Monday, August 24, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 4

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's favorite son Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in the City by the Lake. Enjoy! -Max)


By Jason Hissong
24 August 09

       Every Thursday a farmer’s market sets up in the plaza across the street from my office building downtown. Every Thursday I find myself without cash, and just walking the booths with envy as I browse the inviting reds, greens, and yellows of the farmers’ offerings.
       This last Thursday I found myself with a twenty-dollar bill in my wallet. And thus, armed with envy after seeing a co-worker's haul of peaches and corn, made my way across the street to see how far Andrew Jackson would take me.
       I only purchased three items, and, for what it’s worth, all three were a bargain. Ten tomatoes for two dollars. One candied onion for fifty cents. And one block of habanero cheese for five seventy-five. Needless to say the cheese excited me the most, as it combined two things I adore. The kind gentleman selling said cheese told me it was his best seller and thus, I was anxious to get home and try it.
       I made a BLT. It was the only thing I could think of on a lazy, almost-storming-but-not-quite Thursday evening after a run. I have no idea why it’s the only thing I thought of, but it was.
       I remember having BLTs as a kid, and my mom would leave off the tomato for me because I didn’t like them. They’re a great comfort food, and, in my experience, it’s because of the crunch and then there’s a sweetness followed by the savory bacon.


       On Thursday this is the BLT I made. We can call it a BLT+ as it included far more than just bacon, lettuce, and tomato.
       In my reading about cooking and in cooking dishes myself I’ve been taught that the best dishes are those that incorporate layers of flavor. And that’s what I strived to do, quite literally, with this delectable comfort food of a sandwich.


       I started with a slice of toast. To this bottom layer I added guacamole and then a couple of slices of romaine.


       I then added slices of the habanero cheese.


       Applewood smoked bacon.


       Two tomato slices.


       One slice of onion.


       Repeat the same layers as above.
       Yes, it was delicious. Yes, it took me a good long time to eat it. Yes, it’s probably unhealthy for you.

       What I’ve cooked this week: BLT;, tomato slices with olive oil, salt and pepper, and shredded habanero cheese., parmesan cheese crisps.
       Where I’ve eaten this week: The Pasta Shoppe- pasta carbonara with shrimp. Kitsch’N- BLT (Yes. It’s ridiculous that I had two BLTs in the same week).

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