Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam


One of my all time favorite ‘sammiches’ with Chevre, braised collards, ripe tomatoes, over-easy egg, and bacon jam. Good and messy!

Bacon…..Jam……Bacon.  Jam.  Bacon Jam! Yes, Bacon Jam. You heard me right. And yes, I’m drooling.  I bet you are too.  It’s a little sweet, a little salty, a little smoky, and a whole lotta magic.  I’ve had several variations of bacon jam and there are an infinite number of recipes on the Interwebs.  The variations are endless–some with brown sugar, espresso, or bourbon. Others with molasses, sorghum, or red chilies. Some include mustard or other spices. I’ve kept this one pretty simple so it can be used in a number of ways and the smoky bacon flavor stands out.  It’s truly a thing to behold for bacon lovers.  Your mind may want to have a slight spasm at the thought of bacon and sweets, but give it a go and I’m just about darn certain sure you’ll fall in love with it. Try it on fried eggs, BLTs, grilled cheese, or crostini. Or a spoon.  Or sneak out into the kitchen in the dead of night, under the pretenses of needing water of course, and just stick your finger right in the jar!

  • 1 pound bacon, cooked crisp, and cut into thin strips, fat reserved
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced thinly, and caramelized
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed, peeled, and minced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP black strap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary (so they don’t poke you in the mouth and ruin your jam experience)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Try cooking your bacon on a foil lined jelly roll sheet at 375 degrees on the middle rack. Flip once at about 10 or so minutes and then cook until crisp.

Caramelize your onions.  This is a long and boring process, so get a beverage of choice and a stool or chair.


Get your caramelized onions—they add great flavor to the jam and allow you to use less sugar than some other recipes.

After the onions are caramelized, add 1 TBSP bacon fat, garlic, the crumbled bacon, brown sugar, vinegar, and molasses.


Add your ingredients and let it cook into a delightfully gooey mess!

Stir to melt sugar and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add rosemary, lemon zest, and black pepper (mine didn’t need salt, but check yours as you go). Reduce to a low simmer and let it rip until it’s thick and gooey and coats the back of a spoon. For Pete’s sake, try not to eat it immediately as this stuff is like molten lava and will wreak havoc on the inside of your mouth.  You do want to be able to taste it later, so exercise your best restraint (or have your spouse, friend, or neighbor hold you back).


Look at that! You just licked the screen didn’t you?

Let the BACON JAM–yes, I feel I must scream the phrase because everyone on Planet Earth should know about it–cool for about 10 minutes.  Smooth it out a bit in a food processor or leave it good and chunky–it all depends on your preference or how you want to use the jam.  Your bacon jam is good in the fridge for about a week, but good luck with it lasting that long!


You can leave your bacon jam chunky or smooth it out a bit depending on your preference and what you decide to use the jam for (why everything, of course!).


My goodness, would ya look at that!? Put your bacon jam in a ball jar and you can carry it with you everywhere you go! Just kidding…you can however, stuff it in the back of the fridge for ‘safe keeping’. Enjoy!

Now, go to town. Have fun. Love your bacon jam!  Definitely play with your ingredients—maybe add some coffee, mustard, different herbs, maple syrup, or bourbon!

Caramelized Onions


See those caramelized onions? Ok, so the egg and greens are a bit distracting…Go to the left of the egg, sitting right on top of the greens, nestled on top of the toast rounds/goat cheese…yep, there they are! Trust me, your taste buds will not miss these guys!

Look at that beautiful egg–check those out (and SO much more!) at Wishbone Heritage Farms.  You won’t regret it!

