Wednesday, August 18, 2010


BLT and Quick BBQ Beans
If it's summer, I have to make BLTs at least once a week.  Home grown tomatoes and bacon are the BEST flavor combination, but put it on homemade bread - yeah baby! 

But, here's the problem with bacon: cooking it.  I've tried cooking bacon so many different ways; each has it's own drawbacks.  Cook it in a skillet and some parts are overcooked and hard and other parts are flabby.  Microwave it and the slices stick to the paper towel.  Roast it and the outer slices overcook and the ones in the center of the rack are nearly raw. 

Well, I've found the perfect way to cook bacon.  Place your unopened package of bacon in the sink and run warm water over it.  Let it sit in the warm water for 5 minutes or so while you get out your pan and oil. Starting with everything at room temperature is the key to perfectly cooked bacon. Take a deep wide pan, like a dutch oven.  Put it on the stove, but don't turn on the stove yet.  Add 1/4 cup canola oil and the room temperature bacon.  Just open the package and slide the whole slab into the pan.  Now turn on the stove to medium low and begin separating the slices from each other and push them into the oil.  Let it cook low and slow.  First the brine will come out of the bacon and it will look pretty gross.  Let it cook, stirring it occasionally (yes, stir it).  Turn the heat down if it starts to spit.  After a few minutes, the brine will evaporate and the bacon will begin to sizzle.  It will look like a tangled mess.  Using tongs, turn the bacon every now and then.  It will begin to straighten out.  Slice your tomatoes and toast your bread.  When each bacon slice reaches the brownness you like, remove it to a paper towel lined plate.  Soon you will have a platter of bacon that is perfectly browned and crisp.  No hard burnt spots.  No white flabby spots.  Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.

We had BBQ Beans when we visited Andrea in Phoenix this spring.  This comes close.  They're even better the next day.

Quick BBQ Beans
Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet and Spicy Barbeque sauce is spicy.  If you prefer a mild sauce, try Sweet Baby Ray's Original.

1 tablespoon bacon drippings (or oil)
1/4 cup minced onion
1 can (14.5 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet and Spicy barbeque sauce (or your favorite)
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup water
Saute onion in drippings until translucent.  Add remaining ingredients.  Heat through. 

Oat Bread
This is a moist, slightly chewy bread that is very filling.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

This makes a 2 pound loaf.  If your machine will not accomodate a 2 lb. loaf, use the dough cycle. When finished, place in 2 loaf pans and allow to rise 45 minutes, then bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes.
Starting with 2 3/4 cups of flour, place ingredients in your bread maker in the order suggested by the manufacturer.  (I get the best results by putting all the liquids in first, then combining the dry ingredients with the yeast and adding it on top of the liquids).

Select the basic bread setting and medium crust color.  Check the dough after 5 minutes and add more flour or water if necessary.


  1. just wanted to tell you i saw you link on Jill's page and was interested.. so glad i did. you are doing so many things that i want to do.. making my bread is the only consistant thing..but granola bars are my next takle if you have any info/advice. (getting them to stay together w/choc chips!)

  2. Hi Brandi,
    You need to press down really hard when pressing the granola mixture into the pan. Hope that helps :)


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