Nov 14, 2009

grilled cheese sandwich

last few days have been tough, i don't react very well to pain, kinda makes me feel down. i'm fully aware that my pain is insignificant compared to the pain people with major maladies feel, but i think i'm allowed to moan on my blog. at least a bit, right?

cooking (i'm doubtful if i should even call it cooking) has been a challenge as peeling, chopping and heavy pots are somewhat difficult to handle with just one hand and 2 fingers. also, as this is my 100th blog-entry i wanted to make something fancier than just heating a tin of pea-soup (not that there is something wrong with pea-soup from a tin). however, yesterday at the store i figured out a perfect almost no-cook "one hand" dish, namely grilled cheese sandwich.

i, sorry we (as certain someone was my chauffeur), bought some really nice country bread, cheese and smoked ham. to get biggest possible slices, bread was sliced in half, then 2 slices were cut from each half (got it? never mind if you didn't, just try to get four equal size slices). all four slices were spread with 1 tbsp of grainy dijon mustard (if you're not a big fan of mustard, use less or none at all)

certain someone loves mustard so there was plenty of it...

we used appenzeller and black label emmental. you could use just one cheese, but use something that melts nicely into oozy-gooiey goodness

one slice covered with appenzeller, one with emmental

one side gets thinly sliced tomatoes, the other a big slice (or two) of smoked country ham, put the slices face to face, ham meeting tomato

butter slightly one side of bread

place buttered side down on a heated pan on medium heat

place heavy object on top, i used an old cast iron pan. if you happen to have a brick laying around in your kitchen you could use that (just wrap it in foil first)

before flipping the bread, butter the other side as well. it's hard to say how long it takes for the cheeses to melt and bread to brown, let your eyes tell you when to flip and take off the pan. you could use the grill function in oven, or one of those sandwich irons as well. if you're feeling very proper, you could whip up a nice green salad with lemon or lime vinaigrette to go with this. we were hungry so we ate these as they were, with very cold milk, but feel free to grade up... very cold beer comes to mind first

the other day, after my doctor's appointment, i went to collect my meds from a pharmacy that is located close to an old fashioned market hall called hakaniemen halli. the meat, fish, cheese, spice and whatever else stalls are excellent, it is almost worth a weekly detour for food shopping. i have to tell myself that i'll go there to buy meat only when we run out of meat in the freezers, that ain't happening anytime soon... i had excellent crayfish sandwich in one of the shops, real mayo, boiled egg, salad and plenty of crayfish on whole wheat bread, yam! took my time eating it (for once!), afterwards went upstairs in the hall to browse all the shops. (remind myself, if ever in need of clever gift idea, go to hakaniemen halli)

there are also quite a few asian markets in that same area, and as i was already there, had nowhere to go... more or less had to visit two of them. i din't buy that much and all of that was something that's easy to cook with one hand!

well, perhaps not this chile as it required mincing

dried chinese mushrooms

soaking in boiling water before use

had wanted to make something with pak choi for the longest time, so got some of it not quite knowing what and how i was going to prepare it. here the pak choi with minced chili

everything boiling away merrily

this was so good, hot but good. now, even if you twisted my sore wrist for a recipe i couldn't give you one, this was free fall cooking at it's best. what i can do is tell what went in: water, vegetable stock, ginger paste, hoisin sauce, chinese mushrooms, rice noodles, pak choi, chili and chili oil, soya sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil

the other night when i was feeling uber sorry for myself, i went to the movies. again, even if you twisted my sore wrist, i couldn't tell you the last time i had been to see a film in a cinema, it's been years. anyway, i went to see julia/julie, you know "mastering the art of french cooking julia child and julie powell that wanted to make 534 recipes in that cookbook in one year, and blog about it" movie. it was such a feel-good movie, i'm glad i went, though i don't think julia child would approve of my free fall method of cooking. it was almost a private showing as there was only one other person in the huge cinema with me, weird.

coincidentally, mastering the art of french cooking is still missing from my cookbook collection. wonder if i'd ever find use for it...

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