Autistic Chef Ava Marie Teaches East Bay Kids

Autistic Chef Ava Marie Teaches East Bay Kids how to make her Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf recipe



Chef Ava Marie, the Autistic Chef  and Owner of Autism Cooks food blog, recently spent the day with me sharing her passion for cooking with a group of East Bay High School students. The students are enrolled in a transitional program for kids with special needs. I had the awesome honor of being her sous chef for the class of 25 students while she taught them how to cook her scrumptious Holiday Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf recipe. 

I met Ava Marie Romero at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. She was a member of the audience during my cooking demo “Making Heirloom Jams with Garden Petals.” After my demo, she told me that she too was a cooking instructor and worked for the South San Francisco School District nutrition services and also taught cooking classes at the South San Francisco Library and Burlingame Recreation Center. She is also a food competitor entering online contests and the winner of countless State Fair prizes and ribbons for her baked and canned goods. I love how food draws us together and feel blessed that we have been friends ever since. 

Rebecka Evans and Ava Marie Romero

I was blown away by Ava’s poise and professionalism as she shared her personal journey as a young adult with autism, fueled with a passion for a career in cooking. As a person born with autism, Ava has meet adversity head on in her life, but she has never let it deter her from her goals. To know that Ava put her mind to her dream and made it a reality is pure joy! 

Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf, made by Chef Ave Marie

The Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf made by Ave Marie was a big hit with the students and staff. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did! PLEASE stop by and follow the Autistic Chef Ava Marie on Facebook. You can find more of her delicious recipes on Autism Cooks

Chef Ava Marie is my friend and my inspiration! 

Chef Ava Marie


Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf
Yields 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 3/4 cups applesauce
  4. 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  5. 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  7. 1 1/2 baking soda
  8. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  1. In a large bowl mix sugar, applesauce, and canned pumpkin (the wet) with wooden spoon until well combined
  2. In another bowl mix flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt and mix to combine
  3. Gradually stir flour mixture into the wet pumpkin mixture in small batches until well incorporated.
  4. Fold in the dried cranberries
  5. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
At Home with Rebecka
Chef Ava Marie

Chef Ava Marie

Chef Ava Marie

Pumpkin Pistachio Palmiers: Simply Sesame Blogger Recipe Challenge

Pumpkin Pistachio Palmiers are delicious, crispy French palmier cookies. They’re a cinch to make! This is the perfect cookie recipe for Fall!

Pumpkin Pistachio Palmiers: Simply Sesame Blogger Recipe Challenge

Simple Sesame Palmiers

Simply Sesame Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The challenge date has been set; the pans will be banging to see who becomes the winner of their first annual “Simply Sesame Blogger Recipe Challenge.” Where there are (almost) no rules, only originality and the pursuit of great taste!

 The top entry will be awarded $1,000.00; second place $500.00; and third place $250.00 and of course, bragging rights to friends and family.

Bonelli Fine Foods gifted 75 eligible bloggers free products for the competition. I took the challenge to create an original recipe with great taste using a choice of three Simply Sesame spreads: Vanilla Bites, Pistachio Morsels with a hint of Cardamom, and Pure Roasted Sesame Original flavor.

Simple Sesame vanilla-with-almond-bits Simple Sesame pure-roasted-sesame Simple Sesame Pistachio Morsels with a hint of Cardamom

I choose the pistachio and cardamom flavor, knowing it would be prefect for making French Palmiers. I just knew the subtly flavor of cardamom blended with holiday flavor of pumpkin purée and cinnamon sugar would make a delightfully crispy treat.

The result is perfectly crisp pumpkin pistachio palmiers, with a hint of delicious holiday pumpkin flavor.

A cinch to make! Frozen puff pastry takes all the hard work out of making this delicious cookie recipe. Not to mention, the flavor varieties of the Simply Sesame spreads offer a vast versatility in recipe creation. 

