Saturday, March 14, 2015

Living in a White Bread World -The Best Damn Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Friday, Day 8 - My house smells wonderful!  No, it's not a new air freshener scent, it's BACON.  In the oven, lovely, sizzling, getting-near-crispy bacon.

Robert and I had been talking about making bacon, tomato and cheese sandwiches on the panini grill, so I picked up these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods, cooked the bacon, checked the cheese drawer for the extra sharp cheddar, and ... the bread.  Oh.  Well yes, we've got perfectly good Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread in the house, but maybe perfectly good isn't good enough.

So before I have to head out for yet another appointment - this one to the dentist - I am going to ready the bread machine to bake up a white bread.  Let's see how the panini grill does with that.

My CT scan got cancelled this morning because the insurance authorization did not come through as of yet.  This has me a little pissed off at AvMed, but just a little. Things happen, and besides, their prescription drug program rocks.  So we reset for next week, and God willing and the crick don't rise, there won't be any more delays.

My head is still scrambled and I am loathe to tackle the ADA and FMLA paperwork because of that.  It is difficult for me to break down and understand instructions and when I try to read explanations or just plain blocks of information, my brain "shorts out" and my eyes (even with my new glasses) start to skitter across the page.  Perfect example - I want to leave the bread machine on time delay, so that it will be ready close to dinner.  I go to read the instructions for using the time delay feature and I get confused by the reference to adding hours to arrive at a certain time.  I have to calm down and re-read the instructions twice before I can perform this simple task.  Once upon a time I passed the Florida bar exam ... the good news is that I haven't misplaced my coffee cup lately.

Made it to the dentist.  Driving with my new glasses was awesome.  I felt so empowered by my new specs, I headed over to the Asian market on my way home, in search of dark soy sauce.  Got the soy sauce, found the five-spice powder (I am certain the bottle I have been using has been open since George W's first term of office), thus putting me in position for tomorrow's experiments in cooking.  Two nice pieces of pork belly ... two different marinades, both Asian.  My little Asian market also saved me a trip to Walmart in search of frozen mussels, which will form the basis of the sauce to be poured over Cory's squid ink pasta.  Yeah, I'm not going to eat the squid ink pasta either, but my son loves it.  Hopefully the finished dish will be at least as good as the one he had in Miami, maybe even as good as what he ate in Bologna, Italy.

Since I can now see the world around me, I noticed a big, honking billboard on John Young Parkway, while driving to the dentist, which annoyed me.  It has annoyed me in the past, but then when I started driving in a fog, I avoided driving distances and thus forgot about it.  Big sign, advertising a church for "real" people.  What do they mean by "real" people?  "Real" people as opposed to what?  Artificial people? Cyborgs? Robots? Wookies? Other Christians?  Bah!

I'm here to tell you that the best damn grilled cheese sandwich started with the best damn white bread.  Nothing quite that delicious had ever come out of my bread machine, and after using it to make these sammies, I may never eat packaged bread again.

The white bread recipe is easy.  Even an Uptown Girl can make it.

This is the order in which my bread machine manufacturer recommends adding the ingredients.  The water should be warm, between 105 and 110 degrees.  Baby bottle temperature.  All other ingredients should be room temperature.

1 cup water
1 extra-large egg
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use kosher)
1/3 cup dry whole milk (I use Nestle brand "Nido" or you can use nonfat)
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
3 tablespoons butter

Add everything in the order given, through and including the dry milk.  Very gently and carefully stir the dry ingredients just to combine.  Do not go too deep or you will expose the wet ingredients, which you do not want to do. Tap the bread pan against the counter once or twice to even out the ingredients, and then with a wooden spoon, form a shallow well in the center, and add the yeast.  Divide the butter into four even pieces, and place one on each corner around the pan.  Bake on the basic or white setting.  Let the bread cool a bit before removing it from the pan.

Each sandwich uses two thick-cut slices of the white bread, Hellman's mayonnaise, three slices of your favorite cheese, two slices from a gorgeous heirloom tomato, three pieces of crispy bacon, and some coarse salt.  Spread some mayonnaise on each slice of bread.  On one of the slices begin stacking two slices of cheese, the tomato, some salt on each slice of tomato, the bacon, and the last slice of cheese.  Finish by putting the second piece of bread on top of everything.

Spread a little more mayonnaise on the outside of each slice of bread, and cook according to your panini grill's instructions, or in preheated nonstick skillet.

Look at that gorgeous sandwich!  Tomato soup?  You don't need no stinking tomato soup with this baby!  Add a pickle and you've got your green vegetable, if you are that kind of person.  Or just go naked, and be the envy of every puppy on your living room couch.

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