Easy Work Lunch! Cold Orzo Pasta Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – I have joined the ranks of the masses & accepted a full-time job.  I am story assisting on an Esquire TV show called – appropriately enough – “Best Bars in America.”  The job is challenging but fun & the hours are long.  The long hours have really cut into my indulging in cooking & lunches, in particular, have been a challenge.  I want something that is good at room temperature (because there is no oven & I loathe microwaves) and it can’t be something stinky, like curry or egg salad, lest I gross out my peers.  I want it to be relatively healthy & light (so I don’t get sleepy) and I want it to be satisfying.

Initially, I bought expensive pre-made things – like quinoa or kale salads.   That got $$ and boring really fast.  My vegan chicken salads have worked nicely – wrapped in lettuce, but you can’t eat that 5 days a week.  So – one morning – with 30 minutes to go before work – I whipped this up from just what I had around.

Like most of my recipes – it is infinitely customizable.

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You can add anything in this bad boy.   I will list what I used in just a moment but the real secret to this salad is the dressing.  I just used a Newman’s Own Italian once & a Ken’s Steakhouse Caesar another – but you can make your own or use a different dressing each time.  I made a TON of this stuff & the real secrets are two-fold:

1) Do not add the tomatoes until the day you are going to eat it because tomatoes really do not do well in the fridge and

2) do not dress it until JUST before you eat it.

So – I would bring a little container of this to work each say & bring a little dressing in a plastic bottle & dress it just before I ate it.  I ate it 4 days in a row.  Here are the ingredients I used:

INGREDIENTS

The bulk of a package of orzo – cooked as directed (but any pasta – shells, penne, butterflies, whatever – will do) and drained & rinsed

Cherry tomatoes – halved

Garbanzo beans

Sliced radishes

Sliced black olives

Chopped cucumber

Chopped red cabbage

Diced basil

Chopped mint

Salad dressing (I used Newman’s Own Lite Italian & Ken’s Caesar alternately but you can use any you prefer – or MAKE yourself)

And I just tossed various portions or each ingredient together & stored it in the fridge (sans tomatoes – that is – because, as I said, tomatoes get yucky in the fridge).

Other things you might add:

Avocado (but not until just before you eat it)

Arugula

Cilantro

Chopped kale

Feta (or other) cheese

Diced carrots

Diced celery

Diced red onion

Sliced mushrooms

Raisins (or other dried fruit)

Nuts

Anything, really.  Even vegan (or real) chicken or some cooked shrimp.

See?  EASY!

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BEER! And other lunch items at Spitz, 3 Dog Cantina, Mission Cantina & Golden Road Pub – in & around Hollywood, California

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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The last time my badass boyfriend, Miles, was in town from Little Rock – it was over 100 degrees nearly every day of his week-and-a-half long stay.  Hot like the temperature recorded on my drive to LAX – in that photo above.

That is the heat reading on one of my two trips to get him at LAX (as his first attempt to leave was thwarted by the total incompetence of American Airlines – a fact that also allowed us a few extra days together so – there’s that).  Driving round trip from Hollywood to LAX is usually unpleasant, at best, but when it is 105 in your house & you have no air conditioning, you find yourself quite content on the 110 south in bumper to bumper traffic – because it is your only access to free AC.  Even the typically irritating fact that you cannot access the carpool lane because you are alone in the car is an inconvenience that rolls off you like the sweat on your own back.  Sweat that has dried & even causes a little chill as you blast the AC into your face so hard that your hair looks like a fright wig at the happy reunion with said beau.

The result of the uncivilized & oppressive & unyielding heat was that Miles & I spent far too many daylight hours in air-conditioned public places – usually ones with bars.  Not jail bars – but “belly-up-to-the” bars.  Bars with friendly bartenders.  Bars serving cold beer & the kind of acidic, unpleasant wine that most bars serve by the glass.   MMMMM!  That’s livin’!

The first time I picked him up at the airport, it was literally 105 in Hollywood so we went directly to Mission Cantina because Miles had a taste for Mexican food & because they serve this Pasadena-made beer – Craftsman 1903 – that I really enjoy.  He got a chicken burrito & I got a couple of fish tacos.

