Archived entries for sandwich

That’s all, folks: Sweet five-spice grilled goodness.

And lo, we come to the end! I’d rather hoped to end our amazing adventures in grilled cheese with…well…a bit more of a bang. I wanted to come out with a real showstopper, but as Winona Ryder said in “Welcome Back, Roxy Carmichael,” it’s good to want things.

Grilled sweet five-spice sandwich

The initial idea of this sandwich was, essentially, to grill a cinnamon roll: wrap a spicy, creamy filling in a nice yeasty bread and have at it. After talking to Biscuit about it, we decided that that was entirely too tame an approach. And so, the idea transmogrified: I would make a brown sugar and five-spice caramel and pair it with a wonderful, sweet, cream-cheese-frosting-esque concoction. Yes!

No.

As Biscuit put it, it would really be better to come up with a sandwich that would be more than just two spreadables mashed together. So the recipe changed again: brown-sugar-and-five-spice pecans would replace the caramel ribbon. Fine, yes, awesome! Until I burnt the nuts (I am still getting used to my new oven). Being a stoic and stubborn sort, I decided to use them anyway, figuring that the burnt sugar taste would be okay once it was drenched in more sugar! Right? Right.

Grilled sweet five spice sandwich

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Grilled goat’s cheese with prosciutto and eucalyptus honey.

Dudes and darlings,

I’m moving on Saturday (which means my life is in complete and utter disarray), so I’m going to keep this one short.

prosciugoat

My kitchen is largely governed by its own holy trinity: tangy, salty, and sweet. I try to apply a balance of these sensations whenever possible, which is how I end up with things like honey soy salmon, or a sweet-spicy coconut and lime curry. There’s something about the unexpectedness of the combination that makes my taste buds sing, and something about the combination itself that lends itself to grilled cheese. Thus, this realization has been particularly helpful to me this month as I’ve scrabbled to come up with new and exciting combinations. Having the lodestar of salty/sweet/tangy has given me some excellent direction along the way; it certainly informed the latest concoction, grilled chevre with prosciutto and honey.

My ulterior motive in creating this sandwich was my desire to use some of the lovely eucalyptus honey I’d picked up during my last trip to California. Though I probably could have quite merrily used my garden-variety, honey-bear-type-honey, I wanted to add a little whiff of nostalgia to the proceedings, and was only marginally deterred by the fact that it had gone completely solid with crystallization (a tip: if your honey goes solid, just put it in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it for about 30 seconds). I knew from experience that this honey pairs beautifully with chevre, and that chevre does exciting textural things when heated, so they seemed a natural pairing.

cheese and honey

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C’s for Caprese; it’s good enough for me: Grilled Caprese Sandwich

After all the madness you’ve been seeing around here, I’m sure you can get behind me when I say that sometimes I just want simplicity: a crispy slice of toast, a perfect apple, an exquisite salad, simply dressed. In this month of excess, I couldn’t quite dial things back that far, but I got as close as I could reasonably manage while still sticking to the theme: I grilled a caprese salad.

caprese

Insalata Caprese is a dish from the Campania region in southwestern Italy–its very name means “salad in the style of Capri;” fitting, since it makes me want to go sit in the sun somewhere with cropped trousers and a nice glass of prosecco. It is an ode to simplicity: three basic ingredients combined to pack a serious flavor wallop: fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil. Dress is with a little olive oil, and you’re laughing. Smash it between two slices of sourdough and fry it in butter, you’re laughing even more. It was with this mentality that I tackled dinner the other night.

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The Baconing: Grilled smoked mozzarella with maple-caramelized bacon

Special Agent Dale Cooper said it best: Nothing beats the taste of maple syrup when it collides with ham. I don’t understand the alchemy of it, but when these two extreme flavors smash together, the result is nothing short of mindblowing. And no, I did NOT bring my hyperbole to the table with that description. Though I did bring a nearly obscene love of bacon.

Grilled smoked mozzarella with maple-glazed bacon

Backing up a bit: I’ve mentioned this before, but I was a vegetarian for a long time; I was even vegan for a while (a misguided lark that ended rather spectacularly one night with a bottle of rum and a block of cheese), to the eternal confusion and chagrin of my whole family. Particularly confused at the time was my father, who could not fathom how I could willingly deprive myself of bacon–he is English, and therefore He Knows From Bacon. Dad is a big believer in pork.

So, when we met up for the holidays during The Year Of Veganism, he made a point of filling our tiny tudor cottage with the irresistible aroma of proper, locally-produced, organic, this-is-the-good-stuff bacon–every morning. Without fail. Now, the house is the living embodiment of wee, which meant I could not run, nor could I hide. As such, by the time I returned to school (reasonably impressionable creature that I was), I had accepted bacon as a vegetable. Yes, I succumbed to my father’s de-programming, and have shared an intense and devoted relationship with bacon ever since.

in the pan
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Comfort me with apples: Grilled cheddar and apple sandwich with savory raspberry coulis

When I was growing up, afternoon snacks were almost exclusively my own province; like so many of my peers, my single mother was a working mother, which meant that for a few blissful hours every day, I got to be master of my domain–with all the rights and privileges that entails. Among those privileges were: complete control over the TV, first crack at any magazines that came in the mail, and my pick of the contents of the refrigerator.
Cheddar and apple grilled cheese with raspberry coulis
Admittedly, this was slightly less exciting than it sounds–cooking was not generally my mother’s top priority, so we were typically leftover-free, and at this point, I couldn’t even boil water without setting off the smoke alarm. As such, the afternoon snack was usually quite a sedate affair. Perennial favorites included: a bowl of cheerios with sliced bananas; a few spoonfuls of peanut butter (still a favorite); ginger snaps; and, the snack that got mom’s stamp of approval every time–a crisp green apple with a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese.

If you’ve never tried this combination, let me take a moment to urge you to try it IMMEDIATELY. Go on, I’ll wait.

salad

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