A REFRESHING SUMMER BLT

From "Bacon: A Love Story." BLTs are a great sandwich any time of year, but they are particularly good in late summer when you can make them with the freshest, juiciest tomatoes, said author Heather Lauer. The arugula spices up this sandwich with peppery flavor.

2 to 3 strips thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon

2 slices sourdough bread

1 tablespoon mayonnaise or aioli

3 to 4 arugula leaves

2 slices fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese

2 slices heirloom tomatoes

In a cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon to your desired level of crispiness. Toast the sourdough bread. Spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Stack the bacon, arugula, mozzarella and tomatoes on one slice of bread, top with the other slice and eat while the bread and bacon are still warm. Serves 1.

BACON-WRAPPED TATER TOTS

From "Bacon: A Love Story." D'Artagnan Wild Boar Bacon works great for this recipe, but since it is available only through specialty stores or the D'Artagnan Web site, you can replace it with regular bacon here, said author Heather Lauer. If you do get your hands on some wild boar bacon, use one slice for each tot (rather than the half-slice of standard-length bacon).

10 slices bacon, cut in half

20 Ore-Ida Tater Tots

Ketchup and mayonnaise

Dill pickles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap a half-slice of bacon around each Tater Tot. Place the tots on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch the bacon grease so it does not drip off the sheet in the oven). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tots are golden and crispy and the bacon is cooked. Remove from the oven and put the tots on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.

Mix equal parts of ketchup and mayonnaise to create a dipping sauce. Serve with dill pickles. As soon as the tots are cool to the touch (they taste best warm, so make sure they don't cool too much), dip them in the sauce and enjoy. Serves 2 to 3.

BAKON MARY

From Brick 29 in Nampa.

1 1/2 ounce Bakon Vodka in a pint glass filled with ice

Fill glass with tomato juice

1 dash each of celery salt and ground black pepper

2-4 dashes each of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco

1/8 teaspoon horseradish

Shake and pour into a salt-rimmed pint glass. Garnish with a celery stalk and your favorite pickled vegetables.

CARAMELIZED BACON

From Heather Lauer.

Top one side of your bacon slices with a sprinkling of brown sugar and rub it into the meat, then sprinkle on hot red pepper flakes (optional). Cook according to your favorite method: cast-iron pan, baked in the oven, or on the grill, until the sugar has caramelized (times vary according to method). Cool for about 10 minutes to harden the sugar.

Lauer recommends using caramelized bacon on BLTs, as it adds a crispiness and sweetness not found with traditionally cooked bacon.

 

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