Candied Bacon

Serve this sweet and savory candied bacon as standalone finger food or use it to gussy up other appetizers.


  • 1/4 cup rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 thick bacon slices
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine rosemary, brown sugar, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge bacon slices in mix shaking off excess. Place half of bacon in a single layer on a lightly greased wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Repeat procedure with remaining bacon, on a separate pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until browned and crisp. Towards last 10 minutes of browning, drizzle maple syrup over bacon and finish in oven.

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  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dashi or water, cold or at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 pound cabbage, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 8 ounces fresh pork belly, thinly sliced


  • Okonomiyaki sauce
  • Kewpie or other mayonnaise
  • aonori (powdered nori seaweed)
  • dried, shaved bonito (katsuobushi)


  1. To make the batter, mix together the flour, dashi, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the cabbage to the batter and mix well for at least 30 seconds, until all the cabbage is coated. Add the eggs and mix, lightly this time, for about 15 seconds, or until the eggs are just combined with the cabbage.
  2. Preheat a nonstick or cast-iron skillet for at least 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, making sure to coat the entire surface of the skillet. Cook the okonomiyaki in batches. Spoon the cabbage and batter mixture into the skillet to form a pancake about 6 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. Don’t push down on the cabbage; you want a fluffy pancake. Gently lay about one-fourth of the pork belly slices on top of the pancake, trying not to overlap.
  3. Cook the pancake for about 3 minutes. Use a long spatula (a fish spatula is ideal) to carefully flip the pancake, so the side with the pork belly is now facing down. Gently press down on the pancake with the spatula (don’t push too hard, you don’t want batter spilling from the sides).
  4. Cook for about 5 more minutes, then flip the pancake again, so the side with the pork belly is now facing up. (If the okonomiyaki comes apart when you flip it, don’t worry; use a spatula to tuck any stray ingredients back into the pancake.) Cook for about 2 more minutes. When it’s ready, the pancake should be lightly browned on both sides, the pork cooked through, and the cabbage inside tender.
  5. Transfer the pancake to a plate, pork side up, and add the toppings. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon of okonomiyaki sauce onto the pancake, in long ribbons. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise onto the pancake, also in long ribbons. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of aonori over the pancake. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of dried, shaved bonito over the pancake. (Add more or less of any topping, to taste.) Cut the pancake into quarters and serve immediately.
  6. Repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and pancake batter.

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Balsamic Chicken Salad with Lemon Quinoa


Lemon Quinoa:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock (or water mixed with 1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder)
  • Pinch of salt to season
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  • 6 boneless chicken thigh or breast fillets , trimmed of fat
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (or plain) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder/granules or 1 clove garlic , crushed


  • 6 cups (200g | 7oz) cos lettuce, washed and shredded
  • 200 g | 7oz grape tomatoes , halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion , thinly sliced
  • 100 g | 3.5oz pitted kalamata olives
  • 50 g | 1.7oz reduced fat Feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup continental parsley


  • 2 tablespoons garlic olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


For Lemon Quinoa:

  • In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, stock and salt together. Bring to the boil; reduce heat to gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until broth has absorbed and quinoa is soft. Remove from heat and set aside while still covered and allow to steam. After about 2 minutes, fluff with a fork. Allow to cool slightly and add the lemon juice.

For Chicken:

  • Add the chicken fillets in a large skillet or nonstick pan with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, stock powder and garlic powder/granules. Saute the chicken until nice, crispy and golden on both sides, and cooked through. Remove from heat; allow to cool slightly, and slice into 1-inch strips.

For Dressing:

  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl/jug, and whisk until mixed through.

For Salad:

  • Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, olives, Feta and parsley together in a large salad bowl. Top with chicken slices and quinoa, and drizzle with the dressing. Toss to combine. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Smoked Fried Chicken Wings

Smoked chicken wings get an extra layer of flavor by getting flash fried for a new way to marry the best of both wing worlds. All of that rich flavor and tenderness from low and slow smoked wings with all of the crispy, crunchy goodness of a fried wing.


