CARTHAGE, Mo. —
On a cold winter day, it's hard to beat the old standby of a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. The buttered bread with melted cheese and creamy tomato is a combination that few can resist for comfort and warmth.
Want to take that sandwich up a notch? Try adding Gruyere cheese. This hard, yellow cheese is sweet and slightly salty and is the top dog when it comes to melting, making it perfect for fondue and quiche. It's also in most French onion soup recipes. It's found in the grocery store's specialty cheese section. It really shines in an everyday grilled cheese sandwich, either alone or paired with cheddar and sourdough bread. You may not want to dunk this sandwich in tomato soup because it's delicious as is.
While some find a regular diet of sandwiches boring, I could eat sandwiches three times a day. Make a sandwich using buttered bread, fried potatoes, onions or a little goulash, and I'm happy. Womansday.com offers some sandwich ideas that really think outside the box. The only one that's not so different? A deep-fried pimento cheese sandwich, which sounds delicious.
Looking for something a little more adventurous than grilled cheese? Certe in Manhattan offers Mr. Potatoskin. No need to fret trying to decide which bread to use for this sandwich -- the restaurant places a chicken cutlet between two potato skins, along with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and bacon.
From up St. Louis way comes something on the verge of odd. The St. Paul's Grinder fills two slices of white bread with an egg foo young patty, dill pickles, mayo, lettuce and tomatoes. Given that the patty has eggs, meat, bean sprouts and onions, maybe it's not that far-out after all.
Taking the fried wiener sandwich to a whole other level is the Newark Double at St. Anselm in Brooklyn. Spicy wieners, onions, fries and red peppers are deep fried, then rolled up in ... pizza crust.
The Yakisoba noodle sandwich is exactly what its name implies: spaghetti fried in a Worcestershire-like sauce and paired with thin veggie strips on a sub bun. That's one unusual sandwich.
Planning a visit to England and don't know what to expect from British fare? Be on the lookout for the popular chip butty. It's two pieces of buttered white bread stuffed with French fries and ketchup, and it can be found in abundance.
The No. 7 Sub in New York City at one time offered the Brussels sprouts sandwich featuring, yes, Brussells sprouts, as well as crushed peanuts and Granny Smith apples. While this is no longer on the menu, the eating spot does offer a fried clam sandwich with pickled strawberries. It's hard to decide which one of these combinations is the most bizarre. I think I will stick with my BLT.
Join us at 2 p.m. Saturday at Zan's campground on Shoal Creek for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge. It's not too late to be part of the fun by raising funds and taking a dunk. You are also welcome to come watch the participants brave the weather. They'll be freezin' for a reason.
From foodnetwork.com comes a macaroni and cheese recipe with Gruyere cheese as well as the added surprise of tomatoes. This is a super side dish, or prepare it as the perfect vegetarian meal. Homemade tomato soup is hard to beat, and the recipe from Taste of Home is rich and creamy. Roasted tomatoes are not just for soup -- use them in pasta, salads and hamburger recipes. The Cake Mix Doctor shares this week's cake recipe -- all you have to do is dump the ingredients into the pan, and there's no mixing bowl to wash. Serve this cake warm in a bowl with vanilla ice cream for a dessert that's sure to hit the spot. Have a wonderful week and happy eating!
Macaroni and cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions in salted water
1 quart milk
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes
11/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs, crusts removed
Heat milk in small saucepan. Do not boil. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While continuing to whisk, add the hot milk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and add the cheese, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into 3-quart baking dish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and macaroni is browned. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
Roasted tomato soup
3 pounds tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Core tomatoes and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 1/4 cup oil; sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour, turning occasionally. In a large saucepan, saute onions in remaining oil until softened. Add roasted tomatoes and basil; cook for 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Put soup through a sieve or food mill, or blend in blender; return to pan. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm cream (do not boil). Stir cream, salt and pepper into soup. Yields 4 to 6 servings.
Cherry dump cake
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
1 plain yellow cake mix
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Spoon pineapple evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover with cherry pie filling. Pour the dry cake mix evenly over the fruit so it reaches all the sides of the pan. Drizzle evenly with melted butter then sprinkle with coconut and pecans. Bake at 350 degrees until deep brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serves 18 to 20.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.