Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Special Potluck Blog Day!

Today's blog is a little something special, brought to you by my college friend Joy Manning, her co-author Tara Mataraza Desmond, and Ten Speed Press/Random House/Crown. I ordered their book, Almost Meatless: That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet , a few months back, both because I love supporting my friends. I swear, my friends always do the coolest things ... from Erin Keane's book of poetry to Nick's audio recording of Lord of the Rings to Danny's ornithological audio recording of various rare birds in Mexico. Maybe one day I should do a blog entirely of the awesome projects my friends have come up with.

Anyway, Joy and Tara wrote this cookbook, and they invited me to participate in a Blogger Potluck. Most of the other participants are food writers or chefs, but I just happen to blog a lot and really like to eat. There are at least 25 other bloggers involved, each of whom was given a recipe from Almost Meatless to prepare.

The premise of the cookbook is really cool. Basically, it's a collection of delicious recipes that aims to cut back -- not eliminate -- the dependency on meat as a main ingredient. So if you don't want to commit to vegetarianism, but you do want to eat in an environmentally and health-conscious way, Almost Meatless offers all kinds of recipes.

They are also easily adaptable if you are a full-on vegetarian, as I am.

It was really fun to try out a new recipe, though admittedly, it was extremely difficult. The recipe itself was way easy, -- BLT's with Chipotle Avocado Spread -- and it really only took about 15 minutes from start to plate. I, however, am terrible about following directions. I'm more of an artist than a chemist, so things like measuring and being specific are not easy for me.

I skimmed the recipe, and told Friend-with-a-Truck that I was in charge of dinner. He smirked, but mostly gave me free reign of the kitchen. He's also probably going to claim that he ended up cooking most of the meal, which is totally untrue. Okay, so he may have opened up the Soy Bacon for me and told me how to cut the chipotle, but that's it.

Avocados are one of my favorite foods, but they have been a severe migraine trigger for me for about the past six years. Awful, ain't it? But seeing as our bodies change or whatever about every seven years, however, I am trying to slowly re-introduce them into my diet. I made them Monday night, and so far no migraine. This is exciting.

I didn't mess anything up too badly, although I accidentally put in 1/4 tablespoon of salt instead of 1/4 teaspoon of white wine vinegar. I was able to dig out the excess salt before I blended it in though, so tragedy was averted.

Also, this was the perfect recipe for using those awesome garden tomatoes that are FINALLY ready. And it turns out that Soy Bacon is delicious. Who knews? Even Friend-with-a-Truck said he likes soy bacon.

I absolutely must give full photo credit to him, by the way. He did not approve of my original food display for my photo, and he insisted on assembling the sandwich in the photo, hence the gorgeous red drape background and perfectly situated sandwich. I was much more concerned with eating my food than displaying it. But I guess it looks good in pictures. And isn't the point of a cookbook the pictures?

The recipe:
8 strips turkey bacon (I used Soy Bacon)
1 avocado diced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar or line juice
1 chipotle in adobo sauce
8 slices white bread, toasted (i used Whole Wheat because I couldn't bring myself to buy white bread)
4 large lettuce leaves (I used Romaine, I think. Or whatever was left over from the birthday cookout.)
1 pound tomatoes, sliced to desired thickness

Preheat the oven to 400*.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or a silicone mat. Place the bacon strips on the sheet about 1 inch apart. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes to desired doneness.
While the bacon cooks, put the avocado, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the vinegar in a blender or food processor. Cut off the stem of the chipotle, halve it lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Coarsely chop the chipotle and add it to the blender. (Use just half of the chipotle if you prefer less heat.) Blend the ingredients to a smooth, spreadable consistency. Cover the surface of the avocado spread with plastic wrap until ready to use.
When the bacon is read, assemble the sandwich. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the avocado chipotle mixture on one slice of the toasted bread. Add the luttce, tomato, and two slices of bacon. Season with salt and pepper, and top with the other slice of toasted bread.

There are all kinds of food facts and tips listed in the cookbook, but I'm too lazy to type them all out. The cookbook is available for purchase if you are curious!

Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and the authors

Other bloggers and their blogs:
Tara Mataraza Desmond http://crumbsonmykeyboard.com
Co-author, Almost Meatless, food writer, recipe developer, cook. Blogging about food and life in words and pictures.

Joy Manning http://whatiweightoday.com
Restaurant critic, freelance writer and Almost Meatless co-author. Blogger who wants to eat well and be fit.

Marisa McClellan http://www.foodinjars.com/
This canning maven and culinary instructor helps readers put up and preserve the seasonal harvest. She also co-hosts Fork You, an online cooking show.

