Grilled Cheese

So there’s been a lot of talk going around on the inter-webs these days regarding grilled cheese sandwiches. What kind of artisinal bread, what non-gmo organic cheese, which panini press you should get…

blah blah blah

Here’s the deal: Grilled cheese sandwiches are an easy, satisfying lunch that ANYONE can do with any bread and any cheese. It is about technique. There will be no recipe. I’m here to walk you through it with some straight talk and some downright lousy photography.

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Basic Tomato Sauce

A simple, basic tomato sauce for pasta is one of those recipes, like a vinaigrette, that everyone should have available in their back pocket for an easy dinner. The one here is not necessarily for a work-night (considering the simmer time), but with a few tweaks, it can go from a simple red sauce to a meat sauce to a puttenesca in no time flat.

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Gimme a beet

A roasted beet is a lovely thing. A little sweet, meaty, and, well… red. Or orange, if that’s the way you roll. Certainly the taste isn’t all that different. They’re very easy to prepare, these lovely things, and can be used in a lot of different applications. I like to chill and cut them into “rustic” chunks and toss them in salads with, oh, let’s say toasted walnuts and goat cheese… or orange sections — that’d be good. Or you could slice them up and serve with steak. Beef loves a good beet. You could also pickle them, make borsht, or just serve with dill, sour cream and some potato pancakes (though the sour cream would turn pink). The one down side, and, believe me, there is only one, is that your hands, cutting board, shirt — anything that comes in contact with them will stain. Its just something you have to deal with. And it is worth it. If you’ve got an hour or so where you can just be around the house it is something that mostly takes care of itself. Just don’t fold your whites directly after you are done.

Unless you really like pink.

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On vinaigrettes…

Here’s the thing: anyone who owns a whisk and a large bowl is fully capable of creating a simple vinaigrette. I’ve not bought a bottled salad dressing (outside of a ranch for dipping vegetables in for a school party) in probably 5 years – maybe longer. It just isn’t necessary. All you need is a good assortment of vinegars, a jar of dijon mustard, salt, black pepper and a good extra virgin olive oil. I happen to like California olive oils, but that’s just personal opinion. Just make sure it is a good green fruity one. You could get fancy by adding fresh herbs if you happen to have any in the house – heck, dried works, too. Shallots are lovely as well, but most people don’t even know what they are. Anyway, building a proper vinaigrette is more of a procedure than a recipe.

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