Suzi's Blog

BLT Salad

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The picture above is Suzen’s interpretation of this recipe.

“It’s raining,” she said. “I’m not grilling.”

And so, we did not grill the romaine lettuce but simple served it tossed with bacon, tomatoes and dressing. Either way, this salad is treat, familiar yet dramatically different. This dish easily forms a full meal. Miss the bread of your traditional BLT? How about a warm dinner roll with butter.

Particularly if you do not grill the lettuce, you can create this meal in minutes.

Chilled white wine. You probably want that along with the rolls.

This recipe comes from 365 Comfort Foods from Better Homes and Gardens. Just as that BLT sandwich is something many of us crave [I can do it daily], this is a salad you’d enjoy on a regular basis.

Finally, when baking the bacon, consider topping it with brown sugar or maple syrup. The sweetened bacon will contrast with the buttermilk dressing and give your dish an added lift.

BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 head romaine lettuce
  •  Olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the bacon in a shallow baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Rumble the bacon and set aside.

Meanwhile, for the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the crème fraiche, mayonnaise, dill, vinegar, and garlic. Whisk in the buttermilk. Seaton to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut each head of the lettuce in half lengthwise. Brush lettuce with oil and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. For a charcoal or gas grill, place the lettuce on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill about 2 minutes or until lightly charred, turning one halfway through grilling. For a grill pan, preheat the pan, add the lettuce and cook as above.

Place the lettuce on 4 plates. Sprinkle over the bacon and tomatoes. Pour over the dressing and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Source: 365 Comfort Foods from Better Homes and Gardens

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 100th second, ISO 1000

 

 

 

 

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon Brittle

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You realize the blog has become unbalanced,” Suzen said.

“No.” I answered. I once had a girlfriend who told me to “admit nothing.” I still ended up divorced.

“It’s booze and chocolate and brownies and milk chocolate, Brian,” she rebutted. “There are these things called vegetables. Science, and you are a scientist, has proven they are necessary for life.”

“Can you make them taste good?” I asked.

“Yes. Yes, I can.”

And by God did she ever. That picture shows, out of focus, roasted Brussels sprouts, which I have grown to love for their nutty taste. I am instinctively a baked potato with butter-and-sour- cream-and-chives kind of guy. I’ve not been fond of sweet potatoes. Until now. These twice-baked sweet potatoes are magnificently delicious. I devoured my slice and did not seek out butter or sour cream or even maple syrup.

I suppose this accomplishment might be due, in small part, to the bacon brittle that adorns the sweet potato. Suzen makes our bacon in the oven with a dusting of brown sugar, because even she has to admit that caramelized sugar is impossible not to enjoy.

Here, the bacon and sugar are combined into a solid mass on the baking tray that is then broken apart. The resulting shards are gleaming wonders. You debate whether to just look or taste. Then you taste and taste and all that is left is a visual memory that is matched with a rich sense of satisfaction on your mouth.

I suppose that I could just eat the bacon brittle and not bother with the sweet potato part. No, on second thought, I appear to have achieved a compromise position with my wife that should not be jeopardized.

She’s hidden the left over bacon brittle. I’m going out to buy more sweet potatoes. Maybe, maybe.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon Brittle

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into ½-inch wide pieces
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 6 medium sweet potatoes (6-8 ounces each)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons white miso (fermented soybean paste)
  • 1 ⅔ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 pieces scallion 1 inch piece (dark-green parts only), thinly sliced lengthwise

Preparation:

For the Brittle:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cook bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered and bacon is starting to crisp.

Transfer bacon to a sieve set over a small bowl; reserve dripping’s.  Return bacon, 1 Tbsp. drippings, sugar, and sesame seeds to same skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar turns the color of milk chocolate, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread out evenly; let cool. Break brittle into shards.

For the Sweet Potatoes:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender, 45-55 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Working over a large bowl, scoop out flesh from 8 halves, leaving a ½‑inch thick layer inside skins. Place potato halves on same foil-lined baking sheet. Scoop flesh from remaining 4 halves; discard skins. Mash flesh with a whisk; add eggs, butter, white miso, and ginger and stir until mixture is smooth.

Spoon or pipe filling into reserved skins.

Bake potatoes until the tops are lightly puffed and golden brown, 30-35 minutes (potatoes will take longer if they’ve been chilled). Top potatoes with bacon-sesame brittle and scallions.

Source: Bon Appetite, March 2012

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM lens shot at F/4.0, 1/60th second, ISO 400