Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Midwinter's Lunch

What do you do when the produce aisles are filled with winter vegetables but it feels like late spring outdoors?  A salad lunch sounded fantastic but the tomatoes this time of year are so pithy and not worth eating, plus the cucumbers I have seen feel soft.  Not what I want with a salad. Looking through the fridge I found one of those plastic containers of kale.  I also found a 4 pound package of applewood smoked bacon.  Hmmmmmm bacon, kale, kale, bacon.  I was debating when the universe decided for me.  I had been listening to jazz on Spotify  and with the refrigerator door still open I heard the beginnings of a different song... Cannonball Adderley's version of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy".  You can't argue with the universe so all that was left was to decide how to combine the 2.

Would Be Healthy If Not For The Bacon Salad

                  This made 1 lunch size salad.  Would be enough for 2 side salads at night

1 large bowl filled with shredded kale
2 slices thick applewood smoked bacon  (truthfully any bacon will do.  Neuske's is just my favorite)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onions
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil ( or any other non flavored oil)
2teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar ( I used strawberry vinegar because I had used it earlier and it was still out)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
5 pecans halves

Put the kale in a bowl and just let it sit for  bit.

Cook the bacon until it is crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Toss the chopped onion in the bacon grease left in the pan and let it wilt.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Pour all the remaining bacon fat out of the pan and lightly wipe with a dry paper towel.  Put the pan on a very low heat and add the vinegar to deglaze the bacon flavor form the bottom of the pan.  Add the onions, brown sugar and dijon.  Stir to combine well.  Mix in the oil and stir till hot throughout.  Pour over the kale and sprinkle with the pecans.

I am not a big fan of raw kale but the hot dressing wilted it just enough that it lost  some of its raw flavor.  This was really good and I will maybe do it again, but I will do it differently.

I love the way bacon tastes but I absolutely hate to cook the stuff. I know a lot of people like the way bacon smells when it is cooking.  I am not one of them, and I especially hate how the smell lingers throughout the day.  Since I was cooking 2 slices for the salad I went ahead and pulled out my biggest baking sheets and cooked all 4 pounds in the oven  at once.  As soon as they are cooled I will put them in freezer bags and we will pull out precooked bacon to zap in the microwave whenever we need it.  But right this minute everything in my house smells like bacon___ugh!

When I make this again I will use the precooked bacon  and will probably use olive oil as the base oil for the dressing since I will not be fighting to preserve the bacon flavor in the dressing.  Other than the oil and using apple cider vinegar I will form it the same.

p.s I am glad I listened to the universe earlier because right now Prokofiev's "The Montagues and Capulets  just started playing!

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