Goat Cheese, Pistachio and Chili Honey Croissants

A few weeks ago, at what may be the best restaurant I’ve ever been to – owned by a guy who went to my high school and a must-do whenever I visit home – a simple tapas dish had my eyes rolling skyward in delight, my tastebuds at attention, my toes curling (this happens to me sometimes when I eat really good food.  Always has.  Ask my mom), and a jolt of excitement and revelation coursing through my body. 

Goat Cheese, Pistachio and Chili Honey Croissant | www.purplehousecafe.com

The excitement was directly correspondent to the fact that this dish was simple enough to make at home. I had not finished my last bite before I was speculating about ingredient ratios and wondering where I should source what I would require to make it.

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On Love and Pizza, Part Two: Pear and Prosciutto Pizza

..continued from Part One….

We got married, and eventually moved into a larger home just outside of town.  We revelled in the quiet of the suburbs and the swath of forest off our kitchen patio as we honed the art of stretching dough, finding the perfect combination of herbs, and experimenting with spicy salamis, aged cheddars and Parmesans.  And, as is wont to happen when a couple moves out to the ‘burbs, we began to talk about starting a family.  But, while my darling husband’s heart filled with images of couch forts and hopscotch, I couldn’t seem to shake my travel bug.  We agreed:  we would go on “one last adventure,” a two-week dream vacation in Italy, and then we would start “trying.”


Perhaps I was afflicted with the same fertility as the garden in my new yard, but as my tomatoes ripened over the summer before our big trip, so did a little person tenaciously determined to become a part of our lives, Italy or no Italy.  Despite questioning the purpose of embarking on an overseas culinary adventure when one is not supposed to imbibe in such earthly (and decidedly Italian) pleasures as cured meats, unpasteurized cheeses and wine, I found myself looking down at my ever-swelling belly and a perfect margarita pizza in a trattoria in Rome that fall.  We ate our way around the country, unabashedly consuming entire balls of mozzarella, licking cones of rich gelato thrice daily, and ordering pizza everywhere we went.  Fresh basil, tart tomatoes, salty prosciutto, fragrant truffle oil and hot strands of mozzarella:  we were taking notes, inventing new flavour combinations, and wishing we had a pizza oven of our own.


Now, the pizzas in our house are primarily of my husband’s creation.  As I sit on the couch nursing our baby daughter, the smell of roasted garlic wafts through the house and I hear the sound of my love chopping tomatoes in the kitchen.  He’s a more patient, detail-oriented tomato-chopper than I am.  Where I quickly smash and chop uneven hunks of seedy fruit, he carefully and methodically dices tiny little cubes that distribute across the crust much more nicely than my tomatoes do.  He is inclined to roast an entire bulb of garlic to mash and layer under spicy Genoa salami and fresh cheese; perhaps this is his way making my breastmilk pungently flavoured enough to ensure that one day our daughter shares our enjoyment of the food that has been woven through the fabric of our lives together.  I know I hope she does.


For the pear and prosciutto pizza –

Here’s what you need:

1 pizza crust – I will leave this one up to you: store bought, homemade, just add water…whatever you normally use

Two pears, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (any type)

1 small white onion, diced finely

~1 cup white wine

Cheese (whatever you prefer:  mozza, goat cheese, cheddar, whatever!)



Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400F.

To make the base of the pizza, throw the pears in a saucepan and cover with white wine and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.  Bring the wine to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has been cooked off and the pears are nice and soft.  You don’t want this mixture to be too runny as it will make your pizza crust soggy.

Place the poached pear slices on your pizza crust – this is your base.  Add the onion, and then lay the slices of prosciutto over the pears and onion.  Add the cheese and cook until the crust begins to brown and the cheese is bubbly.  Enjoy!

Celebrating Grilled Cheese month with Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese

Happy Monday, readers!

If you’re a big food blog reader or a big cheese lover or a big month celebrator (?) you’ll know that April is Grilled Cheese Month.  (It’s also, for your information, salad month and salsa month).

If you’re into celebrating the latter, maybe you should try these recipes:

Pulled Pork Nachos with Goat Cheese and Apple Salsa

Superbowl Sunday Salsa

Kale Salad

With no further ado:  I chose to celebrate Grilled Cheese Month with some homemade whole wheat bread, some roasted tomatoes, and some goat cheese.  I slapped a little mayo on these babies for tanginess, and grilled ’em up.

Grilled cheese just belongs with tomato soup, yes?

Grilled cheese just belongs with tomato soup, yes?