Simply Sesame states that all spreads are GMO free and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (and without additives, sugars, or colors), and will leave you with long-lasting high energy.

You can find Simply Sesame products directly from Bonelli Fine Foods on and local specialty stores in your area.

Follow Simply Sesame on  Facebook Twitter and Instagram.


Pumpkin Pistachio Palmiers

Pumpkin Pistachio Palmiers
Yields 30
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 2 puff pastry sheet(s)
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  6. 1 10 ounce Container Simply Sesame Pistachio with a hint of Cardamom
  7. 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
  8. ¼ cup chopped pistachios
  9. 2 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Thaw the puff pastry sheet according to the package instructions
  3. Roll pastry out on a floured surface to smooth and even out the edges
  4. Mix the sugar and spices spice together in a small bowl
  5. In another small mixing bowl combine, 1 simply sesame spread, pumpkin puree and
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar mixture
  7. Spread ½ the wet mixture in a thin layer over each puff pastry
  8. Sprinkle the flavored sugar evenly over each pastry. Reserve about 2 tablespoons for sprinkling over palmiers
  9. Roll one side of the pastry dough to the halfway mark, and repeat with the other side.
  10. Use a sharp knife to cut the cookies about 1/2 an inch thick, then place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  11. Sprinkle with any additional flavored sugar
  12. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until slightly puffy, and remove from the oven.
  13. Carefully flip all the cookies over, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and sesame seeds and return to the oven for 6-10 minutes, or until the center is cooked through and the edges are golden.
  14. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
At Home with Rebecka

Easy French Pumpkin Pistachio Palmier Cookies


If you enjoy pumpkin dessert recipes, check these out, too!


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

World Food Championships 2015- PART 2: It’s all about the BACON

World Food Championships 2015- PART 2: It’s all about the BACON, AND my brunch recipe for a Dutch Apple Baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon.Dutch Apple Baby  with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon RecipeIt was all about the bacon when Janet Tharpe, host for the Just A Pinch® online community, and her Kitchen Crew picked my Dutch Apple Baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon recipe, as a Blue Ribbon winner and my Golden Ticket to represent their company at the 2015 World Food Championships, Bacon Category. Blessed to be a part of the competition, I was honored to represent them.

Creating bacon recipes for the competition was a three month process. Luckily, I already had a winning recipe for the Signature Dish Round; all I had to do was prefect the execution. 


“The Signature Dish is the competitor’s choice, although it needs to fit the general “theme” of the competition category to be able to receive maximum points in execution. The Signature Dish is intended to allow the cook to put their best culinary foot forward. Show the judges what you do best. It’s your Signature Dish. ” Source: WFC 2015 Competitor Handbook