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Everything was delicious.  I’ve written about Mission Cantina before – when Miles & I first went there & then to the Museum of Death.  Here is the interior & outside patio.

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Our only issue on this day was that they had all their doors wide open & it was only a few degrees cooler in there than the oven just outside the doors.  I had sweat rolling down my legs and when a gal is wearing shorts & sweat runs down her legs – well – does the word “incontinence” mean anything to you?  It isn’t a pretty picture.

So – the next time I picked him up at the airport (an hour after dropping him off there) it was still 105 outside.  So – we decided to try a new place we spotted on our drive back home – Spitz.  I had never heard of it & the exterior gave nothing away as to what we might expect inside.  Here is the inside:

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They had Golden Road AND the Craftsman 1903 – both made locally.  I’m a fussy beer drinker so this pleased me a great deal.  So – Miles & I ordered beers & checked out the menu.

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Nearly everything on the menu had a carnivorous & vegetarian option!  That is a great thing for me (a vegetarian) & my “all meat all the time” boyfriend.  Unfortunately, neither of us were very hungry so we ordered only the Street Cart Fries which we were promised would be amazing.  And they were!

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Somehow, despite being loaded with a lot of damp toppings, these fries remained crispy & delicious.  Then we noticed – MY GOD – it was happy hour!  So I ordered a glass of white wine & Miles got another beer.  The wine was far more drinkable than your average happy hour white & served in a real wine glass AND it was a deep pour.  Suffice it to say, I will be returning to Spitz!

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On a hot Sunday, Miles & I staggered in from the heat – and I mean it was Africa hot – to 3 Dog Cantina.  I’d considered the place before but a peek inside revealed it to be MASSIVE & with a sports bar vibe.  Neither Miles nor I can tolerate sports so this place has been on the back burner.  Until that boiling hot Sunday.  We entered 3 Dog Cantina!

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Promptly seated in one of those huge booths by the window, I checked us in on Four Square because, as I’ve said before, I am a huge dork.  And because, sometimes, you get a little reward.  This check-in rewarded Miles with a free beer!  Bravo!  I ordered this cucumber margarita & it was pretty awesome.

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If I’m not mistaken, Miles also ordered a lemonade & a Coke with his beer & they were served in huge Mason jars.

Here is the menu.

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Not a fan of mahi-mahi, I ordered shrimp tacos & Miles got fajitas.

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The food was great, the room was very pleasant (despite sports on every wall) and it wasn’t crowded so we lingered as long as it took Miles to eat ALL of that chicken – which he did.  A miracle.

On the last full day of Miles’ trip, the temperature dropped into the nineties so I decided we could brave an outdoor meal.  We had been planning to try the Golden Road Brewery Pub and so try it we did.  It was even bigger that 3 Dog Cantina & offered indoor seating, outdoor seating & outdoor games.  Empty, it had the vibe of those massive bars in – like – Ensenada – that cater to college kids.  The sheer optimism of the size of it was intimidating.  Being there when it is crowded must be brutal.  But they had parking & it wasn’t crowded so we pressed on.

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HERE is the menu.  Far more creative than I have come to expect at pubs.  I ordered the avocado fritters & the banh mi (because I have never seen a veggie one before).  Miles, predictably, got ribs.  And we both got their Point the Way IPA.

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I’ve had fried avocado before & found it mushy, warm & gross.  THESE were crispy & delicious.

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I cannot comment on the ribs but Miles seemed to enjoy them a great deal & he ate ALL of that hunk of cornbread.  I guess southerners like the cornbread crumbly while, southerners say, Yankees like it wet.  As a Yankee, that was news to me – though I am definitely in the “moist with fresh corn added to it” camp.  Miles, if you haven’t figured it out, is a light eater despite the fact that (or maybe because) everything he chooses to eat is heavy.  Meat meat meat.  If it is fried – even better.  “Vegetables” for him include (and are almost limited to) mac & cheese & french fries.  How he stays at 135 lbs at 5’6″ – I will never know.  Especially when you factor in the beer.  By I digress.

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That is the banh mi.  In fairness to Golden Road – I am not a huge tofu fan.  I don’t dislike it – as in – I will not avoid it but I never add it to anything that doesn’t already include it.  I don’t buy into that whole “Vegetarian?  My god!  How do you get your protein?” bullshit.

