Bacon Wrapped Figs Recipe & Giveaway

By Tsz on June 24, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Figs
Gastrophoria is bacon wrapped figs on top of fresh greens for a quick summer lunch.

As much as I enjoy cooking, I tend to stay away from the kitchen on hot summer days because anything that requires more than a quick saute turns my home into a food-scented sauna. Instead, I defer to my oven and simple-to-make dishes for my culinary needs.

One such recipe is bacon wrapped figs. Needing only two ingredients and an oven, this allows me to be in-and-out of the kitchen in minutes yet be rewarded with a restaurant-worthy dish.

Because this only uses bacon and dried figs, the bacon takes center stage. So, take this as the perfect opportunity to bust out your favorite specimens. I used Farmer John’s newest creation, Mild Jalapeño Bacon, because it’s thick cut and has a subtle spice kick at the end. Meaty, salty, sweet and spicy, these bacon wrapped figs make for the most hearty croutons for a quick salad.

Want to win home some bacon?

I have Five (5) $4 Farmer John (available through and local retailers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii) coupons to spread the bacon love!

To enter, simply:

1. Follow Gastrophoria on Facebook and Twitter more tasty goodness!
2. Visit the Farmer John site and check out their bacon recipes.
3. Leave a comment below with your favorite bacon dish. That’s it!

Five (5) winners will be chosen on Monday, July 1st. Open to all readers—good luck!

Farmer John Bacon

Bacon Wrapped Figs
Serves 4

16 dried figs
8 strips Farmer John’s Mild Jalapeño Bacon (or your favorite thick cut bacon)
16 toothpicks

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut the bacon strips in half, width wise. Take a fig and wrap with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Repeat for all.
Bacon Wrapped Fig
3. Placed the bacon wrapped figs on a cookie sheet lined with foil (easier clean up!) and bake until crisp and golden brown, around 20 minutes.
Bacon Wrapped Figs
4. Remove the toothpicks and serve either on its own or on top of greens for a quick summer lunch. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Figs


Recipe : Ginger Carrot Soup

By Tsz on June 6, 2013

Gastrophoria is a big bowl of homemade ginger carrot soup.

A few months back, I had the most amazing bowl of ginger carrot soup at the Padre Hotel for a carrot themed weekend hosted by Grimmway Farms. It was one of the dishes that just lingers in your mind. So velvety, so rich and with just enough heat to keep it all interesting.

I rarely get excited about soup, especially one without meat! So, I reached out and asked the good people of the Padre Hotel to see if they would so inclined as to share with me their recipe. To my surprise, they agreed! The most unbelievable part of this is how simple the recipe is—all that’s required are basically are baby carrots and aromatics. Yet, the end product tastes exactly like the real deal.

Thought I’d pay it forward and share with you all, enjoy!

Ginger Carrot Soup
Recipe courtesy of Padre Hotel

Restaurant portions

40 chopped Grimmway Farms baby carrots
1/2 cup fresh ginger, minced
1 whole yellow onion, chopped
6-10 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2-3 tablespoons ginger powder
4-6 quarts of vegetable stock depending on how thick you like your soup
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon oil
Splash of honey to sweeten (if needed)

Or, reduced for home
(Serves 4)

6 cups Grimmway Farms baby carrots
1 tablespoon fresh, ginger minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
8 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon oil

1. Heat a stock pot over medium high heat and pour in oil.
2. Add in carrots, onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly until they sweat (but not brown).
3. Add in the spices and pour in the vegetable stock.
4. Increase the heat to high until the mixture comes to a boil. Then turn the heat down so it is at a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes until carrots are soft.
5. Turn off the heat and blend the mixture in either a blender or food processor till smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary.
6. Garnish with cream if you desired and enjoy! Also great chilled.


Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream & Gladiator Rock’n Run Giveaway!

By Tsz on May 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Gastrophoria is homemade banana peanut butter ice cream.

For the past month, I’ve been making several life changes—such as the sabbatical, healthier eating and the newly acquired three-times-a-week gym habit. As someone who is not a fan of sweating, this is a BIG deal!

What was the catalyst? I’d like to say it was due to a lifestyle resolution. Alas, I am not that self-disciplined. This change was induced by a surprise present by the Gentleman Weightlifter—a ticket to the Gladiator Rock’n Run.

There are normal 5K runs, and there is the Gladiator Run. Created by Dan Clark (better known as Nitro from the original American Gladiators), this run features 17 obstacles and a rock concert in addition to the standard run. Holy cannoli.

While I can barely run a mile, I’m also not one to step back from a challenge. Thus my foray into the gym and a revised eating plan in preparation for the big day happening on June 8th!

One of my weaknesses is my sweet tooth, so I’ve been on a mission to create healthy desserts that doesn’t include the usual loads of unhealthy (albeit delicious) sugar and fats. Imagine my surprise that it was possible to make a luxuriously creamy ice cream with just bananas. Yep, that’s right—no eggs, cream nor sugar needed and one of my favorite ways to reward myself after a workout!

For added protein and flavor, I like to add a big dollop of peanut butter in the mix. My co-worker recently introduced me to Peanut Butter & Co’s unique PB concoctions and it’s now my obsession. I used Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (tastes like Cinnabon) and Dark Chocolate Dreams (like Nutella, but with peanuts) this time around but any PB will do the trick so feel free to experiment!

