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You may and can and will have it ALL

5 Oct


All caps means it is soooo important.

What else is important?

Bread.

Cheese.

Butter.

Eggs.

Fucking waffles. Yeah waffles too.

I took a cheese sandwich, dipped it in savory French toast batter and put it in the waffle iron. I cracked open my old trustworthy Ravenswood and waited. I ate.

Things were good.

Here is what to do.

Waffles-French-Toasted-Grilled Cheese Sandwich Yeah

  • 2 pieces of bread
  • 1-2 oz cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cups half n half
  • Dash salt
  • More butter!!
  • Big bottle of red

Heat the waffle iron. Whisk the egg, half and half and salt. Slice tiny slivers of cheese. Sadly you cannot put the cheese on too thickly or it’ll ooze into the waffle maker, so slice thinly. Put it on one piece of the bread. Put another slice of bread on top. Butter both sides. Then put into the waffle iron and cook away. Meanwhile open red wine. Ooh and ahh at your life. It is worth it. 

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soviet cuisine

23 Mar

  
World history has never been my forte. Art history? Sure. Food history? Heck yah. Political movements? Not so much. It is not that I don’t get concepts-it is just that I am terrible with names and dates and I have a sneaking suspicion that what I am taught has been passed through a misogynist and Anglicized filter.

Oddly, I can recite recipes for chocolate chip cookies and umpteen cocktails, complete with amounts. And yet I cannot for the life of me remember years that things happened and then I get historical events out of order. Save remembering that WWI was before WWII. Got that one down.

So I’ve been gravitating towards cookbooks that teach me a bit of history too because where there is food involved I am more likely to remember. The CCCP Cook Book: True Stories of Soviet Cuisine deals with Soviet cuisine which is fascinating. The regime in power tried to promote an official cookbook and way of cooking for the all of the Soviet Union’s restaurant and catering businesses in order to get everyone serving exactly the same food everywhere, I suppose. That “official” cuisine seemed to veer towards Russian dishes, but the Soviet Union (aka USSR or CCCP) was pretty vast. The recipes that represent Soviet cuisine found in people’s homes ranges from Russian to Georgian to Tatar.

It is also interesting how much the the economics of the time drove the dishes. There is a reason for all those breadcrumb coated dishes. Meat at the time was scarce and the quality of what was available was poor. Crumbs disguised mystery meat. The lack of meat is the same reason there were so many canned fish, and varying patties of chopped meat.

Scarcity can also lead to remarkably good dishes. Eggplant “caviar” for instance. I’m not making it to replace real caviar. I’m making it because it is pretty dang delicious. Which I found shocking because rarely do I care for eggplant dishes.

The book is full of stories of dictators being jerks (to put it mildly) and the government being corrupt. The stories are alternately funny and sad. For instance the regime would champion eggs as not being so good for you when eggs were not readily available. When eggs finally were available in some abundance the government “realized” that eggs were in fact delicious and nutritious. Mmm, the tasty tales of executive power. By the time I finished reading and cooking through this book, I will be nourished both in body and mind.

As I mentioned, there are quite a few chopped meat recipes. There are some classics like sauerkraut, chicken Kiev, borscht and stroganoff. The recipe I am sharing is a sweet and spicy beet broth eaten with a toasted cheesy bread. Think of it as a variant of the classic pairing of grilled cheese with tomato soup. The topping on the toast is positively addictive. If you don’t like spice, you may wish to cut down the cayenne but being a nut for heat, I went all in.

The story behind this dish is about a chatty lil’ supper meeting between Stalin and Mao. Stalin steered Mao towards the soup because Mao grew up in southeast China, where the Hunan cuisine was full of the spicy flavors. Apparently at this dinner there was some wine drinking too, and Mao asked why Stalin liked to mix red and white wine. Stalin’s answer was that he liked creating his own bouquet of wine flavors. Now, I don’t recommend being like Stalin in general, and I REALLY don’t recommend mixing your red and white wine. But should you be into historical reenaction feel free to pop a couple of bottles open to wash down this meal. Just don’t reenact anything else the dictators might have been up to.

Borschtok with Spicy Toast adapted from The CCCP Cook Book by Olga and Pavel Syutkin

For borschtok:

2-2 1/2 liters meat stock (being veg, I substituted vegetable stock)
400 g (around a pound) beets
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1 egg white
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
For the toast:

2-3 slices white bread
25 g (almost 1 oz.) butter, plus some extra for frying
200 g (around 1/2 pound) semi-mature cheese (I used cheddar)
2 eggs
50 g (almost 2 oz) tomato puree or ketchup (I used tomato paste)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
For the broth:

Add the beet, finely chopped, and the vinegar and egg white to the stock. Place over low heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Add the cayenne and sugar and simmer another 5-7 minutes. Skim off any fat (if using meat stock) then run through a sieve (I lined mine with cheesecloth).