Dutch Apple baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon
Serves 6
Dutch Apple Baby meets its best companion with blackberry hoisin bacon, creating the perfect sweet and savory combination. The delicate pancake is married gently to the bacon with just a hint of hoisin and a touch of blackberry to balance out the of flavors…simply delicious.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 1.5 lb thick slice Wright Brand Applewood Smoked, divided
  2. 1 1/4 cups blackberry jam, divided
  3. 1/2 cup hoisin sauce, divided
  4. 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  5. 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  6. 1/2 cup organic apple cider, divided
  7. 2 1/2 cups diced apples, skins on
  8. 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  10. 1 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
  11. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  12. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
  13. 3/4 c flour
  14. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  15. 1 c milk
  16. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  17. 5 large eggs
  18. 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
  19. 1/4 cup powder sugar for garnish
  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
  2. You will need parchment paper to line baking sheet
For the Hoisin Marinade
  1. In a small bowl combine, 2 tablespoon mustard, 1 cup blackberry
  2. jam, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoon brown sugar, stir to
  3. combine
Blackberry Maple and Hoisin Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon hoisin, 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/4 cup blackberry jam, 1 cup fresh blackberries.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened
  3. Strain through fine sieve. Keep warm until ready to plate.
  4. Transfer to little syrup mugs during plating
Method for The Hoisin Bacon
  1. In a small bowl combine,
  2. 2 tablespoons mustard, 3/4 cup blackberry jam, 1/4 cup hoisin and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Mix well
  3. Place 18 slices bacon on parchment lined paper, brush about 1 tablespoon of mixture over each slice and turn and repeat.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar over all bacon
  5. Cook 400 degrees F. for 2o min.
  6. Cool bacon, reserve out 5 slices for garnish.
  7. Chop remaining bacon into small pieces, reserve 1/2 cup for garnish
Method For the Apple Filling
  1. Cut apples into small dice
  2. In a medium sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat
  3. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  4. Add diced apples and 1 tablespoon apple cider to pan
  5. Stir in sugar mixture
  6. Cook apples until tender but not soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare cast iron skillet
  1. Cut butter into chunks and place in cast iron skillet. Heat the skillet at 400 degree F. oven for 3-4 minutes, while making pancake batter.
  2. Method for The Batter
  3. Whisk flour, salt, sugar, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl
  4. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps
  5. When batter is smooth, beat in vanilla and eggs, one by one, Beat pancake batter, 1-2 minutes with whisk. Let batter rest for 5 minutes
  6. While batter is resting, prepare cast iron skillets.
  7. Place skillets in 400 degree F. oven on parchment lined tray. Heat for 5 minutes
  8. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter
  9. Remove skillets from oven and pour butter evenly into each skillet.
  10. Add even amounts of crumbled bacon to skillet bottom
  11. Pour batter over bacon, leaving 1/4 inch headspace
  12. Add cooked apples to middle of skillets
  13. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Remove small skillets, bake larger for 5-7 minutes longer
  14. Garnish with strip of bacon and fresh blackberries, powdered sugar and mint leaves.
  15. The pancake will puff dramatically while baking but begin to fall within a few minutes after baking.
  1. powder sugar
  2. blackberry hoisin syrup
  3. fresh blackberries
  4. strips of hoisin bacon
  1. Just A Pinch Blue Ribbon Recipe
  2. Winner Top Ten World Food Championships 2015 Category: Bacon
At Home with Rebecka
Dutch Apple Baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon

I felt so blessed to be chosen to compete in the 2015 World Food Championships, and then doubly blessed as a fellow competitor Kim Banick, an award winning home cook, owner of The Prize of Cooking, and seasoned World Food Champion, offered to be my sous chef for the opening round. I was moved to tears when I read her message, what an answer to prayer! God knew I needed help competing in such a prestigious event for the very first time. Kim shared her wisdom as a competitive cook as well as, her sweet spirit and gracious attitude. She also, brought with her a team of sous, Mark Banick and Kasey Brown. We cooked together, we prayed together, and we took TOP TEN in the Bacon Category!

Opening Round WFC 2105

The Banick Team spent the following day winning People’s Choice for their Tex-Mex Chili Sundae Split-2015 WFC Chili competition entry. I’m forever grateful for their generosity, hearts for Christ, and shared talent in my kitchen! 

Kim Banick The Prize of CookingThe opportunity to stay with my eldest son, his wife and family while in Orlando, was the icing on the cake. Their support and love gave me strength to carry on each day not to mention, the special morning hugs and kisses from my grand girls.

Grand girls WFC

By the third day of competition I didn’t know which side was up, even calling my friend Lisa Keys by the wrong name for an entire day! As a fellow competitor, and food blogger, Lisa understood my memory lapse and graciously forgave me!  The 10 day experience was overwhelming, exciting, exhausting, and one of the best experiences in my life.

Lisa Keys

With the help of family and friends, I moved on to compete in the Top Ten and took home 4th in the World in the Bacon Category!

Some of the perks for winning a place at #WFC2015…sponsorship from Hammer Stahl Cutlery, with a awesome set of chefs knives, backpack and carrying case. More about them in my final blog post and filleting American Red Snapper with their stellar filet knife.