Chris & Lisa http://www.weheartfood.com/
This Seattle-based husband and wife have a passion for cooking healthy new dishes to banish boredom at the dinner table.

Tyler http://www.344pounds.com
This once morbidly obese new father has lost over 100 pounds since January. He tracks his meals and calories on his blog.

Monica Bhide http://mbhide.typepad.com/my_weblog/
This Washington D.C.-area based cookbook author (most recently, Modern Spice) and freelance writer has written about food for the New York Times and Bon Apetit.

Daniel Koontz http://casualkitchen.blogspot.com/
This blog's many recipes and tips help demystify home cooking.

Christie Charmian http://christie-corner.blogspot.com/
Recipes and food photos from a writer who loves to cook.

Brigid Kaelin http://brigidkaelin.blogspot.com/
A musician who describes her style as "Alt-Country Cabaret." She's also a blogger, gardener, and vegetarian.

Jen http://jenontheedge.com/
Jen says that blogging is cheaper than therapy. For her readers, it's also more entertaining.

Jaden Hair http://steamykitchen.com/
A food writer and TV personality whose specializes in Asian fare.

Jess http://fwts.net/
FWTS stands for Fries with that Shake, so it's natural that Jess helms the Burger Club Philly, which unites members to sample the city's best burgers.

Susan http://foodfoodbodybody.wordpress.com/
Susan has blogged her way through a 30-pound weight loss and is on a quest for health and self acceptance.

Debbie Koenig http://wordstoeatby.blogspot.com/
This former Random House VP brings stress-free menus to other busy moms.

Amy Strauss http://applesandcheeseplease.blogspot.com/
Philadelphia City Paper staffer Amy channels her passion for food into her blog.

Cheryl Sternman-Rule http://5secondrule.typepad.com/
Food writer shares her wit and wisdom through words peppered with hilarity and smart insight, and photography that supports "food is art" philosophy.

Katie Morford http://www.afghancooking.net/afghan-cooking-unveile
Food writer and recipe developer who is one of a duo blogging about a mutual admiration for Afghan cuisine.

Ali Stafford http://www.alexandracooks.com/
Chef and food writer sharing recipes, pictures and good thoughts.

Alona Martinez http://culinarycompulsion.com/
Venezuela native cooking, writing and living life through memorable bites.

Danielle Bilton http://daniellebilton.com/
Pastry chef via a former life in the fine arts.

Robin Asbell http://robincooksveg.wordpress.com/
Cookbook author (The New Whole Grains Cookbook; The New Vegetarian Cookbook), food writer, private chef and culinary teacher specializing in vegetarian food.

Erika & Deacon Chapin http://housechapin.blogspot.com/
He cooks, she eats (and sometimes cleans). A couple in Connecticut expecting their first child and eating well until he/she arrives.

Sandra Gutierrez http://www.sandraskitchen.typepad.com/
Food writer and cooking instructor at work on a cookbook about Latin cuisine.

Ivy Manning http://ivysfeast.blogspot.com/
Cookbook author (The Farm to Table Cookbook; The Adaptable Feast), food and travel writer.

Hank Sawtelle http://cuisinology.com
Ex-esquire turned sous-vide obsessed. Cooking everything he can stuff into a plastic bag and seal and out to prove you can do it, too.

Elspeth Pierson http://www.diaryofalocavore.com/
Food writer and radio personality living, eating and cooking in Cape Cod.

Adam Erace http://www.blogalicious-adam.blogspot.com/
Restaurant critic and food writer in Philadelphia.

Tara http://divaonadiet.com/
A Southern food lover who struggles to balance the food she craves with her healthy lifestyle goals.

Rebekah Denn http://eatallaboutit.com
James Beard award-winning food writer and former restaurant critic for Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Eddie Lakin http://cookingandeatinginchicago.blogspot.com
Chicago chef and writer dishing up meaty blog posts.

Sarah Copeland http://edibleliving.com
Urban gardner, recipe developer, spokeswoman for The Good Food Gardens.

Jennifer Lindner McGlinn http://jennifermcglinn.com/
Food writer, recipe developer, author of "Gingerbread", and new mom.

Cynthia Feury www.fureyandthefeast.com
Food writer and editor in the the OC, CA

Andrea Nguyen http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/
Cookbook author (Into the Vietnamese Kitchen; Asian Dumplings), contributing editor for Saveur, food writer and cooking teacher.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out! I think David has a second career ahead of him as a food stylist. Also, I might get that cookbook, sounds like a good buy.

  2. I get migraines from avocados too!! I love them so much. I have yet to try soy bacon. Does it taste anything like real bacon? I ask this of anyone who eats/has eaten bacon, and has eaten or eats soy bacon.