The Ultimate BLT

The Ultimate BLT

A bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is one of those dishes that instantly triggers nostalgia for me. A good BLT is one of my mom’s favorite foods, which means so often growing up she would throw together a BLT for our supper.

Her recipe did not require special ingredients or fancy techniques, just a bit more care. She would quickly pan fry some bacon, which she usually had on hand in the fridge, slice some tomatoes from the garden, and slather toasted white bread with mayo. After watching her prepare countless sandwiches I realized what made her homemade version my favorite version. Aside from the addition of love, my mom seasoned every layer of her sandwich with salt and pepper.

First the mayo is lacquered on the bread then hit with a sprinkling of seasoning, the next layer is added and seasoned, and so on. As you can imagine, building a sandwich with tomato that has a sprinkling of salt and pepper far exceeds a sandwich with plain tomato.

And although I feel that you can never go wrong with classic BLT, I wanted to push the limits on what a BLT can be. With that in mind, I did not want to change the backbones of the sandwich by adding or using a bunch of random things. In the south people love to throw a fried green tomato onto a BLT in an attempt to heighten the recipe–I was not about to do that.

My approach is to amplify the already existing ingredients of a BLT. Add some garlic to the mayo, use better tomatoes, etcetera.

I use this Balsamic Onion Jam recipe to make the jam I use on the sandwich.

A few notes:

  1. Garlic confit can make you very sick if you do not cook it and store it properly. I recommend using it immediately and if you want to save it, freeze it.
  2. I purchased a loaf of homemade bread from a local baker. I recommend opting for a better bread than normal sliced bread from the grocery store.
  3. The true secret to making any BLT so much better is to salt and pepper every layer, even your smear of mayo.
  4. Finally, bake your bacon. This is a trick I learned during my short time as a line cook. Most restaurants place bacon in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake it instead of pan frying it. It keeps the kitchen cleaner (bacon grease does not spatter everywhere) and you are able to tend to other things in the kitchen while the bacon bakes.

An Ultimate BLT

An Ultimate BLT

Ingredients

  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Pound of Thick Sliced Bacon
  • 8 Slices of Country White Bread
  • Balsamic Onion Jam, link to recipe can be found above
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of Mayonise
  • 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. First, bake your bacon. Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange your bacon in a single layer on a sheet pan, or two if needed. Bake for approximatley 45 minutes, or until bacon is the texture that you like.
  2. While the bacon cooks, make the garlic confit. Peel the garlic cloves. In a small saucepan, combine your olive oil and peeled garlic.
  3. Heat oil over medium low heat. Cook garlic until soft, approximate 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Once your bacon is cooked, remove it from the oven and let the bacon drain on paper towels.
  5. With your cooked garlic, make your garlic aioli. Finely chop 3 cloves of garlic. Combine the chopped garlic with the mayonnaise and a pinch of salt and pepper. Store the remaining cooked garlic for another use.
  6. Rinse off lettuce and tomatoes, then set aside to dry.
  7. Slice the Romain lettuce into bread size pieces. Slice the tomatoes.
  8. Toast your white bread.
  9. Smear each piece of toast with maynaoise, then salt and pepper the mayonnaise.
  10. Next place on your romaine, then a layer of bacon, and a layer of tomatoes. Salt and pepper your tomatoes.
  11. Spoon over your balsamic onion jam. Finish the sandwhich by topping it with a piece of bread with mayonnaise.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/02/09/the-ultimate-blt/

 

 

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Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry

Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry

Colder weather means throwing something in the crockpot before work, letting it cook all day, and coming home to a bubbly, home cooked meal. The preceding is especially true when your book club decides to host their monthly meeting at your house.

I can think of no better way to feed a bunch of hungry ladies than to prepare something that is quick and easy.

If you are like me, crockpot cooking can be difficult because there are so few dishes or variations of dishes that you can make in a crockpot—soup, roast, or chili seem to be the go tos.

I tested out this recipe a few weeks ago on my husband, so when my book club meeting was scheduled for my house I thought the recipe would be perfect. The most work this recipe requires is steaming some jasmine rice for the side.

A beautiful bowl of lentil and butternut squash curry

There is no added fat or meat, which results in a relatively healthy dinner. The base is made entirely of vegetables and a little bit of low sodium chicken stock. Low calorie cooking means more room for wine.

As the seasons change you can trade out the butternut squash for something more seasonal like mango or sweet potato. You literally throw everything into the crockpot the morning before your meal is planned, and let the lentils cook down with the vegetables until a thick creamy curry is created.

Just like you can switch out the vegetables that fill this curry, you can pick any of you favorite toppings to sprinkle over each finished bowl. I opted for cilantro and pickled onion, but the leftover seeds from the butter squash would have also been delicious roasted then peppered over the top.

Chopsticks sit besides this rice filled bowl of curry

Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry

Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2 Cups of Red Lentils
  • 1 Pear, peeled and cubed
  • 3 Cups of Water
  • 1/2 of a White Onion, diced
  • 1 Cup of Vegetable Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons of Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Teaspoons of Garam Marsala
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 Teaspoons Turmeric
  • 1 Can of Coconut Milk

Instructions

  1. In a crockpot, combine all of your ingredients (except for the coconut milk) and mix together.
  2. Cook for 8 hours over low heat.
  3. Once finished cooking, pour in your coconut milk. Allow to cook for an additional five minutes to warm the milk.
  4. Serve finished curry over rice or noodles.
  5. Your choice in toppings is optional. Fresh cilantro, pickled onion, roasted squash seeds are great options.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/01/04/butternut-squash-lentil-curry/

Balsamic Onion Jam

Balsamic Onion Jam

For us in the low country, summer’s end is marked by the beginning of hurricane season. It is a period of months that I absolutely dread, especially considering I did not grow up here. Where I am from, our only worry was the occasional lighting storm or tornado.

