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Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

I haven’t been able to hit the park for a picnic with friends this summer because of the non-stop, scorching heat. But these two jazzed up picnic sides have made great lunch items, evoking the essence of dining al fresco without stepping foot outside.

I tossed local baby potatoes I fetched at the farmers market with olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and freshly cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.  Tossed in a bundle of chopped Italian parsley for color and bright flavor — three crisped, diced  three strips of smoked bacon. Awesome.

These baked beans are to die for:  not sweet and tangy like their classic barbeque counterparts, but light and smoky and incredibly flavorful.  The salty diced ham stews with the onion, celery, carrot and garlic — simmers with diced tomatoes and wilted chard.  The blend of white navy beans and tan pinto is delicious.  (h/t Food Network Mag)

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When it comes to summer side salads, I’m a big fan of the tangy vinegar-based dressings over their creamy mayonnaise-based counterparts.  The bite and bitterness of the vinegar offers a great counterpoint to homemade grilled pork sausages or hamburgers, salty fried chicken, or sweet barbecue ribs.  You also don’t have to worry about the mayo spoiling easily in the heat at your outdoor picnic.

For the cuke salad, thinly slice a seedless English hothouse cucumber and half a dozen medium-sized red radishes. Then, in a small bowl, mix together a fourth cup of rice wine vinegar, two teaspoons of sugar, teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder, fresh cracked black pepper, and sea salt to taste.  Mix the dressing and sliced veggies together and let stand in the fridge for an hour before serving cold.

And, here’s my twist on classic German potato salad using pickled okra:

German Potato Salad

1 1/2 pounds red baby potatoes

5 slices of bacon

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped picked okra

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

salt/pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

(1) Cut the baby potatoes in halves or quarters and boil in salted water. Meanwhile, fry the 5 slices of bacon until crispy and dice.

(2) Saute the onion, garlic and celery in some olive oil until tender. Set aside.

(3) Combine the broth, vinegar and spices in a small pan and bring to a boil.

(4) Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, tossing the potatoes with the bacon, onion mixture, diced pickled okra and vinegar dressing.  Add salt/pepper to taste, topping with fresh parsley.

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Brick1

If you’re a breakfast fan, the Market Lunch at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill is the place to be on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The food counter, on the north end of the South Hall, is a huge draw; but don’t be intimidated by the long line that snakes around the kitchen’s single long table.  It moves quickly and the pay off is well worth it: the food is fresh, cooked to order, and a real bargain.  And don’t panic that you won’t have a place to sit and enjoy your meal — there’s always space to sit at the counter since workers help facilitate the turnover.  At the top of the menu is one of the most unbelievable breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had (!!):  “The Brick” — egg, cheese, potato and meat on a toasted portuguese roll.

Brick2The thick-cut smoked bacon is crispy and meaty, earning two thumbs up. But the ham, sausage, turkey sausage and scrapple all appeared to be equally compelling choices.  The grilled new potatoes have slightly crunchy skin and warm, pillowy insides – all topped with melted cheddar cheese. Add a fried egg in between – with a little hot sauce – and you’ve got a killer sandwich. I was very impressed with the raw ingredients here and the freshness: despite it’s name, it was not dripping in grease and didn’t deliver a punch to the gut.  If you have appetite to spare, definitely get a side order of yellow North Carolina grits and/or the “Blue Bucks” — blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

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