Monday, October 17, 2011

Jalapeño and 2 Cheese Fried Sandwich *UPDATED


*UPDATE: 17/Jan/2012
"Without too much deliberation I've decided that this is my favourite sandwich of 2011, I revisited it today with a view to making it less of an awkward bollox to make and have succeeded. I'll leave the original post intact but proceed to the end to see a much easier way to obtain and prepare the Jalapeño part of this phenomenal sandwich."

Let me make two things perfectly clear from the outset on this sandwich:

1. It's a bit of a pain in the bollox to make. 10 minutes is enough time to put into a toasted cheese sandwich, this is gonna set you back about half an hour.

2. If you don't like Jalapeños or spicy things in general don't go anywhere; simply by leaving this hot green lad out of the recipe you will have just about the nicest toasted/grilled cheese sandwich you've ever had.
I guarantee it.

I'd been looking around the net for a while for ideas on how to put Jalapeños into a sandwich when I started to see a few recipes that took their inspiration from the "Jalapeño Popper". For those who don't know what that is it's basically a hollowed out Jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese, battered and deep fried. They are tasty. Very much so.
I had to do a bit of looking around for fresh Jalapeños in Newbridge, I found some in Tesco in a packet of hot mixed chillies, other than that you just need some cream cheese, ie Philadelphia, cheddar cheese, white bread, scallions, pepper and butter.

Now the awkward bastard of this is the preperation of the Jalapeños, first off you have to roast them.
(See UPDATE at the end of the post for a much easier way of going about the next 3 steps)

Give them about 10 minutes on a hot plate or under a grill or whatever, this was all a bit of guess work to know when they were done but they turned out good.

After you've taken them off the grill put them into a sealable bag for another 10 minutes, this will steam them and make the skin easier to remove which is what you've got to do next.

Peal off the skin, cut off the ends, then slice them open and remove the seeds.

Next finely chop up some scallions and mix them along with some black pepper into a good dollop of the cream cheese till it's good and smooth.

Just like this delicious mess.

Give 2 slices of bread a very generous spread of this gear.

Give it a layer of the Jalapeños.

Followed by a layer of  cheese. Close the sandwich over and butter the top half.

Place on a preheated (medium heat) frying pan, butter side down, then butter the top half.

Give it a couple of minutes on either side until it's golden brown.

Here it is, a great grilled/toasted/fried/whatever you want to call it Jalapeño cheese sandwich. I didn't last long and you'd easily put 2 or 3 of them away, if I figure out a quicker way to prepare the Jalapeños I'll let you know but this way is definitely worth the effort. The combination of the spicy, but not to the point of painful, Jalapeños combined with the 2 types of cheese is in my opinion one of the tastiest things you can eat.
I only had enough Jalapeños for one sandwich but was only a little surprised to find that the second sandwich I made without them, but with everything else mentioned here, was the MOST DELICIOUS CHEESE SANDWICH I've ever had.

This is definitely in my top 5 sandwiches of all time, try it and if you've any suggestions or ideas let me know!


Buy a jar of these lads. They are in supermarkets in the jar isle. Take the necessary amount out of the jar to cover a slice of bread (how densely populated depends on how hot you like your food, don't be a coward, the more the better) and throw onto something hot, a frying pan or a hot plate or whatever for about 5 minutes, prepare the rest of the sandwich while your doing this. No need to take out the seeds or remove the skin, they taste just as fantastic as the original method above. My only other advice is to not get lazy and throw them onto the sandwich straight from the jar, while this won't make a bad sandwich it definitely will be an inferior one.

Oh and one more thing... GRATE THE  CHEDDAR CHEESE instead of slicing it, this way it'll melt much better!


B.S  Jan 2012

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Grilled" Cheese Sandwich, with Pesto and Tomato

A sandwich without meat is an unusual occurrence for me. The only situation that I can think of when I choose to eat them is when I'm in the middle of nowhere at some petrol station without a deli and only a few precariously close to their sell by date sandwiches in the fridge beside the calvita and suspicious looking pre packed ham, I tend to go for a "Ploughmans" sandwich or something similar without meat, egg or tuna as these tend to be the safest bet.

Now I was never a fan of pesto, it, along with a lot of other shit we got on fine without before, was snuck in about 6 or 7 years ago by the Celtic Tiger in his man bag and immediately I was suspicious of it. My first encounter of pesto was on a pre made sandwich I got while rushing to get the poxily long train from Dublin to Galway.. "Fuck it, it's on it anyway so I may as well try it" was my attitude. Now maybe it was the early morning, the hangover or the beer I was washing it down with (relax, I was on my way to a  Bob Dylan gig) but I was very unimpressed and decided it was something I could live without.