To roast the tomatoes, you cut a whole bunch of tomatoes into 1-1.5cm thick slabs and arrange them on a baking sheet.  Pour a few glugs of olive oil and a dusting of sea salt and black pepper on them….like this:



And roast them at 200F for 4-6 hours (yeah, no kidding!) until they look like this:



FYI:  you have now effectively turned regular old tomatoes into candy.  These taste sooooo good.  The trick is to make a whole bunch and eat them all week on toast with a crumble of feta, or tossed into your pasta or your salad for an extra kick…the possibilities are unlimited!


What is YOUR favourite type of grilled cheese sandwich?  What do you eat it with?


Pulled Pork Nachos with Goat Cheddar and Apple Salsa

Pulled Pork Nachos with Goat Cheddar and Apple Salsa

So, I had this idea for “gourmet nachos.”  (Is anybody doing that yet, or are we still on burgers?).  After much deliberation, I decided upon this recipe for pulled pork nachos with goat cheddar and apple salsa.  It’s a twist on some classic favourites and turned out AMAZINGLY.


You really have to try these.  Seeing as I’m sure you’re already making my Crockpot pulled pork recipe on the weekends and eating it for lunches and snacks and dinners and brunches throughout the week, these nachos aren’t too much of a stretch.  We actually ate them for breakfast (once again, a day in the life of a food blogger trying to make the most of natural daylight in her photography) – they’d be a totally unique brunch item or something great to serve at a party.  The apple salsa makes a great contrast to the salty, savoury flavour of the pork and the chips.  It was the perfect combination, in my mind.


Here’s what you do:

So, you have the recipe for the pulled pork.  Now, lay some tortilla chips down on a baking sheet and drop as much pulled pork as you want on top of them.  You could top with some thinly sliced red onions or something too – we just opted for a layer of goat cheddar.  Pop ’em in the oven at 350F until the cheese is brown and melty.

For the apple salsa:

Skin and cube 2-3 apples (depending on how many people you’re serving).  Toss with the juice of half a lemon, about 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon and a dash of chili powder.  I actually warmed my salsa in the microwave for about a minute so that the apples would get a little soft and more sauce-y, but you could do a crisp, cold version as well – up to you.  Try both ways and let me know what your favourite is!


Recipe is a Jessie original!

Coffee Bacon Sandwiches with Date Goat Cheese spread

I have wanted to make these sandwiches for forever!  In fact, many months ago, I devised a scheme whereby I would host a brunch and serve these sandwiches and this little Pinterest project that I simply could not get out of my mind:


They’re white chocolate with a yellow Smartie and two pretzels…irresistably cute brunch party favours.

But then my wee daughter and I needed to go off dairy because she turned out to be allergic to cow’s milk protein and I couldn’t conceive of hosting a breakfast without cheese and so the idea lived in my brain for months and months.

Then, the stars aligned and goat’s milk became an option and St. Patrick’s Day was coming up and the brunch idea was resurrected.  Finally, the coffee bacon sandwiches and tiny little bacon and egg favours would become a reality.


And what a beautiful reality.  Coffee bacon is my newest, favouritest thing in the world.  Oh my, these sandwiches were delicious.  And once the homemade bread was gone and the last of the whipped cream had been dropped onto Bailey’s sweetened coffees, people were still eating this bacon off the tray like it was candy. (also, I had a bunch of the spread left over, and it has been divine in my lunch this week, spread on a homemade tortilla with roasted red peppers).


(oh yeah, and you know what else we ate?  Vanilla Bean Sticky Buns with Bailey’s Caramel Sauce.  Stay tuned for THAT recipe….)

Here’s what you need:

For the bacon –

8 slices uncooked bacon (enough for 4 sammies…cook more if you’re feeding more)

1/4 cup freshly ground coffee

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon water

For the goat cheese spread –

4 ounces goat cheese

4 medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Here’s what you do:

Lay the bacon, overlapping each other with the fatty side facing up, on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap.  In a bowl, mix together the coffee, chili powder, brown sugar, molasses and water.  Spread this mixture on top of the bacon.  The coffee will mostly rest on the fatty top of the bacon.  Cover the bacon with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.



Meanwhile, add all the spread ingredients to a bowl and mash together using a fork until well incorporated.  While you could certainly do this right before cooking the bacon and preparing your sandwiches, I did it the night before when setting the bacon to marinate and found that the flavours had incorporated into the cheese beautifully by the next day.



When you want to make your sammies, preheat your oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or tin foil and place the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake until browned and crisp.  Remove from the oven and pat any extra grease off with a paper towel.

To make the sandwiches, layer some of the goat cheese bread on fresh bread (toasted and buttered if you prefer), slap some bacon on there, and top with fresh spinach.




Recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker.