Bacon is not Overrated

There has been so much hubbub about bacon lately.  Almost too much.  Is that possible?  Baconnaise on Oprah, bacon salt showing up in local pubs, t-shirts extolling the virtues of bacon.  My favorite is Bacon: the Gateway Meat. The comedian Jim Gaffigan has some hilarious sketches about bacon.  Though everybody loves bacon, we all feel sort of ashamed about it, so it's perfect comedic material.

I read in a food memoir (Anthony Bourdain, maybe?) that even the most disciplined chefs cannot refrain from nibbling when a pan of bacon gets pulled out of the restaurant oven.  Everyone manages to appear just at that moment, breaking off edges or grabbing whole slices.  Hype aside, it is a magical meat, and that's precisely why I buy it so infrequently.  It's a slippery slope.

Emily had two menu desires for our weekend in LaConner--BLT's and barbecued chicken.  Thank you, Emily. Easy, and both treats--things we don't eat very often.  BLT's also represent another chance to eat avocado.  So in my case, I guess it was a BLAT.  I like avocados even more than bacon, so I was in HEAVEN.

At home, we have sandwiches for dinner a lot, and often I cook up a sheet of oven fries to go with them. When I pulled these out of the oven, Emily said, "Are you going to post about those?"  I said, "No.  Doesn't everybody know how to do this?"  She rolled her eyes (in a nice way).  I took that to mean, "Please.  Enough with your false modesty." So here are two "recipes"--more from my weekend of hardly any cooking and lots of relaxing.

Sarah's BLT Tips/Preferences

  • Get your bacon crisp, but still a bit chewy.  If it's too crisp, it doesn't smoosh as nicely into the bread.  I cook my bacon on sheets in the oven because I have more control over it and it doesn't make my clothes smell like the bacon-lover that I am. And yes--I cook the bacon on parchment paper.
  • One of my snotty pet peeves is BLT's on untoasted bread.  So I either lightly toast it, or, if I'm making them for more than a couple people, I brush my bread with olive oil and lightly griddle it.  I use English muffin bread or a good, dense white bread, like the Wild Wheat pain au levain above.
  • Romaine lettuce.  Only.
  • Have to be flexible with the tomatoes.  Hothouse ones in the winter, and summer tomatoes make BLT's a food of the gods.
  • Avocado if possible, like the 79 cent ones from Young's Market.  They were perfect.
  • Lots of mayo, sometimes with a bit of lemon and garlic in it if I'm feeling ambitious or bored.

Red Potato Oven Fries
I have made these in different shapes (fingers, cubes), with different types of potatoes, and with different seasonings.  I might post other variations later.  This is what we ate the other night.

2 pounds large red potatoes, cut into 1/2" wedges
3 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (I always use Kosher salt on everything.  I don't know if I've mentioned this yet)
2 Tb. dried Parmesan cheese from a can

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss everything together in a bowl, then spread potatoes out on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Remove from the oven when potatoes are tender, but not mushy.