Beef, Bacon And Chocolate Chili

I had begun mourning the absence of chili in our household. Sure, my husband and I would occasionally make a batch, but it had become a strictly grown-up indulgence relegated to a cold fall or winter weekend when the kids were invited out to a birthday party or had other away-from-home plans. Chili — our chili, at least — was always “too hot” or “too spicy” or “too…beany” for them.

If we were lucky — and the pot of chili was a particularly mild one — we could convince them to have a little over nachos as long as we also loaded them up with cheese and sour cream. But I puzzled a bit over this considering that black beans cowboy style got a green light, and chili wasn’t much of a departure from that familiar dish.

But with Father’s Day coming up we took on the challenge of retooling our chili to make it both flavorful and kid-friendly. We’re lucky that our Stout Sprouts show a growing interest in helping in the kitchen — that made this experiment a little easier since they got to measure, stir, cook and eat. And, did I mention the chocolate? And the bacon? Yea…pretty much a winner out of the gate.

This Beef, Bacon and Chocolate Chili is great with sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges and...of course...tortilla chips

This Beef, Bacon and Chocolate Chili is great with sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges and…of course…tortilla chips

It’s a special treat for any deserving dad on Father’s Day or any day – get our Beef, Bacon and Chocolate Chili recipe here!

The BLP: Bacon, Lettuce & Peach Sandwich with Honey Drizzle

I just renewed my license to improvise.

No, not really, but lunch today was a non-traditional take on a sandwich that is the epitome of summer: The BLT. Not that there is anything wrong with a good ol’ traditional bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, especially when the tomato is just a little too ripe and cut, perhaps, just a little too thick. Tomatoes, after all, are practically falling from the vine this time of year in New Jersey and in my opinion could be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner without me ever growing tired of them.

But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you limited yourself to tomatoes every time bacon and lettuce entered the sandwich equation. There are some other fun, seasonal riffs on this deli menu staple that should be shared — and the BLP is one of them.

This is a sweet/savory sandwich that makes me think of brunch, or a ladies’ tea (if proper ladies don’t mind peach juice dripping down their chins). Eat this sandwich with you pinkie extended, if you dare — the peaches will thank you. There are still some great farmer’s market peaches out there waiting to be snapped up before the all-to-short growing season is over. If you’ve got a bushel — or even just a spare peach — try this sandwich before the season is over.

Peaches, bacon, arugula: the sandwich comes together

Peaches, bacon, arugula: the sandwich comes together

Bacon, Lettuce & Peach Sandwiches with Honey Drizzle

4 slices sandwich bread, toasted
A good, fruity olive oil
6 slices bacon, cooked
1 large or 2 medium ripe peaches, sliced
1 large handful of washed and dried arugula leaves (or 4 large bib lettuce leaves)
Local honey (lavender honey if you’ve got it, but clover honey will do just fine)
Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle one side of each slice of toast with a scant amount of olive oil. Layer two of the slices of toast with equal amounts of (in this order) the peaches, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste, three slices of bacon, and seven or eight small arugula leaves (or two bib lettuce leaves). Top each sandwich with one of the remaining toast slices. Cut and serve.

Serves: 2

This is one sweet and savory sandwich - peaches, bacon and arugula

This is one sweet and savory sandwich – peaches, bacon and arugula

Parent rating: Three-and-a-half stars. My husband found this sandwich just a bit too precious, but I really liked the contrast between the peaches and the peppery arugula, intermingled with bacon. I experimented a bit with a pinch of cinnamon on the peaches and recommend it as well, but that really takes this from the lunch table to the brunch table. Kick it up by GRILLING the peaches and maybe adding a crumble of blue cheese and you’ve got something in a whole different stratosphere. I think I’ll try that next time, and maybe even as an open face sandwich. That just screams brunch.
Kid rating: Sorry, loyal readers, but the kids didn’t get to try this one…at least not yet! My prediction is that they would love a peach sandwich. They would really love a peach and bacon sandwich. They would not, however, be happy with the addition of arugula or lettuce. Which would make this ‘wich a “BP” I suppose. Hmmmm. If you make it for your kiddos, let me know how it goes!