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Posts Tagged ‘Foreman Grill’

After enjoying the flat-iron steak sandwich at the Culinard Cafe in Birmingham two times within two weeks, I knew I had to start experimenting. The combination of creamy goat cheese and whole-grain mustard was simply magical, so I decided to start with condiments.

The first sandwich I had to work with this week involved ham, however, and I couldn’t envision goat cheese complementing ham all that well (I may be wrong about that). But thanks to a trip to Trader Joe’s in Atlanta on Tuesday, I had a fresh jar of whole-grain mustard ready to go. (I don’t know what other people do on vacation, but we go to grocery stores.)

It’s like I’ve been making sandwiches wrong for YEARS. The whole-grain mustard simply transformed the ham and provolone cheese; lightly toasted on the Foreman Grill, the sandwich was melty, spicy perfection.

Never doubt the power of new and exciting condiments.

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The good news: Earth Fare will sell you two pieces of sliced applewood dry rub bacon.

The bad news: You’ll feel like a tool asking for two pieces of sliced applewood dry rub bacon.

C’est la vie.

Bacon has been an “it” food for a while now. You can join a bacon of the month club, buy bacon vodka (or make your own) or enjoy a chocolate bacon bar (I, alas, did not enjoy this flavor mix).

What you can’t do with bacon, however, is cook it without making a mess. Before you all shout at once “Put it in the oven,” I’ve tried that. Baking bacon still spattered the oven interior a little, but mostly it just seems utterly ridiculous to heat the oven for the small amount of bacon that the husband and I eat at one sitting.

Thanks to Michael Scott on The Office, I knew about the George Foreman Grill’s potential as a bacon cooker. It wasn’t until Earth Fare — and its tempting meat counter — swung into town last year that I really considered getting back into the bacon-cooking business, however. (And I do realize that Fresh Market has a tempting meat counter, with butchers standing by who would sell me two slices of bacon, but thus far I’ve lived in two cities with a Fresh Market, and both stores have been located at the most dangerous intersection in town. It’s just not worth the drive.)

I’ve already outlined using the Foreman Grill as a panini press. It does a great job with bacon, too, but only if you’re cooking a very small amount.

You have to cut the bacon slices in half if you’re using the smaller grill, and then lay two halves on the grill. Close it, let the bacon cook for about 3 minutes, then open the lid and flip the two pieces over. Do this two or three more times and you’ve got bacon ready to go on the table. Or, actually, ready to sit on the plate and wait for the other two pieces of bacon to finish cooking.

If you’re crafty, you can put the two other half slices of bacon on the grill after the first two shrink down, giving you a head start on Round 2. Because cooking bacon takes forever.

If you’re lucky, all the grease from the bacon runs into the grease tray underneath the front of the Foreman. If you’re unlucky, then part of the grease runs up under the grill and drips on the countertop, onto which you sagely placed a couple layers of paper towels before you began this project. Toss those, wipe off the grill with dry paper towels, spray some cleaner underneath the grill, wipe and you’re done.

The applewood bacon? Totally worth it. Two slices cost me $1.30. The husband came downstairs for breakfast without being called (a rarity) and said, “You know how in cartoons the characters can see waves of smells, and the waves just sort of lift them up and carry them along? That’s what the smell of this bacon cooking is like.”

Cartoon imagery? There is no greater compliment.

 

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In cooking, imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. I love it when someone else tries to replicate one of my dishes. I love it even more when that someone is my mother.

The husband and I have owned a George Foreman Grill for the better part of our marriage. (Actually, we’re on our second grill. The cats broke the first one about 10 years ago.) We used to cook burgers on it; its sole use lately has been to sear the occasional hot dog.

Last year, I saw a couple of comments on food blogs recommending the Foreman Grill as a fast, cheap panini maker. It makes sense: The device is, after all, simply two heavy sheets of metal that press together.

I made grilled cheese sandwiches with it. Blah. The only bread I tend to keep around is some brand or another of wheat bread, the kind that doesn’t go bad in four days since I don’t actually EAT bread every day, and the husband tends to like a PB&J on the weekends. It didn’t grill very well, Foreman Grill or not, partially because it didn’t really fit on the grill (it’s a smaller model).

Enter Earth Fare. Heading to the checkout one day, I saw a display of bread that stopped me in my tracks, bread that looked like it had been freshly made just to fit on the Foreman Grill.

I made an experimental sandwich when I got home, smearing honey mustard on two slices and bundling a small bundle of ham and cheese in between. Best panini ever.

When Mom was here for Christmas, the only kind of bread Earth Fare had left was two loaves speckled with pieces of olives. Best panini ever. (And I realize I have to stop saying that or my credibility is going to be shot.)

For lunch today, I grilled the last two pieces with a couple of slices of Havarti from Costco. Perfection.

More perfection: Mom texted me yesterday to let me know she had switched the plates out on her waffle maker to make sandwiches like mine. Ingenious.

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From Jean Georges in Manhattan: Warm sweet potato cake with a cranberry compote and cranberry foam.

 

When the husband and I go on vacation, we tend to plan our itinerary around food. We’re not the only people who do this, but I get mixed reactions from a few folks, some of whom apparently expect to hear more about the shows we’ve seen in New York City (most recent count: 0) than our sake-tasting and evaluation of the freshly made tofu at EN Japanese Brasserie (evaluation: awesome).

Some people get it: After a recent photo documenting our pilgrimage to the Doughnut Plant, one Facebook friend noted, “You take the best doughnut vacations ever!” Indeed, we do.

So what’s with our vacation food obsession? Honestly, we eat like monks at home. We have old-fashioned oatmeal (or steel-cut oats, if there’s time) with walnuts and raisins for breakfast every day. I almost always have a fresh salad and quinoa or hummus for lunch, while the husband consistently has a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Dinner might be homemade lasagna or something easy, like a cheese sandwich pressed into submission on the Foreman Grill with a bowl of leftover Cowboy Stew. We rarely go out to eat. We’ve found that one of the consequences of cooking your own healthy, delicious food at home is that your average restaurant food doesn’t measure up anymore.

What does measure up, however, is your above-average restaurant food. And this is what turns our vacations into the pursuit of destination dining. So while I can’t be bothered with a 10-minute drive to Krispy Kreme for Hot Doughnuts Now (trust me when I tell you that growing up with a Krispy Kreme within easy driving distance makes their doughnuts way less of an attraction later), I am perfectly willing to make a 15-minute hike to the subway station, stand on a crowded car for five minutes, make a 10-minute hike to the Doughnut Plant and stand in a long line for a Valrhona chocolate doughnut. I deem the calories worthwhile.

And that’s how my photo albums end up filled with pictures of doughnuts, ice cream, cheeseburgers and steamed shrimp, while we forget to take pictures of ourselves. Sorry, Mom.

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