Give your friends a cake and you feed them for a week. Give your friends cake mix and they'll starve. I know too many people who get scared when take out is not an option. This blog is going to teach you how to feed yourself and possibly your friends. You'll find instructions from boiling water to crab cakes to desserts that don't come from a Jello box. You know who you are.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Quick Meal #2: BLT – Better Lunch This Time
The BLT. Or as I call it, the forgotten sandwich. Why is it overlooked except for diners? Because in order to have a BLT you need to cook the bacon and that takes a little time. If you're the type to use the pre-cooked heat 'n' serve 'bacon', you better get the hell off my blog before I chase you across Manhattan with a skillet. I can do that now, I've been working out. I'm trying to teach you how to feed yourself food, hopefully with flavor. If you want to choke down some processed toxic swill, go to kraft.com and wait for death.
Buy a slab of bacon. Waste the 4 bucks. Consider it a 'treat' for being so eager to learn how to cook. The rest of this entry will teach you how to cook bacon and make it a sandwich. I'll also be teaching you how to tell fresh food from tragedy.
What you'll need:
cooking tongs or spatula
bread (any kind)
head of lettuce
Step 1: You say tomato and I say, shut up and buy it. This isn't dinner and a musical.
You enter the supermarket with your cloth bag ready to shop. You DO have a cloth bag don't you? Because you're not like these other brainless idiots who need to have two plastic bags surrounding a single potato and bottle of Tide, which has a built in handle...but I digress. You gleefully dance toward the fresh produce section and eye the possibilities with delight. Yeah I said “gleeful,” so what? Head to the tomatoes. You see those big, gigantic pinkish looking ones that are going for 12 cents a case. You don't want that. No, you don't. Continue on to the pretty ones that are still on the vine. Pick it up. Smell it. Smell that? That earthy, green, tomatoey scent? That's what you want. When you can smell the fruit you know it's good. If you live near Union Square, go to the open market and see what they have. Talk to farmers and ask them about their produce. They won't bite, and you might even make a friend in the real world, instead of the level 70 Night Elf Hunter that keeps teasing you about your twinkie guild.
Step 2: Lettuce – what? I got nothin' ok? It's lettuce. It's green, get over it.
There are different kinds of lettuce. Believe it or not. The most common used in BLTs is iceberg, but you can use romaine (think Caesar salads) or Boston head which looks more round with soft looking leaves. I used the boston lettuce, because to me it has a nicer taste and look. Grab the one that you like best and turn it over. If the bottom is white or close enough to it, this means the head (of lettuce) is fresh. Stay away from anything that looks too brown or feels to slimy and if it smells like a bog, pass. This is a good item to get at the farmer's market, but KeyFood and whatnot are ok too if you know what to look for. Now remember, if you buy a big head of lettuce you'll have more lettuce than tomato and bacon which means if you're not a salad person you should buy a small head of lettuce.
Step 3: Bread and the many grains of truth
In today's market you have an unlimited selection of bread: rye, whole wheat, white, pumpernickel, marble, spelt, organic, yadda, yadda, yadda. You can really use any kind of bread that's not moldy or too soft like wonder bread because the bacon will rip right though it. I usually use Pepperidge Farm Toasting Style bread. But like I said, as long as it's not beer in a bag you'll be fine. Oh and for all you ladies that don't eat carbs, there's a reason why chubby girls are smarter than you. Bread has folic acid and B vitamins which feed your brain and fiber so you're not so full of...well you get the idea.
Step 4: Bacon – On the slab
In my opinion Oscar Meyer bacon is ok. It'll make a decent BLT, but there are other options if you want to spend a little extra. The benefit of cooking/making food that tastes good is that you'll be more satisfied and you'll eat less, so the bacon that is expensive will last longer.
Ok, I'll admit it – I'm a bacon snob. Lex will tell you I'm an everythingsnob, but... well.. ok, I'm an everything snob. Anyhow, if you're going all out, there are some premium bacons that you can get out there – Nueske's, Niman Ranch, D'Artagnan are all great brands, but expect to pay about 2 ½ times as much as you would for Oscar Meyer. A slightly more cost effective option that's still an improvement in quality would be any bacon that's been hardwood smoked. One option that's reasonably priced and available in stores near us is the Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon; it's got both a smokier and porkier taste than some of the more budget bacons out there.
There you have it, the voice of authority on bacon.
Step 5: Put it all to gether and whaddaya get? Hopefully lunch.
Throw your bread in a toaster. Toast. Get your frying pan and put it on medium heat. Add about 2 to 3 strips of bacon. After a couple minutes you'll hear it pop and sizzle. Give it about 3 minutes on each side. The idea is it get it between crispy and slightly chewy which can take anywhere from 5 minutes from the start of heavy sizzling to about 8 minutes. Watch it because it can burn very quickly when ignored. Also, if the bacon is popping and hissing really violently, turn down the heat. Please don't set yourself on fire for a sandwich. Pull two or three sheets of paper towel and put them one on top of the other. Pull the bacon from the pan when it's done to your taste and place it on the paper towel to drain off the excess oil.
THIS IS IMPORTANT ---- PAY ATTENTION!!!!!: Get a bowl and drain the bacon grease from the pan into the bowl. Put the bowl into the fridge or freezer until it's solid. When it is, after a few hours, dig it out of the bowl and into the garbage NOT IN THE SINK OR TOILET! If you do, your land lord will evict or kill you, I'm not sure which. I'll tell you a story about that later......
Pick up bread. Put bread on plate. Open mayo. Pick up knife. Use knife in.....mayo jar. Spread mayo on bread. Pick up lettuce. Use lettuce on bread with mayo. Pick up sliced tomatoes.* Use sliced tomatoes on bread with lettuce and mayo. Pick up bacon. Use bacon on bread with lettuce and tomato. Close sandwich. Eat.
*If at this point you didn't realize you had to actually slice the tomato and just put the object on the bread in its original, non sliced form, that means, you are officially an idiot. Thank you.