Sunday, November 21, 2010

If this was your College Mac and Cheese, it'd have a PhD

Ever since I was small, macaroni and cheese has been one of my favourite dishes.  I'm sure as a child, my mom and my babysitter (who made our lunches), must have grown tired of always making Kraft Dinner as that was my mac of choice.

Growing up my pallette expanded and I learned how to make baked macaroni and cheese.  Although delicious, my first intro to it was rather bland, but that's how I liked it.  Today I still love macaroni and cheese, but love trying different styles.  Tonight's variation involves sharpness, spiciness, and most importantly baconess.

This was my second foray using my Kitchenaid pasta press.  I used the same methodology as last time, but aimed to keep the dough a bit drier - definitely an improvement for the machine.  A few more lessons learned.  1) when cutting the pasta doing with a quick, single slide of the blade.  At first I was doing two quick cuts (forward and back) but this ended up sealing the ends of the pasta.  2) When doing the single cut going forward, be sure not to leave the dull side of the blade in too far as it will cramp the extruding pasta.

While I boiled the water for the pasta I prepared my cheese mac sauce.  I diced a shallot and sautteed it in a good chunk of butter.  You need a good chunk as this will be used for a roux.  Once softened, I added flour and pepper (no salt only because I had used salted butter) and stirred to make a roux.  Then I added milk and kept over a medium-low heat to thicken.  I finished with a blend of sharp British cheddar, chevre, and parmesan cheeses, hot pepper flakes, and diced, well cooked bacon.  For looks and a crunchiness I topped with buttered bread crumbs and a bit more cheese. 

This smelled terrific baking.  The taste was great.  The sauce was super creamy and had a sharpness that seemed to pick up the flavours of each cheese.  The bacon added flavour but didn't overwhelm.  The heat was subtle, I think I would up it a little next time.  And the bread crumb topping added a nice texture to the mix.

Pasta Dough
2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Place the flour into a mixer bowl.  In a separate cup mix the eggs, oil and water.  Slowly pour into flour while mixing with the paddle attachment.  When it starts to pull together, switch to a dough attachment.  If its too dry, add 1 tsp of water at a time until it forms a smooth ball, but not too tacky.  Let stand in a covered bowl for at least 20 minutes.

Mac and Cheese
4 cups cooked macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1 large shallot, small dice
3 tbsp flour
Several good grinds of fresh cracked pepper
3 cups milk
1cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup chevre, in small pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup well cooked bacon, diced
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsp margarine or butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs 

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Add the shallot and saute until soft.  Add the flour and pepper and stir until bubbly and the flour cooks a bit.  Add the milk slowly while stirring (you don't want clumps).  Once near boiling and thickened, remove from heat and add cheeses, bacon and red pepper flakes and stir until cheese is melted.  Add the macaroni and stir again.  Top with bread crumbs that have been mixed with the melted margarine and a bit nore cheese.

Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and browned.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Savory Stuffed Pork Loin

I was travelling (again) this past week and had the opportunity to watch a bunch of podcasts on my new IPad (love it).  One of the podcasts I watched was a Cook's Illustrated one for a rolled pork loin with an apple stuffing.  I'm not much for the fruit type stuffings, but I was entrigued by their technique for rolling and stuffing a pork loin, so I deciced to give it a whirl.

I used a small pork loin as there was just two of us for dinner this eve.  I cut it just as the Cook's podcast showed - starting 1/2 inch paralellel to the cutting board and then stopping short of the other end before cutting another 1/2 inch back.  (You're probably best to watch the podcast as this isn't the best description).  The picture below is after cutting, but before doing some slight pounding, under plastic wrap to even it out.

I then made a bacon based stuffing. I sauteed the bacon with an onion until just getting a bit crisp.  I added thyme, sage, and majoram and stirred until fragrant.  I then added savory bread crumbs (you could use any type of cubed bread here, but ideally a bit stale and dry) and chicken stock to moisten. 

I spread the stuffing onto the flattened pork loin, rolled and tied it at 3/4"  intervals.    I had leftover stuffing so I put it in the botton of my roasting dish for the roast to cook on. 

