Tag Archives: Bacon

Potato Salad with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing

I grew up loving my mother’s potato salad.  It was a simple mixture of boiled and peeled russet potatoes she cut into cubes then added chopped onion, celery, hard boiled eggs, and pickles.  The dressing wasn’t fancy — a generous dollop of mayonnaise mixed with enough juice from the pickle jar to make it tangy and tasty.  I’m thinking garlic salt was involved.  Me?

I don’t have a go to potato salad recipe because I’m more of a green salad lover.  But when the hubster’s sister invited us to spend a day at the beach with her this summer while they were camping there, I thought potato salad was in order.

I knew they wouldn’t have refrigeration, so needed to make something that wouldn’t spoil.  And then there was the consideration of continuing to make dishes that I could cut out as many bad calories as possible.  Is that possible when the main ingredient is potato?  Something easy, fresh, and with a bit of a tang.  Not quite German potato salad, but trying hard to get there.

If you need a salad for a weekend get together, then give Potato Salad with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing a try.  Putting your own spin on it is always a good thing.

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Kale and Apple Salad with Bacon and Pecans

I go to the farmers’ market armed with a single bag theory thinking I will surely be limited to a reasonable number of purchases, yet fail every time.  I’ve become pretty good at packing that bag which seems manageable while I’m filling it.  A few bundles of greens can’t take up all that much space, right?

But then the rainbow carrots look so good, and I can’t pass up a gorgeous head of romanesco cauliflower.  Or is it broccoli?  A mixture of sprouts, some chard, and baby beets end up in the bag before I’m done and once home I wonder where to begin.  There certainly isn’t enough room in my fridge for it all.

The carrots and beets will be fine for a while, and the sprouts will go easily into so many things:  my smoothies, salad, omelets, an open-faced egg salad sandwich.

But the kale.  Oh, the kale.  I couldn’t resist buying three different kinds.

I know.

But there’s a method to my madness with kale.  It’s easy to think “salad” first, because the kale is fresh.  But did you know you can freeze kale?  And guess what?  It’s not soggy, soft, or looking like something that was lost in the nether regions of my veggie bin when it’s thawed and ready for use, either.  In fact, you can use it frozen.  More about that later.

Let’s talk salad for now.

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Bacon Cheddar Scones with Maple Syrup

Every once in a while, I come across something I’ve torn from the food section of our local paper.  I’m thinking this wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t shoved it into one of my cookbooks — the one most relevant to what I’d torn out.  I see bits and pieces like it wedged between pages along with notes and stickies I’ve written about recipes I’ve tried and easily slip past them when I’m on a mission for a particular recipe.  They do cause me to pause occasionally though, to dust off the mental note I made the last time I saw them and promise that I should take a look.  Make something from them.

Time passes and then really passes. Seventeen years of time passing happened while I was busy doing other things.  A household was moved, jobs changed, pets passed on, three boys raised to manhood.  That folded up one-page spread entitled “50 Boffo Biscuits” written by Andrew Schloss published in The San Diego Union-Tribune January 12-13, 1994 was tucked away through all of it, just waiting.

It originally caught my eye because the brief article read, “Here we offer eight basic formulas for biscuits and scones, with enough variations to give you 50 fun and easy ways to put them on the table in 1994.”  Looking at it now, I know I wouldn’t have noticed the very small print beneath that read, “Biscuits courtesy of Baked by Etta.”

I had to wonder who Etta was, whether she had a bakery, and if it was still around.  A quick Google search provided a location and some reviews raving about cakes like grandmother made with “pure flour, butter, and eggs.”  I knew a field trip was in order, but decided I’d entertain myself with trying some of Etta’s biscuits and scones.

You wouldn’t turn down a Bacon and Cheddar Scone, would you?

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Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata

Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata One of the very nice things about having a close friend is knowing that when she calls early on a Saturday and asks if I want to go somewhere with her, I don’t have to worry too much about things like fixing my hair or making sure I have eyebrows on.  On this particular occasion, it was a tomato festival of sorts and since I’ve been thinking about tomatoes I thought it would be great to avoid planting seeds and just cut to the chase with small plants.