Ok. I won’t lie to you. The process of caramelizing onions is a bit tedious. I mean, you have to cut up a ginormous amount of them, put ’em in a pan, stir them, give them more attention than I bestow on most folks, and waaaaiiiiitttt.  BUT, they are so worth it. They’re like little candied onions.  Tons of flavor and sweet. I almost can’t eat a pork loin without them. They’re great on a crostini with some goat cheese.  Or you can mix them in with soups or try ’em with your creamy grits. My husband almost knocked me down one day when we were racing for the last bit of fluffy scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Muenster cheese.  Luckily I practice my mental acuity games, thought on my feet, threw him a sharp elbow, and beat him to the pan.  Then guilt kicked in and I shared. Dang conscience.  Those caramelized onions would’ve been all mine! So, grab yourself a beverage of choice and a stool, park yourself in front of the stove, and make a huge batch so there’s enough to share and you don’t have to resort to childish shenanigans!

  • 6 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced and separated (any sweet onion will work; You can use others but may need to add a couple of pinches of sugar in the beginning)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • Optional: 1/2 cup Marsala or Sherry wine (dry or sweet is your preference, depending on your intended use)

Heat 1 TBSP oil over medium heat in a pan large enough to accommodate your onions. Many will tell you that there should be a single layer, but I don’t have a pan the size of Texas and it still works. So, after the oil is hot, place in your onions and give them a toss to coat.  If you’re using yellow or Spanish onions, add a couple of generous pinches of sugar here.  Those onions have less natural sugar and can be harder to caramelize.  Add the water to the pan and put on your lid (or some foil to capture steam).  Let the onions steam a bit to soften up. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.


Steam the onions a bit first to make their bulk a little more manageable. You’ll start with what seems like an insurmountable amount of onions and work your way down to a much smaller portion.

A golden brown or amber color on the edges is okay, black and charred is not tasty for this application.  After the onions are a more manageable size (maybe 10 minutes or so), remove the cover.  Remember that beverage and chair?  Use them—this is gonna take a bit. Make sure the softened onions are in as much contact with the pan as possible if they can’t be in a single layer at this point.


The onions are beginning to get their caramel on.

Every 5 minutes or so, check the color of the onions that are in contact with the pan by lifting up a few with a spatula. If they are that deep, golden brown (not burnt!), flip gently.  Try not to break the onion skins when stirring or flipping as it can make the end result a bit stringy in my opinion.  After flipping, get the onions situated in a single layer again, aaannndd wait. Keep checking and flipping as the color darkens.  You’ll have to be more attentive as time progresses in order to avoid burning the onions. It can happen fast, so watch your heat and the time between flipping. For a big batch, the whole process can take around 40 minutes.


This is about where I start wanting to pick at them because they smell so good! This is also the point where you can add flavorings like Marsala or Sherry or herbs like anise, rosemary, or black pepper. Try out herbs and flavorings that will complement your meal.

Depressingly, the vat of onions you started with condenses down, like the center of a black hole, to this super concentrated form of onion. They’re sweet and earthy and oniony at the same time.  Never fear onion haters (Shane!), it’s not that sharp onion flavor, but much more mellow–like a grilled onion. These guys will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week or so–but I promise they won’t be around that long!


Whew! You’re done! Delicious, flavorful caramelized onions. I promise you’ll start making up reasons to use these!!

Easy Chevre


Creamy, delicious goat cheese straight from the farm to your kitchen!

Ok. So I spend a lot of money on goat cheese. Probably more than one person should. I joke with my husband that one day he’ll come home to a couple of goats in the backyard. In reality I’m really not kidding all that much.  They probably wouldn’t cost much more than my goat cheese addiction.  And I might not have to mow the lawn anymore.  So, given my predilection for goat cheese…and lack of my own goats…I set off to make my own supply of goat cheese.  I set out with all the excitement and fervor any good chevre lover should have and immediately hit a roadblock. Goat’s milk can be difficult to find unless you know someone with goats. Luckily I found a farm down the road a piece that offers raw goat’s milk and in case of a major I-need-goat-cheese-now impatience, a local store that sells pasteurized goat milk  (not ultra-pasturized or homogenized).  First road block tackled!  Little did I know, a seemingly insurmountable number of roadblocks were to follow.

