Tag Archives: bacon

Tasty-Kitchen-Blog-Crispy-Avocado-Bacon-and-Tomato-Salad-12
photo courtesy of howsweeteats.com

I have an avocado addiction going on.  I seriously cannot get enough of them.  In fact, more times than I care to admit this month I have gone home after work, cut up an avocado, threw in some fresh cut herbs and a squirt of lime and called it dinner.  Is that wrong?

Another addiction I have is fresh tomatoes, which pair wonderfully with my avocado addiction.  The problem is, my tomatoes are not quite ready:

tomatoes green

But as soon as they are ripe I am going to make this salad from How Sweet It Is (aka: howsweeteats.com).  She shared this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen and as soon as I read it my mouth started watering.  How could you possibly go wrong with this combo: creamy avocado, juicy tomato, and smokey bacon?

And get this... she shallow fries the avocado slices with panko so they get crispy on the outside.  Oh my.

There is also a honey-lime dressing and a chili-ranch drizzle to take it way over the top.

Since I have fresh cilantro and parsley growing out back I think I will add those to the lettuce mix, just for fun.

cilantro

Here is the simplicity of this recipe: coat the avocado slices in a panko mixture and shallow fry to get them crispy, set aside.  Assemble the salad greens, tomatoes, a shave or two of parmesan, crispy avocado slices and a couple slices of bacon you cooked & crumbled ahead of time.  Throw the dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake-shake-shake and pour over your salad.  Drizzle a combo of premade ranch dressing and a squirt of sriracha over the top.  Done!

A tiny amount of cooking with a huge flavor payoff.  A lot of it can even be prepared ahead of time (the dressing, the drizzle, the bacon).  Hungry yet?

Jump on over to Tasty Kitchen to get this recipe from How Sweet It is, it's going to be a winner.

---------------------

I hope you have a relaxing and fun Memorial Day weekend!!

1 Comment

side pork raw original

I'm not sure that "sprinkle with salt & pepper; broil for 10-15 minutes" qualifies as a recipe but I really, really wanted to share this favorite food with you today.  I was shocked (shocked I tell you!) to discover how many people have never heard of this product after I put a picture of it up on my Instagram feed.

side pork raw

Everyone assumed it was bacon because, well, it does look an awful lot like thick cut bacon.  But it's not bacon. Close but no cigar.

There were some other great guesses:

  • duck belly (which sounds wonderful!)
  • pancetta
  • Serrano ham (which was also in the fridge)
  • fat back
  • raccoon (that is a story for another day)

We had this about once per week growing up and there was never enough because everyone loved it.  Hot, meaty, salty, a little crunchy...

side pork cooked final

... It's called Side Pork!

Yes, it looks just like bacon but there are some distinct differences.  I will share:

First of all, Side Pork is not cured.  It is raw as raw can be which is why you need to generously salt it before cooking.  No curing means no nitrates, yippeee!

Secondly, Side Pork is from a little further up the side of the pig than bacon.  Bacon is closer to the belly where all the fat is.  Side Pork does have fat on it but certainly less than bacon, especially after it renders down.  Side Pork is much meatier than bacon which makes it a perfect, protein-packed breakfast food.  I have been known to eat it for dinner as well.

side pork rinds

Lastly, Side Pork has a sort of...rind.  I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it's the skin of the piggie, the part that you would normally use to make crack'lins or chicharron.  For me, this is what Side Pork is all about because after it cooks in the oven, it gets all curly and crispy and toasted.  Some parts of the rind also get sorta chewy. It will be the last part you eat and you will chew on it for a while.  I'm not gonna lie, it can be tough and rubbery. Kind of like pork-flavored chewing gum.  But I grew up gnawing on those skinny rinds so it doesn't seem weird to me, I suppose just like Spam is normal to some people. You will either love it or hate it.  If you hate it, just don't eat it or you can cut it off before cooking.

Side Pork can be hard to find.  Once I asked one of the youngsters at the meat counter of my local supermarket if they had any Side Pork and he pointed me to the "fat back" next to the bacon.  I didn't know whether to correct him or pat him on the head & pinch his cheeks.  Kids today!

If you have a reliable, experienced butcher he can order Side Pork for you and may even have some in stock.  My Uncle P. (you also know him as Uncle Farmer's Market) has a butcher that orders it for him.  A couple weeks ago he paid $2.99/lb for it.  I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that I don't know how that price compares to bacon but I just don't buy bacon that often so... maybe you can tell me.

If given the choice, I prefer it cut thinner rather than thicker.  Certainly no thicker than thick-cut bacon.  I like it on the thinner side because I feel that the fat renders out a little better.  But don't get me wrong... I'll eat it thick, thin or anywhere in between.

Once you find some Side Pork, cooking it is pretty simple.  Generously salt both sides with salt and a little pepper.  Place it on a baking sheet lined with foil or broiler pan and broil for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness).  It needs to get well browned so that the fat melts out and the rind curls up and gets dark in some spots.  Flip it over and let the other side get a little toasty as well, about 2 minutes.  Place the cooked Side Pork on paper towel to drain off any extra fat and serve hot.

I hope you can find some Side Pork and give it a try!

