It's Summertime. We love going to the Farmers' Market.
And then coming home and thinking about how to eat the Farmers' Market for dinner.
For summer meals, I just want to eat watermelon and corn-on-the-cob, honestly. (Of which we have been doing our fair share.)
I know a sandwich doesn't seem like dinner food, necessarily, but if it's the right sandwich it is!
My summer sandwich crave is a BLT (Bacon Lettuce Tomato) and I have been making it for dinner weekly this summer.
My kids are a little tired of it being on such heavy rotation, but it is SOOOO quick to make, yummy and refreshing! We had our friend, Lane, over for a birthday dinner and I gave her menu options of Cobb Salad or BLT.
She texted back, "BLTA would be amazing!"
I replied asking about the "A".
"BLT + Avocado would be splendid!"
And that's what we did.
We had corn on the cob and melon as sides and it felt like summertime on a plate!
But I decided to share it for inspiration, in case you forgot, or in case you needed permission to have a sandwich for dinner (not that I am the menu police). And because I wanted to share a bacon cooking trick with you that we have discovered and love.
We have been baking our bacon in the oven.
I traditionally cooked bacon in the microwave between layers of paper towels- this technique has its pros and cons (Pros: it doesn't stink up the house; it doesn't pop grease on you, your kids or your stove top; it is easy to clean up – just wipe and throw away the paper towels/ Cons: you can't do a bunch at a time, it sometimes sticks to the paper, it sometimes cooks unevenly).
Dave traditionally cooked bacon on the stove top in a skillet- which also has its pros and cons. (Pros- tastes good, cooks evenly, pretty fast/Cons: it's MESSY and SMELLY).
Then one week when our small group dinner was having Breakfast for Dinner and we signed up to provide the 3 packages of bacon, we looked online to find the best way to cook large quantities of bacon. We discovered the beauty of baking bacon.
Here is how:
- Line baking sheets with aluminum foil (make sure to use sheets with a lip on them, as it is greasy).
- Place slices of bacon in a single layer on each pan.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 400˚ for about 20 minutes (depending on the thickness and fattiness of the bacon), turning the slices over at least once during the cooking time.
- Using tongs, lift the bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels to cool and drain.
This method cooks evenly, doesn't stink up the house, doesn't pop grease on you, is easy to clean up, and can make a bunch at the same time.
(If I am just making a couple of sandwiches, I usually use the microwave method for speed. But if I am making for my family or a group, I use the baking method.)
And here's the "recipe" for a BLT (+A):
Take 2 slices of bread per sandwich (I like to use a large-sized wheat or whole grain sandwich bread)
spread a little mayo on one (or both slices)
sprinkle with coarse salt and ground pepper
Thickly slice good, red tomatoes and place on top
Add crisp cleaned lettuce
Add cooked bacon (2-3 slices depending on your bread size and bacon size)
And any other ingredients you want to ramp it up (avocado, cheese, etc.)
| If you really want to get snazzy you can use a baguette or ciabatta – like this ciabatta baguette we got at Trader Joe's this|
Another benefit of a BLT is that it includes meat- but not too much. I like this amount of meat in a meal. I agree with Michael Pollan, author/food scientist/activist, and what he wrote about meat in The Omnivore's Dilemma. He basically says that meat is not bad, we just need to eat less of it and better quality of it. He says that in America we have given meat an exaggerated place on our dinner plates. Instead of meat being the centerpiece and the main thing, meat should be an accessory – to provide salty, savory flavor and protein but not be the focal point. (He also says we should be choosier about where our meat comes from – preferably grass-fed and local. I am still working on this practice as local, higher quality meat is expensive! I aspire to this, though. )
A BLT Sandwich with fruit and corn-on-the-cob for dinner feels like a well-balanced meal.
(And don't be deceived thinking that it's all farmers' markets and library books at my house- summer in our home also means tons of sibling rivalry, constant mess-making, itchy bug bites, loud chaos, and some long hot days!)