Below is a Holiday video with Chef Kevin Gillespie featuring Wright Brand Bacon and several WFC Bacon competitors and….ME!

FIREBALL Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve

FIREBALL Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve…the perfect cranberry side dish, just in time for your holiday feast.
Fireball Cranberry Lemon Conserve

I’ve been in the kitchen the past few days doing my best to put up four bushels of home grown Meyer lemons; I can’t believe there are still more lemons on the tree.

Guess what the neighbors will be getting from Santa this year?

In addition to my regular Holiday recipes, I decided to create something new for my holiday feast, featuring my homegrown Meyer lemons. A twist on my traditional cranberry sauce recipe, I added 3 cups of thinly sliced Meyer lemon skins to a 16 ounce bag of fresh cranberries then spiked the mix with some warm, cinnamon goodness, Fireball Whiskey! The combination of flavors, taste like Christmas on a spoon! It’s the best cranberry conserve/sauce I’ve ever made and it will go perfectly with my Christmas Garlic Prime Rib Roast

Fireball Whiskey Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve…You’ll need to try this one… it’s a winner!


Fireball Whiskey Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve
Yields 6
Scrumptious version of cranberry sauce with cinnamon heat
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 1 16 ounce bag fresh cranberries, about 3 cups
  2. 3 cups thinly sliced Meyer lemon peel
  3. 4 cups sugar
  4. 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1/4 cup bottle lemon juice
  6. 2 cups water
  7. 2 whole cinnamon sticks, broken into thirds
  8. 5 whole cloves
  9. 1 1" sprig fresh rosemary
  10. 1 cup Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
  11. 2 packages liquid pectin
  1. Wash lemons in cool water
  2. Juice lemons, measure and reserve
  3. Thinly slice reserves lemon peel
  4. Strain lemon juice to remove pips
  5. Combine lemon juice, sliced lemon peels, cranberries, sugar, water, cinnamon stick and whole clove
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Add Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and fresh rosemary
  8. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine
  9. Add pectin and bring back to a boil, cook 2 minutes
  10. Check gel by adding a small amount of mixture to a cooled plate. If mixture holds its shape fill sterilized jars and process jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. If the mixture is still not setting, boil additional 2 minutes.
  1. If NOT canning the recipe save in airtight jar/container and refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or use immediately.
  2. Conserve is soft set
At Home with Rebecka

FIREBALL Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve

FIREBALL Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve

Meyer Lemons

So many Meyer lemons this year and still some on the tree!!

Looking for more lemon recipes for the holiday? Here’s the short list I’ve baked and canned this week: Meyer Lemon Habanero Jelly, Lemon Marmalade, Lemon Cake Bars, and Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cream Glaze, just to name a few. I’ve also put up two giant jars of preserved lemons…recipes to follow, and plan to make a few more lemony desserts.

FIREBALL Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

The secret ingredient…Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey I love this stuff!!

FIREBALL Cranberry Meyer Lemon Conserve...the perfect cranberry side dish, just in time for your holiday feast.

Meringue Crepes and an Interactive Dinner Party – Recipe Redress

Meringue crepes with strawberries foster flambe is an elegant dessert, perfect for any special occasion!
Meringue crepes with strawberries foster flambe is an elegant dessert, perfect for any special occasion!

Meringue Crepes with Strawberries Foster Flambe

Recipe Redress, Meringue Crepes and an Interactive Dinner Party: Today I’m sharing a little recipe redress after failing miserably to teach a group of women how to make meringue crepes at an interactive dinner party a few weeks ago. My friend Valerie, the owner of Good Life Food & Events, asked me to assist her in the kitchen for this event and share my expertise in canning rose petal jelly, and finish the evening off by teaching the ladies how to make stunning meringue crepes with strawberries foster flambe.

