All posts tagged: Late Night Snack

The Sandwich Diaries ~ the Meatloaf Sandwich

There’s one important thing to have when making a great meatloaf sandwich Good meatloaf…. and white bread Okay, two things meatloaf, white bread… and mayo bollocks! … three things and pickle chips Dammit! Meatloaf, in a sense, has been around since the Romans. Although with ingredients like finely chopped lamb, pine nuts, rosemary and cream, you ended up with something more “pate-like” than what we call our beloved food of the masses. It wasn’t until WWII that meatloaf truly became part of the working class American diet. Looking to help families stretch their meat rations, numerous government agencies and appliance manufacturers started a campaign to show housewives how to extend meager protein rations to feed a large family. They championed adding stale bread, leftover biscuits, potatoes and rice into minced meat, adding a healthy dose of ketchup and seasonings, and baking it off “roast-style” to create a meat dish that would be fit to grace any Sunday Dinner table. It caught on. And while they were satisfying and filling, they did something much more important. They created leftovers. Leftovers that …

Tales of Woe: the one with The Cake

Several months ago, I came across this peach cake recipe from the Barefoot Contessa… And, while I’m not a huge fan of fresh fruit in cakes, this one sounded interesting… so I gave it a go. I was right, while the idea was good, the fresh peaches congealed in the bottom of the cake pan and the batter never really set. So, since FRESH peaches are overly watery and have  that fresh fruit enzyme going on, why not try it with tinned peaches – maybe they would work better. So, I scrapped the idea of peaches – and tried again. This time with tinned pears, and I added sweetened dried cranberries to balance out the pear flavor. It was…. OK… just. I thought maybe changing out the spice profile might give it some zing… My sis had given me a jar of Mahlab for Christmas, and I thought the bitter cherry / slightly floral notes might lift it up some. I also flipped the fruit layers and since the pears were going to slump… I’d just …

Snacktime! ~ Honeycomb Popped Corn

I like me some Caramel Corn. However, the thought of popping corn, cooking a syrup, mixing it up, then baking it for 45 minutes to an hour JUST to get it where you can eat it… is  WAY more effort than I want to put in a snack. Over a year ago while Jane and I were poking around some odd curb market, we came across a dry mix for caramel popcorn. The idea was to heat your butter and kernels in the whirly popcorn popper thing, pour in the dry mix… and Voila!, caramel corn. You know… it actually worked. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where we got it…. and I didn’t keep the bottle after it was empty… and any of the alternatives I’ve been able to find on the  internetowebbyversothing  have just a HUGE amount of artificial ingredients and colorants. I decided I could make my own.. and it be JUST as good, and healthier than the manufactured stuff…. … you know… if you discount the copious amounts of butter… and sugar. Honeycomb …

Bread Whore ~ The Modern English Muffin

The other week, out of the blue, Jane says, “I’ve been trying to think what this thing is called…” “What thing..” “Breakfasty, brunchy kind of thing” “What’s in it” Poached eggs and an English muffin…” “Oh, it’s an Eggs Benedict.” She thanked me – obviously it had been nagging at her head for days. A couple of days later…. a repeat of the initial Q & A. Then, last week… “What’s that thing again?” “Eggs Benedict… Do you want one?” “Well… yes. If it’s not a lot of trouble.” Trouble… considering the hoops I have to jump through navigating Jane’s growing food allergies, something like an eggy thing shouldn’t be very high up on the difficulty list. However, all English Muffins contain either soy… or unsafe dairy… or an unrecognizable oil… or a combination of all three. So, getting to the Benedict was going to take some work. Trouble… I poked around several recipes.  There are ones that sound and look like thick, doughy pancakes. There are a couple that have you making your own starter – …

The Sandwich Diaries – The Chicken Fillet Sammich

  Ever since they showed up in the malls in the late 70’s, that chicken sandwich has become just about my favorite option for fast food. That slightly sweet coating, that perfect blend of seasoning, that steamy – steamy bun after it stews in those foil pouches… just perfection in a chicky sammich. But whatever they were – these days they’re just an E Ticket to crazytown for us. The chain uses peanut oil which makes them a serious no-no as far as our current allergen list  goes… and then there’s the whole MSG thing. But, I figured there has to be a work-around… and you know – there is! Chik-Fil-A makes no bones about a secret recipe for their coating. They even tell you what’s in it on their site. But, as I have found through scores of trashed copy-cat recipes, it rarely comes out exactly like the restaurant’s version. And to be absolutely fair… unless you are using a pressure fryer, it still wont taste exactly like theirs… but it comes damn close. …

