Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Open Letter to Michael Ruhlman Re: BLT, Part Deux

Dear Michael:

Thank you for your thoughtful, if terse, compliment on my first submission in you BLT contest. I'd refer to it here to refresh my reader's memories, but in a senior moment I overwrote the original post. But in pictures it still lives! That vile concoction of pre-cooked bacon, bagged iceberg, pink imported tomato, and Miracle Whip. Served with Lays Stax™ potato "crips" and Vlasic® "Kosher Dill" spears it was a delight only the American palate could appreciate! You can see a slideshow by clicking the photo at right.

Here is the real submission, and like every assignment from grade school through law school, I am cramming at the last minute!:

The Bacon: When you announced the contest, I saw everyone reaching for belly - whether from Niman Ranch or the local market. I wanted to do something different, and after briefly considering curing and smoking a hunk of butt, I settled on a nod to our neighbors to the North (and West) and got a lovely hunk of local pork loin, raised the way pork should be raised.

The brine was sweetened with Grade B maple syrup from Kist Maple Farm in Boston, NY, and the smoke was provided by pear wood from my Mother-in-Law's yard (And you can see Canada from her front porch).

The Lettuce: This is the only thing I didn't have a hand in producing. I live in a town house with a postage stamp sized yard, I can grow some tomatoes and peppers. The herbs do great, and I even do some leaf greens like mizuna and oak leaf. Head lettuces don't work here. But, what I used is locally sourced - as in two doors away, where my friend Tim (also a culinary professional) has a better view of the sun. A tasty crisp bit of Romaine.

The Tomato: These came from my limited garden space, and from my last batch of Roma seeds from Shepherds Seeds before they disappeared. Unlike many, I prefer a plum for sandwiches - more meat per slice. Yes, I know there is more Umami in the seed sacs, but on a sandwhich - I like the meatiness of a Plum.

The Bread: I went a a whole bunch of different ways with this, but as the deadline for the competition was extended, I realized that it fell on the second day of Rosh Hashanna. Of course my mind fell to Challah, especially since my Shiksa wife insist that well made Challah is the perfect base for a lovely sandwich with leftover ham!?

I love Challah - the almost brioche - which makes perfect French Toast. Its sweetness seemed the perfect foil for the smoke and salt of the bacon and the condiments. Instead of a loaf, I chose individual rolls shaped in the traditional Rosh Hashanna "crown".

The Condiment: My basic mayonnaise gone south of the border. These were my own Jalapeno chillies, smoked in a stovetop smoker, and dried to chipotles in a 145 oven. I skipped the mustard in making the mayo in the processor (2 yolks, 1 whole large, 1.5 cups of neutral oil or so) and substituted the juice of one lime for the vinegar. At the end I stirred in the chipotles and a bit more fresh lime juice. Sub-lime!

The Pickle: A true Kosher Whole Sour Dill, with the addition of a couple of cayenne chillies for a kick. My wife finds them too sour, but it reminds me of the debates my grandparents had between new dills, half sours and whole sours.

The Chips: Or rather the fries. In keeping with the Latin American theme, I was going to do plantain chips, but the green plantains were not as green as they were supposed to be. So - fries. They were double fried sprinkled with a mixture of dried Ancho chilli powder and dried lime zest - and horribly good with a bit of the mayo!

Ellie liked it! So did we all!


ntsc said...

I don't know about the horses--t but will not argue with you on that. However for that true horsep--s taste, simply snag a warm bud.

Jon in Albany said...

"Miracle Whip" is neither a miracle or a whip. It is a crime against humanity.

ntsc said...

If you were going to over write that lovely sandwich, you could have overwritten the innane comments as well.

Scotty said...

I learned a lesson - changing the title of a blog post is not like changing a file name!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -