A quick comfort

I don’t have a single “comfort food” – I have too many recipes I like, and I may or may not have something in the pantry when I feel in the mood. Also, time is always a factor.

All that noted, I’ve got a meal I’ll do when I don’t have tons of time but want, well, want something to take with me as I shelter from the blue kind of day I’m experiencing. It’s a soup and a sandwich. mutter, it’s one of two sandwiches.

Let’s start with the sandwiches, and I’m going to talk about one of the ways I use my Foreman Grill. Yes, I have one, and I use it, but… I use it to make cuban or panini type sandwiches. Now in this case I’m not talking about the sandwich itself, I’m talking of the way it’s cooked.

Properly both cubans and paninis are cooked in sandwich presses. Or if you don’t have one, you put it in a cast iron skillet and press it with another hot skillet that also holds some weight. I fail at both: I don’t have a sandwich press and have a bad habit of getting my cast iron too hot when doing the other technique – burned sandwiches do NOT taste good. BUT… I put the sandwich on the Foreman, put a hot pad on the lid to provide a non-slip surface, and I can put a couple of cast iron skillets on top with no problem.

So, why? Why go to this extra effort when you could just grill, flip, and finish grilling?

Firstly, it compresses the bread so even though you started with a very wide bite it’s now, well, easier to eat. Second… I’m not certain why, but the texture is different. It gets toastier. Thirdly, EVERYTHING gets hot. It’s a combination of a roasting and steaming (from the heated fillings) caused by two hot surfaces working from opposite directions.

I don’t usually have rolls around, so I just use sliced bread. Works fine, thank you very much. As I said, I go with one of two sandwiches depending on mood.

Sandwich one is a basic grilled sandwich. Bread, cheese (cheddar by preference), slice of onion, bread. Wait, slice of onion? Yeah, I like the bite. The intense heat tends to mellow it a bit, but, well, what can I say. It’s a comfort.

Sandwich two is a simplified cuban. Again I’ve got sliced bread. Between the slices is some prepared (ie “Yellow”) mustard, some meat (ham by preference, but I’ve used turkey breast and roast beef if that’s what’s on hand), a sliced dill pickle, and some cheese (this time it’s swiss by preference).

In both cases make a sandwich or two, put them between the plates, press for about two minutes. The effort is very close to nonexistent.

But I said soup, too. And my favorite lazy soup is cream of potato.

I cut two or three potatoes (depending on size and if I’m sharing) up to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch dice. Half an onion also gets chopped as well. This all goes into a small pot and I barely cover with chicken broth – less than two cups, most of the time. I also put in a slice of bacon that I’ve chopped up OR a teaspoon of reserved bacon grease. Bring to a boil, take it back down to a simmer, and let it go for 12-15 minutes, or till the potatoes are soft. Now I mash up some of the potatoes to thicken it, and add a cup of milk. I’d add half and half or cream, but I rarely have it in the kitchen. Anyway, I let this heat till it starts to simmer, pull it off the fire, add salt and pepper (I’m a pepper fiend) and eat.

The soup takes the most time. five minutes to clean and cut up the potatos and onion, and 30 seconds to throw everything into the pot. Onto the fire for 12-15 minutes, and I start prepping the sandwiches and warming the Foreman and smell… smell… get a glass of milk and smell… Potatoes are done, a few seconds to mash and add the milk, put the sandwiches on the grill, wait (twiddle thumbs, wipe drool, wonder why the second hand is moving SO SLOW…) pull out sandwiches, ladle soup into bowl, go get back in chair with blanket and book or computer as the urge is riding me. 20 to 25 minutes, most of which is NOT working, just smelling.

I have other comfort foods and will probably write them up as well, but that’s my ‘quick’ one. Soup and sandwiches, quick, easy, painless.

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