Not Without Salt » bacon “Where would we be without salt?” - James Beard Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:49:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwich Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:38:01 +0000 Read more »]]> Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt
Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt

Judging by the bug bites, dirt under their nails and their olive skin deepening to a color much like browned butter I say that we’ve been doing summer right; according to the unwritten rules of childhood summers. They’ve spent evenings camping (with more to come), sat out by countless fires, had their (almost) fill of s’mores, shot bb guns at magic hour, plucked peaches straight from the tree then consumed them until more dirt clung to their sticky hands and faces. And that was all just last weekend.

While my coffee sat brewing this morning, before the 4 minute timer signaled the time for the plunge, I stood at the fridge with pen in hand eager to mark off the items on our summer to-do list. “Only three items to check off?! But we’ve been so busy.” At first I felt a tinge of disappointment for the paintings I’ve yet to paint, the swim lessons we’ve yet to complete, the water taxi to West Seattle we’ve yet to take and the meals I’ve yet to teach the kids. But then I stopped myself because first of all, although the PR pitches and Back-to-School sales announce the impending start to school season and subsequently fall, it’s only the beginning of August which means there is much more summer to be had. More importantly I refuse to let some unmarked boxes on a to-do list that I created when I had very little idea of what the summer had in store determine the success or demise of these sun-filled days. The list was created not as a religious chart of must-do’s but as an idea generator on those days when we feel a little lost. It was to give our summer direction. But I don’t need a list to tell me (or not tell me) that we’ve done and are doing summer right.

I’m not much of a planner but having three kids has taught me that planning is no longer something I can caste off because it doesn’t come naturally to me, oh no, we have no choice but to plan. But whenever possible I still like to hold those plans with open hands free to alter them slightly or throw them to the wind if the day asks for it. I do love the satisfaction of marking things off of the plan, so much so that sometimes I’ll write things on my daily to-do list that I’ve already accomplished just so I can put a big gratifying check next to it. But I refuse to let that satisfaction rule the success of our day. I don’t want to say no to something because it wasn’t on the list. Life doesn’t work that way.


Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt


There are still things that I’d like to do that sit unmarked on our list of summer to-do’s but I’ll use them as motivation rather than law. Today I’m thinking we’ll cross off “have a lemonade stand”  but if a picnic to the beach seems a better way to spend the day then we’ll do that instead. Maybe at the end of the summer I’ll write a list of all the things we did do then with great joy check off each and every box next to the item.

No matter how we choose to spend this day, I’m feeling incredibly grateful for these days, I know they are a gift and I intend to treat them as such.

As promised, I have the second in a series of three grilling recipes and videos to share today. I’m so glad there is much more summer left so you have time to enjoy these plank-grilled salmon sandwiches. There’s a bit of grilled bacon in there too, along with a red onion relish that is sweet, tart and tangy with briny capers tangled in between the purple lacy onions.

Enjoy the video and recipe then head on over to Porter & York to order your salmon and have it delivered right to your door.

Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt

Also, while you’re clicking around the internet I wanted to point you in the direction of One Kings Lane and the stunning (I almost said beautiful but I used up that word in the salmon video) sale they created around our trip to Charlotte, NC. It’s only available for the next couple of days so go there quickly. (There’s also a video and in it I attempt to play golf. It’s okay to laugh, I do it often.)

Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches

Serves 6

2 1/2 pound fillet of King Salmon (available at Porter & York)

salt & pepper

2 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

12 strips bacon

2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

3 cups arugula

6 brioche buns, halved

1/2 cup mayonnaise

cedar plank, soaked for at least an hour

Preheat your grill while you prepare the salmon.

Set the salmon on the soaked plank then season with salt and pepper. Spread the dijon on top then finish with the dark brown sugar.

Grill the salmon for 20 to 30 minutes or until the flesh is firm when touched and flaking.

After 10 minutes on the grill lay the bacon directly onto the grill and cook until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Remove the salmon and bacon from the grill then let the salmon rest while you prepare the burgers.

Slather the brioche buns with mayonnaise.

Cut the salmon into 6 or so burger-size pieces. Place a piece of the salmon on the bottom bun then top with avocado, arugula and bacon. Finish with the red onion relish and then the other half of the bun.

Red Onion Relish

1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons red wine

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¼ cup drained capers

In a medium pan over low heat, add the olive oil.  Add the red onion and salt and saute for 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently until done.

Add the sugar, wine, thyme leaves and vinegar. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is syrupy. Fold in capers. Cool, then store in a jar in the fridge.

*Thanks to Porter & York for sponsoring this post and letting me create whatever I wanted with their gorgeous meat.