The roast was amazing.  And it looked really impressive.  The pork really took to the savory flavours but maintained its own distinct meaty flavour.  The stuffing was very spicy and savory which was appropraite for this type of dish. I served with roasted potatoes and yams and steamed peas.

A wonderful fall supper.

Savory Stuffed Pork Loin
2 lb pork loin roast, butterflied and pounded to even 1/2" thickness

8 strips bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp sage
3-4 cups chunky bread crumbs (smash a bit if too large)
1/2-1 cup chicken stock to moisten

Preheat oven to 320F.

In a large pot sautee the bacon and onion until just turning crisp.  If more than 1/4 cup fat, drain off excess.  Add the spices and stir until just fragrant.   Take off heat.  Add the bread crumbs and mix.  Add enough chicken stock to moisten, but not soak and stir again. 

Place a layer of stuffing over the flattened pork loin.  Roll and tire with butchers string at 3/4" intervals.

Place the remaining stuffing in a roasting dish and place the roast on top.  Cook at 320F for 1 - 1/2 hours until the internal temerature is 160F.  You may have to place foil over the stuffing or remove it if it gets too browned.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Technivorm Coffee Machine

This is our latest gadget/appliance - the Technivorm coffee machine. 

You see, our former coffee machine expired this past weekend.  It had been acting up (aka the lights would go on, but nothing would happen) during the past week so my husband began researching options.

Our big thing is a good cup of coffee.  We don't need bells and whistles - no timer, no grinder, no extras - just coffee.  As long as we get a good cup of coffee we're not opposed to those things, but we're not interested in them for gimmicks sake. 

The Technivorm is all about good coffee.  It is hand made in the Netherlands.  It has copper piping so it heats propertly and accurately to 196C each time.  Even a 26 year old model still maintains this temperature- as an experiement while our past coffee maker was still working we checked the coffee temeprature and it struggled to reach 176C.  The Technivorm brews a full pot in under 9 minutes (our first try was 6 minutes).  And it is the only one that Cooks' llustrated (my mentor, my go to) testing competes with French Press. 

I am converted.  I am a Technivorm groupie. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas with Chipotle Sauce

You know I love Mexican food, especially if its spicy.  After having learned several dishes from my girlfriends, I figured it was time to venture out and try a variation on my own.  As usual, I had a craving.  I wanted Mexican.  I wanted spicy.  I wanted chipotle. 

I started by heating some chicken stock (handily leftover from pressure cooking the chicken) spiked with a bit of cumin.  I added about 1/2 can of processed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  That's it.  That was my sauce. 

I made two layers of sauce then chicken then tortillas (real ones from Mexico, baked in the oven to get a bit crispy).  Topped with grated marble cheese and baked to heat through. 

This picture looks a lot like my other enchilada pictures, but it really is very different.  BTW, that's romano bean refried beans on the side.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homemade Rigatoni with Sunday Gravy

While in San Francisco this summer I finally purchased the Kitchenaid pasta press that I have been admiring for months.  This is not to be confused with the pasta roller set, or the pasta extruder set that doubles as a meat grinder (I have this set and the meat grinder works, but the pasta part is not good at all).  This is a whole new thing.  It's been out for less than a year and for most of that time was only available at Williams Sonoma.  Now it can be found elsewhere, including at C.A. Paradis in Ottawa, but I'm not seeing it widespread yet. 

The cool thing about this gadget is that it truly can make pasta with hollow middles like macaroni, rigatoni etc.  As a huge fan of homemade pasta, it was a natural that I had to have this.

I used my standard egg pasta recipe.  I love this recipe as it comes from my husband's grandmother's (who passed many years ago so I never got to meet her) repertoire of recipes, which I've modified for a stand mixer.  I think it is so cool as she lived on the prairies, but managed to make the most of all the resouces there.  She grew such things as garlic during a time when in that area it only came in powder format at the grocery and cultivated her own poppy seeds for delicious breads and rolls.  She also made her own home made pasta which my husband remembers fondly as she would lay bed sheets around the house and the three boys (this was before the other three were born) would all go to help roll and cut the strands. I think she was both old-school and ahead of her time.  I wish I could have met her.

