For my meatless monday fans, I hope this is not a turn off. I love the meatless monday theme and my blog is overwhelmingly geared in that direction, but it is not a true reflection of who I really am. While I do still eat meat it is with much less frequency than in the past. It has been a great challenge keeping up with the meatless monday posts which was one of my goals for the year I spoke of back in January. The initiative has helped improve our over all cooking and eating at home. In truth we eat many more vegetarian dishes throughout the week, not just on mondays, and I am proud of the changes we both have made. That being said I still love and enjoy the occasional slab of bacon, especially the heavily peppered encrusted variety. When I do eat it, (which I think was only 3 times this year so far) it is a treat and in moderation I especially love my version of the classic sandwich featuring this lovely tasting product, the BLT. Below is the story of how it came to be.
I love summer time, it is my favorite season of all. I love the beginning of summer with the slightly cooler temps as it just begins easing us into its start. I enjoy the hotness of summer with its intense heat, especially so if there is a pool of water available for a few lazy days spent swimming or floating down a calmly moving river in a large inner tube. The end of summer is a bittersweet time for me. Even through I have not been is school for a very long time, ( I once told a teenager how long it had been since I graduated high school and they exclaimed, “Geez! How old are you?!”), those feelings of back to school time still overwhelm me. The sweetness of the end of summer however is the slightly cooler temps and the produce in the garden just starting to ripen. It is a joy to be able to find and pick that first ripe thing. My favorite fruit/vegetable whatever you choose to call it, is the tomato. Towards the end of summer when I was a girl and the tomatoes were just ripening I would begin making my delectable little sandwich.
Summer time for us as children was a very busy time. There was a lot to do around our house in the way of entertainment. We were often out of the house, hiking in my grandpa’s woods which bordered a state park. A beautiful creek ran through this particular state park. There were hiking trails and horse trails through these woods, a variety of fallen trees, a small waterfall, stone foundations of old homes, giant rocks, and unique plants and treasures to find. My brother and I spent a lot of time in those woods, running, playing, exploring, imagining who lived so long ago in those homes, and fort building. We would fish in my grandpa’s pond, pick blackberries, and also had a variety of chores to accomplish. All of that added up to one hungry girl and boy and each of us enjoyed making ourselves a little snack. My mom encouraged us in the kitchen and taught us to be self sufficient in the snack and lunch making aspect. If she were making us food whenever we where hungry that is all she would have accomplished!
My favorite lunch was my version of the BLT. I really was not a fan of lettuce on sandwiches back then. Even now putting lettuce on a sandwich that has a heated component to me is disgusting. I hate the way lettuce becomes all wilty and at times slimy after being applied to a warm sandwich. Other than our vegetable garden, we also had contained in the flower beds around our home, a herb bed. It was filled with basil and chives. I love chives so much. I used chives as my “lettuce” element on my BLT. I would snip a large quantity of them the same size as the slice of toasted bread, and use them as greenery on my sandwich in much the same way lettuce is used. I held them in place with a schmear of mayonnaise. Then came the crisp bacon, vine ripened tomato, a seasoning of salt, and the last slice of bread. It was so good, sometimes depending on the activities of the day I would make and eat another one.
Most recently I had my first experience with making tomato jam. The taste of this jam reminds me of that first vine ripened tomato, the best summer has to offer. The first tomato of summer is warm from the sun, juicy, slightly sweet and acidic. The jam I made had all those flavor profiles as well. The other night we decided to make pizza. I love experimenting with new toppings, combos and flavors. We have made thai chicken pizza, Mediterranean inspired pizza, pesto pizza, pizza on the grill, and a variety of others. After making the tomato jam I thought, why not a riff on my favorite BLT in the form of a pizza? We used the tomato jam as the sauce, a combination of mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese to replace the tangy creamy mayo of the sandwich, and bacon. Chives were snipped and added to the pizza just before serving to preserve the raw fresh chive flavor. It turned out so well, the taste was divine, and took me back to those lazy hot days of summer when I was a kid eating that lovely BLT sandwich after a day chock full of running around outside.
I encourage you to try my tomato jam recipe! It is very versatile and so delicious. This pizza is just one way it can be used. Making a batch is totally worth the effort! Measurements for the recipe below are not precise as I used “handfuls” for the cheese, add what you normally would to your taste. I use a bread maker on the dough setting to make my pizza dough and use 1/3 of the dough for one 12-inch pizza. This is far superior with homemade dough, but if lacking on time or desire, some grocery stores sell pizza dough in the dairy case. Also some pizza places will sell a ball of dough as well. Try this recipe out it is very delicious! Please let me know what you think!
- 1 ball pizza dough for 12 inch pan
- ½+ cup tomato jam
- 2 handfuls shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 small handful crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 1 bunch fresh chives chopped
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place dough on 12 inch oiled pizza pie pan, pressing dough with fingers to spread to the edges.
- Add tomato jam evenly over pizza dough spreading to the edges.
- Sprinkle mozzarella over pizza followed by a sprinkling of gorgonzola cheese.
- Sprinkle chopped, crisped bacon over pizza.
- Bake in preheated oven until bottom is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and golden. About 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle chives over entire pizza. Cut into slices and serve.