Six, the Easy Way ~ Vegetable Tamales

Mexican Restaurants – Whether it’s the strength of the margaritas, the freshness of their chips, the scoville scale of their salsa, or just how “authentic” it all is; everyone has their own way of judging a good one. Me? I look at two things. 1). Chili Rellenos : Is it a charred poblano pepper? Does it have a light egg batter? And just exactly what have they stuffed it with? and 2). Tamales : This is a harder judging for me. Because I like them a lot of different ways. I’ve had them in banana leaves where the “dough” is a kind of yucca / masa mash. I’ve had them in Mexico where there was a little bean or olive surprise buried in the middle. There has been the random bad one where the dough was fluffy … like a biscuit – or dry as a powder keg and dense like hard tack. Suffice it to say, tamales are like that proverbial box of chocolates.. you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into it. …

The Sandwich Diaries – You Can’t Tuna Piano…

… but you can Tuna Fish. Since I’ve been looking back at some of my favorites in the meat-n-slab-o-bread world, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Tuna Melt… What? Of course you can combine fish and cheese. Besides, no one really considers canned tuna a fish, anyway. I used to have a friend that vehemently declared he was (ahem) “allergic” to fish… absolutely refused to eat it. However, he lived on tuna fish pizza, tuna sammiches, and lox. One day after watching him make quick work of 2 slices of fishy pie, I confronted him. “Tuna isn’t fish… it comes in a can.” I gave him a black eye. So… Tuna Melt. It’s a bit of a hazy history. Since canned tuna came into being in the US somewheres around 1903 as a way of extending shelf life and feeding the growing industrial machine, recipes and procedures began popping up almost immediately with ways to prepare it. First came the tuna salad. And yes, it’s pretty much the same recipe most people …

OLÉ! – kinda…

Ideally, there should be a bit of a travel story depicting my drunken body staggering into some dirty backwater, iguana-crawling, cha-cha playing, peeling concrete floored cantina somewhere down in the backwoods of the Yucatan Peninsula where I first had Chilaquiles. But that would be a fib. The drunkenness, staggering and crawling are probably correct – but I have no recollection of that event, .. sir… No, I first had them a great deal closer. In fact, right across the street from my old house in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. Not exactly South of the Border… but it was South-ish of Buckhead…a bit. Chilaquiles are, for lack of a better word, a kind of Mexican casserole. They are traditionally made with left over (and preferably stale) tortilla chips, simmered in salsa, and cooked with either eggs or left-over chicken. It’s comfort food plus – like Mexico City Chicken and Dumplings… or Jalisco Mac n Cheese… or Tijuana Tetrazzini… or. .. . you get the picture. My take on that Deep South classic is a little lighter than the traditional. Since …

Torta di Pasta – Spaghetti Pie

Perfect can come in many forms a date a day a moment a bite… Torta di Pasta is the perfect anytime thing. It’s breakfast or a simple lunch. It is the best mid-afternoon snack pulled right out of the fridge. It’s a late night supper or an after-the-club nosh. It has even been known to seal the deal after a date… “Would you like to come in for a nightcap and a little something to eat?~ nudge nudge – wink wink“ I was raised to always keep cooked rice or pasta on hand. “Pasta in the fridge is like money in the bank”, Jane would always say. – and to be perfectly honest with you, this works best with leftover pasta or rice. You want your starch to be slightly dry so that everything sticks and coats well. If you don’t happen to be a starch hoarder – cook the pasta to just underdone (slightly more al dente than you would normally cook it.) And the best part of all? It’s quick. The torta comes together with around 7 minutes of …

Some days…

… it’s about the food. Some days, it’s all about the technique and process. Some days… well, it’s just about me… and what makes me feel good. Today is one of those days. Cheese makes me happy… lots of cheese. Thank the lord that lactose intolerant gene thingy passed me by All dressed up Spreading a little mayo on the outside of the bread before grilling keeps the grilled cheese from burning and makes for some sexy browned goodness about 3 min per side over medium heat should do it Tomato Soup makes me happy, too… That’s one can of tomato soup, one can of milk and a half a can of tomato juice. The “new and improved” Campbell’s Soup is markedly too sweet. Like lambs to the slaughter A suitably large bowl is a necessity Guaranteed to put the stops to any bad day Or, if that doesn’t do it… chunk the sammich up and douse it with soup.