BLT’s are on the menu!


This week, there are lots of veggies perfect for a vegetable sandwich or a salad. Green and jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuces, cilantro, carrots, scallions, leeks, fennel, and beets. 
First on the menu: Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches.  The lettuce and tomatoes in this week’s share are begging to be used in this classic, quick summer sandwich. It is all so easy as the lettuce and tomatoes are fresh, bacon is in the refrigerator, bread is in the pantry, and I can not stop thinking about the sandwich.
This sandwich will not be the first of the summer for the BLT taste combination. A recipe for a tomato, bacon, and onion pie caught my eye and I was inspired to make pie, but one with my own twist. I used cherry tomatoes from the farm stand, basil from my deck, caramelized onions from the freezer, peppered bacon, and fresh-made ricotta cheese. Pulling them into a pie was easy. The difficulty was allowing enough time to pass for the pie to cool. Maybe I waited enough time, maybe not. I’m not telling. I will say it was delicious and held well as a leftover. 
To prepare this BTO pie: make and bake a pie crust (roll a bit thicker than a traditional crust as you want something substantial to hold the ingredients). While the crust is baking, cook three or four pieces of bacon (I used the microwave), and begin to cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and halves and place in a bowl.  Add two tablespoons chopped basil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the cut tomatoes.  Once the crust has been baked and has cooled a bit, add a layer of fresh-made ricotta cheese and layer on the caramelized onions. Follow with the bacon (broken into bite size pieces) then add the tomatoes. Press the tomatoes into the cheese mixture. 
Bake this deliciousness at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes and wait an hour for it to cool. That is, if you can.  Where is the lettuce? It was in a simple salad served on the side. 
The preparation of this dish meant my caramelized onion experiment was a success. I had read they could be frozen, but was not certain they would taste good or have a texture I would like.  These onions were just as good as the day they were caramelized.
Now, the second experiment: lard.  I made lard because, I heard people say a pie crust made from lard was the “best.” Now, I don’t know what type of crust people were comparing the lard-based crust to, but I wanted to know for myself.  To the butcher I went. Oddly, the butcher was not surprised, he only asked how much I needed, retrieved it, and sold it to me. At home, I placed the fat into a slow cooker, turned the cooker to low, and let the fat melt for half a day. Once liquefied, I strained it, let it cool, put it into the refrigerator, and began to use it. Would I do it again? Probably not, there did not seem to be a taste difference from pie crusts made with butter, but now I know.
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