Friday, March 29, 2013

BLT Sandwiches with Candied Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Jam

Would you like to make a really involved BLT? Look no further than this ridiculous recipe. I find it funny when I post sandwich recipes because really, you know how to make a sandwich. I think of these more as sandwich inspiration. Plus, I learned how to make tomato jam AND use the frozen tomatoes in my freezer. Okay, so I made this sandwich last year. I still think about it. Also – pregnancy then baby leads to a lot of excuses and not a lot of blogging.

Moving on.

You may want to wait on this one until summer when tomatoes are the most delicious, but on the other hand, this is a bacon sandwich and you probably want it right about now. Your choice.

BLT Sandwiches with Candied Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Jam via Serious Eats:

Makes 4 sandwiches

For the candied bacon-
16 strips thick cut bacon
1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

For the tomato jam-
3 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tb. packed dark brown sugar
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tb.)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 Tb.)
2 Tb. red wine vinegar
2 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sandwich-
8 slices brioche or other soft loaf bread
2 Tb. mayonnaise
8 thin slices cheddar cheese
4 tsp. Dijon or spicy mustard
8 small lettuce leaves (there's a long argument about why iceberg is best here, I just can't do it).

To make the candied bacon, adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil. Arrange 8 bacon strips in single layer on each sheet. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper in small bowl. Rub sugar mixture all over both sides of bacon strips and bake until crisp, 16 to 18 minutes, alternating sheets’ positions and turning bacon strips with tongs halfway through baking. Transfer sheets to cooling racks and transfer bacon to large plate. When cool enough to handle, discard rendered fat and foil.
While the bacon cooks, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic, shallot, vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring until tomatoes are softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Spread both sides of each bread slice with mayonnaise. Arrange bread on now-empty baking sheets and bake until browned, turning once halfway through cooking, about 6 minutes. Transfer bread to cutting board. Spread 4 slices with mustard. Top remaining 4 slices with 1 slice cheese. Spread mustard-spread slices with tomato jam, then top with 4 slices bacon, and lettuce. Press remaining 4 slices, cheese-side down, onto lettuce. Slice on the diagonal and serve.

And now I've told you, yet again, how to make an overly complicated but still worth your time sandwich. Add avocado. Remove or change the cheese. Go crazy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roasted Winter Citrus

Okay, so it's the end of winter citrus time. I love spring (yay!), but seeing all of that gorgeous orange, yellow, pink, red tasty fruit wane is sad. Here's one last way to use it up before it's gone.

On a side note, this is my 19th recipe about something roasted in the title. I may need to break up with that term for awhile. With the weather warming up (eventually), that should help. Maybe.

Roasted Winter Citrus via Joy the Baker:

Serves as many as you like

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice citrus (like grapefruit, blood oranges, and seedless tangerines) into small wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and just a touch of sugar. Add a bit of dried herbs, like herbes de provence (I like the American version with lavender in it).
Roast for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then serve warm.

It's kind of weird, very delicious, and a nice way to say goodbye to winter.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Potato Tacos with Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa

Apparently I like tomatillos and recipes that are really easy. Want something mid-week and fast and maybe a little different? Try this. Make mashed potatoes. Fry it up in some tortillas. Make some salsa. Bam bam bam – dinner.

Potato Tacos with Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa via Serious Eats:

Serves 4 (or 2 mega hungry people)

2 avocados
4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
1 large garlic clove, quartered
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
½ c. cilantro leaves, chopped
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, chopped into ½-inch pieces
4 oz. queso fresco, divided, crumbled
Salt and black pepper
12 corn tortillas
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. Mexican crema, or sour cream
1½ c. iceberg lettuce, shredded (or better lettuce because yeah)

For the avocado salsa, cut avocados in half lengthwise, and remove large seeds. Scoop out flesh and place in blender along with tomatillos, garlic, chiles, cilantro, ¼ cup water, and salt. Process until it is a coarse puree. Set aside. The avocado sauce won’t turn brown because of the tomatillos. You can also eat a bunch of it while you're working on other stuff.

To make the potato tacos, bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Mash the potato in large bowl, or pass through potato ricer. Mix in half of the queso fresco. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon two tablespoons of potato mixture into each tortilla. Fold each over, and secure each with one tooth pick, weaving in and out to keep each in a “U” shape.
Pour oil into large 10-inch cast iron pan set over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add enough tacos as will fit in a single layer, probably three. Cook until crisp and golden on each side, about 30 seconds for each, flipping with pair of tongs. When done, remove tacos, draining as much oil as you can. Place on paper towels and repeat process until all tacos are cooked.
Serve tacos with salsa, crema, and lettuce.

So good. So fast. Did I mention how good they are?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Bacon and Fried Tomatillo Pimento Grilled Cheese

Want to know the most ridiculous thing Kirsten and I have ever made? I'll give you a hint - it involves pimento cheese. Need another? I was super pregnant when we made this. Give up? The mouthful, in more way than one, bacon and fried (tomatillo) pimento grilled cheese sandwich. It was delicious and not hard and way too perfect.

Bacon and Fried Tomatillo Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich (slightly modified) via Closet Cooking:

Serves 2 hungry gals

3 tomatillos, sliced
½ c. buttermilk
4-6 strips bacon (thick, center cut)
¼ c. masa harina (corn flour) or flour
¼ c. cornmeal salt and pepper and spices, to taste
oil or bacon grease for frying
1 c. pimento cheese
4 slices bread (get the good stuff)
1 Tb. butter

Soak the tomatillo slices in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

Cook the bacon and set it aside on paper towels to drain.

Mix the masa harina, cornmeal and seasoning and place it in a wide and shallow dish. Pull the tomatillo slices out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the cornmeal mixture. Fry the slices in oil over medium heat until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minute per side and set aside to drain on paper towels.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Butter the outside side of each slice of bread, place one slice in a pan buttered side down, spread on half of the cheese, then top with the the fried slices and bacon followed by the remaining cheese and slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Consume. And then maybe eat a salad. Or a weeks worth of salads. Whatever.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Roasted Beet and Potato Borscht

Soup is crazy perfect right now and by right now I mean all of the time. This recipe, though, is even more perfect than perfect because it uses root veg and fills your house with delicious aromas. If you get a CSA like me, you might also be drowning (or just completely sick of) beets. Here's one more way to try them before you just start using them to play fetch with your dog. I won't judge you either way. I added dill thanks to the comments. Beets + dill = of course. If you use veggie stock and either a sour cream replacement (or omit it entirely), you've got yourself a BA vegan soup.

Roasted Beet and Potato Borscht via Serious Eats:

Serves 4

2 lb. red beets (about 5 medium), scrubbed, peeled, and cut into a medium dice (your hands will be bright red. It will be funny for about 2 minutes)
1 lb. russet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into a medium dice
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 to 5 sprigs fresh dill
2 Tb. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 c. broth (chicken or richly flavored veg)
1 Tb. red wine vinegar
Sour cream
Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and tuck sprigs of dill in amongst the vegetables. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Set dill aside.

Bring the broth to a simmer in a large saucepot and add the cooked vegetables. Mash roughly with a potato masher or wooden spoon, add the vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper and more vinegar if needed. Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream and the crushed dill from the baking.

Warm and inviting and really easy. You'll look like you slaved so hard over dinner.

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