Monday, April 10, 2006

My New Favorite Sandwich

A month or so ago Nathan and I had to eat at the food court in the mall while out shopping. We ended up having these grilled sandwiches that were tasty enough that Nathan decided to recreate them the other night. They were very easy to make and yummy, too, so I thought I'd share.

The original sandwiches were thinly sliced raw meat grilled with cheese and kind of "mashed" by the spatula into pieces. We "cheated" and used the deli meat we had on hand. We also made ours with pita bread instead of french bread.

Slice any deli meat (turkey breast, chicken, ham, roast beef....) into small squares/pieces. Then "grill" the meat in a skillet until the edges are a little brown. Top with cheese and let it melt. Scoop into a pita pocket.

Nathan fixed me a turkey and cheddar cheese pita with dill pickle, but I'm sure you could use any combination of meat, cheese and veggies to make a very tasty sandwich.

Apple Crumb Coffee Cake

This dish has quickly risen to prominence in our home since its discovery two months ago, inspired by some marked-down apples that had to be used up immediately. It's quick to whip up, keeps for several days, uses fairly basic and cheap ingredients (at least in my stripped-down version), is pretty nutritious, and makes a simple, easy, yet filling breakfast food.

Apple Crumb Coffee Cake

1 Tbl. dry bread crumbs
2 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half white until I realised that the cinnamon and apples are going to turn it brown anyway)
1 cup plus 2 Tbl. sugar (I just use one cup)
1 tsp. salt
10 Tbl. (1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened (I use half of this, or maybe 1 stick, depending on how much I have out on the butter dish. I use less butter not only because it's healthier but also cheaper, since I always use real butter in baking. Maybe the texture or taste would be better with more butter, but since I've never tried it, I don't know what I'm missing!)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk or low-fat (not nonfat) plain yogurt, room temperature (I make my own buttermilk using the following formula: 1 Tbl. vinegar plus enough milk to make one cup = one cup of buttermilk)
1 large egg, room temperature (but I usually use a medium egg because that's what I have on hand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium-large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I've used one sometimes)
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I never use this much)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

-Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 pan and shake breadcrumbs over to coat. Tap out extra crumbs.
-Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl. Add butter and cut in with pastry knife until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; remove 1 cup to separate bowl and reserve.
-Whisk baking powder, soda, and cinnamon into flour mixture in bowl. Add buttermilk or yogurt, egg, and vanilla; whisk until smooth and frostinglike, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
-Stir in apples.
-Pour into pan and smooth top.
-Add nuts and brown sugar to reserved cup of flour mixture. Stir until blended and spread over cake batter, pressing lightly so it adheres.
-Bake cake until center is firm and cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Some Breadish Things

Argentine Cornbread

"Hey Dad, get a picture of me next to this cornbread in authentic Argentinian garb!"

This was tried for a missions potluck, but it was good enough to warrant repeating under more ordinary circumstances.

3 T. olive oil
3 onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
3/4 c. beef or chicken broth
1 t. salt
1/2 t. crushed dried chili pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add the onions and saute 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and saute 10 minutes more while stirring. Add the broth, salt and chili pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Sift together:
2 cups cornmeal
1 t. baking powder
1/2 lb. cottage cheese
3 T. butter
Mix well. Add 1 1/2 c. milk, and beat thoroughly. Combine with tomato mixture. Pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Herb-Cheese Biscuits
I have finally perfected my reasonably-healthy biscuit technique. (The secret is to use a liquid fat and stir everything together at once.) This variation was particularly nummy.

Mix together 1/3 c. vinegar and 1 c. milk. Allow to stand for a minute, then stir in 2 c. whole wheat flour. Let stand for several hours.

Blend 2 c. white flour, 2 t. salt, and 1 1/2 t. baking soda. Add the flour-milk mixture, 2/3 c. olive oil, 1 t. basil, and 1/2 c. or so of finely shredded cheese. (I used monterey jack/cheddar mix, as that was what needed to be used up.) Mix together, then dump it out and knead it just until the flour is well mixed in. Pat out and cut into desired shapes.

Bake at 350 for about 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. (I'm not too sure on the temperature and time. Keep an eye on them.)