I had the meringue crepes recipe all worked out in my mind and felt confident in my skills. So much so, I didn’t take the time to practice the recipe before helping with the event. My brilliant idea for this recipe was to make a vanilla bean meringue. My mind’s eye imagined how lovely the meringue would be, dotted with vanilla bean flecks, all puffed and golden on the top, then drizzled with a sweet strawberries foster and finally, flambed to create an end of the evening wow factor.

As a recipe creator, I spend hours going over ideas like this in my mind. Some work out beautifully and others do not. Since Valerie was expecting great things from me, and these were her clients, I should have taken the time to make the recipe before committing to it heart and soul. Lesson learned!

What I didn’t consider in my imagination, was the cardinal rule for ALL meringues…NO OIL of any kind, or it will fail. It failed because vanilla bean has a ton of natural oil in the pod. Had I taken just a few seconds to flip through the pages of my cooking memory knowledge, I may have reconsidered the idea for “vanilla bean” meringue, but I didn’t. 

Sadly, what came out of the oven that night was a flat mess. I served meringue crepes that were overcooked and tough, with a meringue that was flat like a pancake. What made the moment doubly embarrassing, was the final flaming of the strawberries foster. The special moment was not a spectacular one, it was more like a firework dud! We forgot to turn off the lights, so the big finale was a bust as well!

It’s not in my nature to let things go, and as a professional in a teaching environment such as this, I was mortified by my mistake. Afterwards, I knew exactly what had happened, but it was too late to fix it. That’s what I get for being thick headed. Thankfully, the ladies were gracious and ate the dessert without a harsh word, even remarking kindly on the flavor. Valerie, was the consummate professional and most graciously understood that sh*# happens. Thank you my friend! 

So now, for all the ladies that attended the event, and for my friend Valerie, I’m recreating the dish with all the original components, and in the right context. I need to mention, it took me three tries to get it right in my kitchen during recreation. Next time I think we should make pie

Failed Crepe

My first attempt to recreate the recipe resembled what we served the night of the party. Overcooked, tough and flat. Back to the test kitchen for a second try…

Second Attempt Crepe w Souffle

I tried the second attempt using a souffle instead of meringue. It was prettier and tasted better than the first try however, the souffle died almost instantly after removing from the oven.

Meringue Crepes Perfection

The third attempt was the charm. I made a simple meringue filling, cooked at 350 degrees F. for 8 minutes. I love it when a recipe finally comes together.

Meringue Crepes with Strawberries Foster Flambe
Yields 12
The recipe for the crepes is attributed to Valerie from Good Life Food & Events
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
For the Crepes
  1. 2 large eggs
  2. 1 cup milk
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup flour
  5. 2 Tablespoon flour
  6. 1/2 vanilla bean split and scraped
For the Meringue
  1. 3 large eggs whites
  2. 1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  4. pinch salt
For the Strawberries Foster Flambe
  1. 2 cups strawberries
  2. 1 teaspoon butter
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. Zest of 1 lemon
  5. 1/2 vanilla bean split and scraped
  6. 1/4 cup Cointreau Liqueur (or brandy)
  7. 1/8 cup brazilian cachaca (or brandy)
  8. confectioner sugar for dusting
For the Crepes
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well
  2. Allow batter to rest for 30 minutes (batter can be made the night before and kept in the refrigerator)
  3. Place a 8 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, spray pan with non-stick oil
  4. Place 1/4 cup of batter into center of hot pan, and swirl the batter to coat the pan, making a thin pancake
  5. When edged start to dry, lift edge gently with spatula and flip to other side and cook for one minute
  6. Repeat and stack crepes until batter is gone (crepes can be made ahead of time, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated)
For the Meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. place rack in middle position
  2. In a very clean glass or metal bowl beat pinch salt and egg whites with hand mixer on medium high setting, until they just hold stiff peaks
  3. Add cream of tartar, continue beating for a few seconds to disperse
  4. Slowly add sugar and beat till hold stiff peaks
  5. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchments (if using parchment, spray with nonstick oil)
  6. Place crepes on baking sheet
  7. Divide meringue mixer evenly, spooning it over only one half of the crepe. Genlty fold the other half of the crepe over the filling to rest on top. Bake until filling is set, and slighlty browned about 8-12 minutes
  8. Top crepes with strawberries foster and dust with confectioners sugar
For the Strawberries Foster Flambe
  1. Using a drinking straw, poke the straw through the small end of the strawberry through to the other side, removing the green flowery stem. Wash and pat dry
  2. Slice strawberries in quarters, smaller berries can be cut in half
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter in one side of the pan, add the vanilla bean and whisk until thoroughly combined
  4. Pour strawberries over butter, keeping to one side of the pan
  5. In the other side of the pan, begin to melt the sugar (sugar will not totally melt, the idea is to get some of the sugar to caramelize)
  6. Toss the berries in the butter and vanilla bean mixture to coat while sugar is melting
  7. When sugar has slightly melted add lemon zest and combine all the ingredients together
  8. Cook stirring for about 1 minute
  9. Carefully add the liquor and ignite with stick lighter. Watch the flame until it subsides (remember to turn off the lights)
At Home with Rebecka
Meringue crepes with strawberries foster flambe is an elegant dessert, perfect for any special occasion!

