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Slice of Life

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Bacon perfect for summer dishes

There are times I get requests from readers for foods I don’t have a lot of knowledge about.

I was stumped by a reader who wanted to know what the difference was between regular American bacon and Canadian bacon. I had a moment of hmmmmmm, I don’t really know and then called my friendly neighborhood butcher (at Kroger’s) and he explained that true Canadian bacon is more like ham and typically sold precooked, and the uncooked, fat-laden strips of bacon is what most Americans consume.

More simply explained, American bacon is cut from the belly of the pig and Canadian bacon is usually cut from the loin.

Whichever type of bacon you prefer, you’re in good company, as bacon is one of the most popular meats in the world. Americans, on average, eat between 17 to 18 pounds of bacon each year.

When you’re cooking up the following recipes, the bacon should be crisp when you serve it. A serving of bacon is considered three medium slices (at 120 calories).

In the event of religious or personal reasons you don’t eat pork products, you can substitute turkey pastrami, regular pastrami or the kosher equivalent, beef bacon.

BLT Salad

1 pound fusilli pasta, cooked rinsed and drained

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup buttermilk or milk

2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 to 3/4 pound sliced bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

2 to 3 large tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, diced

6 lightly packed cups shredded romaine

In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard, garlic and salt. Add pasta and toss until coated. Add bacon, tomatoes, onion and lettuce and toss again. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Bacon Roasted Potatoes

1/2 pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, save grease from the pan (drain bacon on paper towel)

2/3 cup sliced green onion onions (white part too)

Salt and pepper to taste

6 to 8 russet (baking) potatoes

1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make deep cuts in potatoes 1/4 inch apart, cutting almost to the bottom but not all the way through. Tear off six to eight pieces of heavy duty foil and place a potato in the center of each one. Drizzle the grease from the cooked bacon over the top of each cut potato. Pull up the sides of the foil around the potato but leave the top open. Place the potato on a cookie sheet with sides. Roast the potatoes 45 to 50 minutes. In a bowl combine the green onions, sour cream and half the crumbled bacon. When done remove from foil, place on a serving platter and serve with sour cream sauce and the remaining crumbled bacon on top.

Creamed Corn Gratin with Onions and Bacon

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, toasted

6 bacon slices, cooked crisp with 2 tablespoons grease saved

1 cup fried onions

10 green onions, chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, chopped

8 cups corn kernels (about 2 pounds; 1/2 frozen if using)

2 cups milk

1 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoons quick-cooking grits

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)

In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, crumbled bacon, fried onions and half of green onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Butter a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish and set it aside. In a large skillet combine the butter and bacon grease, heat until the butter is melted. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and sauté 5 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Gradually stir in grits and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. (Topping and corn can be made a day ahead. Cover separately and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake gratin uncovered for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the topping over the creamed corn thicken and cook about 20 minutes longer. Serves 12.

– Submitted by Reggie Dalmore of Cleveland – Submitted by Angie Rodrigo, modified from Bon Appétit, November 2003 Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at eztlog@gmail.com or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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