Over the past month I’ve had several conversations with friends (and foodies) about Thanksgiving and the upcoming meal prep and plans. While some friends couldn’t wait to get to making their traditional items, others were commenting on the fact that they’d love to experiment with new items. Me? I fall into the “loves to experiment” category.
The past few several years we have spent Thanksgiving with friends because we live so far away from family. I love that am able to experiment often with new dishes to bring to our Friendsgiving dinner table. Areas that I find the easiest to experiment with for holiday dishes, even with all kinds of tradition-loving folks around, are the appetizers and desserts!
Which is why when Whole Foods Market approached me with the idea of creating a new holiday dish with ingredients from their store, I immediately went for creating an appetizer and a dessert selection. I created bacon wrapped scallops and elevated them with a fig butter spread. I also made a fun dessert I will share soon!
Click the tab above for the Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Fig Spread Recipe. Read on below for your chance to win a $25 Whole Foods Gift card so you can recreate this dish or something else entirely!
This is a flash giveaway and will be over at the end of the day on the 25! That way you might be able to use your gift card for your holiday food shopping!
1. Cut a length of foil off so that it will cover the bottom of a cookie sheet (a sheet that has at least a 1/2 inch edge) crumple up a bit, and then spread onto the cookie sheet. This will be a place for your bacon to rest on and drain as it cooks in the oven. Lay out slices of Wellshire bacon on the foil. Place bacon in cool oven, set at 350 degrees F, and cook for approximately 30 minutes. You’ll want to check your bacon to make sure it is done, but still pliable. Avoid crunchy bacon as it won’t wrap well around the scallop.
2. While bacon is cooking, spread some of the Fig spread on a platter or dinner plate. Spread using the back of a spoon.
3. While bacon is cooking, and after your platter is prepped, toss your scallops in a bowl with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
4. Take Bacon out of oven when done and let cool some.
5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Put tablespoon of butter in pan. The pan needs to be hot to sear the scallops just right. Place about 6 scallops in the hot pan. DO NOT MOVE. Just let the scallops sizzle for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the scallops using a pair of tongs. Then, let that side sizzle for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. The scallop will come opaque in color and firm. Move out of pan and onto a plate. Sear the remaining scallops.
6. Take bacon pieces and wrap around the scallops. Place on the platter with fig spread. Or, alternatively, place a few on a bamboo skewer and serve on skewer.
Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.
When eating the scallops make sure you get some of the fig spread in each bite. It is divine! Serve as an appetizer or with a green salad as a light lunch or dinner.
I was beyond thrilled when one of the Portland Blogger organizers, Bee from The Spicy Bee, worked with local PR company Little Green Pickle to bring together an amazing opportunity for local bloggers. The Holiday Mingle was slotted as an opportunity for local bloggers to get a chance to meet and connect with some amazing restaurants and food vendors from the area– right in time for their holiday projects! It was also an opportunity to listen to a panel of PR professionals talk about working with bloggers. Only in Portland can you get competitors working together to create an amazing event that hopefully, in the end, is beneficial to everyone involved.
I’m breaking this post up into two posts because there is just so much to cover… so, now I give you the amazing food and some fabulous companies! I’ll be back soon with tips for bloggers from real PR pros!
The restaurant owners and vendors that came out for the Holiday Mingle brought their A-game. I highly encourage you to read on if you are in Portland looking for great places to eat, are planning on traveling to Portland, or are looking for an item or two for your foodie friends and family for the holidays.
A lot of my readers are from the PNW area and I hope that this list helps bring to light some of the awesome companies we have available. But, even if you aren’t from Portland, some of the products above can be shipped! I would be thrilled to find many of these items under the tree or at the holiday dinner table this season!
The Fallen For You Printables that I created for a Live the Fancy Life guest post needed a delicious appetizer to really set off the table. Bonus, it served as a sweet and simple date for me and my hubby. These roasted figs are stuffed with a creamy goat cheese, drizzled with a peppered honey syrup, and garnished with sliced almonds. They paired beautifully with a crisp, dry sparkling wine.
Hop on over to Live the Fancy Life to get the recipe for this great early Fall appetizer!
I love late Summer tomatoes. SO good. I’ve shared a quick and tasty recipe over at Live the Fancy Life for this delicious Cherry Tomato and Herbed Goat Cheese Pastry. Go check it out and let me know what you think!
I shared a recipe with the Lilac City Momma Blog and it’s now live! Run, don’t walk, over to her blog to get this scrumptious open faced tomato sandwich made with roasted heirloom tomatoes! It truly is one of my favorite things I’ve made of late!
Disclaimer: I received a complementary happy hour and cocktail instruction from Aviary Restaurant in SE Portland for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated. Check out my review of the Aviary Happy Hour.
While enjoying several tasty dishes and cocktails at Aviary’s Happy Hour last week the barman Russ Hunsinger shared how he came up with one of Aviary’s most popular cocktails, the Brix Layer. Not only did he share his inspiration and thoughts behind the tasty concoction, but he pulled together a make shift bar in the dining room and showed us how to make it!
