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April 2011

The Art of Growing Edible Weeds

Today, I'd like to share "The Art of Growing Edible Weeds"; an article recently published at Yahoo! Contributor Network. As a Featured Food and Wine Contributor for YCN, I've published well over 100 food articles , but haven't shared many of them via The Cheap Gourmet blog.

The other day, I was talking to a friend about cooking with edible weeds and directed her to the article. She called back a few hours later and said she had no idea I had published so many cooking articles and wanted to know why I wasn't sharing them via the blog. Good question!

I'd love to hear your feedback and find out if you would like for me to share more of my cooking articles here. I think I have a lot of good food stories and many of my articles are connected to true life events.

Due to licensing agreement, I can only share part of the article here. However, just click on the link at the end to read the rest of the story. This browser will remain open in case you want to return and continue perusing The Cheap Gourmet blog.

Excerpt from "The Art of Growing Edible Weeds"

Back in the late '90s, I worked as a vegetarian chef at a health food store. The Executive Chef, Leslie, was the poster child of natural living. She took great care in securing  organic food purveyors and carefully inspected every piece of produce that entered the store.

Leslie ordered fresh edible flowers every day to ensure all entrées were accompanied with what she referred to as "gifts from Heaven." She enlisted help from a local farmer and commissioned him to grow edible weeds and medicinal herbs. Every day, he would arrive with an armful of green goodies which had been fertilized using remnants of fruit and vegetable pulp derived from juiced drinks prepared at the store's juicing bar.

Prior to working with Leslie, I considered weeds as a nuisance. As a child, I spent countless hours helping my mom pick weeds out of the garden. Past experience made it difficult for me to understand Leslie's passion for them. That is, until I tried her burdock root stir fry. From that moment on I was hooked.

Click here to read the rest of "The Art of Growing Edible Weeds."

Find more cooking articles at www.KathyBrowning.com.


Bacon Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting

Bacon-buttermilk-pancake-cupcakes-maple-syrup-buttercream-frosting-chocolate-covered-baconI selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at food blogs.

I'm excited to share my Bacon Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting recipe. Not to brag, but these are the best cupcakes I have ever baked. Not only do you receive the goodness of a bacon-stuffed pancake, but also the divine decadence of maple buttercream frosting topped with a piece of chocolate covered bacon. Life doesn't get much better than this!

I created the bacon buttermilk pancake cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting as an entry into the Denny's/Foodbuzz BACONALIA challenge. Not only do I have a chance to win cash and a gift card to Denny's restaurant, I was able to experiment with one of my favorite foods – BACON!

These cupcakes taste like buttermilk pancakes, but are the texture of carrot cake. They are very easy to make and perfect for birthday parties, cook-outs, and special occasion events.

It's best to prepare the bacon beforehand to provide ample time to drain excess grease. I used thick sliced smoked bacon and baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. You can find the recipe for spicy hot chocolate covered bacon here. You don't have to garnish with chocolate bacon, but it takes the cupcake to an entirely new level.


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Yield: 18 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bacon Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Cupcake Bake Time: 10-12 minutes

12 slices thick Bacon
2-1/2 cups Cake Flour (can substitute with all-purpose or wheat flour, if desired)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1 stick unsalted Butter, softened
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 large Eggs
1-1/4 cups pure Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Buttermilk (shake well)
3/4 cup Walnuts, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line 18"x13" baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bacon slices, leaving a bit of room between each slice.
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until dark golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and transfer to paper towel lined plate to absorb grease.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger together.
5. In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Using a handheld mixer on medium setting beat butter and sugar together until creamy.
6. Add eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix until ingredients are incorporated.
7. Add one-third of flour mixture and mix for about 30 seconds. Add one-third buttermilk and mix for another 30 seconds. Repeat, alternating one-third flour and one-third buttermilk at a time.
8. Chop 6 slices of bacon into small bits.
8. Add bacon bits and walnuts to mixture and gently stir ingredients by hand to incorporate.
9. Line muffin tin with paper or tin cupcake liners or lightly grease muffin pan with butter, vegetable oil, or vegetable oil spray.
10. Bake for 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
11. Transfer to baking rack and let cool to room temperature.

