my bones quiver.

THIS stuff, on the other hand … PURE UNADULTERATED AWESOME!

When I was younger, I worked at a grocery store deli. We sold Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. The guys that would come in, check for freshness, train us, etc. were just top notch people. Even the truck they used to deliver the meats in were fun, interesting and a big part of that Boar’s Head experience. I KNEW that if I went to a deli selling Boar’s Head that I could get some nice thick slices, straight from the slicer! I stepped up to the counter and asked for one and a half pounds of 1st Cut Cooked Corned Beef Brisket, cut into 1/2-inch slices. I took that home and cut perfect little cubes out of it.

I then did the same with a mixture of carrots, bell pepper, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and herbs! I fried the veggies up with the corned beef, slapped a fried egg on it and yelled, “Breakfast!” at no one in particular.



Green Beans, Asparagus and Heartichoke Salad

Green Beans, Asparagus and Heartichoke SaladThis is a fun little salad or side dish. It’s very basic in its ingredients, but has AMAZING flavors! When I first thought of the idea, I called it “Green Things Salad”, in my mind. I’m not quite sure why, as a “Green Thing” to me is usually parsley or some other kind of herb, of which this DOES have some oregano, but it’s not an overly herby salad. It’s really just a well cooked blend of asparagus, green beans and artichoke hearts!

Here’s where the tricky part comes in … the method of cutting the asparagus and beans. This is TOTALLY optional, but it DOES make a bit of a difference in the taste and texture of the recipe. Give it a shot if you’ve got an extra 10 minutes to kill.

The idea is to cut the beans and asparagus “on the bias“. Imagine an asparagus stalk. Rather than cutting it STRAIGHT DOWN, turn the stalk 45 degrees and cut every 1/4-inch, or so. You’ll wind up with little diamond shaped pieces of asparagus. Kinda fun! Now, imagine doing an even more exaggerated version of that! Turn it about 80 degrees, and cut about every 2 millimeters. This should result in long thin strips of asparagus! If you do the same thing with the green beans, you’ve got something thin, attractive, a bit different and something eager to be coated with a simple lemon-herb dressing!

However, before we do that, let’s give it a quickie blanch and shock (boil in salted water, then plunge into ice water). This will allow it some level of crisp and flavorful vibrancy, but without it having that overwhelming RAW raw flavor.

Once they’ve chilled down, we’ll add some capers, toasted pine nuts, a bit of chopped fresh oregano and … marinated heartichokes!

SUCH a lovely little salad. Serve as a side, or even bring a big batch to your next pot luck!

Alternate Note: As I said, the cutting method is optional. If you were to snap the fibrous bottom 2 or 3 inches off of each spear, then blanch and shock the beans and spears, whole, you’ll STILL have an quite tasty salad, but it’ll be a bit more rustic and the dressing will coat a little less actual surface area, permeating the dish a little less. STILL an awesome salad, but … just a bit different. I kept this vegan, but … obviously, this would be delicious topped with some freshly crumbled bacon strips and shaved parmesan!


Black Olive Tapenade

Black Olive TapenadeI love my job! Olive Tapenade (Pronounced: Toppin-odd) was little more than a coarsely pureed mixture of olives, capers and other odds and ends. The fun and flavors really play into the “odds and ends” aspect of that particular mélange. This salty and lightly acidic concoction is usually used as a dip or spread, but is also great as a stuffing within a pork tenderloin or rubbed beneath the skin of a soon-to-be-roasted chicken. A very versatile recipe, this stuff is fantastic as-is, or as a part of a much bigger plan!

What I DIDN’T know … was the history! This is where loving my job really comes in. I love to read and research these ideas. Obviously, the idea of smooshed olives goes way back, but … the first known documented recipe for “tapenade” is about 2000 years old!

The word “Tapenade” is actually from the Provenà §al word for “capers”, but was deeply seeded in roman cuisine, long before it was named … even before the existence of the French language!

I’ve never seen a tapenade without olives. It does seem as if olives are a requirement, as well as capers (due to the name). Beyond that, common additions are anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, various herbs, nuts and/or citrus. It’s also made through a variety of methods. Chopping, pounding, pestled, pureed, etc. As a result, some tapenades are smooth and silky, like a sauce, and others are incredibly crude, rustic and multi-colored. Near as I can tell … there is no one “right way” … just mix and match the colors, textures, flavors and methods that suit your task and … enjoy your olive-caper blend!

In my case, I went somewhat thick and rustic, with the addition of nuts … for no particular reason other than that I just like it that way!

Note: Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Serving size is guestimated at about 2 tbsp.


Green Beans with Tapenade

Green Beans with TapenadeHere’s a quick and easy side dish, but one FILLED with flavor and a touch of elegance. The concept is simple … green beans tossed with black olive tapenade!

Because of the way my recipes are formatted, some of the time, especially in cases like this, where the recipe is just so karnfalootin’ simple, I really struggle to come up with enough nonsense to put into this spot, so that my recipe draws properly, leaves enough room for the buttons, etc. THIS is just such an occasion!

So … rather than get bogged down in green bean facts and history … I’m going to tell a joke. It’s not a very good joke, but … it’s just good enough, and large enough, to take up the room I need!

* Ahem *

Where did the green bean go to have a few drinks? THE SALAD BAR!

(I’m going to go hide, now)


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