Living out in the country, we have to get a little creative when we’re not in the mood to cook dinner. Nobody delivers takeout where we live and if we’re all home together, usually no one is itching to hop back in the car to drive somewhere for food.
Which is no big deal since I love to cook, but even I burn out on cleaning up a messy kitchen after so many meals in a row. We were thrilled when Cowiche Creek Brewery opened in our ‘neighborhood’ and their tasting room and wonderful outdoor space has become a regular spot for our family. Our kids can throw the frisbee in the grass and run around without being (too much) of a bother while the adults grab a picnic table and enjoy the stunning views as the sun sets over the rolling orchard hills.
We often pack an easy picnic to take with us. Sandwiches, chips, fruit and if we’re feeling really fancy maybe some hummus and carrots.
We get out of the house for a bit, connect with friends and eat an easy meal in the grass while the kids run around. Everyone wins.
I don’t know what it is but when the tomatoes finally start ripening in my garden at the end of the summer, all I want is a good BLT sandwich. This recipe is for the ultimate bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich.
A quick bread is mixed together in five minutes flat with sharp cheddar, bacon and chives. The beer adds a slight tang to the bread and keeps it nice and soft. When the bread is ready, all you have to do is throw your sandwich together and you’re ready to head out for a picnic.
Avocado, vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp bacon and an easy lemon dill mayonnaise elevates this sandwich to a whole new level. A few chips and an ice-cold beer are all you need to complete your meal.
And of course, you don’t need the excuse of a picnic to make these yummy sandwiches. Make a batch of beer bread and suddenly you have a week’s worth of sandwiches for lunch. You won’t regret taking the extra step to throw the recipe together.
Sharp Cheddar, Bacon and Chive Beer Bread
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 ½ cups light or amber beer (Corona works really well)
• ¾ cup shar cheddar, shredded or cubed
• ¾ cup crumbled bacon (use pre-cooked or it’s the equivalent of about 5 pieces of cooked bacon)
• ¼ cup chives, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in beer until a dough forms. Gently mix in cheddar, bacon and chives.
Transfer the dough to the loaf pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean. The top should be golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into ½ inch slices.
Ultimate Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich
• 12 pieces center-cut bacon
• 3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 2 ripe avocados, flesh removed and sliced thinly
• Lemon dill mayonnaise (recipe below)
• Loaf of cheddar, bacon and chive bread, sliced and toasted
• Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line bacon evenly on the tray. Cook the bacon in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and crispy. Remove from oven and place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess grease.
To assemble sandwiches, toast slices of bread. Spread lemon dill mayonnaise on one slice of bread. On the other slice of bread layer slices of avocado and tomato. Salt and pepper the tomatoes. Layer on lettuce and two slices of bacon. Top with the lemon dill mayonnaise bread and lightly press the sandwich together. Repeat as necessary. One loaf of bread should make between 6 and 8 sandwiches depending on how thinly the bread is sliced.
Lemon Dill Mayonnaise
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
• 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Pinch of salt
In a small bowl gently combine mayonnaise, dill, parsley, garlic and a pinch of salt. Squeeze the lemon over the mayonnaise and stir until well-combined. Store extras in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 3-5 days.