You can call me weak.  It’s quite all right.

Nevertheless, we did drive up to the Quail Botanical Gardens to peek at the booths of herbs and homemade soaps, jams, and of course, tomato plants featured at the Tomatomania event.  I purchased several varieties including a few Super Marzanos and have lovingly planted them all in one huge pot.  Yes, I know there’s a rule about how far apart one should plant tomatoes, but I have limited space and I’m planning on watching like a hawk, making sure they get just the right amount of water and sunlight as any good helicopter parent should.

But this isn’t about tomatoes — yet.  Again.  It’s about broccoli.

My good friend is an avid gardener and is already gathering gorgeous heads of broccoli so of course, she gave me one before we set out on our Saturday morning trek.  The broccoli sat on the kitchen counter the rest of the day and I proudly showed my husband, “Look.  Look what Mrs. B grew in her very own garden.”  To my husband’s credit, he was actually quite impressed as those of us who have never grown broccoli might be and I placed the broccoli back on its towel having decided that I’d make a quiche or frittata in the morning for Sunday breakfast.

The next morning…

Picture me still semi-delirious and rinsing the coffee pot so that I might soon enjoy my daily jolt.  Picture my son bending over the very slightly wilted head of broccoli, hands in pockets and observing, “Mom.  It appears your broccoli has aphids.”

And he was right.  Hundreds of little green bugs lay perfectly around the broccoli as if someone had told them a pot of hot water was looming in their immediate future and they had all jumped ship — erm — vegetable.  The first thing I thought of was my friend because she’d mentioned they were going to have broccoli soup for dinner the night before and I wondered whether she’d noticed the bugs.  Oh, my.  There were so many tiny bugs.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed there were a variety of bugs, or at least bugs in varying stages of metamorphosis.  Stuck to the sides of the stems were dark rounds somewhat resembling scale. I sprayed the broccoli, picking through all the florettes and holding a fine-meshed strainer beneath to see what I collected.  Then I blanched the floretes, watching even more little bugs swirl in the boiling water before floating to the top.  As usual, a douse in a cold water bath to stop the cooking not only made the broccoli’s color quite vivid, but uncovered a few more critters who managed to make it through the previous attempts to rid the broccoli of their presence.

I was convinced I’d won but had to call my friend to let her know.  Yes, they’d enjoyed the broccoli soup, but no, they hadn’t seen any bugs.  Evidently we were the sole lucky recipients of the protein bonus with the broccoli.

Regardless, we enjoyed a lovely frittata that morning.  Bugs or no bugs.  Just don’t ask me to eat a grass hopper, okay?  Even if it’s deep-fried and has bacon wrapped around it.

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Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

It's been just about as cold as it ever gets here, hovering around 50 or so, and although the sun is bright, I'm freezing, so that means dinnertime is all about comfort food.

Comfort food warms me just thinking about it.  It comes in large pots or big casseroles, isn't always as complicated as it may first seem if I'm trying a new recipe, and is challenging to keep from helping myself to just one small serving.  What's best about comfort food is that time in the fridge over night improves the flavor.  And since I'm the one who gets to enjoy it for lunch, that matters quite a bit.

While my sister's family was here for the holidays, I made several dishes I'd say fit this bill — which provides yet another characteristic of comfort foods:  They can feed a big group, and if you're not sure whether everyone will be able to sit down to dinner at the same time, they're nearly always something that can be made ahead, and heated up.

I'm sure we all have our favorites, but one of mine is Macaroni and Cheese.  It probably tops my list.  In the last few months, I've sampled a variety of recipes, not so much trying to find the one we like best, but more to see just what each recipe can do with an old classic.

This version is similar to Ina Garten's, but I've included some thick bacon and parsley, and cut back on the cheese.  Not quite a Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato Mac-a-Cheese, but the idea was there. 

Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon & Tomatoes

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