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So – I found the tofu in the sandwich sort of pointless & replaced it with the fried avocado.  Also, in fairness to Golden Road, they offer a sandwich with the fried avocado.  And the bread was ridiculously awesome.  So, next time – I will get that fried A.L.T. they offer.  And there will be a next time because it was distinctly pleasant to sit out on their big porch & drink their beer & nibble the goodies they offer.

So – there you have it!  Four new joynts to try out – whether you are a degenerate carnivore, a persnickety vegetarian or just an inveterate drunk.  Enjoy!

In closing – here are two completely unrelated but cute little animal posts.  You’re welcome.

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Bringing Back the Two Martini Lunch at Traxx & Pizzeria Mozza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – my badass boyfriend & I celebrated an anniversary of sorts this week & decided to celebrate it several times.  Here is my badass boyfriend (photographed by his brother, Josh Miller):

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The bad news for us this week, however, was that it was (and remains) over 100 degrees every goddamn day.  And my home is not air conditioned.  So – rather than sweat to death & stew in our own filth waiting for evening to come & cool us down – we opted to eat fancified lunches in fancy places with delightfully cooled environs & get our day drinking on!

Our first celebration happened at what I often refer to as my favorite Los Angeles restaurant – Traxx – located inside Union Station downtown.  In the interest of minimizing our drinking & driving vulnerabilities, we took the train downtown.  That isn’t as easy as it might seem, however.  The fucking automated ticket seller machines are intimidating, confusing & really fucking impatient!  I speak English, read it fairly well & have lived in L.A. since 1984.  Buying a ticket for a ride on the public transit system ought to be easy.  It isn’t.  They are not clear about what the fare actually is or how to just buy all the fares you need for a day all in one go.  And if you take longer than 15 seconds to proceed at each of the several steps – the machine cuts you off & puts you back to one.  Step one – that is.  It warns you that your time is nearly up, which got me super flustered & panicky and then it just cuts you off.  Same thing with payment.  Don’t get that card in there fast enough or deep enough?  Oops!  Too bad.  Back to one.  THANK GOD it was noon on a Tuesday & there was no line of cranky & more savvy commuters behind me or I would have just given up & gone home.  I nearly did that, anyway, as I felt more & more stupid – with Miles watching me prove to be completely incompetent.  Just as I was on the verge of simply collapsing on the station floor & assuming the fetal position in utter humiliated defeat –  the fucking machine spat out a plastic “Tap” card.  Now – the last time I rode the train, the tickets were paper & you swiped them through a slot in the turnstile – like you do in NYC.  Unless they changed it there, too.  Now – you need to literally tap the plastic card on a large button on the turnstile.  See here – another hapless victim – spirit obviously completely broken by the strident & cruel Tap card dispensing machines (image stolen from Google).  Look at the slump of her shoulders – the near-tears expression on her face.

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And now she has to face this shit:

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It’s not OK.  Really not OK.

Somehow – I managed to tap my way through the gauntlet but when I handed the card back to Miles to tap (as I had paid for four fares – to get each of us round trip) – it wouldn’t work.  I was beginning to feel like we would not only never leave this Hellywood subway station – but that Miles & I would never again be on the same side of the turnstiles.  I felt a flash of regret for my foolish confidence & my reckless failure to pack food & water for our ordeal.   Not even a power bar.  Nothing.

Eventually, some kind Metro employee took pity on we two confused & broken travelers & let Miles through a gate.  But seriously – it shouldn’t be this hard to buy an Uzi or to adopt a child from Malawi – let alone simply commute to a different neighborhood via public transportation.  WTF?

At any rate – here are two shots of the train station.

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I have others but – whatever.  Let’s move on.

About 20 minutes later, Miles & I stepped into the gorgeous Union Station.  Here are some half-assed pictures of it.

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Very quickly thereafter – we were seated at Traxx & handed menus.  Look at the pretty embroidered leather chairs.

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And while we did not order martinis – we did order this bottle of wine.

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Happy Canyon, indeed.

Happier yet – me & Miles – eating these outrageously delicious saffron mussels!

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Miles ordered a hanger steak & I got a fusilli with rock shrimp & some sort of pumpkin seed pesto.  YUM!

