Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwiches are certainly about bread and cheese. But they are also about butter. Butter, beautiful butter. That is one of the many reasons why I love them.

Make this sandwich, or a variation thereof.  We’re fans of fresh tomato or homemade bread & butter pickles when we feel like jazzing it up. It’s all good as long as you don’t skimp on the butter, right?

For this sandwich I used some shredded Colby Jack and a bit of Parmesan for about a cup of cheese total. I like a blend of cheeses instead of just one kind. (I also use American cheese squares because they are so perfectly suited to the task. But I’m more into shredded cheese these days. American cheese melts perfectly and is joyously gooey, but it doesn’t really taste like cheese.)

Next, I like to use some good-quality bread. White rustic bread would surely be best. But I get by just fine with my homemade whole grain no knead bread. The inside of the bread is buttered along with a big mound of cheese and a shmear of dijon mustard for a little extra zing.

Some of the shredded cheese is saved to go on the outside of the sandwich. I spread some butter on top of the sandwich and then press on a bit of the cheese. Every time I do this it seems like something is going to go wrong and the cheese is going to burn. But it never does, especially if you’re not shy with the butter. The sandwich ends up being encased in a thin layer of fried cheese in addition to the melty goodness on the inside. It’s good.

I cook my sandwich in an iron skillet over medium heat for a few minutes on each side or until it is golden brown.

What kind grilled cheeses do you make?

Mini Meatball Sandwiches

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Having been a vegetarian for many years, I’m still learning when it comes to making a decent meatball. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is where I got the recipe for these little beauties. Lucky for me, we had a few leftover and I was able to whip up a delicious quick lunch that took no thought. Bliss![/donotprint]

Mini Open-faced Meatball Sandwiches

If you’re lucky enough to have some leftover homemade meatballs on hand, drop everything and make this now. Obviously, the proportions and number of sandwiches can be adjusted to your needs. The only real requirement is that the bread be sturdy enough to support all of that cheesy meaty goodness.

3 small slices of rustic bread
4 fully cooked small meatballs, cut in half
3 1-inch by 4-inch slices of white cheddar cheese

Preheat the broiler in the oven on High. Slide a rack into the upper third of the oven so the sandwiches will be close (but not too close) to the heat.

Assemble the sandwiches by placing the bread on a baking tray and topping them with 2 or 3 meatball halves. Top with a slice of cheese. Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and has begun to brown.

Yield: 3 mini sandwiches
Prep-time: 5 minutes
Bake-time: 5 minutes

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Bumstead Sandwich

Don’t let me be a bad influence on you. I’m pretty sure deli meat is the devil incarnate. But…well…let’s talk about the olive tapenade. What else can one make with olive tapenade? This is all I ever use it for and it seems a terrible shame.

Bumstead Sandwich Recipe

This recipe is adapted from The Last Minute Party Girl by Erika Lenkert.

I love this recipe for parties because I can do almost all of the work ahead of time and we still get to eat a satisfying warm sandwich.

1 large whole grain baguette, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons black olive tapenade
1/3 cup goat cheese
1/4 pound of thinly sliced turkey
1/4 pound of thinly sliced salami
5 slices of pastrami
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, patted dry, and sliced into strips
1 cup spinach, washed and dried

Scoop out the innards of the baguette leaving the crust intact. Feed the innards to the kids.

Slather the butter on the top half of the baguette. Slather the bottom half with the olive tapenade and goat cheese. Load the meats, red peppers, and spinach onto the bottom half of the baguette. Cover it with the top half of the loaf.

Wrap the sandwich tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until it’s party time (up to 48 hours).

Preheat the oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit. Place the unwrapped sandwich on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Slice on an angle into about ten 2-inch wide segments. Hold the sandwiches together with a toothpick and serve immediately.

Yield: 10 sandwiches
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Bake-time: 15 minutes

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Mini BLTs

Most of my family is engaged in a love affair with the fresh summer, vine-ripened, field-grown tomato right now. Even our youngest has decided she might actually like the taste of home-grown grape tomatoes picked fresh out of our garden, which is pretty major. 

Mini BLTs Recipe

Heavy duty toothpicks or cocktail forks come in handy with this snack. Once you cut the sandwiches into quarters, they tend to fall apart without them.

Mayonaisse is an essential component in this recipe. Embrace the mayonaisse. Also embrace the white bread. Of course this sandwich would still be delicious if you went light on the mayonaisse and used whole grain bread. Make it your own and I’ll try my best to keep quite.

8 slices white bread, toasted to a golden brown
Mayonaisse, to taste
8 – 10 slices cooked bacon
1 large ripe tomato, preferrably heirloom, sliced
4 leaves of bibb or romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried

Lay out your bread slices on a clean counter or cutting board. Slather the top and bottom slices for each sandwich with mayonaisse. Layer on the tomato, bacon, and then the lettuce. Each sandwich gets 1 1/2 to 2 slices of bacon. Top with another slice of bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters (preferably triangles). Spear with a large toothpick or cocktail fork. Serve.

Yield: 16 mini sandwiches
Prep-time: 10 minutes (not counting cooking the bacon and toasting bread)

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Salami on Rye

We’re having a cram-every-darn-thing-in-we’ve-been-wanting-to-get-out-and-do Spring Break. Seriously, why does school have to take up so much of the day?? There’s no way I’m dragging my kids to places like Old Sturbridge Village on the weekend. I’m a stay-at-home suburban Connecticut mom and this means three things:

  1. I shop only during off-hours and expect ample aisle space while doing so.
  2. I don’t do tourist attractions during seasonal peaks.
  3. I expect staff to be extremely helpful and cheerful. (I used to be freaked out by this, but it’s just the way things are where I live and I’ve gotten used to it surprisingly quickly.)

 

Luckily, it was raining a bit the other day when we decided to head to Old Sturbridge Village which kept the crowds away. Given how well it went, I predict most of my children’s memories of family excursions will be set against a damp and cloudy day.

I made mini salami sandwiches on rye buns so we would have something to munch on while soaking up all that New England history. I made the rye buns from scratch; an impulse baking experiment inspired by the editor’s letter in the latest issue of Saveur. The entire issue is devoted to The Sandwich and is fantastic.

The editor’s mother used to make him salami sandwiches on rye with butter and ground pepper. It is a simple yet brillant sandwich, just like he said. Perfect hearty fare for a day of running around and exploring a new time and place.

Fried Bologna Sandwich

I won’t bore you with my internal monologue about processed lunch meats. Let’s just say I went out on a limb.

And I’m glad I did.

This is a surprisingly tasty sandwich. Try one. You might like it. And while you’re munching, take a moment to appreciate the shear human ingenuity that goes into highly processed foods. Yes, they can be unhealthy, but as I learn more about food I occasionally find myself in awe of what people have been able to conjure.

Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe

2 slices bread, lightly toasted
6 slices bologna (I used Applegate Farms Turkey Bologna)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Yellow mustard, to taste

Warm a skillet over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the skillet with the canola oil. Put the bologna (You’ll probably have to do two batches unless you’re using a huge pan.) in the skillet and cook for approximately five minutes on each side or until it is lightly browned and bubbly.

Place all of the bologna on one slice of bread and top with mustard as desired. Place second slice of bread on top. Cut up into small sandwiches and serve.

Yield: 1 sandwich (cut into 4 mini sandwiches for a shared snack – or not)
Prep time: 20 minutes