Back to the gadget.  You don't have to roll the pasta, you simply drop small balls of the dough into the extruder.  It does almost all of the rest by pressing it through.  You do have to use the cutter to lop off the size of pasta that you want.

My first try worked out not too bad.  I think I could have made my pasta bit drier, but the experiement was successful.  More practice is required (I can't complain about though as I get to eat the results) - but at first blush, I'm thrilled with my new toy.

I topped with a Sunday Gravy made in the pressure cooker.   The details on the Sunday Gravy will soon be posted at Smoke Under Pressure.

Pasta Dough (scalable)
4 medium eggs beaten
1 tsp oil
2 cups flour

Mix the eggs and oil together in a measuring cup or small bowl.  Into the bowl of  a standing mixer add the flour.  Using the paddle attachment slowly add the egg/oil mixture until just mixed.  If too dry add water a tsp at a time.  Switch to the dough attachment and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth. 

Let stand for 20 minutes (this reduces elasticity) in a covered bowl before using.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Say Kebab, I Say Kabob - either way it's steak

Mmmmm Steak.  As Homer Simpson would say.  Or my husband for that matter. 

Being a prairie girl at heart, I love steak.  Or at least I usually do.  Lately I find myself not enjoying it quite as much, so when my husband requested steak for dinner, I had to find some sort of middle ground on it as I just wasn't up for a another New York steak (although deep inside I know this is blasphemy). 

My compromise or happy medium was a steak kabob.  I found some lovely top sirloin at the grocery on sale.  I was hoping to digress on some revealing top sirloin facts here, but a quick google search informed me that the top sirloin is above the bottom sirloin on a cow.  Somehow, I think I could have figured that out.  Nonetheless, it was perfect for this recipe.

I cubed the sirloin and marinaded it in a soy-based marinade.  I'm lucky to have a vacuum packed marinader so only needed to do this for about 40 minutes.  I then skewered the beef and grilled 7 minutes per side (two sides only, not all four) on a 400F grill.

The result was amazing.  Right up there with Not Your Average Joes (but that's another post) steak tips.  A perfect medium-rare, tender and great flavour.  A new household recipe staple.

Steak Kabobs
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic minced
1 stalk rosemary

2-3 medium sized top sirloin steaks, in large cubes
4 kabob skewers (soaked if using wooden)

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and add meat.  Let marinade 4 hours or 40 minutes if able to vacuum.  Divide meat onto 4 skewers.  Heat your grill to 400F and grill skewers for 7 minutes per side (two sides only). 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

AGA Courgette Pasta

I was recently in England visiting family where my sister-in-law subscribes to a weekly veg box.  I used to subscribe to one in Canada, but have been travelling a bit too much the past few years to make good use of one.  The great thing about these boxes is that you don't know what you are going to get so it forces you to try new things.  Also, it's like meal planning in reverse where instead of making your grocery list based for the meals you want, you make a menu list to accommodate what's arrived in the veg box. 

And that's where this recipe came from.  The veg box had several courgettes (aka zucchini) in it, and also came with a rough recipe (e.g. no measurements) which my sister-and-law and I decided to pursue.  I've listed them below with my estimation of amounts and process. 

Before we get to the recipe, I have a couple of other notable mentions.  First off, I have to mention that I bought the sprial pasta that we used in this recipe at the most amazing Burough Market in London.  I'm a huge fan of markets, but this one is pretty much at the top of my list.  It has the most amazing vendors and selction, and the atmosphere is brilliant.  If you do get to go there, be sure to try the grilled cheese sandwich at the raclette stand.

My other mention is the AGA.  I used this in the title, but it's a bit of a misnomer as really all you use the AGA for is boiling the pasta.  I had to mention it though as they are such an English tradition which I haven't seen much of in North America.  It's an oven that is always on and ready to do duty.  As a result, they throw a bit of heat and have traditionally been used to hang laundry over for drying.