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Lunch completed, full & pleasantly plied with wine, we braced ourselves for the horror of trying to get through the turnstiles again.  This time, I let Miles go first & it worked!  He got through without a hitch!  He handed the card back to me and, timidly, I tapped the thing & looked nervously up at Miles.  Nothing.  No green light.  Denied!  I tried again.  And again.  Nada.  Finally, an attendant approached & asked why I was such a retard.  Not really – but he did approach & inquire as to what my problem was & with a noticeable hostility.  I explained that Miles had tapped the card & that there should be one more fare left on it.  After all – I had paid $7 for the card which, I thought, meant 4 fares of $1.50 plus a $1 service fee (which is bullshit, if you ask me).

“You have to have your own card!” he said, looking at me as if I smelled of fecal matter.

“But I bought four fares.  So we could each go round trip…” I said, but even as I stammered the words, I could feel my ire rising.

“You need your own card!” he said again with utter contempt & then threw a suspicious look at Miles.  I was inclined to scream at Miles, “Run!  Save yourself!  There is no longer any hope for me!  But you can still make it back – and tell the others my story!”

But I didn’t.  Instead, I said, “That is bullshit.  I paid for four fares.  Who cares how many cards are involved?”

This got me led to the subway equivalent of the principal’s office – which was a speaker on the wall with an intercom button.  The surly attendant pushed the button & then said “Tell her!”

“Can I help you?” – asked a tinny voice from beyond.  I scanned the perimeter of the ceiling for a camera that might provide this voice with secret prying eyes.

“Yes.  I paid for four fares.  I want to use them…”

“You need your own card,” she said, cutting me off.

I scanned the ceiling & corners again.

“But I already paid for…”

“I can’t help you!” she said with finality – again cutting me off.

I looked at the smug pig fuck of the attendant guy standing there as he stared back at me with “I told you so” satisfaction.

I decided he was beneath contempt & treated him only to a sound of disgust before I stormed over to the evil wall ticket vending machine.  $2.50 later ($1.50 fare plus $1 fee.  Grrrrr!) – I re-approached the turnstiles only to see Miles on the other side getting the shake down from a bitchy female attendant.

“You can’t stand here, sir!  Move along!”

“He is waiting for me!” I said, hoping she could hear the “don’t fucking push me or I will be forced to kick your fat ass” in my tone.  I like to think she did, because she cut her eyes at me sidelong but then thought better of a verbal response.  Instead, she opted to shuffle away, back to her secret cave with its all-powerful intercom & secret camera vision.

After that ordeal and once again safely above ground in Hollywood – we decided another drink was in order & treated ourselves to a cocktail at the W Hotel.  I decided not to order the TWENTY-FOUR DOLLAR drink on the menu and, instead, ordered a Moulin Rouge (Prosecco, gin & something else with cayenne pepper floating on top) for the bargain basement price of $15.  Miles got a concoction for the same price which had about 2 inches of muddled raspberries on the bottom.  He spent a lot of time chewing his drink.  I’m not sure that is really the point of a cocktail but at least we were not at the mercy of the subway any longer.

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The next day, we decided to beat the heat & continue the celebration at the much lauded Pizzeria Mozza.  We made a noon reservation.  When we pulled up there at noon, we saw a line already formed outside of folks waiting for the place to open.  Within twenty minutes of the doors opening, every single seat in the house had an ass in it.  Every seat at the bar, at the pizza bar & at every table – filled.  Impressive for 12:30pm on a Wednesday.

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The only tables that remained available were the ones in a cutie little side room with a wine cellar in it.

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I immediately checked in at Pizzeria Mozza on FourSquare (because I am a giant dork) & was informed that I had unlocked a special!   A free glass of Prosecco.  Yes, please!   I indicated this to our waitress & was promptly served a $14 glass of bubbly.

Here is the menu.

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I considered myself fairly close to fluent in restaurant Italian but Pizzeria Mozza proved me woefully wrong.  I had to look up lots of words on that menu before we could order.  But order – we did!  We opted to try mussels because the ones at Traxx had been so great.  Miles ordered the chopped salad (that seemed to appear on every table) and we each got a pizza.  He ordered that bacon & salame one & I got the $$$ squash blossom pizza with burrata.   Here is the pretty food.