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The BKR or Bacon, Kale and Ricotta Sandwich Mon, 24 Feb 2014 23:07:58 +0000 Read more »]]> BKR // Not Without Salt

BKR // Not Without Salt

We loaded our small car with bags, snacks, iPhones and while “Danny the Champion of the World” played through the speakers. Gabe drove with hands gripped tightly on the wheel as rain pelted against the window through much of the drive to Portland. We needed the sort of adventure that comes when we step outside of our routine. We wanted to try new things, visit old friends and to hit a sort of reset button by shaking up the familiarness of our days.

This sandwich was inspired by our little trip. We happened upon Roman Candle when looking for nothing in particular. I ordered a sandwich called, The Darling. How could you not with a name like that? But really it was the promise of kale, chickpeas, chilies and ricotta on olive bread that led me to order when I had already filled up on pastries from the previous stop. The sandwich was good, their gelato; even better.

The kale had heat and softness while the ricotta cooled. At home, I turned the chickpeas that were in The Darling into bacon because I felt the sandwich needed a bit of texture and I thought how cool it would be to dethrone the beloved BLT. Well, maybe not dethrone but perhaps be a Winter equivalent to my most loved sandwich. The olives were left out only because capers were in my fridge.

A few things to note as you adapt this sandwich to suite your own tastes. Had I remembered to grab a fresh red chile from the store I’d throw those in instead of the ground chile pepper I added. Also, had I had a lemon there would have been a squeeze of that too to brighten. Even a Winter’s sandwich needs a bit of brightness, in fact perhaps more so than Summer’s.

That is the story of the BKR: Bacon, Kale, Ricotta. Think of it as Winter’s solution to the inevitable craving for a BLT when tomatoes exist only in our dreams along with the melody of ice cream trucks and little toes dip into plastic pools.


BKR // Not Without Salt

BKR // Not Without Salt

BKR (Bacon, Kale, Ricotta) Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 bunch kale, rinsed and cut in 1-inch ribbons

pinch chile flakes

1 tablespoon capers, drained



1/3 cup ricotta

4 strips bacon, cooked until very crisp

4 slices bread, toasted (with butter in a hot skillet is how I like to to it)

Add the oil to a hot skillet. When the oil is shimmering add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 second over medium-high heat. Add all of the kale along with a pinch of salt and chile flakes (or sliced fresh chile if you have it). Saute until wilted and soft, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the kale to a bowl then stir in the capers. Taste and add more salt if needed and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you happen to have it on hand.

At this point I toast the bread in the still-hot skillet with a bit of butter. Try rubbing the bread with a garlic clove for another boost of flavor.

Divide the ricotta between the four slices of bread. Add the kale to two halves, then two strips of bacon on each sandwich and finally, top the with the other pieces of bread with ricotta.

Slice in half then enjoy.

*I can't help but think that goat cheese would be great in place of the ricotta. I plan to try it soon. If you do, let me know how it goes. I guess we'd have to change the name to BKG. I like that too.

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Bacon Day Mon, 20 May 2013 19:16:40 +0000 Read more »]]>

Remember that time a few weeks ago when I promised bacon? You thought I lied didn’t you? Well, I didn’t because today is the day. Let’s just go ahead and call it bacon day because not only do I have two great recipes (a goat cheese and bacon pasta and red onion and bacon jam) but there’s a video that my brother created about bacon and me.

The video was created alongside a great local company, Hempler’s and sort of shows a bit of a day in my life. I’m a leeeettle embarrassed but more than that I am excited to finally be able show it to you all and also point you towards this great company. (Check out the site – my other brother developed it – it’s a family affair).

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Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Leeks and Bacon // Bacon Jam

This dish is typical of our weeknight food. It comes together quickly, is based off our pantry staples and the kids don’t complain too much about a creamy pasta with bacon. This recipe is very basic so feel free to adapt to suite your needs. Once the kids have been served I like to sprinkle my serving with chili flakes.


8 slices of bacon roughly chopped

2 medium leeks

½ cup (4 ounces) goat cheese (chevre)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 pound fettuccine

grated Parmesan and fresh parsley for finishing


Cook the pasta then drain reserving some of the pasta water. Add the pasta to a large bowl.


In a large saute pan cook the bacon until crisp. Slice the white part of the leeks and add to the bacon. Cook until leeks are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat then stir in the thyme and goat cheese.


Combine the bacon and goat cheese mixture with the pasta. Add pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce. Finish with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve hot.


Red Onion and Bacon Jam

I realize bacon jam was SO 2011 but let’s face it, it’s friggin’ good which also makes it SO 2013 or any year for that matter. Of course it makes a perfect burger accessory but this onion-heavy and deeply tangy version loves a breakfast sandwich or simple baked potatoes.


1 pound bacon, roughly chopped

3 medium red onions, sliced

½ cup brewed coffee

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme



In a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is syrupy and reduced, this should take about an hour depending on the size pan you use. Stir occasionally while the jam is simmering. Once syrupy and thick taste and season as desired.


Once cooled place jam in an airtight container. Refrigerated the jam will keep for 1 week.