Well there it is.  Courgette pasta is a perfect summer dish as its easy preparation, high on flavours, and no cooking beyond boiling water for pasta.  In fact, even my wee nephews who aren't keen on zucchini thought that this would be edible!

Courgette Pasta
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chile, finely diced
3 small-medium zucchini, grated
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Spiral pasta for 4

Get a pot ready with water for boiling your pasta.  Meanwhile, mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and chile in a small bowl.  Set aside. 

When your pasta is ready and drained, toss with the lemon mixture, zucchini, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Serve with parmesan and basil. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gnocchi: Trial #1

I'm a huge fan of gnocchi. I have no specific expertise in the area, but after trying it in various locales it seems that its pronunciation is of endless variations (NYOH-kee according to the Food Lover's Companion), but its preparation options are even more endless.

I've had the opportunity to try gnocchi in a variety of cities recently: Stella Osteria in Ottawa; Weczaria in Saskatoon; Tulio in Seattle . . . and the list goes on. Having sampled all these various concoctions, I found that I truly had to separate the gnocchi from the sauce. Was it the little bundle of potato based flour that I was enjoying or the sauce.

Turns out it was both, however, upon breaking it down I did reach a conclusion. Of the actual gnocchi varietals, I truly adore the pillowy bundle that is tender and melting compared to its firmer cousins. So I began reviewing gnocchi recipes. As near as I could figure there are two schools of gnocchi (just like risotto) the French and the Italian. The French are based on a choux pastry recipe, whereas the French on more of a dough.

I've made the French style before, but it didn't have the pillowy substance that I was looking for. So this evening I opted to concoct a French variation (or at least that's what I call it). I started by baking some potatoes. Usually these recipes call for Yukon baking potatoes, but I didn't have any so I opted for teenie red potatoes (gasp from the crowd). I baked them at 400F until tender then riced them. I forgot to take a picture of the compilation of riced potatoes, but here's the remnants.

When my potatoes were nearing completion I started my choux pasty. It's a standard recipe that I've used for various things. You start by heating up butter and water. Then you quickly add flour and stir. Then you add eggs - one at a time - and stir in between. Any recipe I've seen says specirfically to use a wooden spoon for this - I'm not sure why, but am not one to mess with tradition.  My arms were sore from stirring (perhaps my afternoon of raking leaves didn't help the cause). Once I finished this process I started it all over by adding my riced potatoes and some parmesan cheese and stirring more (it's even hard to type this my hands are sore from the stirring!).  I now had my dough, which admittedly was much diffent, aka pasty, compared to other gnocchi doughs I've made.

I set up my own little gnocci production facility complete with a tea towel, flour, the dough, and a handy gnocchi roller. I dropped large teaspoons of the pastry onto the floured portion of my tea towel then rolled about, moving the nuggets to the other side of the tea towel in the process. I also cut them in half (or thirds) as requried to try ot maintain some uniformity of size. As for my gnocchi roller, purchased at an Italian grocery in Edmonton, I never realized its full potential until this cooking event.

After the little nuggets were all prepared, I put some water on to boil. Once boiling I added the gnocchi and lowered the heat to a simmer (boiling would obviously destroy them as they are so tender) for 15 minutes.

For serving I tried a parmesan cream sauce as well as a simple parmesan sprinkle with butter.

The verdict: my gnocchi had that pillowy soft texture that I love. But the sauce and finishing left a lot to be desired. I will have to try this again, hence the Trial #1 in the title - more experimenting to come.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bobby Does It Again: Tuna Steak

Bobby Flay that is. I think I've previously mentioned that I wasn't necessarily a Bobby fan until I ate at Mesa Grill in NYC last summer. I had nothing against the guy, I just didn't realize he was a guy after my own heart with his mix of spicy southwestern cuisine. Once discovered though, I'm apparently a huge fan. A groupie as it were.