For the toast:

Heat the oven to 180 celsius or 360 Fahrenheit. Cut the bread into rectangular slices and fry in some butter. Grate the cheese and mix it with the tomato concoction of choice, eggs, butter and cayenne. Spread on the fried bread and bake in oven 10-12 minutes. Serve with the broth. Dip it. Dip it good.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip on bread. Dip in bowl. Dip da dip dip dippity do

6 Apr

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Ohhhh my goodness. I am finally done with the season of Girls on GIRLS. Although we will be rolling out cocktail-making segments soon.
And in between doing a bunch of live shows that ran the gamut from improv to sketch to contortion for comedy, I decided to pull out some of the posts I had had in my drafts for a while. This is one of them. A recipe I’ve enjoyed enough to make more than once. That’s a big compliment from me because having to vet new cookbooks leaves little time for old favorites. The genius work of Joy the Baker keeps me coming back.

Here’s the deal:
I LOVE a sandwich. I cannot dislike anything involving ample carbohydrates.

Here’s the other deal with a sandwich though:
I only love it if I can eat it on a plate with a knife and fork so I can deconstruct and reconstruct as I like. Here, a bite of the whole sandwich, there, a forkful of filling. Then a leftover bit of bread from where I swiped the filling. That I may butter.

The third and final deal with a sandwich is that I rarely actually eat things that are supposed to be served on carbs ON the said carbs. I devour bowls of spicy salsa with a spoon pretty much daily. It is not so different from gazpacho right? Then I butter the chips.
And I rarely eat the cheese on cheese plates atop the slices of baguette that come with it. I nibble each bit of fromage individually. The better to really taste the cheese, my dear. Then I butter the baguette.

So I made this dip and enjoyed deconstructing a sandwich made with it, and still had leftover dip to gobble from a bowl. And at some point I ran out of bread but I always keep back-up butter.

Take home lesson from this blog post is this: ALWAYS HAVE BACKUP BUTTER.

Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip/Spread adapted from this recipe by Joy the Baker
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
A few handfuls if baby spinach
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
2 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
3/4 c. Chopped artichoke hearts
Pinch of fleur de sel
1 heaping Tbsp. Cottage cheese, mashed with a fork until relatively smooth
1 1/2 tsp. Sriracha
Butter
Spray a pan with the oil and sauté the garlic a bit then add the spinach, an cook just until wilted. Take off heat. Spread the bread slices with the cream cheese. Stir together the spinach mixture, Swiss cheese, artichoke hearts, fleur de sel, cottage cheese, and Sriracha. Heap as much as you want on top of cream cheese on one piece of bread, (save the rest for another sandwich, or if you are like me, eating out of a bowl) and top with other slice of bread, cream cheese side down. Spread outside of sandwich with butter and cook Ina skillet on each side until browned to your liking. Because it is all about you.

Croque Ellen

29 Aug

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I really should remake this on another (cooler) day and post a better picture.

Problem was the yolk broke when I cracked the egg so I didn’t get that nice egg shot with the yolk standing up looking all pert and sassy. It still looks pretty sexy though, flowing out into the chasm created when I sliced into the sandwich. And dipped in salsa, who cares what it looks like? Tastes perfect.

It is my birthday, and being as such I giving myself the present of naming a sandwich I invented myself after myself.

I’m so generous.

I actually woke up one morning thinking of this sandwich. THAT was a new one. I wasn’t even hungry.

I was just coming to, rolling about in my bed as I do and thinking about the Croque Madame I made, and how it would use up at least one of my eggs before they went bad. But I was also thinking spicy. And thus was born this southwest-ish version. Call the tex-mex Croque. Call it the Croque Ellen.

And now, my dears, I will not even attempt to amuse you anymore as I must scurry off to Lock and Key and have toast to me. Bourbon time.

This is not so much a recipe as a recommended assemblage.
The Croque Ellen
2 pieces of bread
About an ounce of cheese
Salsa
Cilantro
Baby spinach
Egg
Toast yer bread. Layer salsa, cilantro, spinach and cheese as you see fit. If you don’t care for bread that is te least bit soggy be careful with the salsa, or maybe wait and just add on the side later. Cut a circle out of top slice but leave it in place for now. Put some cheese on top. Put it in the oven broiler for about two seconds to melt. Take the circle out and crack an egg in there. Broil until done. Or be like me and realize everything else is going to burn before the egg is done as I’d like. Put in microwave to finish cooking. Yea. So good.

Chili cheese French toast

26 Jun

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Good fun from Mr. Breakfast.