Yield: 2-1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 cup unsalted Butter, softened
3 ounces Philly Cream Cheese, softened
2/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Pancake Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Confectioner's Sugar

1. In a medium mixing bowl, add butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and salt. Using handheld mixer on medium setting beat ingredients together until creamy.
2. In a measuring cup, combine maple syrup, pancake syrup, and vanilla. Slowly drizzle into butter mixture until ingredients are incorporated.
3. Slowly add confectioner's sugar, about 1/4-cup at a time, into frosting mixture. Increase speed to high and beat until frosting forms fluffy peaks.
4. Place frosting in refrigerator and chill for one hour.
5. Frost cupcakes using a flat icing knife or decorator bag with large tip.
6. Break remaining 6 pieces of bacon into 3 pieces per slice.



You might also like:
Outrageous Bacon Buttermilk Belgian Waffles with Homemade Maple Syrup Whipped Cream
Spicy Hot Chocolate Covered Bacon

Outrageous Bacon Buttermilk Belgian Waffle

Bacon buttermilk belgian waffleIf you crave dessert for breakfast, you'll love this Outrageous Bacon Buttermilk Belgian Waffle recipe. The past few weeks I've been experimenting with bacon recipes to submit in the Denny's/Foodbuzz BACONALIA challenge. Regardless of whether I win or not, I've had a blast playing with bacon. My kitchen has become so aromatic that my neighbors are calling wanting to sample my creations.

The following Outrageous Bacon Buttermilk Belgian Waffle recipe is made from a homemade batter that is slathered in organic creamy peanut butter and topped with brown sugar glazed bananas and homemade maple syrup whipped cream. Are you drooling yet?

I'm certain you could make this recipe using a boxed waffle or pancake mix. If so, I'd recommend using less water because the batter needs to be rather thick to accommodate the bacon slices. Before we get to the recipe, please note that this recipe is being submitted for competition to win prizes in the Denny's Foodbuzz BACONALIA challenge.

This recipe requires a bit of multi-tasking. Prepare the maple syrup whipped cream first and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Next, prepare the bacon and drain excess grease before preparing the waffle batter. While the waffles are cooking, prepare the glazed bananas.


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Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 15 to 20 minutes

1 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

1. Chill a medium size metal bowl in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Remove bowl from freezer and add heavy cream.
3. Using a handheld mixer, beat cream on medium setting until it begins to thicken.
4. Add vanilla extract and nutmeg to maple syrup and gradually drizzle into cream while beating at medium-high speed until whipped cream is thick. Place in refrigerator until ready for use.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes

12 slices thick Smoked Maple Bacon

1. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium-heat.
2. Place bacon slices on griddle and cook 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy.
3. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate to drain excess grease. Set aside.

Yield: 4 waffles
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 4 minutes per waffle

1 cup Cake Flour (can substitute with all-purpose or whole wheat, if desired)
1 Tbsp. granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 cup Buttermilk (shake well)
3 Tbsp. unsalted Butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large Egg
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil for waffle iron


1. Lightly brush waffle iron with vegetable oil, then preheat to desired temperature. I prefer the high setting for golden brown, crispy waffles.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently whisk ingredients until well incorporated.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, melted butter, and egg. Whisk until ingredients are incorporated.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to liquid ingredients and gently stir until combined. The batter will be lumpy and thick.
5. Pour 3/4- to 1-cup waffle mixture to hot griddle. Using a wooden spoon, spread mixture to edges.
6. Place 3 slices of bacon on top of mixture.

