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.


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]


Recipe Hack : Shrimp Burger a la Umamicatessen

By Tsz on February 26, 2013

Gastrophoria is Umamicatessen’s shrimp burger.

It’s no secret that Umami is a temple for burgers—beefy well-crafted specimens paired with umami laced toppings such as parmesan crisps, roasted shitakes, truffle cheese, and many more. But, did you know about their non-beef concoctions? Turns out they create burger magic with tuna and shrimp too!

And what magic it is. Juicy, snappy morsels of shrimp are shaped into a hefty patty, topped with a tangy Japanese shredded seaweed salad and slathered with yuzu-kosho aioli. So simple, yet with each element vital to the overall composition. It is a wondrous work of art that lingers in your mind days after the encounter.

So much so that I had to recreate the magic at home. Armed with memories of said burger, I spent a day experimenting with my fellow partner-in-food—code name, the human mixer. We came pretty close to the real deal… but I’ll let you be the judge.

Shrimp Burgers a la Umamicatessen

Makes 4 burgers

4 Ciabatta buns (or of your choosing)
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp yuzu-kosho or wasabi (to taste) 

1 1/2 pounds of shrimp (Tiger shrimp 20/pound works well) 


Japanese seaweed salad (can be found in your neighborhood Asian market deli)

1. Split the buns of your choice and toast them on a skillet. Keep these warm in the oven while you prep the other elements. 

2. To make the aioli, simply mix the mayo with the yuzu-kosho or wasabi. Add more if you like the burn!

3. To prep the shrimp, peel and de-vein accordingly. Set a handful of shrimp aside (say 6-8) and butterfly and cut the rest into fourths. Take the reserved shrimp and chop them finely till it resembles a paste—this will act as the “glue” for the patties.

4. Now, mix the cut shrimp and shrimp paste in a bowl with salt and Togarashi to taste and mix vigorously to activate the protein. This is when elbow grease comes in handy. Picture yourself as a stand mixer and mix till the shrimp mixture gets very sticky and forms into a ball, around 4 minutes. 

5. Split the mixture into fourths and fry on a non-stick skillet till golden brown on both sides.

6. Put a shrimp patty on a toasted bun, heap on the seaweed and spread a layer of aioli. For extra zest, sprinkle on some Togarashi on top. Enjoy!