Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Double Decker Inside-Out Grilled Ham & Cheese Sammie

This makes an enormous sandwich that you can share with a sandwich loving friend, or eat for two meals!  The method of cooking the cheese into each side of the bread makes for an extra crispy, cheesy sandwich.

Yield: 1 giant sandwich (serves 2)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large slices crusty Italian or Panini bread
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound deli sliced ham

Optional:  any desired condiments or vegetables

Heat a griddle, grill pan, or large skillet to medium high heat.  Butter each side of the slices of bread.  Place the bread pieces (you may have to work in batches, depending on the size of your surface) onto the hot surface.  Sprinkle the top of each slice of bread with Parmigiano, cheddar and mozzarella, a light coating for the surface of each slice, about a teaspoon of each cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt for about a minute, then flip over to cook into the bread.  If the cheese falls off, don't worry!  Just place the slide of bread right on top of it, it will still cook into the bread.

Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is cooked into each slice of bread and is golden brown.  Repeat on each side for all remaining pieces of bread, then remove from heat, leaving the heat on but turning down to medium.

Top three of the slices with the swiss cheese and ham and sprinkle with remaining cheeses, repeating and stacking the sandwich as you go.  Cover with the fourth slide of bread and press together, then place back on the hot surface and cook until the cheese melts, turning once, about 5 more minutes. Cut in half and serve warm, with any desired garnishes.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Strawberry French Toast Roll-Ups

These are super easy to make and delicious for breakfast or dessert.

Yield:  Serves 2-4

8 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup prepared chocolate sauce
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Optional:  Maple syrup, for serving

Flatten each piece of bread slightly with a rolling pin. Place about two teaspoons of the strawberries on one end of the bread in a strip. Roll the bread tightly and repeat.

Next, whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium heat and add the butter. As the butter melts, dip each french toast roll in the egg mixture, coating on all sides. Place them on the heated surface, seam side down. Cook in batches until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve warm, drizzled with the chocolate sauce and dusted with powdered sugar, with maple syrup on the side, if desired. Enjoy!

Note: This is an easy recipe to customize, and would be good with any type of fruit, or stuffed with cream cheese, peanut butter, or nutella, or rolled in cinnamon-sugar, etc.

Beer-Battered Buffalo Fried Shrimp

Buffalo sauce!  This is a perfect appetizer or you could make it and serve it over pasta.

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark beer
1 1/2 pounds large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally

Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup prepared buffalo sauce
3 tablespoons melted butter

Optional:  Ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping 

Heat several inches of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until a deep fry thermometer reaches 375 degrees.

Whisk the flour, beer, and 4 tablespoons of the buffalo sauce in a large bowl.  Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss to coat.  Cook the shrimp in batches, frying until fully cooked and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per batch.  Do not overcook or your shrimp will be tough.  Drain on paper towels.

Add the sliced celery to the remaining batter and toss to coat with the sauce, then fry the celery until crisp, about 2-3 minutes.  When ready to serve, whisk the buffalo sauce and butter together, and serve on the side with the warm buffalo shrimp, celery, and ranch or blue cheese dressing, if desired.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

French Fry Hamburger Bun

Okay, so this is barely a recipe... it's almost an edible craft idea.  I personally don't like to put french fries on a burger but I know many people (including my boyfriend Kyle) who do this to a burger every time they eat one, so the concept makes a lot of sense.  And of course it's an impressive presentation!

I won't bore you with a standard french fry and hamburger recipe- I'm sure you can figure that part out for yourselves : )

French Fries (fresh or frozen will work)
Wilton Edible Adhesive
Hambuger Patties
Any desired garnishes (cheese, condiments, veggies, pickles, etc)

Note:  You can find the Wilton Edible Adhesive in any craft store, such as Joanne's Fabrics or Michael's.  It is normally used for decorating wedding cakes, so it can be found in the cake decorating aisle.  It costs about $6-7 bucks and can be used for lots of other edible projects - pic below!
Assemble the buns first.  I have done this twice, once with fresh french fries and once with frozen.  The only discernible difference was that the fresh potatoes glued together more readily, probably because they were not as wet.  However, I did like using the frozen fries because I had more options for shapes & sizes to glue together.  If you don't usually make homemade french fries at home, now would be the time to give it a try!  They taste infinitely better than the frozen ones you're used to eating (and that most restaurants are serving you!)

Heat the oil that you plan to fry your french fries in to 400 degrees, or preheat an oven to 450 degrees if you plan to bake them.  Begin by assembling the puzzle of your bun, using longer and shorter pieces to achieve the desired shape.  Then separate them and glue them in the order you assembled them in.  Allow to dry for about 5 minutes, then fry or bake your french fry buns.

If frying, use a large pair of tongs or metal spatula to carefully remove them from the oil to drain.  If any pieces fall off, don't freak out!  The glue has no flavor or texture and you can easily reglue the piece without any noticeable difference to the food.

Finally, make your burgers, add your desired toppings, and enjoy!