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We both enjoyed the spicy mussels but agreed the ones at Traxx had been superior – primarily because the ones at Pizzeria Mozza that day were teensy-weensy – and because that saffron mussel broth at Traxx had been like crack.

The salad was yummy but, like most chopped salads, had meat in it so I had to pick around a bit.

The pizzas, however, were (predictably – given the reputation of the place) awesome!  Miles declared his pizza the best sausage pizza he had ever had (with golf ball-sized hunks of meat on it).  My squash blossom pizza had cool burrata atop it & it was incredible.  Plus – neither of us could eat more than half or our pizzas so we got to take some home.

So – two drinks later & pizza boxes in hand – we departed Pizzeria Mozza delighted by the experience.  And grateful to drive home & avoid the ugly bowels of the Los Angeles subway system.

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Lavash Wrap with Arugula, Avocado & Whipped Feta

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This isn’t really a recipe.  It is just a delicious & REALLY light lunch idea.  Not quite as light as THIS recent lunch of mine

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…yeah.  That’s right.   A tofu dog & a mustard dip.  I live large.  Don’t hate.

But I loved this silly wrap & you might, too.  I also love when dogs sit “sloppy” – like this:

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I also love that I can shop for gourmet (a generous adjective, perhaps) food items at TJ Maxx.  Look at what I scored there yesterday.

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It is way cheaper to buy nice olive oil there.  And I got a few flavored oils, too!  And I got a new cookie sheet (under all the items) to replace this thing – which I am embarrassed to own.

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Here is something I do NOT like.

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How is that OK?  REALLY drives home why I do not eat meat.  So fucking nasty.

Anyway – on to the wrap.  This isn’t really a recipe & you can wrap lavash around whatever you want – even chunks of some poor pig who can watch you while you do it.  I went pretty clean, though, and opted for undressed arugula, tomato, avocado & whipped feta.  It was delicious!  Other ideas for such a wrap is to smear your lavash with cilantro pesto, or collard green pesto, Swiss chard pesto, broccoli & goat cheese pesto, broccoli rabe & pistachio pesto, dill & lemon & almond pesto, spinach pecan pesto, spinach & kale pesto, kale pesto, pea pesto or evenspinach & pea pesto.  I make a LOT of pesto!  Jeez.

PS – Whipped feta is made by simply blending 8 oz of feta with 3 oz cream cheese & just enough water to get them to blend in your food processor or other tool you use to whip things.

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250 Calorie Fancified Hot Dog with Mango Salsa & Horseradish Mustard

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is less of a recipe than it is an idea.  A really good & satisfying idea.  After hiking to the Hollywood sign & back yesterday

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I came home starving.  Like many people, I walk this 6+ mile walk several times a week not because it provides the spectacular reward that is that view from the top (and yesterday wasn’t nearly as pretty as it can be) nor because it gives me a two hour opportunity to reflect & naval gaze nor because it is a great opportunity to experience nature right smack dab in the center of a huge city but because I am a fat fuck & a cranky wench & that hike helps burn away both foils.

So – after huffing & puffing my way through the heat & dust – I returned home – as I typically do – feeling entitled & ready to shove something in my face.  In colder weather – I usually (and by usually I mean like 5 times a week) eat a huge bowl of my Zero Calorie Zero Carb Vegetarian Pho.

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It is getting warmer now, though (it was 100 here two days ago), and soup doesn’t sound so good.  But a nice summery hot dog does!  And, if you eat veggie dogs, a huge one is only about 100 calories & the bun is likely to be about 120.  That is a pretty good deal, calorie-wise, assuming you like veggie dogs.  I posted this beauty last July

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served with Cilantro Jalapeno mustard.

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I could eat that mustard with a spoon!

But this time – I had mango salsa laying around leftover from my glorious Ahi Tuna Tower.

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Mango Salsa

INGREDIENTS

1 ripe mango – chopped

1/2 red onion – minced

2 scallions – minced

1/2 red bell pepper – minced

1 jalapeno (or 2 serranos if you love heat) – minced

S&P to taste

Juice of half a lime

Juice of half a lemon

DIRECTIONS

Mix together.