So, I’d like to say everything went swimmingly and making chevre was super duper easy. But, I’d also like to think that I’m pretty honest so I won’t lie to you. I had several failures.  Several starter cultures didn’t seem to work, the milk wouldn’t set to curd, the curd wasn’t hard enough to hold together, and the resultant cheese wasn’t quite dry enough. I nearly gave up, and then I quit trying so hard.  I put down my fancy schmancy artisanal cheese making book and turned to the ‘world wide interwebs’ (as my friend Drew likes to sarcastically call it) and Youtube.  I’m a firm believer in sharing knowledge, the legacy of non-professional knowledge, and that Youtube can indeed be used to learn things and is not just for watching some random dude smash his goods while attempting physics-challenged skateboarding tricks.  After a quick search, I found what seemed like a bazillion videos on making cheese. Being I had already read an entire book on making cheese, I watched a few and set to work.  Finally, fresh chevre. Perfect!

I actually used the same technique for the first step in making cottage cheese curds and then processed them like I would for most other soft or semi-soft spreadable cheeses in my repertoire.  Easiest, fastest, and super delicious. This recipe starts with 1/2 gallon and produces about 14 ounces of drier (like the store-bought kind) chevre.  The milk cost me about $8. So, for my fellow chevre addicts, this recipe gets you your fix for about 1/2 of the regular price per ounce.

Simple Chevre:

  • 1/2 gallon goats milk (raw or pasteurized)
  • 1/4 tsp veal rennet in 1 cup cold, non-chlorinated water (spring water)
  • 1 cup cultured buttermilk (must contain live cultures)–you can also use mesophilic cultures but I’ve never had luck with those
  • 1 tsp or so quality sea salt
  • any herbs you’d like mix into or press into the exterior of the set cheese
  • Stainless heavy bottomed pot with a smaller stainless pot that nests inside (helps to hold heat when you’re done)
  • Large stainless spoon
  • Instant read thermometer capable of measuring as low as 80 degrees
  • Stainless strainer
  • Butter muslin, double cheesecloth, or cut off white pillow case (from new; my favorite method)
  • kitchen twine

First, sterilize all of your non-reactive (stainless) materials. I run them through the dishwasher despite my fancy schmancy book stating I should soak them in a 10% bleach solution.  I’ve never died.  After all, people all over the world are making cheese  that don’t have access to bleach. That being said, I don’t dabble in long aged cheeses and I eat mine up pretty quickly.

Place your smaller pot with the 1/2 gallon of milk in it inside of your larger pot and fill the space in between the two with water (like a double boiler of sorts).  Place on low heat. Slowly heat the milk to 80 degrees.  This should take 15 or so minutes. Note that 80 degrees will not pasteurize raw milk, so if you’re afraid of bacteria or don’t know your raw milk supplier you may want to look into pasteurizing techniques.


Heat the goat’s milk to 80 degrees. Don’t mind the thermometer here…I was making yogurt which requires higher temperatures. The set-up is the same. Heavy pot, milk, thermometer or pot nestled in hot water bath and thermometer (I like the second choice better).

When the milk reaches 80 degrees (you don’t feel a chill when a very clean finger is inserted into it and yet it does not feel warmer than you), remove the pot from the burner. Add the 1 cup of live-culture buttermilk and stir, making sure it is well mixed, for 30 seconds or so. Next add the 1/4 tsp rennet dissolved in 1 cup of cold water and gently stir for 30 seconds, making very sure it is evenly distributed.  Put your lid on the pot with milk and put it in your oven. Turn on your oven light. Wait.


Prepare your strainer to get rid of excess whey–dampened butter muslin, two layers of cheesecloth, a tea towel, or a cut off white pillow case will work.

Now the waiting part seems to take forever so I like to do it while I’m sleeping.  You want to wait until you have a nicely congealed curd, like a very firm custard. You’ll see liquid in the pot with the curd–that’s whey (just like Ms. Muffet’s curds and whey). This process takes about 12 hours depending on cultures in the buttermilk, your milk source, and temperatures. When the firm curd has formed and the whey has separated, cut the curd.


