Monday, April 30, 2012

Grilled Peanut Butter Egg & Cheese Sandwich

That’s right!  It’s no typo or misprint. In honor of Grilled Cheese Month, I am sharing with you one of my favorite comfort food sandwiches.  Now before you say “Eww”, “ Yuck” or whatever the explicative may be – I just want you to hear me out.  I came across this combo by accident or it might have just been out of convenience.  You see, on the weekends I love to have a hot breakfast.  I never seem to be able to get up early enough during the week (and the older I get, I find it even more so). So on the weekends I treat myself to a nice hot breakfast which usually consists of a fried egg with cheese – cheese makes everything better. And I fix myself toast with peanut butter (if there is any left).  You see, I live with a person who is very finicky on what peanut butter they eat – only Jiff Crunchy.  I thought that if I bought myself any other brand or even Jiff Creamy I would not have to worry about mine getting used up.  Wrong – seems the only time they are finicky about their peanut butter is when it is in the pantry.  Once theirs is gone – anything goes!

Back to the sandwich.  One morning I was making my weekend breakfast and did not realize that it was later than I had thought – I had an appointment to get to.  I still wanted my eggs and toast, but needed to eat it fast.  So, I decided that I would just put the egg on my toast and make a breakfast sandwich for the road.  Well this out to be a brilliant idea and the flavor was an unexpectedly delightful taste treat! (Only bad part was the crumbs and dripping everywhere). Don’t eat and drive – it just is not worth it! This is a stay-at-home treat to savor.  But this new discovery was worth my dry cleaning bill!

The hot egg melted not only the cheese, but also the peanut butter which created a rich sauce which to my surprise really complimented the egg and cheese.

Grilled Peanut Butter, Egg & Cheese Sandwich

You will need per sandwich:

·         2 – Eggs
·         1 – 2 slices of Mild Cheddar cheese
·         2 slices of bread
·         Peanut Butter
·         Butter

In a frying pan melt a small pad of butter (or a small amount of Olive Oil).  Fry your eggs as you like them (I prefer Over Medium – I like a slightly running yoke).  When you egg is done, remove from heat and top with a slice of cheese and set off to the side until we are ready to marry with the bread.  Now butter one side of each of the slices of bread.  Note: I use a cheese bread from a local bakery – it is a heavier, stiffer bread.  I try to staff away from those soft breads.  Place in your frying pan over Medium heat – adding peanut butter to one slice and your second slice of cheese to the other slice of bread.  Use a spatula to check the buttered side of the bread to make sure it doesn’t burn.  When the bread is toasted nicely, slide your egg onto the cheese topped slice and using your spatula top with the peanut butter bread slice.  Remove from heat, add to your plate and enjoy!  It is great with a large glass of ice cold milk!

Whenever I share this with friends, they call me crazy.  I tell them that I am – crazy about food and “don’t knock it until you tried it”.  I hope you will try this and share it with you family and friends.  Let me know of some of your “crazy” food mixups – I am curious to hear what you have come up with yourselves.

Until next time – Keep your Foodie Fluids Flowing, and AG Me On!


Monday, April 16, 2012

How to cook the best Sauerkraut in the World…

Well at least per Uté (Ooo-tah) Hiltman.  And who is Uté Hiltman?  Well back in 2001, we had the opportunity of hosting a foreign exchange student from Germany – and you guessed it, she was Uté.

Having her as part of the family for just 8 months, we wanted to give her as many of our American culture as we possibly could.  We brought her up to Michigan (my home State) for my Sister’s wedding and during the week we managed to go to Mackinaw Island, cross over the “Big Mac” bridge and spent to wonderful day enjoying Cedar Point.

My family! (In back, left to right) Kami, Ute' and Jim (Front) Amy, Alex and Me

While Uté was enjoying life and school here in Indianapolis, I did not want her to feel too homesick.  So I decided to make dinner one night that I believe every American thinks is a German favorite, Sauerkraut and Kielbasa (of course the kielbasa is Polish, but the sauerkraut is definitely German).  I prepared the dinner just as my Mom did when we were little, cooked all day in the crock pot, with her secret ingredient.  When it came time for dinner, Uté asked what we were having.  I was shocked to find out that she did not like sauerkraut!  I thought every one back in Germany loved sauerkraut.  She said that her Mom did make it a lot, but she never acquired the taste for it.  A little disappointed, I urged Uté to at least put a little on her plate to try – if she did not like mine she did not have to eat it.  So we all filled our plates and made our way up to the loft (where the TV is – we wanted to make sure she experienced the American way of eating dinner: in from of the TV!) and we all ate our dinner.  Now I love my sauerkraut and kielbasa – it is one of my favorite things to eat, especially the leftovers, so I really wasn’t paying attention to what Uté was eating on her plate.  We all finished and Uté (being a very polite and courteous young lady) took all our plates downstairs to the kitchen.  When she returned back upstairs, she had another plate filled with more sauerkraut and kielbasa.  I looked at her surprised and she said, “This is sure better than what my Mom makes” and finished her second plate.  I told her it was my “secret” ingredient and laughed.

It was about a month or so I decided to make this dish again for dinner, but this time I just made it quickly on top of the stove.  As I was putting all the ingredients into the pot, Uté came into the kitchen just as I had cracked open a beer and started pouring it into the pot.  “Now I know why I like your sauerkraut”, were the words that came out of her mouth.  It hit me funny and snickered.  She was going to make sure she told her Mom when she got back to Germany about my “secret” ingredient.

I made sure Ute had the recipe to share with her Mom and now here it is for you to enjoy also.  My “American” recipe for Sauerkraut and Kielbasa.

·         2 – 32 oz. jars of Sauerkraut
·         2  - 14 oz. packages of Turkey Polska Kielbasa
·         2 ½ cups of packed Brown Sugar
·         2 to 3 Tablespoons of Red Hot (omit if you don’t like the slight heat0
·         2 – 12 oz. bottles (or cans) of your favorite beer
·         Black Pepper to taste

Rinse and drain the sauerkraut in a colander.  While the sauerkraut is draining, slice the kielbasa links into ½” slices.  Put the kielbasa slices in a large skillet and brown.  (I had some bacon grease left over and adding a tablespoon for extra flavor.)  I squeezed the sauerkraut to get out all the juices and dumped into my slow cooker.  I then add the brown sugar, hot sauce and beer.  I used an Indiana Beer from Upland Brewery – try something different.  Again, make sure you are cooking with a beer you enjoy to drink – it makes all the difference.  Stir your ingredients all together and add the browned kielbasa.  Pepper to taste and set the slow cooker on High for 4 to 6 hours.  The longer you cook this dish, the deeper the flavors are.

We had such a wonderful experience with Uté and I know she loved her Indiana home.  I cannot help but remember that time when Uté “caught” me pouring beer into my sauerkraut – she was so surprised and I have a heart warming memory!

Until next time – Keep your Foodie Fluids Flowing, and AG Me On!