Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bacon, cheese and tomato, again -- never boring!

A friend gave me some really, really good bacon and a couple of wonderful tomatoes from the farmers market, and it is July, so I had to make my favorite summer sandwich again. But here's a tip:

To cook a bunch of bacon, so you can make sandwiches and salad for the rest of the week, use your broiler. In my gas broiler, if I use the second to the top rack, it's 5 minutes on one side and 3 on the other. Yours might be different. But it's way easier than frying in a skillet, and most of the fat drains off, although you'll still want to drain the bacon on paper towels. Now you can refrigerate and use all week -- as if it would last all week! Too delicious.

Toast the bread very lightly first. (If you don't, it will probably be soggy. If you get it all the way to toast, by the time this is done, it will be burnt toast. Trust me.) Put the bacon on it.  Put the tomato slice on that. If you want to add onion, put the onion slice under the tomato. That's just the way it goes. Then add your favorite cheese, or whichever of your favorite cheese you have, as long as it is a good melting cheese. This is Jarlsberg. I'd recommend anything in the Swiss, Monterey Jack or Cheddar categories. It would taste good with melted brie, Camembert, etc., but might be too much for some people, and definitely messy.

Broil just until cheese is melty/toasty, but don't let the bacon and toast burn! So I can't give you a time, you just have to watch it.

Chicken & mushrooms to save and savor

This is a way to make some really good food that you can enjoy now, take to work and reheat in the microwave, and freeze for later. Or feed a crowd, if that's what you need to do.

Ingredients are chicken, mushrooms, garlic, shallot, tomatoes, and whatever green veggie you have. I had broccoli. And of course, salt, pepper, and whatever herbs and spices you like.  Simple. But,.boy, is this tasty.

My store had those "family packs" of chicken thighs on sale again. Boneless, but with the skin, which I like for the flavor. Bone in is good, too -- this recipe would still work, but they might need to cook longer.

Because they were boneless, the "fillets" opened up and could be arranged flat on the baking pan. I put a little, but very little, olive oil on the pan first, just to prevent sticking. The chicken will do the rest! You definitely cannot use a cookie sheet for this, because of the fat that will come out. If you don't have a pan with sides  like the one in the picture, those Pyrex baking dishes work well, too.

Season the chicken, put the minced garlic and shallot on it, put the sliced mushroom on, put the tomato and broccoli on -- in winter, even canned tomato would do.

With the fillets, I cooked for 20 minutes at 350; if you were using bone-in thighs, because they are thicker, they might take longer, so you should check.

When you reheat them (from the fridge or freezer), I wouldn't mind if you added some grated cheese.

I made a batch of couscous to eat them with, and of course you can freeze that in portions in containers, too. I saved the pan juices, skimmed most of the fat off, and used that when I made the couscous, so it was extra delicious.

You could freeze some without any "side" and make noodles or quinoa or couscous fresh, preferably using good chicken stock, even store-bought, instead of water. Get the kind in the carton, not in the can! Also, you could freeze without the tomatoes and add some fresh ones when you reheat.

Also makes a good sandwich on good whole-grain bread. Add mayo, bbq sauce, honey-mustard dressing, whatever you like.


About Me

My photo
This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.