Tag Archives: practical cook

Bacon Brackets: First Round, Supermarket Style

Gentle Readers, the people have spoken. Here is the Round 1, Bacon Brackets: Supermarket Style. Remember, the goal is for you to play along at home, so feel free to test these fine bacons yourself. Some themes have been emerging.

I love bacon this much. And coffee isn't half bad either.

I love bacon this much. And coffee isn't half bad either.

Bacon Trends:

1. Keep it thin. I’ve seen several posts condemning floppy bacon, though thick-cut is marketed left and right as being gourmet (possibly pronounced with a hard “t”). Thick has been equated with “chewy” and generally unpleasant. Who knew?

When in doubt: bacon is the answer.

When in doubt: bacon is the answer.

2. Crispy rules, briquette does not. See above.

A BLT, recently ordered and consumed with glee by The Practical Cooks Junior

A BLT, recently ordered and consumed with glee by The Practical Cooks Junior

3. People like bacon. A given, but bears repeating.

So how do you cook the bacon? Though Cook’s Illustrated promotes the oven-baked method, which I’ve used, I have never been completely satisfied with the crispiness of the results. They advocate 400 degree oven, rotate, I think 20 minutes total. For me it worked okay, but caused a lot of smoke and heartache.

Bacon on a Baking Sheet

Bacon on a Baking Sheet

I like the skillet method, working in batches, draining the grease for disposal (can headed for the recycling bin) or use (glass jar). My friend, FoodEngineer, advocates cooking bacon in your cast iron skillet on the grill. Why? Because you can re-season your skillet and avoid a mess, all at once. If you’ve never cooked in your cast iron on the grill, you should try it. It’s fun and functional.

Enough with the pre-game commentary, the Supermarket Bacon Bracket is as follows:

Supermarket Bacon Brackets: Round 1

Supermarket Bacon Brackets: Round 1

If you can’t read that, it’s Oscar Mayer Uncured, Hormel Black Label, Wright Hickory Smoked, and Smithfield Hickory Smoked. Thanks to all who submitted favorites, and there’s still a little time to submit for the other categories, listed here, so get on it.

Ideas, compliments, queries? Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

On Sunday, it’s time for Weekly Menus!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Bacon Brackets, Fried

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/25/2011

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is once more heading out and about, but not before some serious kitchen strategery. You see, this week is the most special of weeks, when the youngest of The Practical Cooks Junior dons the mantle of snack leadership for her class. It is sponsored by the letter “B,” adding to the challenge.

Never fear, the team met and has a gameplan. Because my business travel spans a longer time than usual, I will be leveraging the mad kitchen skills of The Practical Cook’s Mom. Be looking for words of wisdom from her in next week’s weekly menu.

Down to business. This week’s menu:

Weekly Menus: 9/25/2011

Weekly Menus: 9/25/2011

 

Four-Square Grocery List (with Bonus Snack Menu):

Four-Square Shopping List: 9/25/2011

Four-Square Shopping List: 9/25/2011

CSA from Brinkley Farms (the last of the Summer/Fall Session, check out their Winter CSA!):

2 pks ground pork (the test kitchen is busy with soup and some Chinese dishes!)
2 delicata squash
2 white baby boos (the Juniors refer to this as “the pumpkin project”)

Which translates into:

Sunday: Fish and Veg

Monday: Chinese Eggplant with Filet Beans

Tuesday: Breakfast for Supper

Wednesday: Sausage, Greens, and Pierogies

Thursday: Soup and Sammies

Friday: Freezer Surprise

Saturday: Dine Out (in San Francisco)

Snack Menu Bonus:

Monday: Blueberry Parfaits (with the letter “B” written in blueberries on the top, for the win)

Tuesday: Bagels and Cream Cheese (with grapes, probably)

Wednesday: TBD, the idea of alternative burritos was tabled (who wouldn’t like a snack burrito?)

Thursday: Bananas and Goldfish (I am not a Goldfish fan, but this isn’t my gig, outvoted by the youngest)

Friday: Blueberry Muffins or Banana Bread (with raisins on the side)

Any suggestions for B-Themed snacks? Now’s the time to share them. Post a comment or Tweet!

Send prizes and accolades to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next, Campaign Kick-Off: Vote for Me As Your Deep Fried Ambassador for the N.C. State Fair.

4 Comments

Filed under Snacks, Weekly Menus

Four-Square: The Shopping List of Dreams

Have you grown tired of crisscrossing the grocery store on the hunt for forgotten items? With whiny kids? After work? Many times a week? It is time to change your list from the old-fashioned top-down method to the very modern four-square method. Don’t use a list? Please keep that to yourself, or the Practical Cook may faint.

Let’s get down to the basics, in pictorial form, to keep devoted blog reader iCook happy.

1. Take a piece of paper, small is fine, and draw a line down the middle, top to bottom.

1. Take a piece of paper, small is fine, and draw a line down the middle, top to bottom.

 2. Repeat the process, this time drawing the line from side to side.

2. Repeat the process, this time drawing the line from side to side.

3. Now you are ready to assign your quadrants according to the store you shop in most often.

3. Now you are ready to assign your quadrants according to the store you shop in most often.

Yes, it’s just that easy. Keep this list posted with a pen nearby in the kitchen. Add things to the list as you run out or notice your stocks are low. NEVER run out of your favorite punt foods. (More ideas for those in forthcoming blogs–we must crawl before we run here.)

Sample Grocery List Using the Four-Square Method

Sample Grocery List Using the Four-Square Method

This is a sample of the Practical Cook’s list for the week.The upper left is fresh fruits and veg. Lower left is canned goods/dry goods. Upper right is dairy and spoilables. Lower right is frozen and meat. Now, when you add something to your list during the week, it won’t just be at the bottom of a long line, but near where you’ll be when you’re looking at it.

PC followers Cooking Legally and Blended Familia have both successfully tested this method, adapting it to their grocery stores. Give it a try, and happy shopping.

Coming up next, it’s Weekly Menus time! Also look for an ongoing series of tips and tricks for marketing your dinner to the people at your table–picky eaters big and small, the generally reluctant, or the garden variety exhausted. As always, submit your ideas and questions. The Practical Cook likes a challenge!

1 Comment

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy