Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monte Cristo

I first became acquainted with the Monte Cristo at a local eatery, Early Edition, in Manhattan, Kansas. You should check it out if ever in the area, very yummy. Though I will admit a French Toast sandwich did not appeal to me at the time. However, over Thanksgiving weekend I was staying at a friend's place and he made one with some leftover French Toast, it was all I could do not to eat his entire sandwich!

So when I had some French Toast leftover from brunch, I had to try it! Verdict? Best use of leftover French Toast ever! Though, probably not worth making French Toast just to make a Monte Cristo.

Deli ham
Cheese (swiss is traditional but mozzarella or provolone likely as good, I would stay away from anything yellow)
2 slices prepared French Toast
Jam (I believe blueberry is the traditional)

Make your sandwich and grill on low heat, until warm throughout and cheese is melted.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beef vegetable soup

It's very cold. Perfect weather for a hearty beef soup. I think this was my first time making beef vegetable soup, I might have made it once in college, I'm not sure. Anyway, I planned on buying a roast, making roast and potatoes and using the leftover meat to make soup, because this is what my mom does and it seemed like a good plan.

Do you know how humongous roasts are? My gosh! When I was in college mom would occasionally give me small (5-6 lbs) roasts (my parents get beef by the side) to make in the small crock pot I had at the time but at the grocery store in my neighborhood all of them were at least 10 lbs. Maybe if I'm having 3 friends over for dinner and then making soup. So I had to switch tracks. The store sold chopped up roast, labeled "stew meat" at my grocery store but it is sometimes also called "wedding roast." I went with this because it allowed me to get just a pound or so to make my soup and it still made for a pretty meaty soup.

I told mom that I wanted to make beef vegetable soup in my crock pot and she advised me to coat the meat in flour, sautee it in a pan and then place it in the crock pot. I sauteed it in a lot of garlic, some salt and pepper. In the pan, she told me to add some water to the drippings from the meat and make kind of a gravy and put this in the pot also to give it flavor. I did this, but to be honest I'm not sure how important it was. I might skip it the next time and see if I notice a difference, I don't see why I need to cook the meat before I cook it!

Keep in mind when looking at my ingredients list that I'm a picky eater, you might want to add onions, mushrooms and carrots. I hate cooked carrots and all commercial soups have carrots in them. Stay warm!

Friday, December 3, 2010


One of the most delicious and simultaneously artery clogging meals I've ever eaten was schnitzel with hollandaise sauce at a restaurant in Berlin. Tasty. Schnitzel is traditionally a veal cutlet rolled and pounded flat, breaded and pan-fried. It is not normally coated with butter and cream sauces, that was a slightly overkill. While schnitzel was originally veal, it is often now made with pork.

I love schnitzel. A friend of mine, who shares my love of schnitzel was recently visiting and were were talking schnitzel, it got me in the mood. I had never made it, nor had my friend so we dove in! Alright, I did not really let my friend do anything, which slightly irritated him I think. I get my kitchen control-freak tendencies from my mother.

I don't eat veal for ethical reasons, so we made pork schnitzel. I decided to buy some thin cut pork chops, since they were already thin we did not have to work much to roll them out. If you need to do so, you'll want them to be about a 1/4 inch thick before frying. I followed this recipe, the note saying it was written by a German sold me!

The schnitzel were delicious! I served them with salad and sweet potato fries. My friend and I ate all of them, no leftovers. However, we both agreed that paprika would make them better. Paprika is a staple spice in lots of German recipes. Yum.