November 15, 2011

BLT Sandwich Salad

This salad is as fresh and tasty as it sounds. From the homemade croutons to the homemade dressing, this salad was a hit at our house. Do you know what the best part was though? The caramelized bacon. Yes, caramelized and sooo delicious. It was really the star of the show. I'm pretty sure I would buy a bag of caramelized bacon bits and eat them as a snack if they sold them in stores. Holy cow, total life-changing cooking moment happened when I tasted that bacon. So yummy.

BLT Sandwich Salad 
Adapted from Food Network's Sunny Anderson 
For the salad:
                  1 head romaine or iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
                  2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
                  4 slices white bread
                  1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
                   
For the bacon:
                  1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
                  1 tsp. black pepper
                  6 strips uncooked bacon
                   
For the dressing:
                  1/2 cup mayonnaise
                  1 to 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
                  4 tsp. mustard (I used Dijon mustard)
                  1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
                   
1.    Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the lettuce and tomatoes in a large bowl; set aside.
2.    Meanwhile, cut the bread into crouton-size cubes. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and toast, tossing, until golden, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3.    Make the bacon: Mix the brown sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Add the bacon and press to coat on both sides. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then lay down the strips of bacon. Bake until the bacon is caramelized and crisp, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Cut the bacon into bite-size bits using scissors; add to the bowl with the lettuce.
4.    Make the dressing: Whisk the mayonnaise, syrup, mustard and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. (This is enough dressing for the whole salad, but you can use less if you want a less wet salad.) Sprinkle the croutons on top and eat.

November 6, 2011

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

I think making your own salad dressings is the best! You can make them taste exactly how you want and they're so easy to make. I had never really pictured myself making my own vinaigrette, but this was one I couldn't pass up. It's another recipe from ourbestbites.com and it tastes great, especially with fruit on your salad. It's very light and doesn't attack you with a vinegar taste. Oh and I got this bottle at Wal-Mart. So fun for dressings and sauces.

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 juicy limes)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

4-5 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems removed

In the jar of your blender, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until ingredients are completely combined. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add cilantro and blend until the cilantro has broken down but still maintains some of its texture. Serve with greens, on any type of Mexican salad, or use as a marinade.