Today I purchased lovely tuna steak for dinner. Tuna isn't a usual on my grocery list. It's not that I don't like it, it's that my locale doesn't exactly lend itself to great tuna. But the gods of excellent food storage and flight travel do bless, and I was able to obtain a beautiful, non-fishy smelling, perfect coloured tuna steak.

Having secured the lovely tuna steak, the only dilemma I had in hand was to determine preparation options. A relatively easy option, as Mexican flavour was beckoning, and I knew Bobby Flay could deliver.

In his Mesa Grill cookbook, there are two tuna recipes. Of course I opted for the one that I had the ingredients for (at least nearly). The thing about Bobby's recipes in this book is the ingredient lists are long, and therefore the recipes look daunting. Look again, as it's simply his signature blend of simple flavours (usually) that are assembled using pretty much usual ingredients.

First I prepared his apricot glaze. My biggest variation here was the lack of apricots. But certainly the apricots were for sweetened flavour and colour, so a mix of peach and mango preserves seemed sufficient . Although my idea was appropriate, because I wasn't using dried fruit, I had to extend the reduction phase almost triple the time to achieve appropriate consistency in the sauce.

Whilst my glaze reduced, I prepared the rub for the tuna steak. All straight forward - ingredient permitting and with the aid of a trust spice grinder (formerly a coffee grinder). Having made several BF rubs I would depict this one as typical. That's not a slight, but he definitely has a unique flair. As well, I often find myself thinking I'm not crazy about what I'm adding, but I've learned to trust the process - Bobby will deliver.

In the end I finished my glaze as prescribed (red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, mint)and seared the tuna (I'd do it a smidge less next time). I also put together accompaniments - guacamole salad and refried black beans (not your usual, but a prepared option directly from Mexico - thanks Jimena).


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Braised Curried Goat with Curried Chickpeas and Coconut Saag

Mystery Goat. 
Not Your Average Goat. 
Boldly Goat Where No Goat has gone before. 
I did the Goat my way. 

These are just a few of the names I was contemplating for this post. There were a few more, but these are the ones that I could remember when typing.  Why so many names? Because this was a unique dish (for me) and I felt like there were so many ways to describe it. 

First off, I'm not even sure what part of the goat the meat came from. How can this be? Well, a dear friend of ours was in Montreal a few months ago and picked up this goat (some for him, some for us). I couldn't use it said weekend, so I vacuum packed it. It was a larger cut so I knew I would have to wait for a weekend so that I would have lots of time for defrosting and preparation. The only part that I could discern in this collective chunk of meat was a leg - clearly a leg. The other chunk - I'm just not sure. But that didn't deter me. 

My immediate desire was to curry this mystery goat. Mostly because that's the way I've had goat previously (in Jamaica and at a local Asian restaurant). Alas, I did some digging on the internet, and didn't find a satisfactory recipe, so I decided to wing it. 

Defrosting. On Saturday evening when it was clear that Sunday would be a suitable goat-day, I pulled out said beast from the deep freeze. I let it stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes just to get a bit of frost off. I then plunged it into a cold Dutch oven pot filled with cold water and put into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, the goat was nearly defrosted, although it had a shield of ice all around it which removed easily when cleaned under running water.  

Given that I wasn't quite sure how to cook this goat, I resorted to a bit of a Julia Child braising method - sans the early prep work of browning the meat. I made a braising mixture in the Dutch oven (the goat was sitting on a plate while prepping this step) of curry powder, tomatoes, carrots, onion, and chicken stock (I suppose you could use goat stock if you happen to have this handy). I chucked it into a 250F oven at 9 a.m. - and left for the day to run amok around town with my husband. At 2:00 we popped back home just to make sure the goat was ok. No boiling over. No smoking cauldron setting off fire alarm bells.

At 5:00 p.m. the goat appeared cooked so I removed it from the braising liquid and picked through the meat. This was probably the most labor intensive part of the task. I had to not only remove bones, but large bits of fat, and scrape of slippery pieces of silver skin. The end result was a rather large amount of lovely, tender goat meat that resembled pulled pork.