Russ came up with the drink while hanging out with friends, drinking Cabernet. He really wanted to figure out a way to create a cocktail that utilized the wine. He started off using a basic old fashioned recipe and working from there. The layering of the drink happened naturally and changes with the type of whiskey or cab used.
This recipe is only an approximation of the awesomeness we tasted at Aviary. But, I wanted to share with those of you that didn’t live in the Portland area and just have to schedule a trip to Aviary in to a future visit to our lovely city.
*You can use any sour really, but the Aviary House Sour is made with lemon, lime, orange juice, and sugar. So, to get a similar taste you should use a homemade fresh sour that has orange juice in it. Try out this sweet-and-sour recipe from Baked Bree.
You ever wake up to something awesome and it just sets your day on the right path? Well, this morning I sat down with a cup of coffee in front of my computer to see that I was featured on The Spicy Bee with my 10 food tips. Woot! I filled out ten foodie questions a while back, not really knowing what they were for and evidently they were for a fun feature! I’m excited about this new series on The Spicy Bee. If you haven’t been to Bee’s blog then you are missing out. She puts up beautifully crafted recipes that she tests and tests! Some of my favs include: Watermelon Jalapeno Soup, Dilly Beans (YUM!), and Spicy Mole Espresso Cupcakes.
Thanks for featuring me Bee!
It’s Picnic Week here on A Well Crafted Party. My wife bought me beers to try so I could tell you which ones I’d bring to a picnic. It’s a hard, hard life. Check out the other picnic-related posts, but only after reading about the beer!
Beer comes in cans or bottles, usually. We once thought that beer in cans was cheaper, not as tasty, and only for frat boys and hipsters. It still is, but the audience is widening. Around 2009, craft breweries starting canning in addition to bottling. That lead to a shift in perception, and there are a few good reasons for breweries to offer their beer in cans. Cans don’t break like bottles do, and are cheaper to ship. For beer drinkers, the beer quality is actually better in cans, since no light can penetrate them, and the seal is tighter than bottle caps. The green consumer will also be happy that cans recycle much more efficiently. So let’s get tasting.
Right now I’m trying the “Sweet As” Pacific Ale by GoodLife Brewing Company. They’re a brewery in Bend, Oregon (can we call Bend Portland’s tomboy sister, and get away with it?), and it’s a satisfying pale ale for an Oregon summer. The Pacific in the name refers to the two hop varieties used in this pale ale: Galaxy from Australia, and Pacifica from New Zealand. The galaxy hops give the beer a slight citrusy, passion fruit profile, and overall, it’s not so hoppy to fall into the IPA category of bitterness. If you’re a fan of Widmer’s Drifter Pale Ale, you’d probably like this summer brew by GoodLife.
Hopworks Urban Brewery IPA is next. The hops hide behind the malt – the aroma’s all sweet and malty, and you don’t really know you’re drinking an IPA at first. I’d recommend it to beer drinkers who want to like IPAs, (oh, you’re from Portland? You must like IPAs, right?) but find that most are so bitter they shrivel their tongues. Now, I may be losing beer snob cred here, since Hopworks claims this beer is 75 IBU. But taste it, then taste something like Ninkasi’s Tricerihops. The HUB may indeed be a better picnic beer, but it’s not overly hoppy for an IPA.
Another selection from HUB: Rise-Up Red, NW Red Ale. This seasonal beer was only made available in cans this year. It’s full bodied, thicker on the tongue than a pale ale or IPA, but delicious. It’s brewed with the northwest mainstays, Cascade and Centennial hops. I prefer more refreshing beers for picnics, but might go with the Rise-Up Red on a hiking trip in the spring. By the way, Centennial hops are also used in many other Oregon beers, like Bridgeport Brewing’s Hop Czar, Rogue’s Independence Hop Ale and Double Mountain Brewery‘s Pale Ale.
21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon is an American wheat beer, with watermelon added during second fermentation. I love eating watermelon, but I’ve never really been a fan of anything watermelon-flavored. When I tasted this beer, I did first notice the watermelon, but it really wasn’t overpowering. It ended up being really thirst quenching. I would pair it with campfire food or burgers.
Looking for a cheap, session beer? Some picnics call for trunks full of beer, but you just can’t stoop down to the level of Bud and Coors. And PBR makes you feel like you’re trying too hard. Our local Trader Joe’s stocks the Simpler Times Lager, from Minhas Craft Brewery, in Wisconsin, IL. Set your expectations to low, and you’ll be happy with this affordable (under $5!) six pack.
If bottled beers are allowed in parks where you live, like they are in Oregon, I’d also recommend 10 Barrel Brewery‘s Swill. It’s a summer sipper, a berliner weisse infused with grapefruit. You might not find it to your liking, if you’ve never had a penchant for fruit beers. I loved the taste, and the look on people’s faces when they take a sip. It’s surprisingly good. And even the most machismo of men can maintain their masculinity while partaking in this fruity picnic beer. Maybe they’ll sell it in cans, after they read this post? C’mon 10 Barrel, you liked my tweet that one time, about your beer; you know you owe me for the free advertizing.
