It’s sunny and not as chilly in San Diego today but there is still a delightful feel of fall in the air. I decided that I needed a bacon fix today so I started things out by slowly frying up 5 plump strips Of NimanRanch Applewood Smoked Bacon. You can buy Niman Ranch Bacon at Trader Joe’s and I can assure you will be thrilled with the quality. Check out the Niman Ranch website http://www.nimanranch.com/index.aspx and see for yourself. It’s all about the ethics surrounding the food we eat.
The Niman Ranch Mission: Niman Ranch and its U.S. farmers and ranchers raise livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably to deliver the finest tasting meat in the world.
We are proud that all our livestock is:
- Humanely Raised on Sustainable U.S. Farms and Ranches
- Never Given Antibiotics – Ever
- Never Given Any Added Hormones – Ever
- Fed All Vegetarian Feeds
I was told recently that the Niman Family no longer owns the ranch, but I am still impressed with the quality of the product and the practices that they subscribe to. Chipotle Mexican Restaurants also use Niman Ranch Pork for their food; a huge reason why I will eat at Chipotle!
Be sure to cook the bacon slowly and evenly so it gets nice and brown. Don’t be in a rush. Most things in life are better when done slow & easy. Please make a note of that guys… I like my bacon crispy, especially for sandwiches because I like to break it into tiny pieces and sprinkle it on the gooey cheese goodness when it begins to melt. After its cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan and place the strips on a double folded piece of paper towel to absorb the grease. Use another piece to pat the top. Then set it aside to cool until ready to make your sandwich.
The same as yesterday I used olive oil in my pan in place of buttering the bread. Olive oil is still high in fat but it is a good fat and healthier than butter. I actually prefer the taste of it too but that could be because I have used it in place of butter for so many years. Be sure to buy a good quality extra-virgin type. Trader Joe’s has several great selections at a very good price. I had some TJ’s Smoked Gouda slices in my fridge and I thought this cheese would fare well with the bacon. I leave the brownish rind on because I like it but you can cut it off. Smoked Gouda takes a while to melt so covering the pan will help speed that along. once it starts to swell and bubble , that is when you want to add the bacon pieces to one side. To balance out the saltiness of the bacon I added some thin slices of a firm avocado. Avocado has a buttery texture that compliments the bacon and the gouda. I also added a few pieces of thinly sliced Purple Onion and placed it on top of the avocado. Gently slide the other side of the bread on top of the side with the bacon and avocado, being careful to keep all the ingredients firmly in place. Continue cooking until bread is at desired brownness on both sides. Slide gently on plate and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting. I added a little sautéed cherry tomato compote to the plate for garnish-yum!
I decided to pop open the Hinterland Pale Ale to enjoy with my latest creation. I am afterall, a consenting adult of legal age who deserves to be pampered and it was 2:00 PM. I popped open the beer and poured it into one of my favorite glasses. Details on the beer later but with regard to pairing with the grilled cheeses…It was perfect! This mellow Pale Ale complemented the salt and smokiness of the grilled cheese sandwich perfectly!
The great thing about creating grilled cheese sandwiches is that there really is no right and wrong choice. That is a beautiful thing when cooking cause it takes the stress out of the process. Cheese is one of my favorite foods and I can think of few things that don’t go well with the various styles. Stay tuned as I experiment with some of the amazing suggestions I received yesterday on Twitter and via the comments section here. Remember…It’s all about the journey! CHEERS!