Although the goat had braised in a curry liquid, it needed more curry. So after picking it over, I added back the strained braising tomatoes and onions, a good 1/2 cup garam masala paste, and 4 hot chiles (ground). I then covered it and let it finish in the oven to warm through and blend the flavours.  

Meanwhile, I prepared an adaptation of a delicious curried chickpea recipe that was in this month's LCBO "Food and Drink" magazine and basmati rice. In the last few minutes I got to thinking that I should have some sort of veggie so prepared an ad hoc coconut curried spinach recipe.

This dinner was delicious. Outstanding. My husband rated it in the top 10 of all dinners ever!

Braised Curried Goat
1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion roughly sliced
1 carrot roughly chopped
1-3 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp curry powder
3-4 pounds goat meat (all in, bones and fat)
1/4 cup garam masala paste (I used Patak's)
4 dried hot chiles, ground (in mortar and pestle or spice grinder)

Mix the tomatoes, onion, carrots and curry powder and 1 cup of the chicken stock in a large dutch oven. Place the goat into the mixture and add additional chicken stock to cover. Place into a 250F oven and let cook for 6-7 hours.

Remove the goat from the braising liquid and pick out the meat discarding any bones, fat, silver skin, or slippery filament. Strain the braising liquid and discard any additional bones, fat, silver skin or slippery filament. Once you have all the meat picked through, put into a casserole dish. Add back the strained veggies. Mix in the garam masala paste and hot chiles. Return to a 300-320F oven for 1 hour to blend the flavours.

Chickpeas with Garam Masala
Adapted from LCBO's Food and Drink Magazine, Winter 2010 magazine.
The saute times may seem short but are important so that the ingredients are not overcooked or become bitter. This is a trick that I learned from my friend Seema.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 dried hot chiles, ground
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
Heat the oil in a frying or saute pan. Add the onion and saute one minute. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles and saute 2 minutes. Add the cumin seed and saute one minutes. Add the chickpeas and salt. Stir to mix and stiry-fry for about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-low, add the water and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the other dishes are ready.

Coconut Saag
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 small bag spinach
1/2 can coconut milk*
Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute the onions and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and saute 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir until reduced (it will shrink a lot). Add the coconut and mix through .

*The half can coconut milk isn't convenient as what do you do with the other half. Add as part of the liquid to basmati rice or add to a soup.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cream Cheese Stuffed Prunes Wrapped in Bacon

For the past 10 years we've gotten together with some friends of ours for an annual Christmas dinner, alternating houses. Traditions are a great thing, as you can rely on them. Although we think the world of our friends, and always have a barrel full of laughs when we get together, we rarely have the opportunity to get together other times during the year. So I'm glad that at a minimum I have our trusty tradition to rely on.

The other great thing about traditions is they often beget other traditions. In this case, we've each established an appetizer that we serve at our respective houses when hosting. At our friend's house, the appetizer is this fantastic coconut shrimp recipe. You can find it at the Kraft kitchens website and it is delicious. At our house we make cream cheese stuff prunes wrapped in bacon.

This is one of those recipes where the first time I saw it about 15 years ago I wondered, who was drinking in the kitchen when they decided to put these ingredients together? But alas, don't knock it until you've tried it, it's fantastic. Since then, I've even seen several similar variations pop up.

The best thing about this recipe is its simplicity. The name says it all. It says all the ingredients, and pretty much tells you the method. Does it get any better?

Only when you taste them.

In case you need a bit more detail than just the name, here's the easy recipe.

Little Peasants
The first time I tried these was at a Peruvian restaurant and they were called Little Peasants. I'm not sure if this is an authentic name, but it's kinda cute.
12 pitted prunes
1 250g pkg cream cheese (you can use light, but don't use the softened kind)
12 slices bacon (if they are extra long, go with 6 cut in half)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Slice each prune in half, but not quite cutting right through.
Cut the block of cream cheese into 12 equal portions
Squish the cream cheese into each prune and mold to be a bit rounded. Wrap with the bacon, leaving the end pieces to meet underneath the prune. Place in a casserole dish and back for 20-25 minutes until bacon is cooked