B.L.(A)T.

Whether for a filling lunch or a quick supper, a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwich is good to have in your repertoire. Juicy ripe tomatoes, thick-cut bacon, and crisp greens on a crusty baguette. Adding a little garlic herb butter (in lieu of mayonnaise) and some sliced avocado takes this classic up a notch.

BLT with Avocado

Slice your bread almost in half (this makes for easier eating) and spread the inside with garlic herb butter. Put the bread butter-side down in a heated nonstick pan (you could also grill the bread or use the broiler in the oven). Press it down some, to make sure it gets evenly toasted.

garlic herb butterGarlic Bread

Now it’s just a matter of layering in the B, L, A, and T. This is easier said than done. That freshly grilled bread smells real good, and it’s tempting at this point to abandon sandwich and just eat garlic bread for dinner….if you decide to go down this path of garlicky good-ness, I suggest you serve your bread with a nice side salad. Crisp greens, tomato, avocado and crumbled bacon maybe?

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Meat & Potatoes

One of the many advantages of living in Savannah – you can grill (comfortably) in every month of the year. And grilling is by far, in my opinion, the best way to go about cooking meat. Tonight it was a peppered New York strip, topped with garlic herb butter – and it was tender and juicy on the inside, with a little char on the edges. Or as I would call it – perfect ;)

peppered steaks

When it comes to seasoning a good steak, I think simple is best. If you enjoy steak like I do, then you want the seasonings to enhance the flavor of the meat – not mask them. Before these steaks go on the grill, the only thing I put on them is pepper – a nice even sprinkling on both sides. Once they come off the grill, I like to hit them with a little coarse salt and a nice scoop of garlic herb butter. As the steak rests, the butter melts, and the flavors all mingle nicely.

garlic herb butter

Every juicy steak needs a good potato at it’s side. Whether it’s baked, mashed, scalloped or fried – meat and potatoes go hand in hand. Although I think that the baked potato is a worthy side dish, they are hard to enjoy after you’ve indulged in a twice baked potato. With the addition of butter, bacon, seasonings, etc., the baked potato transforms into loaded mashed potatoes in a salted potato skin. And that is real hard to turn back from.

Start your potatoes by lightly brushing the skin with olive oil, and sprinkling both sides with a little coarse grain salt. I like to bake mine for at least an hour – to make sure they are good and fluffy. Once the potatoes are done, take them out and let them cool. This is the hardest part for me….I am ALWAYS juggling a hot potato thinking damn, I should’ve just waited longer! 

baked potatoes

Once your potato has cooled (or you are ready to play hot potato) you’ll want to use a sharp knife to open the top. I cut a V-shaped canal from end to end, and pop the top off. Next, you use a spoon to scoop out the filling. You want to get most of the potato out, but you don’t want to scrape the walls too thin. Leave about 1/8″ wall – this will keep the skin from tearing and the potato from losing it’s shape. Put all the insides in a small bowl, and get ready for some toppings.

Potatoes, Twice Baked

What you put (or don’t put) in your potato is completely up to you. My preference in butter, sour cream, cream cheese (don’t worry, it’s just a little of each), bacon, green onion and Cajun seasoning. Other awesome toppings would be sauteed onions, mushrooms, steamed broccoli, or ranch dressing. I start with the butter and cream cheese so that the hot potato melts them down. Use a fork, and try not to mash too much. To keep a nice fluffy texture, you don’t want to overwork or over-mash. Next you fold in your choice ingredients until it’s thoroughly mixed. At this point, I like to add milk. Only a Tablespoon or so – to give the filling the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

Finally, you spoon the filling back into the potatoes, top it off with a little cheese, and back in the oven they go. Uh oh – did you end up with too much filling for your potatoes? Not to worry – get out a fork, and eat it up. You might want to eat the top parts you removed from the potatoes earlier too – because they are good!

Twice Baked Potatoes, NY Strip, Asparagus

To finish off this meat and potato meal, we need to add something green. We hadn’t has asparagus in awhile, and I love the way is tastes grilled. Tossed with a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and grilled for a few minutes – asparagus makes a quick and healthy side.

Grilled Peppered Steak

  • New York strip (about 1 inch thick)
  • pepper
  • coarse salt
  • Garlic Herb Butter

Season steak liberally with pepper on both sides.

Heat up your grill on high. Place steaks on the grill, and turn the heat down to medium-high. After 4 minutes, rotate steaks 45 degrees, in order to get nice grill marks. Cook for another 4 minutes, then flip them over. For medium temperature, cook the steaks for an additional 4 – 5 minutes. (Cooking times vary depending on thickness of steak.)

Remove from heat and allow to rest on a plate or cutting board. Season with coarse salt. Place a rounded teaspoon of garlic herb butter in the center. Steaks should rest for about 10 minutes.

Garlic Herb Butter

  • 4 T. Butter, softened
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp. thyme, minces

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside until needed. Refrigerate any unused butter for a week. Or freeze for months.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 2 medium baking potatoes
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 generous T. sour cream
  • 1 generous T. cream cheese
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 T. milk
  • 1/4 C. shredded cheese, divided (cheddar, or Mexican blend)

Brush potatoes with olive oil, season with coarse salt, and place in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool.

Use a sharp knife to cut a v-shaped canal in the top of each potato. Remove top and scoop out filling, leaving 1/8″ wall. Scoop the filling into a small bowl, and melt in butter and cream cheese. Gently fold in sour cream, bacon, green onion, and seasonings. Once combined, add milk to get the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

Spoon filling back into each potato. Top with 2 T. of cheese. Bake at 375 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is warmed through.