This jam is amazing on burgers, toast topped with a fried egg, baked potatoes, stirred into sour cream and/or cream cheese for a dip.

*The content for this project was created for Hempler's by my brothers and myself. Our parents are proud.

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Zucchini fritters (with bacon and pepper) and Tarragon aioli Wed, 16 Feb 2011 19:44:09 +0000 Read more »]]> 5451530018_bb5f101f6c_b

It would appear that you can make most anything taste amazing when you simply apply a bacon and pepper makeover. As is the case with zucchini – it’s not my favorite. Sure, I’ll eat it in quick bread form – I guess the butter and sugar makeover also works. I don’t mind Zucchini sliced thin and grilled but that’s mostly because it’s slathered with olive oil and usually along side something else much more delicious like steak. But I have too many tainted memories of sludgy, steamed zucchini with nothing more than a light shower of salt – if that.


Now I could eat my weight in zucchini, just add bacon, a Serrano pepper and deep fry. Oh and the Tarragon aioli helps too.

Their squid-like appearance also makes them enticing to me. I don’t like squid but apparently I like fried food that looks like them. Go figure.


When the wet batter meets the hot oil the final fritter shape is immediately set, and just like a snowflake, each is uniquely beautiful in a slimy, sea creature sort of way.

Or it is quite possibly another form of the wax and water test. I never did this myself but learned about it via The Simpsons circa 1994. Apparently your future can be predicted by the shape wax makes in cold water. In the Halloween episode Lisa’s wax droplet turned into a broom thus determining her future as a witch or housewife. Either way, she was scared.

According to my findings I am set to be a sea creature with long tentacles. Deep fried tentacles. The best kind.


Zucchini Fritters
inspired by and Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman

¾ cup + 1 T flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon cumin
½ cup (4 oz) milk
1 egg
1-2 Serrano (or Jalepeno) chopped, seeds removed
3 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

Oil for frying

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and spices in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk and egg until just combine. Add Serrano, bacon and Zucchini. Stir to combine. Do not over-mix or your fritters will get tough.

In a medium saucepan fill with enough oil to come up three inches on the side on the pan. (Fry oil can be reused up to three fries. Once oil is cool, strain out any floaters then put back into the oil container and save for another use. Homemade chips perhaps?!)

Heat oil to 360*

Using a spoon, drop in 1 tablespoon of the batter into the oil. The oil should bubble vigoursly but the fritters should take 2-3 minutes to develop a deep, dark golden color.

Do a test fritter first to determine the proper oil temp and cooking time. Let cool completely and make sure it is completely cooked eternally.

Proceed, cooking 3-5 fritters at one time, while maintaining the correct oil temperature.

Keep warm in an oven set to 200* on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Don’t let the fritters touch or they may get soggy.

Sprinkle warm fritters with a fine sea salt, or Maldon and serve with Tarragon Aioli.

Makes about 20 fritters that must be eaten right away. Not a problem.

Tarragon Aioli

½ cup mayonnaise
1 T. Tarragon, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove (or ½ large), minced (I like to *carefully* grate my garlic on a microplane)
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste for salt and pepper.
Chill if not using right away. Will keep tightly covered for 3 days.

*Hey! I just was named one of the top 25 Foodie moms by Circle of Moms. If you would be so kind as to give me a thumbs up that would be awesome.
Top 25 Foodie Moms – help me win!

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Maple Bacon Party Mix Tue, 01 Feb 2011 05:21:01 +0000 Read more »]]> 5406816696_91150e790e_b

Isn’t there some sort of sporting event this weekend? I’m pretty sure there is and it’s a big one.
I kid. Of course I know it’s the Superbowl. I watch it every year. Wait. Scratch that. I watch the commercials every year. I eat all the delicious and bad-for-me party food while the game is going on.


One such food items I will be devouring on Sunday is this Maple Bacon party mix. Salty, sweet, spicy and bacon. Pretty much sums it up.


“This snack is so yummy that I can’t stop eating it.” says my four year old. I made two batches for us today and somehow they are both gone. Around 4:00 pm Gabe and I both realized that we had eaten nothing but this mix all day. I don’t recommend that – you must balance it with buffalo wings and cheese dip, among other things.

Enjoy the commercials and food – I mean the game.

Maple Bacon Party Mix

2 cups corn chex

2 cups rice chex

2 cups wheat chex

1 cup peanuts, salted and roasted

6 strips bacon, cooked extra crispy and chopped

4 T. butter, melted

4 T. maple syrup

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)

1-1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon (any salt will do but if you are using table salt reduce the quantity)

Combine the cereals, peanuts, and cayenne in a large, microwavable-safe bowl. In a small bowl combine the butter and maple syrup. Add the butter mixture to the cereal and stir very well. Microwave on high for three minutes stirring every minute to prevent the sugars to scorch.

Add the bacon and salt. Stir. Let cool. Serve.


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