For the perfect picnic, my recommendation is just to try them all. If I had to pick one, I’d suggest the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. I had two at the Portland Blogger’s Family Picnic this afternoon, and it just felt right.
I’m posting a series of picnic-themed posts this week in honor of the Portland Bloggers’ family picnic that is happening this weekend. The first post was all about fun picnic supplies to make for a pleasant picnic in the park (or wherever). Now, onto the food!\
One of my favorite things to make for a picnic is my super easy and delicious pasta salad. It doesn’t have any name that I know of… I learned it from word of mouth from a friend and have been making it ever since. It doesn’t have any mayo so it is pretty heat friendly. You can add in things or take them out as you like. I’ll share the base recipe I use and then one of my favorite modifications!
Serves a whole bunch of people… I really can’t even estimate well, but over 12 side dish portions.
See, so easy! Now, here is my most recent modification. I used all of the above ingredients, but I added diced ham and chives at the end! One of the best things about this recipe is you can make it as simple or as gourmet as you want. If you want to go supremely foodie on this picnic favorite then get some fresh tortellini, make your own Italian dressing, grate your own super nice parmesan, and add in some prosciutto.
A great way to serve this dish is to just put them in individual canning jars. The jars can be the food storage containers and double as dinnerware.
Feeding a toddler is one of the more frustrating things I’ve experienced of late. Before having my son I had ALL sorts of ideas on how I would feed him. I read book after book. I made promise (to myself) after promise. But, as with most of my prior ideas about parenting, out the window those rules went. I still adhere to some, others bent a little, and some just broke.
I’ve talked a little about my own childhood food relationship and how that shaped me, and I’ve said a few things about what I’d like to teach my own child about food. What I haven’t shared is what we are ACTUALLY doing with food and our toddler. It isn’t rocket science, though it feels like it sometimes. And, goodness knows that not everyone agrees with what we do and how we do it. I’m open to suggestions, but he is still my son and I am doing what I really think is best for him and us.
This is an approximation of my kiddo’s diet at 23 months. It changes from day to day with his likes/dislikes. I can usually tell when he is feeling bad or is about to have a growth spurt by his disinterest in food and extra interest in milk. He drinks more milk than many kids his age.
A lot of this is just how we eat… so, it is easy to follow. My son really doesn’t care for a lot of beverages besides milk and sometimes water. He does love a glass of spicy V8 though! So, if he doesn’t seem like he is getting enough veggies I will let him have a glass of V8. He does typically get a sweet treat daily. We try to limit the amount. But, seriously, his ice cream smile is totally worth it.
Breakfast: Kiddo usually wakes around 8-9 in the morning (don’t get all jealous for the late sleeper… sleep is a HUGE issue for us and he still doesn’t sleep through the night). As soon as he wakes he drinks a sippy cup (4 oz) of milk and eats 1 banana. Then we typically serve scrambled eggs and toast. Lately though he hasn’t really wanted eggs and is going for yogurt and berries and/or granola instead.
Snack: He has a milk between breakfast and lunch. Sometimes he will also eat an apple or a few raw veggies.
Lunch: Lunch is hard. This is the meal that he is so often throwing fits about. We’ve tried everything from leftovers, to sandwiches, to junk food, etc. Sometimes he eats eat and other times he refuses. Some things that we can usually get him to eat include: pasta, ham, veggies, and cheddar.
Snack: Yet another milk—sometimes two. Snacks at this time typically include almonds or any of lunch that he didn’t eat.
Dinner: Whatever we are eating. This usually works out fine. He surprises us often on what (and how much) of what he eats. But, recently, he has been refusing all but one or two items. If he eats REALLY well then we will give him a treat if we are having one. He will sometimes get a tablespoon or so of ice cream.
Bedtime: Another milk—or two… and then usually 2 overnight.
We’ve tried to restrict his milk to once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. It results in a LOT of crying (from everyone) and still no eating. We’ve talked to his pediatrician about this and she thinks, from his behavior when he receives the milk and from his growth, that is is actually still needing the milk. The doctor’s office doesn’t seemed fussed about his diet… but, boy is it difficult!
Foods X LOVES: pickles, spicy V8, pasta (but, not filled pastas), ham (but only by itself), cheddar (no other cheeses), raw veggies, pizza, salad with ranch, milk, chips, salsa, almonds, yogurt, berries, bananas, peaches, apples, cake (though he has only had a couple small slices in his lifetime… he loves it and asks for it constantly!) and ice cream. Kid loves him some ice cream.
Food X Dislikes: hot dogs, chicken nuggets, chicken, mac & cheese, bread (seriously), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches
Kid confounds me. By the by…the above ice cream cone was shared.
More Info about our Food Journey and Other Mom’s Journeys:
Gin and Summer go hand in hand in my book. This simple and refreshing cocktail is perfect for a hot summer evening. Make it in single servings or mix it up in a batch to serve a crowd. I recently made a batch of this to serve at my husband’s Farm to Table Birthday Party. I also made a batch of Fruity Whiskey Collins. The two drinks went FAST and were perfect for an evening celebrating out in the garden and backyard.