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Friday, April 8, 2011

No Utensils Required

A friend of mine spent the day in our chaos today.  Michelle brought along her adorable little girl, Paisley Violet, to spend the day, too.  Mama even left me with her for A WHOLE HOUR.  Michelle should count herself lucky that I did not pack the truck, load up all the kids, and head for parts unknown, this baby is so cute.  I mean, seriously, look at her:
Those cheeks!  Those eyes!  Those pudgy little fingers!  I could just eat her up with a spoon!

Paisley and her mom hung out at our house pretty much all day.  That she put up with the sheer volume from and quantity of kids in our abode is nothing short of a small miracle.  Today is a PA or PD or something-or-other no school day today.  This means this joint was overflowing with small people.  Seven, plus darling Paisley in fact.  The eldest of this nut bunch will be six this spring.

Please pass the smelling salts and the chocolate.

I fed this crew what every other red-blood, sane (?) mother with access to the bread outlet store would:  grilled cheese and grapes.  That they dipped their grapes in the ketchup can be discussed with their therapists and nutritionists at a later date.

After the dust settled, Michelle and I decided to eat.  In a small act of wonderment, I had kind of planned ahead.

Remember that birthday money I got a bit ago?  It is being well used.  Well used.

I done bought myself one of these.  I've been Jonesin' for one for a while now.  I was going to get one last winter, but they sold out at Costco before I got back to get one.  When they showed up again this year, I waited just long enough for the birthday money to roll in, then rolled it right back out.  These are not incredibly expensive, about $30, and I do find it more versatile than an electric press. It did come with a bit of a learning curve, but that just provided more opportunities to eat the less than stellar results. 

Wouldn't want to feed company second rate sandwiches, now would we?

It stacks nice and neat together.  The interior surface is pretty easy to clean and maintain and does not require seasoning.  And it's shiny.  And it's red.  I like that in a kitchen accessory.

The box mentions that you can grill chicken breast and steak, as well as traditional sandwiches.  I have tried the steak and still find that I prefer them on the BBQ.  They are still good, but I am sure that I would be far more open to the idea in, say, January, when the BBQ is covered in several feet of snow.

If food oozes and gets stuck on the pan or the press, I just heat it up and let it bake off.  I'm not sure that's what the manufacturer recommends, but since I am dish averse, that's where we're at.  If I hear that they really pooh-pooh that idea, I'll be sure to update here.  In the meantime, to heat up both the press and the pan, you can put them together on an element or burner and have the patience to let the heat transfer to both pieces.  Or, you can be like me and have little time or patience and heat up both piece individually on separate elements or burners so they are ready faster.  If you use this method, start them as you are assembling your sandwich and the pieces will both be ready by the time your sandwich goes to press.  Hardy har har

I couldn't find panini bread in my little grocery store, currently under massive renovation and re-branding, but I did find this.  I will admit, the plain ol' naan bread is OK.  It's more OK if you gently heat it in the oven with some butter on it.

But the caramelized onion naan.  Oh, man.  This stuff is the shezam.  And it makes the perfect grilled sandwich bread.

Start with two pieces of the naan bread.  Turn them singed side up.  They won't be exactly the same, but that's kind of the point of commercially authentic bread.
 Add enough cheese to cover most of the surface.  Our fromage of choice today was Swiss.  Be sure to add cheese to both sides.

Then add 2-3 slices of luncheon meat or any other thinly sliced meat.  The sauce today?  Honey mustard.  And not just any honey mustard.

This little bit of golden elixir is hard to find in my neck of the woods.  Oh, sure, you can find the tartar sauce, or plum sauce, or even the hot apple cider mix. But not the honey mustard.  It is such a well loved, rare commodity here that it is actually permanently on my Christmas wish list.  And my children's wish list as well. Yes, we start brainwashing, er, training, early around here. Oddly, the site lists a number of suggested uses for the stuff.  Eating with a spoon is not one of them.  I sense a web edit coming up.

Put it together, butter both sides, slap it 0nto the grill, give it a couple of minutes and bingo, you have a delicious, hot, melty, cheesy sandwich that would probably cost you an hour's wages at your nearest bistro.  Add some chips and homemade pickles and you've just upped your savings by a good three bucks a plate.  Especially if you cut it on the diagonal.  That always seems to cost more.

What, you don't have homemade pickles on hand either?  What is this world coming to?  Seriously.

Disclaimer:  None of the companies mentioned in this here blog post know a thing about me.  If MBAMamaMusings blew up into a bazillion fragmented pieces, neither Sobey's, Lynch's, Heritage, nor Costco would give two fiddlers. 1. 2.
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