While I’m on a sandwich kick, I figured, why not? Yeah, so I’m not a sandwich person.

Except when I am.

Sure, I have zero nostalgia for this sandwich. If last week’s eats were the food equivalent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this week’s sandwich is a far more artistic film. Let’s say The Artist. A creative French-toasted sandwich for a creative French film. And yet both of them actually made in Los Angeles.

Deep.

Next I’m gonna match a sandwich to my favorite movie of all time: Clue.

To be eaten eaten in the ballroom.

By candlelight from a candle in a very sinister candlestick.

Preferably served by Tim Curry.

Huh, he is now tied, cinematically, to both sandwiches.

The plot thickens.

Enough! Go make this sandwich. Make it pretty. Make me proud.

Chili Cheese French toast adapted from this recipe

3 Tbsp. egg
1/4 c. Half and half
Dash salt
2 pieces of bread
1 oz. shredded cheese (I had reduced fat Swiss)
2 Tbsp. canned diced green chiles
2 Tbsp. diced cilantro
Heat the oven to 400. Line a pan with nonstick foil then spray, just in case. I believe in “just in case”. Which explains my overly full purse. Really, it’s a wonder I was not a scout. egg, half and half, and salt. Dip one piece of bread in the mixture and put on foil. Spread on cheese, then chiles, then cilantro. Dip the other slice and place on top. Cook until golden brown, ten minutes-ish. Then flip and cook some more. Nice. Very much so.

B food

19 Jun

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There is such a thing as B movies. Should there not be B food?

It is food that is terrible food, really. But there is something about it-the camp, the comfort, the boobs and blood and bologna, that really do it for you.

I’m not so much the sandwich person, but I get cravings for this. Especially when vegan bologna goes on sale.

Normally I’m not into fake meat.
Anywhere in my life.

But I get cravings for this sandwich. I think its a nostalgia thing. And I can pick it into its separate elements which would probably disgust anyone watching me, but it does not matter since I like to be alone with my bologna.

Crud. Now I’m making B-level jokes.

So, get a bad movie and make a soy-bologna and cheese sandwich, spread with a touch of mayo (also something I am generally not a fan of and yet…), butter, and Dijon on wheat bread (had to go higher-brow somewhere). Bread and butter pickles on the side. It’ll beef you up so there is lots of flesh for the zombies, or werewolves, or alien sex-bots, or whatever it is you are watching.

I’m gonna go do the time-warp.
Again.

Second Annual Un-Pizza Week Day Seven: Crunchy French-toasted Pizza Sam’mich

3 Feb

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That’s the edited shot.

This is unedited:

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Which do you prefer?
PRETTY PLEASE comment and tell me. I want to know. Because I couldn’t make up my mind.

This is my last post before taking a bloggity break for about the next week and a half. That’ll give you time to catch up on these last seven (count em’ seven!) posts I’ve rolled out in just one week.

I’ll have my hands full being an actress and writing which is as it should be. Amen.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Diethood which is the opposite of a diet blog. Case in point is her recipe for a deep-fried pizza sandwich.
Yah.

I can’t deep-fry.

I hate the smell of fried and didn’t want to stink up my abode. I’d probably start having flashbacks of working at the gastropub-ish restaurant I was a waiter at in St. Louis, where I’d come home reeking of the “crisps” and fish n’ chips every night.

All this being said I celebrated a pretty good improv show yesterday with a glass of house red and a deep-fried pickle at Bird’s, the UCB post-show hangout.

Then I decided that nothin’ makes a good dessert for laughter and pickles like a fried pizza sandwich.

As I stated, though, no deep-frying for moi. I made other arrangements. I took a note on the idea of coating the food with French toast batter. Then I crumbed it to get the crispy exterior a deep-fry would supply.

I may post in the next week of so if the guest post I’m writing for someone comes out, but if not I’ll be back in a couple weeks with some excellent edibles and crazy cocktails. And alliteration.

Peace, y’all. I’m maxed out. It’s Sunday. I’m resting.

French-Toast-Pizza-Sandwich

2 pieces of wheat bread (gluten-free peeps, feel free to use your gf goods)
2 Tbsp. good spaghetti sauce
1 oz. cheese, grated (I used Swiss)
1 egg
1/4 cup almond milk
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup panko (gluten-phobics, just toast up some crumbs from your gf bread)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
Sea salt
Olive oil
Spread bread with half the cheese, then with sauce, and then the rest of the cheese. The cheese is your sauce’s fortress to keep it from sopping into the bread, which is gonna get sopped soon enough. Top with another slice of bread. Mix egg and milk. In another bowl mix the panko, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Dip sandwich in the milk mixture, then in panko mixture.
Heat skillet over medium and spray with some olive oil. Fry that sucker up.