1 Comment

777

Happy Friday ATC friends!  By the time this post goes live I will be lying on a bed in a light blue, backless gown with an IV poking out of my arm, waiting to be wheeled in for surgery Lucky Number 7.  My last surgery (2008) was to replace my severed ACL but unfortunately it has not felt right since then.  In fact, I've lost roughly 80% of my muscle in that leg.

So my surgeon is removing the screws and washers that were used to attach the new ACL, apparently they aren't necessary any more and are sticking out the wrong side of the bone.  I saw it on the MRI, it was surreal to think that long skinny thing was jutting out of my bone or even in my body at all.

Supposedly I will be back on my feet in just a few days so I will be taking just a short rest before getting back to my crazy life.  And physical therapy, blech.

But that is not going to stop me from our Friday Recipe, no way!

avocados-salad-l

I don't know why exactly, but I have been craving avocados all week.  I have been dreaming up recipes in my mind, pinning and bookmarking other people's avocado recipes but strangely, I have not yet bought a single avocado!  I guess in the back of my mind, I know it's not quite yet time for the creamy California Haas avocados or the smaller but flavorful Mexican avocados that are so easy to find here in Northern California.  Especially when your Uncle planted such a tree and has now grown into a mighty giant.  Yes, when the time is right I will be able to walk down the road and pick a few of my own avocados, right off the tree.  Jealous?

One of the recipes I stumbled on is from Sunset Magazine called Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley Vinaigrette.  I'm sure I don't need to explain why this simple side dish would be delectable but  besides the obvious there is a bit of sentiment involved here.  My mother used to make the classic spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette and I loved it.  Which is saying a lot because generally I don't like raw spinach.  But the smokey bacon mixed with the tangy vinaigrette is irresistible to me and I know, I know, I know that combo will pair deliciously with velvety avocados.

If you've never made warm bacon vinaigrette it goes like this:  cook your bacon and set aside to drain.  With a little bit of the bacon fat still in the pan stir in and lightly cook garlic, lemon juice, sugar and water.  Check for salt & pepper then add back in the bacon and some chopped parsley.

Drizzle your warm vinaigrette over sliced avocados and then take a moment to thank me for sending this recipe your way!  Click here for the full recipe.

I'm going to be a little sore (actually, a lot sore) and possibly a little cranky this weekend while my knee recovers.  I don't  usually eat much post-surgery, just oyster crackers and Peanut M&M's.  I got my super-size bag of each.  I'm ready for this.

.

Happy Friday!! I'm so happy to see the weekend, I've got a lot to accomplish including getting my cherry tomato and basil plants in the dirt.  I've already harvested the basil once, still in the flimsy pots they came in.  It's going to be a good growing year, I just know it!

I've told you about my Uncle, right?  The one that shows up with the most random food items you can think of.  Wednesday I came home from work to find a branch off of a Rainier cherry tree sitting on the kitchen counter.  My uncle had brought it down to show how well the cherries were already ripening.  Of course I couldn't resist eating most of the cherries off of that branch, I'm quite certain that's what he intended for me to do.  And it instantly reminded me of a recipe from Sprouted Kitchen that I had seen on Pinterest.

If you didn't grow up on a cherry farm like I did you might need a little info on Rainiers.  A Rainier cherry is a reddish-yellow-orange cherry and is a cross between a Bing and a Van (not a Queen Ann as some might think).  The more sunshine the cherry sees, the more blushed it will become.  They are a hardy cherry, plump and sweet.

This Rainier Cherry Muddler Recipe from Sprouted Kitchen very smartly pairs the cherry with lemon basil, which keeps the flavors light and refreshing.  It will be a perfect drink after a hot day of gardening.  And I know just where to find some more cherries!  If you can't find Rainiers, I would try a Queen Ann cherry (yellow) or whatever fresh cherries you have available in your local markets.

I promised you a two-fer so here it goes:  we had another impromptu gathering this week and everyone was starving hungry so I perused the refrigerator to see what kind of Last Minute Pasta I could throw together this time.  Unfortunately, there was a shortage of cheese, only a hunk of Parmesan.   But I spied some bacon and that got my wheels spinning... I had just bought some basil plants so I ran outside and plucked a bunch of basil leaves... we had white wine... yep, I could make this work!

I'm not going to get too detailed but in case you find yourself needing to feed a small group you might take some inspiration from this week's Last Minute Pasta.

  • 1 box of Barilla Cellentani
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • about 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan (plus a little more at the end)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn at the last minute
  • olive oil
  • butter, 3 pats
  • splash of white wine

I set the pasta to boil then got cracking on the rest of the ingredients.  I cooked my bacon, drained off the excess grease on a paper towel then chopped it into little bits and I grated my Parmesan.  Back to the pan that bacon was cooked in, I drained off most of the grease and added a splash of white wine (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) and cooked that down a little over medium heat so the bacon bits would pick up from the bottom.  After the pasta was done I drained it and reserved about  1 cup of the cooking water.  I put the drained pasta back in the pot and dumped in all the other ingredients, tearing the basil and dumping that in as well.  At this point I checked for texture and sauce.  It needed to be loosened up a bit so I added most of the pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil and gave it all a big stir.  It still was missing a little... something.... so in went about 3 pats of butter, stirred some more.  I added just a little more Parmesan and black pepper and it was done!

I realize it was all a little unconventional, but hey, we make do!  I fed 7 people in less than 1/2 hour.  Not a bit was left.

I hope your weekend is a blast!!