Friday, November 21, 2008

Patty Melts, Good; ANTM, Meh

Oh my goodness--it's been awhile! The patty melt Sandwich Night was followed by a whirlwind trip to Boston and Thanksgiving so I haven't really had time to put together a nice witty recap of the evening. Kris, Doug, Angie, and Karen came over for patty melts and the America's Next Top Model Cycle 11 finale. The show wasn't really notable except for the Unbeatable Banzuke like runway the finalists had to negotiate. Unfortunately, no one fell down. If only they had been on stilts or pushing wheelbarrows or something.
The patty melts, however, turned out quite nicely, as you can see by Karen's crazy cheese filled blowout sandwich:I made the patties on the panini press since I wanted them to be wide and thin to fill the bread with lots of burgery goodness. The result was tasty enough, but a little to flat and tough. It could be helped by getting fattier meat--I got the leanest ground beef. The benefit of panini pressing burgers, though, was a much less smoky and greasy kitchen! Someday I'll have an exhaust fan...
To the sandwiches! I gathered pumpernickel and wheat bread, the burgers, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, muenster cheese, Swiss cheese, French dressing and Thousand Island dressing.
I gave folks the option of grilling on a griddle or on the panini press. Everyone chose the panini, of course.

Doug's sandwich formed a crunchy skirt of burnt cheese. Yum!
I'll try for another Sandwich Night before Christmas--stay tuned!

14 Year Sandwich

That's what follows the 7 Year Itch, I believe. Not sure what itch comes at 21 years.
Beth and I went to Cupcake on our 14th anniversary last week. Their cupcakes are okay (choose chocolate over vanilla) but I really wanted to try their sandwiches. Beth got a pesto veggie number which was tasty. I got a brie and apple sandwich which was quite delicious.That's sourdough, spread with butter (good choice!), mixed greens, brie, green apple, and dried cranberries. Nice combo. It would be even better as a panini, though. But then almost everything is better as a panini!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sandwich Night for the ANTM Finale

Don't forget about Sandwich Night this Wednesday, November 19! We'll be watching the America's Next Top Model finale and eating patty melts. Since Beth has a hockey game at 9:00 that night, we're going to start the action a little eary, say 6:00/6:30?
Let me know if you can come!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Portobello Sandwiches are Crazy Delicious

Oh my word. We picked a winner tonight. I don't usually follow recipes very closely for sandwiches but this one spoke to me. I found it in the El Cholo Cookbook. El Cholo is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles and this cookbook does not disappoint. My favorite chile relleno recipe just happens to face the page for portobello sandwich recipe. I know--that's a weird combo for a Mexican restaurant's cookbook, so it must be fate.
The mushrooms marinate in olive oil, lime juice, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. They suggested slicing red onions thinly and adding them to the marinade as well, which I did. Once the mushrooms have marinated for about an hour you grill them. The sandwich consists of the mushrooms, the marinated raw red onions, roasted red peppers, arugula and goat cheese. They recommend rosemary bread but I knew these sandwiches were crying for ciabatta rolls. I got the ciabatta rolls at A Baker's Wife this morning--literally hot out of the oven.
These sandwiches were awesome! All the veggies complemented each other well, the marinade was amazing and the goat cheese was magical. Sigh.
Angie came over, as did Jane (and her knitting!) As an extra bonus, my friend Katy made her Sandwich Night debut. Katy and the gluten are not friends so she made a stack of the ingredients, minus the bread. Perfect.
America's Next Top Model held few surprises tonight, but it was fun to try and explain it to folks who don't actually watch it. Plus, there were some good sloppy drunk scenes--it's been too long, ANTM.
It was so lovely that we're going to do it again next Wednesday--ANTM Finale!!!
We even drew from the hat and we're having patty melts!!!! I think a panini press could be involved in this one...

Jucy Lucy, anyone?