Peanut Butter and Co

Looking for a fitness challenge for yourself?

I’ve partnered with the generous people from the Gladiator Rock’n Run to give away a pair of tickets to the upcoming Gladiator Rock’n Run ($160 value) held in Irvine, California on June 8th for one lucky reader!

To enter, simply:

1. Follow Gastrophoria on Facebook and Twitter more tasty goodness!
2. Follow Gladiator Rock’n Run on Facebook and Twitter for updates on their upcoming events.
3. Visit the Gladiator Rockn’ Run website to get a preview of the event and leave a comment below on which obstacle course you plan on dominating and also your favorite guilt free dessert!

The contest ends on May 10th and the creator, Dan himself will be choosing two winners from the entries. The first place winner with get a pair of tickets to the upcoming Gladiator Rock’n Run ($160 value) held in Great Park in Irvine and the runner up will get 50% off a pair of tickets ($80 value).

Good luck and hope to see you at the run!


Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Serves 2

2 Bananas
4 tablespoons of your favorite peanut butter

1. Cut the bananas into medallions and freeze till solid in the freezer, around 2 hours.
2. Put the frozen bananas in a food processor and let blend till creamy, around 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Add the peanut butter and blend till evenly mixed.
4. Serve immediately as a soft serve or freeze for an hour to get the traditional consistency of ice cream.

Happy eating!


Recipe Hack : Aztec Chocolate Almond Butter

By Tsz on April 20, 2013

Gastrophoria is homemade Aztec Chocolate Almond Butter.

Big news! You’re now looking at the newest recipe contributor to NatureBox’s editorial team!! Growing up watching Martha Stewart, it’s always been a dream of mine to follow in her footsteps and create in the kitchen. This is one giant leap closer to my personal holy grail.

Every week, I’m presented by an unique challenge of designing a tasty recipe that can be followed and replicated by households all over using healthy snacks that’s cooked up by NatureBox.

For my inaugural week, I was assigned to these spicy Chipotle Maple Almonds. Upon tasting a few, I knew I wanted to use them in one of my favorite preparations—creating a homemade chocolate nut butter from scratch! With just a few ingredients and a handful of minutes, you too can feast on your own batch of addicting substance (that’s entirely legal).

Best part is that the spice from the Chipotle Maple Almonds and pinch of cayenne gives the butter a subtle kick that is unexpected. Try the recipe as-is or switch it up by using hazelnuts (anyone say homemade Nutella?) or a blend of nuts for your own unique concoction. Let me know how it goes!

Aztec Chocolate Almond Butter
Yields 1-1/2 cups

1 package NatureBox Chipotle Maple Almonds (about 1-1/4 cups)
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 generous pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil

1. Add almonds and salt to a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Scrape sides as needed with a spatula so the mixture processes evenly.

2. Add the cocoa powder, sugar and cayenne and blend until evenly distributed. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the almond butter and blend until smooth (like creamy peanut butter), about 5 minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil if you’d like a thinner consistency (for topping on ice cream!).

Tip: Spread the Aztec Chocolate Almond Butter on toast, layer with banana slices and enjoy! You can also try it with ice cream or eat straight from a spoon! If there are leftovers, store in the fridge in a glass jar for up to one week.

Happy eating!


Blueberry Lemon Ginger Oat Bars

By Tsz on March 13, 2013

Gastrophoria is a crunchy, homemade blueberry lemon ginger oat bar.

I love watching movies—nothing beats a cozy night in with a film and a big bowl of popcorn (with grated parmesan + truffle oil please)! One exercise I tend to do during movie nights is to envision a signature dish that embodies the main character or the film itself. Is that weird?

While watching Fantastic Mr. Fox lately, I was enamored by the line, “Beagles love blueberries!” Since then, I’ve been itching to create a dish that Mr. Fox himself would enjoy.

My creation? A rustic oat bar that’s filled with sweet blueberries (sans sleeping powder), scented with lemon and studded with candied ginger for a little zing. Perfect snack to bring along for long stakeouts and adventures in the woods (or in the city)!

To complete the mood, the immensely talented Shannon of Sass & Peril shared a few of her foxy wares. Inspired by Mid-Century design and Scandinavian aesthetics, Shannon breathes life into playful illustrations made out of simple geometric shapes. Truly fantastic, don’t you think?

Happy Eating!

Ps. Sass & Peril is kindly offering 20% off at her Etsy and webshop from now through March 20, 2013 (midnight PST). Enter Foxy20 at checkout!

Blueberry Lemon Ginger Oat Bars
Makes 12 bars

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried wild blueberries
2 tablespoons minced candied ginger (about 2 slices)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cupcake pan or a 9×9 inch pan depending on if you’d prefer to have round bars or to cut your own.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine oats, blueberries, ginger, lemon zest and sugar. Mix well.

3. Mix the melted butter with the honey and pour into the oats. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.

4. Divide the mixture in the 12 cupcake cups or within the square pan. Press to shape.

5. Bake till golden brown—around 20–25 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

[Photos by Tsz Chan. Red Fox Birch Wood Screenprint and Fox Tea Towels by Sass & Peril]