Lunchbreak: Bacon pecan tartlets and roasted fall vegetables with saffron aioli, prepared by Chowgirls Heidi Andermack and Amy Lynn Brown

Heidi Andermack and Amy Lynn Brown

Chowgirls Killer Catering

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Bacon Pecan Tartlets

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) maple syrup
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 9-in (23-cm) pie crusts
1 Tbs butter, softened
1 lb (500 g) bacon, cooked crisp and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup (250 mL) chopped pecans
32 whole pecans

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt butter. Raise heat to medium and add maple syrup and sugar, whisking continuously, until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in beaten eggs and vanilla until well combined. Set aside. On a floured surface, roll out dough and cut into 2 .5-in (6.35-cm) rounds. Butter each cup of a mini-muffin tin. Gently press in a round of pastry dough, making sure that each round meets the top of the cup. Add chopped bacon and chopped pecans to each cup, then fill with about 1 Tbs filling. Top each cup with a whole pecan. Bake on middle oven rack for 20–25 minutes, until pastry has browned and filling set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes. Using a butter knife, gently pry each tartlet out of its cup. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 24 pieces, or 32 if you’re resourceful with re-rolling your dough scraps

Roasted Fall Vegetables with Saffron Aioli

1/2 head cauliflower, stem removed and cut into florets
1 acorn or carnival squash, seeded and sliced into 1/2-in (1-cm) strips
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/2-in (1-cm) strips
1/2 head broccoli, stem removed and cut into florets
1 bunch slender carrots, peeled
2/3 cup (160 mL) olive oil
5 Tbs (75 mL) kosher salt
5 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). In a large bowl, toss each vegetable separately in 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 Tbs salt and 1 tsp pepper to each vegetable, tossing again to ensure even distribution. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and roast each vegetable until soft enough to pierce with a fork and edges are golden, about 30 minutes. Softer vegetables such as bell peppers will take less time. Display vegetables on a large platter and serve at room temperature with Saffron Aioli.

Saffron Aioli

3 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 pinch saffron thread, crumbled
1 Tbs honey
1 cup (250 mL) mayonnaise

In a very small saucepan on low heat, combine vinegar and garlic and bring to a simmer or heat in a microwave for 30-60 seconds. Add saffron and stir to release its red tint. Add honey, stir until dissolved, and remove from heat. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Add mayonnaise, whisking until thoroughly combined.