Archive for the 'sandwiches' Category

Eggs in a Grilled Cheese Nest

eggs in a frame 1

Having just returned from 10 days at the Fairmont JPL, it’s a tough re-entry back to the world of dog hair, laundry, unironed sheets and hollandaise withdrawl.

But-good news! The sink is in, and we’re not doing dishes in the bathtub anymore. The kitchen is close to finished – it needs the backsplash and an overhead fan for the stove, and the fridge is all wonky so that needs to be dealt with, and it needs some paint in places. And everything isn’t unpacked into the drawers yet – that will be my weekend plan. But we have electricity and water and it’s looking like an actual kitchen. Still, I wasn’t quite prepared to cook last night.

eggs in a nest 6

I’ve been mildly obsessed with an idea I came across in the new (and hilarious) Portlandia Cookbook, in which you cook eggs not in the usual toast frame, but in a grilled cheese sandwich with a hole cut out of the middle. Brilliant, no? I wasn’t raised on these – birds in a nest, toad in the hole, whatever you grew up calling them – but poached eggs on toast and grilled cheese sandwiches have always been comfort foods, so to combine the two is the most brilliant conspiracy ever.

eggs in a nest 8

You make a grilled cheese – in their case, spreading the bread with mayo instead of soft butter, and sprinkling it with grated Parmesan – then grill it, cut a hole out of the middle with a cookie cutter or rim of a can, return it to the pan, add a bit of butter to the empty hole and crack an egg inside.

eggs in a frame collage 2

Because it’s thicker than toast, it’s tough to cook all the way through – once it was set on the bottom I flipped one and made it over easy, which worked well but doesn’t look as pretty; the book says to slide the pan into the oven with the broiler on to cook the top, which worked well too.

eggs in a frame collage 1

Bonus: you get this gooey round grilled cheese sandwich to nibble while you wait for your egg to cook.

You’re welcome.

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November 18 2014 | sandwiches | 12 Comments »

Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions

ACE Grilled Cheese 1

I feel like I’ve been slingshot (can that be used as a verb?) straight into mid January, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’ve decided that if I’m going to eat bread, it might as well be truly fantastic – and preferably used to bookend other divine ingredients, bound together by melty cheese. There are few things I love more than a grilled cheese sandwich, but too often everything gets ignored but the cheese.

Grilled cheese Collage

Let’s start with the bread, shall we? This is a roasted garlic oval from ACE Bakery, with sweet, mellow roasted garlic right in the dough. It’s a good size – with enough structural integrity and a crisp crust. I used my friend Jessica’s trick – to mix grated Parmesan cheese into soft butter to spread on the outside of each slice, which creates an extra crunchy, cheesy exterior, maximizing those crispy edges.

Garlic bread 2

Inside – aged cheddar is my favourite, and I had some old orange and extra old white in the fridge, so I used both. Grated, it easily covers any surface area, and melts more quickly. And a spoonful of caramelized onions – it could be a batch of onion jam, or just chop or blitz an onion or two in the food processor, then saute it on the stovetop in a little oil and a little butter for 10 minutes, or until it all turns nice and dark and golden and sticky. I usually can’t help a quick splash of balsamic vinegar in there too, and a pinch of sugar if you want to help things along.

Grilled cheese 1

And that would be enough to make me happy, right there. But I’ve been braising plenty of beef or bison short ribs lately for some reason or other, which reminded me of how delicious bits of leftover short ribs are in a grilled cheese, and so I braised a batch just for this occasion. (The occasion being making them on Global on Saturday morning.)

Grilled cheese 2

You don’t need a lot of the beef; pulled off the bone, it’s so rich and intense – more the essence of beef than thinly sliced roast from the deli – a few chunks elevates this sandwich to the truly sublime.

ACE Grilled Cheese 2

Add woolly socks + a good book (or Downton Abbey on Netflix!) to get through a January weekend.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese with Braised Short Ribs and Caramelized Onions

Short Ribs:
canola oil, for cooking
4-6 bison or beef short ribs
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine or beer
1 cup beef or chicken stock (or more wine)

Caramelized Onions:
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)
2 tsp. brown sugar
salt and pepper

grated aged white cheddar
ACE Bakery Roasted Garlic Oval loaf
soft butter or olive oil, for cooking
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a drizzle of oil in a small, heavy oven-proof pot set over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides; add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Pour the wine overtop, and add enough stock to come about halfway up the sides of the ribs. Cover and cook at 300F for 2 1/2-3 hours, until the meat is very tender. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones and set aside. Meanwhile, set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add a generous drizzle of oil and cook the onions for 10 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the balsamic vinegar (if you’re using it) and cook for a minute, until it evaporates; add the brown sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until deep golden. Set aside to cool.

To assemble your grilled cheese sandwiches, slice the roasted garlic oval on a slight diagonal and layer with grated cheddar, caramelized onions, short rib and more cheddar. If you like, stir some grated Parmesan cheese into soft butter and spread on the outside of the sandwich; alternatively, brush with olive oil. Grill in a panini grill or in a hot skillet, turning as needed, until the cheese has melted and the sandwich is crusty and golden.

Makes as many as you’d like.

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January 12 2014 | beef and cheese and sandwiches | 11 Comments »

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