Cut the curd.


Drain the curd to release excess whey.


Gather up your material, tie it off, and hang from the kitchen cabinet over a bowl (to catch the whey).

After the curd is cut, gently spoon it into your butter muslin/cheesecloth/pillow case-lined strainer. Let it drain the whey for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the curd with about 1/2 tsp salt and mix it in well.  Gather up the edges of your material, encasing every bit of curd in the material, and gently twist to drain more whey.  Tie up the top of the material securely and hang your bag ‘o cheese curds from an upper kitchen cabinet knob, placing a bowl beneath it to catch the whey. Wait again. To get spreadable goat cheese, you may only have to wait 6 or so hours. For a drier one like you’d buy in the store, I usually have to wait about 12 or as much as 24 hours. Trust me, it is so worth it.  If this freaks you out, hand it in the same manner in your fridge. Again, I’ve never gotten sick, the good bacteria do their job, and the end result is more tangy.


Voila! Homemade goat cheese!


Look at that! You just made some taaassteee goat’s cheese!

Once the cheese has reached the desired consistency, remove it from the material and press into any bowl that has a good shape. Refrigerate. Once it is good and cold you can pop it out of the bowl and sprinkle it with any herbs.  Garlic, rosemary, fennel, dill, cracked pepper, and/or sun-dried tomatoes work well and I use various combinations of them often.  You could mix herbs in before you put the cheese in your makeshift mold if you’d like.  My cheese generally never makes it the stage of being put into a mold.  And frankly, I’ve never shared it so I’ve had no need to make it pretty. You’d probably draw back a bloody nub if you got your hands a little too close to my, I mean, this cheese.  Hey, I told you I had an addiction to chevre!


Zucchini Crust Pizza


perfect pizza with no wheat-laden guilt!

So, it’s not that I don’t love regular pizza crust. Unfortunately wheat, in large amounts, does not agree with me (I don’t have Celiac, but a fructose intolerance makes the fructan in wheat a doozy!). I used to get a serious pizza nosh on but the joint and muscle pain the next morning sent me searching for an alternative. I tried several cauliflower crusts but there was just too much, well, cauliflower flavor. Knowing the key to making crusts or crackers out of vegetables was that the vegetable had to be one where much of the natural juices could be drawn out got me to thinking about zucchini. We already used zucchini as a fairly flavor neutral noodle substitute, so I figured it would work with a pizza crust too. With a little fooling around I finally found a mixture that enabled me to pick up the pizza but wasn’t too quichy. It also holds together pretty well to have leftovers the next day (albeit it’s a little less firm). It even passed the Grumpy Kevin/husband test. Winner! It’s even perfect for those Paleoers that eat dairy and eggs.

For the crust:

  • 4 medium organic zucchini (wash thoroughly and peel if not organic)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, etc.)–can be reduced to 1/4 cup in pinch
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3 TBSP almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Feel free to add other spices according to your toppings, like basil, onion, rosemary, oregano, etc.

For the sauce: (This makes a large batch, so freeze it up in smaller servings and you’re ready to go for next time!)

  • 28 oz stewed tomatoes (boxed, organic if possible to avoid BPAs)
  • 10 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 shallot or 1/4 onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled, mashed, and minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper and salt to taste


Go wild. Anything you’d put on normal pizza!

  • blanched brussel sprout leaves
  • prosciutto
  • parmesan, Asiago, chevre, feta, mozzarella cheese
  • mushrooms
  • sliced tomato
  • greens (arugula, watercress)
  • Cooked meats

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, and let simmer, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven.

Finely shred the zucchini, place in a colander lined with cheesecloth, and sprinkle with the salt. Toss and let sit 10 minutes. Wrap up the end of the cheesecloth (or thin dishtowel), twist, and squeeze out all of the juice you can muster. Alternatively, you can squeeze with your hands, but you’ll get more juice out with the cheesecloth/towel method.