Despite the few mishaps, the evening was a great success.

Here’s a quick look at Valerie’s’ Menu and a few photos of the dishes the ladies learned to make and more information about Good Life Foods & Events

Spring’s Bounty


Cucumber Gimlet


Rose Petal Jelly with La Tour Cheese & Crackers

Italian Stuffed Artichokes


Grilled Beet Salad with Creamy Goat Cheese, Almonds & Edible Flowers

Main Course

Asparagus Risotto

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Mahi Mahi

Lemony Sugar Snap Peas with Cucumber, Mint & Feta


Strawberries Foster with Crepes & Vanilla Bean Meringue (see the new recipe Meringue Crepes with Strawberries Foster Flambe)


 More information about Good Life Foods & Events:

Good Food…Good Friends…Good Times

Essential to a good life is gathering with friends and family
around a beautiful table filled with delicious food.  
Good Life Food & Events can help you enjoy all the special occasions in your life.  With fabulous food, years of 
event planning experience, and personalized service, you are assured only the best!

Catering & Event Planning
Interactive Dinner Parties
Private Cooking Lessons

(925) 451-9176

My mission is to deliver exceptional cuisine and outstanding service
so my clients can experience “Good Food…Good Friends…Good Times.”
~ Chef Valerie

Meringue Crepes with Strawberries Foster/Flambe


Dutch Apple Baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon

Dutch Apple Baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon is my entry for the World Food Championships Recipe Contest, category BACON! This sweet and savory breakfast can also be served as a sideboard brunch dish or as the main event at dinner! When served with additional blackberry syrup and a piping hot cup of coffee, this Dutch baby pancake recipe is scrumptious!

Dutch Apple Baby with Hoison Blackberry Bacon

Dutch Apple Baby

My Dutch Apple Baby Wins 8th Place in the Top Ten WFC 2015 Photo by OC Food Diva

I’ve been in the kitchen for the past few weeks, creating recipes like a madwoman in order to win a coveted Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships this coming June. This Dutch apple baby pancake recipe, as well as a few more, are being entered via Just a Pinch website, in the WFC official qualifying event. 

Contest Information: Earn your chance to cook at the 2015 World Food Championships. It’s the ultimate invite-only culinary competition and you may walk away with some serious bragging rights… and prize money of up to $100,000. It’s in a new location this year too – Kissimmee, FL!

  • Get in on the fun! Enter your very best original recipe from one (or all!) of the following categories:
  • Bacon
  • Burger
  • Chili
  • Dessert
  • Fresh Recipe*
  • Pasta
  • Sandwich
  • Seafood

*Fresh means creating a recipe using fresh ingredients and products that have never been frozen or canned.A total of twenty (20) winners will be selected from among the categories to compete as part of Team Just A Pinch!