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I saw the bowl of this beautiful stuff in my fridge & asked myself why I shouldn’t use some to top a hot dog.  I am not a meat eater and even when I was – I loathed the concept of Hawaiian pizza (with ham & pineapple) and some of you may argue that this concoction is in that same ballpark – but I disagree.  The hot dog with my new favorite mustard – horseradish mustard – and this salsa is a most incredible, low calorie lunch delight!  I recommend very highly that you try it!  The salsa would also go very nicely on chicken or seafood so don’t be afraid to make a lot of it!

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Leftover Tomato & Artisan Bread Soup with Buffalo Mozzarella

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

Ok, kiddies.  I am going to post two different dishes today that are made from leftovers of the recipes I posted last week.  This one uses the Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bisque and the Crazy Super Easy & Quick Artisan Bread.

Simply, brush some olive oil on a slice of Artisan bread & toast it in your oven (at about 350 – 400 degrees) for about ten minutes.  Add a few slices of fresh mozzarella & return it to the oven for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Plunk this bad boy into the center of a warmed bowl of tomato bisque.  Garnish with leftover basil oil (I forgot to!!) and some fresh tomato (I used some Heirloom cherry tomatoes), fresh basil & fresh cracked pepper!  Ymmmmm!

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Tomato, Avocado & Jalapeno Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Homemade American Cheese on Artisan Bread – or – Garlic Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

So – I have been building to these grilled cheese sandwiches for a few days now.  I posted the Homemade American Cheese recipe HERE

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and the Homemade Artisan Bread HERE

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And a Tomato Bisque recipe HERE.

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Now it is time to get down to business!  There is no need to make every item on this menu from scratch but it is, of course, more impressive if you do.  The two grilled cheese sandwiches I present here are only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.  You can use any variety of bread you choose & any sort of cheese.  You can use canned soup (egads!).  These are presented as ideas & to spark your imagination.

I used red jalapenos because I had them & they are pretty.  Use green if you want to.  I used heirloom cherry tomatoes because, you guessed it, I had them.  These – I do NOT recommend.  They do not stay in place in the sandwich well.  I recommend a larger tomato & I recommend it be sliced very thinly.  That said – may I present:

PRINT THIS RECIPE

Tomato, Avocado & Jalapeno Grilled Cheese Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

Artisan Bread or other bread of your choice

Homemade American cheese or other cheese of your choice

Butter

Avocado – sliced thinly

Tomato – sliced thinly

Jalapeno – seeded & sliced thinly

Cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees & place a greased cooking sheet in there while it warms up.

Butter one side each of two slices of bread.

Melt some more butter in a frying pan.  Place one slice of bread, butter side down, in the pan & top with some cheese.  Layer the avocado, tomato, jalapeno & cilantro on top & top with more cheese.  Place the other slice of bread atop this, butter side up, and grill.  Or you can assemble the sandwich on the counter & place into pan complete.

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I used a pot lid to apply pressure.  After a minute of so, CAREFULLY flip the sandwich & toast the other side.  Repeat this until you get to the level of toasting you prefer.  Then – place sandwich in warm oven for another minute or so to completely melt the cheese.

Slice it up & shove it in your face.

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OR —-

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Garlic Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

3 cups chopped broccoli (about enough for about 3 sandwiches)

Bread

Cheese

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)

S&P to taste

2 TBS olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees & place a greased cooking sheet in there while it warms up.

Butter one side each of two slices of bread.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan & saute broccoli & crushed red pepper until the broccoli is vibrant & it begins to soften.  Add garlic & continue cooking being careful not to burn the garlic.  After a minute or two, add a few TBS water & cook off on high heat – steaming the broccoli.  Remove from heat.

To assemble, simply melt some more butter in a frying pan.  Place one slice of bread, butter side down, in the pan & top with some cheese.  Layer the broccoli & more cheese & top with the second slice of bread.  I used a pot lid to apply pressure.  After a minute of so, CAREFULLY flip the sandwich & toast the other side.  Repeat this until you get to the level of toasting you prefer.  Then – place sandwich in warm oven for another minute or so to completely melt the cheese.

This is also now ready for slicing & face shoving.

Serve with Vegan Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bisque for increased pleasure!

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