7. Gently close waffle maker top to prevent bacon breakage.
8. While waffles are cooking, start preparing brown sugar glazed bananas.
9. Remove waffles and transfer to serving plate. Cover with foil or place in warm oven until ready to eat.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes

2 medium ripe Bananas
1 Tbsp. unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar


1. Preheat a small skillet over medium heat.

2. Add butter and heat until melted.

3. Slice bananas into 1/2-inch diagonal slices.

4. Add to melted butter and cook until medium golden brown.

5. Add brown sugar and gently stir until bananas are coated.

6. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until brown sugar begins to bubble. Remove from heat.



1. Place Belgian waffle on serving plate.

2. Slather with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (smooth or crunchy).

3. Top with 2 Tbsp. maple syrup whipped cream.

4. Top with 1/4 cup brown sugar glazed bananas.

5. Serve with a glass of cold milk or freshly squeezed orange juice.

If you love bacon you might also enjoy my recipe for Spicy Hot Chocolate Covered Bacon.

Spicy Hot Chocolate Covered Bacon

Spicy-chocolate-covered-bacon-on-a-silver-platter If you've never tried spicy hot chocolate covered bacon you are in for the treat of a lifetime! The saltiness of the bacon combined with heat of freshly ground chili peppers and slathered in melted chocolate offers a taste bud sensation like no other!

Before divulging the spicy hot chocolate covered bacon recipe, allow me to tell you how it came to be. Last November, I was invited to participate in "A Chile and a Spoon Competition" hosted by Marx Foods.

Marx Foods provided a variety of dried chili peppers to food bloggers and allowed competitors to create any dish we wanted as long as it contained one or more of the sample peppers and could be eaten with a spoon. My entry was Smokin' Hot Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.

I've been like a kid in a candy store since receiving the generous supply of chili peppers from Marx Foods. I've made a few dozen varieties of chili powder and used them in soups, stews, side dishes, desserts, marinades, sauces, and as meat rubs.

My all-time favorite use of freshly ground chili powder is pairing with chocolate. I can say with certainty I have not made one chocolate dessert without chilies since the chocolate lava cake entry. So, when my favorite foodie website on the planet, FoodBuzz.com, announced they were hosting a bacon recipe contest with a grand prize of $500 cash AND $100 Denny's restaurant gift card, the idea of spicy hot chocolate covered bacon came to mind. 

Please note the following recipe was created as part of the Denny's and or FoodBuzz BACONALIA challenge and is an entry for a chance to win.

This recipe calls for thick sliced bacon. If the bacon is too thin it will fall apart when coated in melted chocolate. I used hardwood smoked bacon, but I bet maple or pepper-crusted would be delicious as well.

While you can use any type of chili peppers, I highly recommend Marx Foods. They have a fabulous supply of unique peppers and the flavors are absolutely divine!

I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Here's the chocolate covered bacon recipe. Enjoy!


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Yield: 54 pieces
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 22-25 minutes


18 slices thick hardwood smoked Bacon
1 dried Mulato Chili (mild)
1 dried Organic Limo Rojo Chili (hot)
7 ounces Chocolate Candy Discs or Baker's Dipping Chocolate


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove stems from chili peppers. Roast chilies in small skillet over medium-high heat until aromatic; about 5 to 6 minutes. Frequently turn to prevent scorching.


3. Grind peppers in coffee grinder or food processor until fine powder. Transfer to small container and set aside.


4. Line 18"x13" baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon strips side-by-side, leaving a little room to prevent sticking. Lightly sprinkle each side with chili powder.

5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until bacon is dark golden brown and crisp. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease.

6. Using a double-boiler, melt chocolate candy discs over low heat or microwave according to package directions. Transfer melted chocolate to a medium bowl large enough to accommodate your hands.

7. Using kitchen shears, cut bacon slices in thirds. Add to melted chocolate and gently toss with hands until evenly coated.

8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently shake off excess chocolate and place bacon pieces on baking sheet.

9. Place in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to serving dish or resealable container. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 1 week.