  • 3 pounds chicken wings flats and drumettes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Homemade Sweet BBQ Rub
  • 2 cups canola or vegetable oil

Buffalo Sauce (optional)

  • 1 cup Buffalo sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter


  1. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F with a strong flavored wood like oak or hickory.

  2. In a large zip top bag, combine your wings, the olive oil, and the sweet rub (or seasoning of your choice)

  3. Place the wings on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, about 1.5 hours.

  4. Preheat the canola or vegetable oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet until the oil temperature reads 375 degrees F.

  5. Transfer the wings from the smoker into the hot oil, working in batches so that the wings don’t touch or overlap.

  6. Fry 2-3 minutes per side, flipping regularly, until the internal temperature of the wings reads 175 degrees F.

  7. Remove the wings from the skillet and either sprinkle with additional sweet rub before serving or toss in the Buffalo sauce mixture. Serve with napkins and enjoy!

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Wood-Fired Quail

(Serves 4-6)

  • 4 whole quail, dressed
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces rosemary, chopped
  • 2 ounces sage, chopped
  • Rainbow carrots
  • Heirloom potatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces candied cherries
  • 4 pieces of pancetta


  1. Place the deboned quail in a large bowl, and add the white wine, rosemary, and sage. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together, coating the quail well, then cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Lightly peel the carrots, and place on a cooking sheet with the potatoes. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. (For a wood-burning oven: cook at 700 degrees until vegetables are tender.)
  3. Sear quail on each side, then remove from oven. Stuff each piece of quail with the candied cherries, then wrap each with pancetta. Place on a cooking sheet, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Cook at 350 degrees until meat is done, approximately 15 minutes.


In a large serving dish, lay out the carrots and potatoes. Place the cooked quail on top. Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and sage for color.

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Morel and Pheasantback Mushroom Hunting

No turkeys gobbling in the woods this weekend so we hunted mushrooms instead. We had a nice haul of morels and pheasantback mushrooms which made a great dinner Sunday evening.  If you are going hiking and spending time outdoors this time of year, I may be able to help you find some delicious spring delicacies…

Morel Mushroom

  • They are found next to fruit trees and (dead) elm trees.
    • Elm trees have shaggy and craggy bark.
    • Elm trees are commonly afflicted with Dutch elm disease. As its name implies, the disease only affects elm trees, and if you find one you are likely going to find morels.
  • Bring a knife and cut the mushroom just below the cap.
    • This allows the mycelium (the roots) of the morels to stay in place and provide more mushrooms for years to come.
  • Morels are hollow inside.
    • Double check they are hollow before eating.

Pheasant’s Back (Dryad’s Saddle) Mushroom

  • These grow on various very dead hardwoods (especially elm).
  • A tree lying on the ground is your best bet.
    • Wet areas seem to produce more.
  • Most importantly your knife needs to be able to pass through it very easily. Whatever the knife cuts easily is likely to be good. Sometimes just the outer edges are usable but nice

The Recipe

You could also add wild ramps and wild onion to the recipe if you find some.


Cherry Mustard

This is Chef Adam Lambert’s recipe for a tart and tangy cherry-mustard. You can use it as a spread on a sandwich or a brat, or it makes a beautiful stripe on a cheese or charcuterie board.

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How to Prepare and Cook Woodcock

This is the most detailed video on how to pluck, prepare, and then cook a Woodcock in the traditional way–cooked with the guts left in and with the head left on. This is a much prized game bird, both sporting and culinary wise, a rare top quality product. The filming shows every step up close and in immense detail to achieve a fantastic traditional roasted Woodcock.


Smoke Roasted Salsa

Dip into this salsa and watch the bowl disappear. Tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and bell peppers are slow-roasted over hickory before getting blended with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

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