I've been on sort of an unintentional Jucy Lucy tour lately. It all started with my friends Jane and John looking to branch out from Matt's. The Matt's Jucy Lucy had the curse of being named the best hamburger in Minnesota this summer and the place has been jam packed ever since. Jane is convinced the Matt's Lucy is smaller and not as delicious as it used to be, plus the crowds are clueless and the staff is tired and cranky.
We set out for another South Minneapolis Jucy Lucy establishment, Adrian's. We were shocked to discover they were OUT of the Adrian's Juicy Luicy that night. WHAT? We had double cheeseburgers instead. They were okay.
Then, a couple weeks later, Beth and I ventured out to Matt's for dinner. We got there a little after 8:00 and it was full but not crowded. The Jucy Lucy was as delicious as always, although the burnt crust on the exterior of the patty was a little under done for my liking. Still my favorite, of course!
Then, on the day after the election, we found the best way to wash away the last remnants of our hangovers with the Adrian's Juicy Luicy. It is bigger that Matt's, with fresh cut grilled onions and a big slice of American cheese on top of the patty. They were crazy hot and pretty good. I don't think I needed the extra cheese on top. Processed cheese is so slimy, except when it has undergone the transforming reaction catalysed by heat and the inside of a hamburger patty. I'd say they are second place in the "classic Jucy Lucy" category for me.
Last night I met my old co-workers Kate and Kristi at the Blue Door Pub
in St. Paul. They have an entire part of their menu devoted to cheese stuffed burgers. I'm usually skeptical of these novelties, but I jumped right in and sampled the Blucy. It is awesome--stuffed with blue cheese and garlic, served with pickles and a nice soft bun. I'll be back! (But not Terminator style.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Next Sandwich Night--Wednesday, November 12!

I know this short notice, but....
I was already thinking about portobello mushroom sandwiches for our next Sandwich Night. I found a really yummy sounding recipe for marinated portobello mushroom sandwiches with roasted red peppers, arugula, and goat cheese. Sounds like a sammy after my own heart. Then, the big sandwich sized portobellos were on sale at the store tonight. So here we go.
Come over Wednesday night. We'll make sandwiches and watch America's Next Top Model. Only four girls remain. Who will be America's Next Top Model???

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Order up! The hot roast beef chronicle...

It's been almost two weeks since our hot roast beef Sandwich Night and I've been all distracted by the election and Karen's demand that this post bear some reflection on the intensely personal nature of hot roast beef sandwich assembly. I believe Kate summed it up perfectly when she said that she loves the assemble your own style Sandwich Nights because it's fun to see what everyone does.
For hot roast beef, I roasted a rump roast with lots of garlic stuffed in it. I coated the outside with pepper, salt and garlic powder. I put some onions, garlic, water and red wine in the pan under the roast to make a base for the gravy. After the roast was done I put the pan drippings in the fridge so the fat would harden up. Then I followed a Cook's Illustrated gravy recipe. It turned out nicely--I'm a little out of my element with gravy so it always makes me nervous! I also mashed up a bunch of potatoes and got some squishy white bread. As a side, I roasted brussels sprouts--toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast them for about an hour. Yum! I also put out some horseradish since it is necessary when eating roast beef.
Here are the results:
Beth went classic diner style: diagonally sliced bread, meat, gravy and potatoes on the side.
I went classic hot turkey style--pile it all up, gravy over everything
Kate's not a huge gravy fan so she went bread, meat and a little gravy. Everything else on the side.
And Karen made a perfect gravy depression in her potatoes in the classic sandwich presentation.
Lisa skipped the gravy altogether and loaded her sandwich up with horseradish. She was also the only person able to eat her sandwich with her hands!
We were entranced by Dancing With the Stars so we decided to watch it and then watch Heroes on tape. The downside to that is that our new converter box will only let us tape what we are actually watching, so we had to huddle around the 13" black and white in the kitchen to watch DWTS in order for Heroes to tape. Classy!It was a lovely night--we got to see Cloris Leachman hip hop. Man oh man. Kate and Karen both brought dessert so we had pumpkin bars and brownies while we watched Heroes. And yes, Sienna the dog got plenty of treats!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You are welcome, Barack Obama

I sent Barack Obama a little good luck charm, sandwich wise yesterday.
I had to run some errands at lunch and realized I could revisit the meal I ate prior to hearing him speak in St. Paul on the night he clinched the Democratic nomination.
Did it help? I think it did. Plus, a Dunn Brothers iced coffee and egg salad sandwich makes a lovely lunch!