Author Archives: Kendall Totten

Everything is Better with Bacon. Even Pork!

Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin

All it takes is one thick slice of bacon and some savory herbs to give your pork chop all the flavor you could ask for. And the searing/baking method of cooking it locks in all the juices so you’re sure to have a tender, juicy piece of pork.

Begin with a very thick (1/2 lb) pork chop and salt one side. On the other side, dip the pork chop in Italian bread dipping seasoning. Wrap the pork chop in a strip of bacon, and pin on with toothpicks. Roll the bacon in crushed pepper, and pan-sear the bacon on each side.

Bake the pork chop for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Be sure to make sure the internal temperature of the meat reaches 140 degrees.

Serve over a smear of cream cheese with slices of fresh green onions. Asparagus and baked potatoes with dill are great traditional sides, but the red grape slices added a nice bit of sweetness to balance everything out!

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Pizza Crust – The Stuff Dreams Are Made of

Pizza on a PaddleIt seems that making pizza at home has become commonplace. After all, you can buy pizza sauce in a jar, throw on some mozzarella, pepperonis, and your other fav toppings and boom you’re done! Oh wait, there’s that one pesky ingredient called the crust, that is oh-so-difficult. Plenty of easy substitutions have cropped up, like Pillsbury rolls dough in a can or Boboli. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these options are quick, easy, and yummy enough to get by. But what if you could have *real* crust at home? Just like they make in the pizzeria down the street? Trust me, it’s even better than Di’Giorno.

Doug has been working on the perfect crust for about a year now. We’ve had pizza on the grill and pizza from the oven, but both require one important point: high heat. If you crank up your oven to about 500 degrees, it guarantees the crust will crisp and puff just the right way, rather than getting soggy and sad.

Our other recommendation is to find yourself a good pizza stone, and even a wooden pizza paddle if you can splurge a little. We found ours on Amazon. If you own a paddle, you can preheat the pizza stone inside the oven while you work on the dough.

When making the dough, add your flour into a big bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add 1 tsp of sugar (a buffet for yeast) and 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast. You definitely don’t want to skimp here; poor quality yeast will disappoint you every time. Then add 1 cup of hot water from the tap, about 110 degrees. Cover the bowl with a towel, and give it about 15 minutes to gorge on the sugar water. THEN begin stirring the water/yeast mixture into the flour, until a stiff dough forms. Then begin the kneading process (we figured a video is easier to follow than photos!) Once you’ve thoroughly kneaded your dough, cover it with a towel again, and wait another 30 minutes. It should double in size.

Congrats! The hard part is over! You don’t actually need to toss it in the air like Doug, you can just roll it out. Be sure to throw some cornmeal under the dough before baking so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings, bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Bon appétit!

Makin' some serious dough.

Makin' some serious dough.

Mama Mia, Pizzeria!

This can take some practice, but isn't required. You can just roll it out if you aren't feeling daredevil with your dough.

Cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking to the stone

Cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking to the paddle. Your stone should be preheating in the oven. Use the paddle to shimmy the pizza onto the stone in the oven.


Just look at that crust! Crispy, fluffy, divine.

You can make outstanding pizza from home!

You too can make outstanding pizza from home!

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Pesto Pepper Paninis


Dice up Red Peppers and a few Pablano Peppers for a spicy kick

Red Peppers and Pablano Peppers in Balsamic

Marinate the peppers in balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Soon to be Panini: pesto, marinated peppers, and mozzarella

Soon to be Panini: pesto, marinated peppers, and mozzarella

Warm and cheesy! Fresh from the panini maker.

Warm and cheesy! Fresh from the panini maker.

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Baba Ganoush

Homegrown Eggplants

Homegrown Eggplants

Fresh Baba Ganoush with Mini Pitas

Fresh Baba Ganoush with Mini Pitas

We grabbed our recipe from Our tip for this recipe is you can’t have too much garlic! We also added slightly less lemon juice. Baba Ganoush is a cousin to hummous, and I find that they pair well together right on the same mini pita or carrot stick. A great healthy snack!

Who Needs Lettuce?

Cabbage from the Garden

When you've got a head of cabbage this big, you must make lots of coleslaw!

Fresh Coleslaw

Makes you never want to eat the KFC kind again.

Our Coleslaw Recipe:

  • Fresh cabbage
  • Regular mustard
  • Stone ground Inglehoffer Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Parsley
  • Carrots
  • Hint of sugar
  • Hint of salt
  • Hint of pepper

Goes great on pulled pork sandwiches too!

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Make banana pancakes, pretend like it’s the weekend

Anyone who’s a Jack Johnson fan will appreciate this post, because his song, “Banana Pancakes” is exactly what inspired us to make these pancakes once upon a time. The original recipe didn’t include walnuts though, but we found that they add a certain delightful crunchiness, and the fruit topping is far better than syrup could ever hope to be!

(Note: The Berries and Cherries topping comes from Cherry Republic, but we also made these with blackberry jam and fresh sliced strawberries on top, which were equally amazing!)