★Winners Each Receive:

  • Invitation to prepare and compete with their winning recipe November 3 – 10 at the 2015 World Food Championships in Kissimmee, FL
  • Waiver of all WFC entrance fees (Exclusive feature for Just A Pinch Contestants!)
  • Induction into Just A Pinch’s Honorary Kitchen Crew

I’m ready to make my way to Florida in a few months to compete; let’s hope the official judges choose one of my recipes and honor me with a WIN! 

In the meantime, give my Dutch apple baby recipe a try and let me know if it’s a winner?

Dutch Apple Baby with Blackberry Hoisin Bacon
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 1 lb thick slice bacon
  2. 2 large apples
  3. 4 Tbsp granulated sugar divided
  4. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  6. 1/3 c unsalted butter
  7. 3/4 c flour
  8. 1/2 pkg salt
  9. 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  10. 1 c milk
  11. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  12. 5 large eggs
  13. 1 c blackberry jam
  14. 1/4 c hoisin sauce
  15. 2 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
  16. powder sugar garnish
  17. maple or blackberry syrup
For the Bacon
  1. Preheat oven 500 degree F.
  2. Place 10 slice bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet lengthwise, pull bacon to stretch about half its original length (this helps with shrinkage during the cooking process) don't allow bacon to go over sheet pan edges
  3. In a small bowl add, mustard, blackberry jam, hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoon brown sugar, stir to combine
  4. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of jam mixture over each piece of bacon, using a basting brush spread the jam mixture to coat the entire side of bacon, flip bacon over and repeat this process.
  5. To cook, cover the bacon with an additional sheet/baking pan laying the bottom of the pan directly on top of the bacon
  6. Place pans in oven and par-cook bacon for 5-6 minutes or until hot and bubbling but not browned
  7. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use
  8. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees F.
  9. Brown remaining bacon slices and crumble for garnish
For the Batter
  1. Peel and core apples, cut them into slices then slice into halves and thirds (about 3 cups apples) In a small mixing bowl combine 3 tablespoon sugar with cinnamon and ginger, set aside until ready to use
  2. Cut butter into chunks and place in a deep cast iron skillet. Put the skillet into the oven for 3-4 minutes or until the butter is melted and skillet is hot. Remove skillet from oven, sprinkle bottom of pan with about 1/3 brown sugar mixture. Carefully spread apples over the bottom of the skillet and sprinkle remaining sugar over apples. Put skillet back into the oven, cook for 5-8 minutes to caramelize apples (you should be able to complete the next step while apples are caramelizing)
  3. Whisk flour with remaining tablespoon sugar, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. When flour batter is smooth, beat in vanilla and eggs one by one. Beat by hand for approximately 2 minutes. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Remove apples from the oven
  4. Add one strip of bacon to the bottom of the skillet at a time trying not to overlap the pieces, arrange in a star or spoke pattern so that when sliced each piece will have a slice of bacon cooked into the batter. It may be necessary to cut bacon to fit skillet. Try not to go over the edge of the skillet to keep bacon from becoming too darkened while cooking.
  5. Pour batter over bacon and caramelized apples, bake in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or center is set and sides are golden brown.
  6. The pancake will puff dramatically while baking but fall within a few minutes after baking. Slice pancake into 6 pieces, sprinkle with powder sugar, bacon bites and serve with blackberry or maple syrup
  1. Course/Dish: Sweet Breads, Savory Breads, Pancakes Main Ingredient: Eggs Regional Style: Dutch Other Tags: Quick & Easy, For Kids, Heirloom Hashtags: #breakfast, #WFC Cooking
At Home with Rebecka
Dutch Apple Baby

Another delicious brunch recipe to try:
Strawberry Roll Up Pancakes