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Finely Shredded zucchini sprinkled with salt allows juices to be drawn out so the crust doesn’t fall apart when picked up


Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze out as much juice as you can.

In a bowl, mix the zucchini, cheese, eggs, almond flour, and baking powder. Mix well.

Spread the zucchini mixture on a parchment lined cookie sheet and pop in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cut the pizza crust ‘sheet’ into more manageable squares (I usually do 8) and gently flip them over. Return to the oven for 20 minutes.


Cook the crust until it begins to brown on the top, about 30 minutes.


Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the crust into more manageable pieces (usually 8 for a whole cookie sheet). Flip over gently.

Top with sauce and desired toppings and cook briefly to melt topping cheese.  Alternatively use pesto or brush the crust with other oils instead of sauce (olive oil, basil oil, walnut oil, etc.).


Holy sausage, mushroom, and blanched brussel sprout pizza!


Tomato, mozzarella, and spinach tossed in a citrus vinaigrette!


Tomato, arugula, watercress, and mozzarella or chevre toppings. Delish!

Perfecto! Pizza sans guilt! Bonus…loads of antioxidants, vitamins, and no wheat induced trauma! Nosh on people, nosh on!

Best Beet Pickled Eggs


Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs

Grumpy Kevin and I first had a version of these eggs in Portland, OR at Gruner, a fantastic German restaurant. If you’re ever in the area, you should stop by as it is truly a delightful place. Beet-pickles eggs are popular in Pennsylvania Dutch country and a beetless variety can be found in pubs. We were head-over-heels with Gruner’s version of these eggs, beet-pickled, then deviled, with what we think was the tiniest horseradish shavings on top. The contrasting pink and yellow was striking and the taste was out of this world. I have been searching through recipes ever since! After reading dozens of recipes, I decided to take the plunge, combining a bit of all of them, and the result was fantastic! I kept the beets on the firm side so there was a little toothiness to contrast the soft egg and I used red onions to provide a little heat (like the horseradish).  These make a great snack (make sure to get a bite of egg, beet, and onion together!) or are an excellent accompaniment to a salad.

  • 1 dozen eggs, boiled, peeled
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 TBSP sugar (try substituting honey, beet sugar, or coconut sugar)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 gallon ball jar or other large container
  • 1 pound beets, peeled, sliced thinly, and boiled in just enough water to cover (reserve water)
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced

slice your beets thin, about a quarter of an inch


red onions and plenty of garlic add a little heat


a dozen eggs should do it…fresh eggs will be a bit harder to peel but the flavor is well worth the trouble

For farm fresh eggs in the greater Charleston area, try Wishbone Heritage Farms!

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorn, garlic, and bay leaf in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stir to melt sugar, reduce and simmer for about 5 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes and add dill.


combine the pickling spices, bring to a boil to melt the sugar, and let it cool before adding the dill

Layer eggs, beets, and onion in your container


layer the eggs, beets, and onions

Pour over the vinegar mixture. Add the reserved beet juice to cover.


Pour the spiced brine over the layered eggs. What a color!


It’s hard to wait for them to pickle!

Let sit until cool, about 1 hour, uncovered on the counter. Place lid and refrigerate at least 6 hours.  Eggs and beets will keep for 1 week.  The longer they sit, the more pink they will become and the further the pink penetrates the egg. So if you want just a pink ring when they are cut open, go with a shorter pickling time.

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Seriously, you can’t ask for a more beautiful egg! This would be perfect for Easter, luncheons, teas, or just a great snack!


Devil the yolks and grab a bite of the egg, beet, and onion. Delish! Try adding grated horseradish, wasabi powder, or some spicy dry mustard for variations. A bit of turmeric can make the yolk even more yellow when deviling.


Just perfect on a salad with a slightly sweeter vinaigrette. Not bad to look at either!