To make delicious pancakes, you have to start with delicious ingredients.

To make delicious pancakes, you have to start with delicious ingredients.

Walnut, spice pancake batter

Mix crushed walnuts and all-spice into the pancake batter

Rather than mixing banana into the batter, fry up banana slices in coconut oil

Rather than mixing mushed bananas straight into the batter, fry up banana slices in coconut oil, then sprinkle the slices with cinnamon or all-spice. Flip em!

Pour the pancake batter on the frying banana slices

Pour the pancake batter on the sizzling banana slices and cook as you normally would. Feel free to throw in a few blueberries too!

Then top the pancakes with berry-cherry topping from Cherry Republic!

Then top the pancakes with "Berries & Cherries Fruit Topping" from Cherry Republic! All photos snapped with an iPhone 4

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Pork Chops & Berry Cherry Topping

A completely Michigan meal!

A completely Michigan meal!

Summer Squash and Simple Marinara Sauce

Pork Chops with Berry Topping in 15 minutes

We do love our squarsh.

We do love our squarsh.

Fresh Squash – Thin slice, add small slices to the top, lightly salt, heavy pepper*, olive oil drizzle, mozzarella topping, italian seasoning, and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 for 10 mins, and then broil for 5 mins.

Pork Chops – Poke with fork a lot, olive oil, salt and pepper. When 50% done, add rosemary. Cook until tender not chewy (best to use a thermometer). Serve with Berries and Cherries Topping from Cherry Republic over fresh arugula.

Red Sauce – Blanch tomatoes, dice, add tomatoes and juice to sauteed garlic, simmer and reduce. Reduce until it has a paste like consistency (sauce it), add pepper and serve over squash.

Wine – We served this with Contessa Blueberry Wine from Michigan.

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Beyond Basil.. The Summer Squash Debut.

Giant Summer Squash

Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head...

Squash, Parmesean, Garlic & Olive Oil. Divine!

Squash, Parmesean, Garlic & Olive Oil. Divine!

Initially upon discovering this giant yellow squash in our garden, we were delighted in thinking that we had grown the biggest and best squash the world has ever seen. Doug exclaimed that it was so much bigger than any we had ever seen in stores, and then it occurred to me, perhaps there’s a reason why they are all the same size in stores? After all, they are genetically engineering fruits & veggies to be bigger and better all time, and yet we easily grew a giant squash without any prior gardening experience? It was too good to be true.

“Maybe there’s a reason they pick them before they get this big?” I asked. “Maybe we should look up when we are supposed to harvest these things.”

I proceeded to jump onto Google and find out.  [insert sad trombone here]

Come to find out, you want to avoid letting a summer squash get too large. “A large squash can become very seedy and gain a mealy, undesirable taste.” Ahh.. right. Well now that we have this giant un-delicious squash, what do we do with it? The internet to the rescue. Actually on the very same page that told me I should have picked this squash a week ago, it also linked to a recipe for an overgrown squash, or squarsh as we like to call it.

It wasn’t half bad actually, and we reallly enjoyed it. However, Doug improvised (of course) a little by adding paprika, adding a bit more garlic, and using Chipotle Olive Oil. He also used mozzarella in addition to parmesan cheese.

This week we enjoyed a similar recipe that Doug cooked up on his own. I think it turned out to be outstanding and far better than the first. Granted the squash wasn’t as overgrown this time, but any size of squash you’ve got will do. Just add the magic sauce, and voila!

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Pork Tenderloin

Slicing the Pork Tenderloin

So easy to make, and it smells fantastic!

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin over spinach, corn & red peppers reduced in wine

Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin with the "special sauce"

Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin with the "special sauce"

Pork – First clean the pork, no one enjoys chewing through a ton of fat. Once clean, stab with fork a bunch. Rub with salt and pepper. Add italian seasoning to the top. Wrap in bacon and cut the extra off. Brown the wrapped tenderloin so the bacon is more crisp. When your done, Place on cooking stone and bake at 350 till inside temp reaches 170. Usually about 30-40 mins. Pull out and slice. Serve over magic sauce.

Magic Sauce – Miracle HaWhip and Sriracha sauce (if you don’t know it, find it… NOW!). I’ll let you determine your heat.

Asparagus – Broil with olive oil, salt and pepper until slightly crisp.

Potatoes – Ziplock bag, olive oil, diced potatoes and Lipton french onion seasoning… Bake (not in the ziplock).

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Basil Birthday Omelette on a Poppyseed Bagel

Basil and Feta Omelette on a Zingerman's Poppyseed Bagel

Basil and Feta Omelette on a Zingerman's Poppyseed Bagel

  • Poppyseed bagel topped with Cream cheese
  • Scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar folded in
  • Fresh tomato slices
  • Several basil leaves
  • Crumbled Feta

This made for a perfect birthday breakfast! Don’t forget to pick up your half-dozen Zingerman’s bagels for FREE on your birthday!

Check out our other Zingerman’s bagel recipe ideas.

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