With summer marking its end, last week I dug up my summer garden to replant my winter one. Now I am not so certain my tiny little plants are going to make it through the impending storms of hurricane Florence that everyone on the east coast is tracking so closely. Even if Savannah does not get hit directly this week, I can assure you that a gust of torrential rain and wind will likely wipe out my tiny plants.

Part of summer ending and fall/winter replanting means using up the last bit of fruit from the garden. For most southerners this results in canning and saving for the winter. When canning comes around, I tend to lean towards jams and pickles.

Making a jam doesn’t only have to be reserved for fruit or sweet items. I often make onion, bacon, or tomato jam to keep and pair with a hefty cheese plate or put out for a gathering.

The basics of jam are easy, unlike jelly which often requires the addition of pectin or gelatin. To make a jam I employ a few standard techniques, cooking down the star ingredient with a liquid and sugar until it becomes sticky and reduced.

For this jam recipe I use two types of onion, Vidalia and red, to achieve a well rounded flavor. The addition of balsamic vinegar cuts through the sweetness and adds a deep savory flavor.

You can save the recipe by canning the finished jam or store it in the fridge for up to a week.

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Balsamic Onion Jam

Ingredients

  • 2 Vidalia Onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Red Onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan with olive oil, sauté your onion over medium heat until translucent and lightly caramelized.
  2. Transfer onions to a medium saucepan, and add in your remaining ingredients. Stir until combined.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat until simmering.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then cook for an additional forty-five minutes to an hour, or until reduced in half.
  5. Store in fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, or can in jars which can be kept for up to six months in the pantry.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2018/09/11/balsamic-onion-jam/

 

 

Georgia Hotdogs + Low Country Boil Corn

Georgia Hotdogs + Low Country Boil Corn

Today, you get two recipes in one post. Thanks to none other than my fried and fellow blogger: A Common Connoisseur.

A few days ago, she asked that I come by, spend the day cooking, and take pictures of what we made. What we came up with were funky grilled hotdogs, a side to go, and of course a dessert. She has a pool at her house, so we were naturally drawn to hanging out by the pool while making yummy food.

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I wanted to go with all things southern because I am slightly obsessed with southern food, and her portion was a bit more tropical. Both flavors are perfect for grilling on a lazy summer day lounging by the pool while avoiding turning on the oven.

Hotdogs (and hamburgers) are the perfect summer food, but we did not want to make just any old hotdogs with ketchup and mustard. For this recipe, we take hotdogs up a notch by topping them with simple, delicious, and unique ingredients.

My topping pays homage to my home state, Georgia, with the use of fresh peaches and Vidalia onions. To take the dog over the edge, bacon and a creamy buttermilk mayonnaise were added.

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The side, corn, is inspired by elote, the delicious Mexican street corn, and Savannah’s favorite party food — low country boil.

For those that have never had low country boil, let me explain the basics of what it is. Most of the low country has a favorite food that they love to serve at parties, mainly because it feeds a ton of people and highlights the coast’s sweet local shrimp. Low country boil is comprised of a huge batch of corn on the cobb, sausage, shrimp, and potatoes all boiled together in Old Bay seasoning or something the like. After it is cooked, the entire batch is dumped out onto a table that is covered in newspaper for everyone to gather around and eat with their hands.

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Maria went with a bahn mi inspired hotdog, which turned out absolutely yummy due to the use of a homemade peanut sauce. She also took care of dessert, which was a no churn ice-cream layered with fig and orange jam. The crazy part, she made it into an adult ice-cream float by topping it with sparkling rosé.

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Here recipes can be found here.

As for the photos, some of hers can be found on this post as well as all of mine!

Low Country Boil Corn

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 Ears of Corn on the Cob
  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
  • Juice from 2 Lemons
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan
  • 3 Tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning Powder
  • 1/2 Cup of Fried Onions, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter

Instructions

  1. Low Country Boil Corn
  2. Ingredients:
  3. • 6 Ears of Corn on the Cob
  4. Prepare and heat up your grill.
  5. While the grill heats, combine your mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and then set aside in the fridge.
  6. Next, clean the corn cobs by removing the husks. Coat the corn with your melted butter to prevent sticking on the grill.
  7. Grill the corn until there is a light char all around each ear.
  8. Immediately after removing your corn from the grill, brush each ear of corn with the mayonnaise mixture. Be sure to coat all sides of the corn.
  9. Next coat the corn with your parmesan, followed by your old bay seasoning, and finish by topping with the chopped fried onions.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2018/07/23/georgia-hotdogs-low-country-boil-corn/

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Georgia Hot Dogs

Ingredients:

• 12 Hotdogs
• 12 Hotdog Buns
• 2 Peaches, halved
• 1 Vidalia Onion, sliced with the rings in tact
• 1/2 Package of Bacon
• 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
• 3 Tablespoons of Buttermilk
• 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Parsley, chopped
• Salt and Pepper to Taste
• Olive Oil

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Directions:

1. Prepare and heat your grill.
2. While the grill heats, in a small bowl whisk together your mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of parsley, buttermilk, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the fridge.
3. Grill your bacon to your desired doneness. Remove bacon from grill once cooked and drain on a plate covered with paper towels
4. Lightly coat your onion and peaches with olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill the onion and peaches until they have light char marks.
5. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
6. While the peaches and onion cools, grill your hotdogs.
7. Chop your onion, bacon, and peaches into large chucks then combine together. Set aside.
8. Remove your hotdogs from the grill, and lightly grill your hotdog buns.
9. Prepare your hotdog by placing the hotdogs into the hotdog buns, topping each hotdog with your peach and onion mixture, then pouring your mayonnaise sauce over the peaches.
10. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.