Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

I think we can all agree that one of the best things about summer is the BBQ’s.  There is something completely magical about a warm summer evening, a grill, and friends and family enjoying good food and drinks.  It’s probably one of my favorite things in the entire world.  Like, right up there with puppies and books by David Sedaris.

In that same vein, one of the best BBQ accompaniments is the potato salad.  Now, a potato salad is one of those things that can go so right or so wrong.  A bad potato salad is so sad. So bland.  So greasy.  No flavor.  You know you’ve had that potato salad before.  And then a good potato salad is just so damn good.  Creamy, flavorful, cool and spicy.  The perfect partner to a juicy burger or hot dog.  And does anyone else like their hot dogs totally burnt? I freaking love that.

I like to think of myself as a potato salad connoisseur, traveling the globe, sampling various potato salads and bestowing upon them my expert opinion.  No one really wants my opinion, but I give it regardless.  So, the other night, I made it my mission to make my ideal potato salad.  Obviously, bacon would be a factor.  But what else?  Then it hit me.

Blue cheese.

And with that, we’ll begin the recipe.

4 lbs red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonaise

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

8 oz crumbled blue cheese

1 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tsp salt

2 tsp fresh black pepper

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

8 strips of bacon, cooked to a crisp

It goes great with steak.

So, first, you want to boil the potatoes.  Put all the potatoes in a big pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Then let them sit at a boil for about 6 minutes.  When they’re done, strain the water and let them cool.

While the potatoes are boiling you can fry up your bacon.  If you’re not well versed in frying bacon, the key is to fry it on a low heat.  It takes a while to get the bacon to really crisp up, but a high temperature puts you at risk for burning the bacon.  When the bacon is cooked, transfer it to a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.  Once the bacon is nice and crispy, chopped it up as finely as you can manage and set aside.

Now you’re ready to make the dressing.  It’s pretty simple, just mix the sour cream, mayo, vinegar, blue cheese, mustard seeds, salt, pepper and green onion altogether in a bowl.

When the potatoes have cooled off all the way, mix in the dressing and bacon so that all the potatoes are coated and mushed in.  You are going to love this delicious, creamy salad!  And if you need to make it a day ahead, go for it!  I actually think it’s better when all the mix has been sitting together and melding for a day.

Buen provecho, and happy barbecuing!

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Baked Maple Bacon with Acorn Squash and Wilted Spinach

Iiiiiiit’s….bacon time, it’s bacon time, it’s time for bacon, it’s bacon tiiime.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Fact: bacon makes everything better.  So does cooking with its delicious fat.  So does combining it with the sweet flavor of maple syrup.  Oh man, I’m too excited!  Let’s get to the recipe.

1 large squash (winter, acorn, whatever you prefer)

8 strips of thick cut, peppered bacon

4 tbsp (real) maple syrup

Kosher salt

Red chili flakes

1 bag of baby spinach

Okay, the squash needs to be peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes and then boiled for around 4 minutes, to soften it up.  After 4 minutes, drain the squash and transfer it to a large mixing bowl to let it cool slightly.  While this is going on, prepare the bacon.

everyone loves bacon preparation.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  To prepare the bacon, line a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with tin foil.  Then lay the bacon out on the bottom.  Pour the maple syrup evenly over the bacon and spread it around so that it coats each strip.  Put the bacon in the oven and let it bake for 25-30 minutes.  When the bacon is cooked, remove the strips from the pan and pour the bacon fat/maple syrup elixir (oh the sweet elixir) over the squash (leave the oven on).  Add a pinch of kosher salt and some chili flakes, to your taste.  Mix it up to coat the squash.  Put the squash back in the bacon pan and stick it back in the oven.  Cook it for a total of about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes.

Chop up your cooked bacon and dump it into the serving bowl.  Add the spinach on top of it.  When the squash is done, pour it and all its juices over the bacon and spinach.  Toss it and serve it as a warm salad.

Nom.

Bacon arugula sandwich with parmesan crisps and garlic-basil mayo

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “Oh great! Another bacon themed post on a food blog.  Just what we need!”  Well, you’re right.  It is great and it is just what we need.

Although the title is a mouthful (and a delicious one at that) the sandwich only takes about fifteen minutes to make and looks and tastes gourmet and fantastic.  Ingredients are as follows

For the mayo:

2 (big-ish) tbls of mayo

1 tsp chopped basil (dried basil actually works fine)

2 tsp minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder if you can’t handle the raw garlic.  Few can.)

For the sammich:

2 slices toasted sourdough bread (I actually don’t have access to sourdough in Chile, but I know it would be great)

3-10,000 slices of cooked bacon (all depends on how much you love bacon.  I used three.)

A handful (is that a legitimate measurement?) of baby arugula

4 tbls grated parmesan cheese

Alright so I made the mayo first and set it aside.  It’s very simple.  You mix the mayo, basil and garlic (or garlic powder) in a small bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

Next, start cooking the bacon because it takes a little while.  On a medium heat cook them for about ten minutes, flipping occasionally.  You don’t want the bacon too crispy because it won’t stay on the sandwich.

uh oh. bacon.

When the bacon is done frying remove the bacon to another plate, preferably with a paper towel on it so some of the grease can be absorbed and LEAVE THE BACON GREASE IN THE PAN BECAUSE WE GONNA COOK WITH IT.

That’s right, folks.  We’re cooking with (bacon) grease.

This is where the parmesan comes in.  Leaving the heat on medium, drop your 4 tbls of parmesan cheese into the grease and flatten it out.  (Now is a good time to put your bread in the toaster, by the way, if you want everything to work out.)  Let the parmesan sizzle in the grease for about three minutes then carefully flip it over for another minute or so.  Remove it from the grease onto the plate with the bacon.  Now wash off your arugula and you have all your ingredients ready!

Pile it on however you like.  Mine turned out like this:

pretty good.

This is a great and easy sandwich to make and impress people with your sandwich-making prowess.  Buen provecho!