Roll on 2011, it's the middle of March and I'm 11 hours into an 8 hour flight from Dublin to New York, I'm very sick thanks to the man flu and had managed about 2 hours sleep in the previous 48. The flight is fucking torture thanks to the fact the plane is a leaking(yes water was dripping onto me from the window on the emergency door for the whole flight), slow, no tv, ball of shite. Add to that the fact that the only 10 minutes I managed to sleep during the whole flight was during dinner service, and as I had instructed Gary Wickham not to wake me for any reason, even if we're crashing, I had no dinner. Well I was starving. And then it happened. The pre-landing snack service. Pizza Slices. Thank you Lord. Gary being on the isle sees what type of pizza they are serving and sensing my reaction mildly panics. "Cheese Pizza with Pesto." Just fucking wonderful. Being in the epic state of hunger that I was wallowing in I didn't give a shite what it tasted like... But to my absolute surprise I loved it, "Hunger is great sauce" as the fella says.

Which brings me to today. A few vegetarian friends (I know, I know, but it's 2011 and we have to respect peoples decisions) had asked me to do a sandwich that would suit them and it's been in the back of my mind for a while, so last night rummaging through the net I found a couple of sandwich ideas that I could combine into this.

Before I go on, and I know I've been talking enough shite already without even showing you a picture of a measly slice of bread, I'd just like to say "Toasted Sandwich Machines are shit." I don't know what size bread they were designed for but I've never found a slice that fits one. And don't say the George Foreman grills are good for toasting sandwiches made with regular bread cos they're not. They squash them and all the cheese runs out.The solution is to turn to the American method; Fry the bastard. Not in the Texas Death Row kind of way, I mean the more literal way. Now the Yanks refer to fried cheese sandwiches as "Grilled Cheese", who knows why but they also call the grill a "broiler". I'm not even gonna try to figure them out.

So what you'll need is: 2 slices of white bread, butter one side of each making sure to use plenty of butter, giving them an even coat and not tearing the bread; ask a parent for help if you're not capable of doing this yourself.
Pesto; the green kind, 4 slices of tomato, some light in colour colour but mature in flavour cheddar cheese; I like the Kilmeaden in the purple pack, and some grated parmesan cheese.
Heat up a frying pan over a medium heat while you are preparing this.

When your pan is hot place one slice of bread, butter side down, on it and lay enough slices of cheese to cover it.

Spread a nice amount of pesto over the cheese (using a tea spoon is handiest) and place the tomatos on top.

Place the other slice of bread on top, butter side up. Keep an eye every 30 seconds or so on how the sandwich is cooking by lifting the corner of it with a spatula as it can cook very fast and this will not be nice if overdone. It'll take about 2 minutes a side.

Flip it over and it should look like this.

While the other side is cooking sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. I'm well aware that pesto contains parmesan cheese but it's no harm to add some more (I have no idea if this is true, it may well be harmful, consult a doctor or your local county counselor if you're concerned).

And it's done, a lovely tasty snack, suitable for vegetarians the world over... Just be careful as with any hot sandwich containing tomato, said tomato may be hotter than the surface of the Sun, but sure that only adds a little excitment to things.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Dog Father Hot Dogs

A lot of the best times I've had in recent years have been in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny... While some places can tolerate the carry on of me and my comrades, the people of Thomastown actively encourage it. It's not first time a Thomastown musician has featured on this blog (see Nathan Conway's Sandwich) and I doubt it will be the last.

Joe Glynn, drummer with one of my favourite bands Neon Wolf, has set up a business that brought a tear to my eye, I caught up with him for a slightly drunken (me, not him) chat when I spotted him set up side stage at a recent John Martyn tribute concert in Carroll's of Thomastown. The reasons a simple hot dog stand has brought a tear to my are two-fold; Firstly this is not a simple hot dog stand... It's the Rolls Royce Phantom of hot dog stands, it's the size of an average Manhattan appartment, and secondly is his passion for a great product; he refuses to use cheap or inferior ingredients, he simply believes there is no point selling hot dogs if they're not gonna be the best... I'll be the judge of that!

Now given that my primary purpose for being in the venue was music and beer, and being bound to the rule of "Eating Is Cheating" I restricted myself to 2 hot dogs (most would only manage one of these bad boys), any more and I would have been having an early Saturday night instead of the early Sunday morning it transpired to be.

First off I had a traditional and delicious hot dog topped with ketchup, mustard and onions. Top marks on that one. I went back to the gig very happy, had a few more beers, listened to a few more tunes and decided there was room for one more. This time I left it up to Joe as to how to top it off, and top it off he did! Ketchup, mustard and sauerkraut, it was like being back in New York...

Hands down the best hot dog I've ever had in Ireland.

Simple as that.

Listen to and download Neon Wolf's brilliant tunes here

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