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Entries in thyme (2)

Tuesday
Apr052011

Comfort Food

Comfort food just makes you feel good.  Whether you're sick or cold or just tired, it doesn't matter which really, you just want something to make your belly full.  My great-great grandmother had a trick or two up her sleeve on comfort food and while she hasn't been around for several years now, the one thing she used to make me still sticks in my head.  Every once in a while I get a craving for it.

When I was a little girl and I came down with a bug, sometimes, my mommy would take me down to Southmont and I would get to spend the day with my Grandmaw Styers (my great-great grandmother).  I called her Grandmaw because that's what my mommy called her.  My Grandmaw Styers would let me lay on the sofa under soft quilts and watch Little House on the Prairie and then we'd watch Bob Barker give away a car.  (To this day, I still love love love Little House - much to my hubby's chagrin).  If I'm remembering correctly, Bob came on TV around 11am til noon.  During that time, Grandmaw Styers would  make me two pieces of the best cheese toast ever!  While the toast was/is nothing fancy and I will never find it written up in a cookbook - it is what I think of when I think of comfort food.  Just thinking about this toast takes me back.  I can see my petite little grandmaw with her white hair in a bun and her cat-eye glasses perched on her nose, her house dress and her big black orthopedic shoes.  She lived a long time.  I think she was 100 yrs when she passed away...maybe a little more, maybe a little less.

The toast - let me get back to the toast.  My grandmaw would take a piece of Sunbeam bread, spread light brown sugar on top of it, and place a piece of American cheese on top of the dusting of brown sugar.  She'd place the bread into a warm oven until the cheese had little air bubbles forming on it where it was melting and the brown sugar had melted out from underneath the cheese.  Boy Howdy!  was that good !!!

This past Sunday night, I made a new cheesy dish that has quickly become comfort food for MB and I.  It is a fondue of sorts and it will make you want to dream under a quilt once you are finished with your meal.  I had a version of this dish at the Red Cat in NYC some time ago.  Frankly, I had forgotten about the dish until I saw BC do a segment on the dish.  The fact that I had forgotten about the dish should not diminish how good it is.  It was so good, in fact, that I bought the cookbook so that I could make the dish again and again.  It just took me a little longer than I had originally anticpated.  This is my version of cheese toast - enjoy Grandmaw Styers!!!

 

Cheese Dip (adapted from the Red Cat)

2 cast iron 6 inch frying pans.  Set the oven on broil.

- Fontina cheese; cut up about 1 pd of the cheese into small squares and divide into the 2 pans

- drizzle cheese with extra virgin olive oil

- 6 garlic cloves; thinly slice and strew on top of the cheese

- mince up a sprig of fresh rosemary and several sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkle over cheese

- sprinkle a dash of kosher salt over the cheese

Place the pans with the cheese et al into the prepared oven.  Leave in oven between 5 and 7 minutes.  When the cheese has melted, the dish is done!  MB and I use freshly baked (yes ma'am!) French bread to dip the melty ooey-gooey cheese up with.  I served this with a Rocket salad that had been dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkling of kosher salt.  That is all that's needed - no freshly shaved Parmigiano is needed, no crispy-fried shallots are needed.  Trust me.  You'll love this dish!

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Tuesday
May252010

Pota - Toe

I know what you are thinking.  What. in. the. world. is. a. pota-toe???  A pota-toe is a toe that has had a just-out-of-boiling-water potato dropped on it.  And this is my world.  Fun times, isn't it??  Not so much.

I was cooking dinner last night and moving along just fine.  I baked chicken smothered in Nat's 'it's so good it's dangerous' bbq sauce and I was boiling potatos for my lemon-thyme potatoes.  I had just taken the chicken out of the oven, made the sauce for the potatos and was forking the potatoes from the boiling water.  One of them was very soft and as I was moving it to a plate, it broke apart, bounced on the plate and landed squarely on my left toe.  The soft potato broke apart even futher upon landing and little bits of hot-hot-HOT potato seared into my toes (I was being the typical Hunt girl and wearing flip-flops).  I started jerking my foot around trying to sling the burning mash off and was screaming.  Loudly.  To tell the truth, yelling is probably more like it and while I don't remember what I was yelling,  I'm sure it wasn't pretty.  Michael came running and helped me to the sofa.  He brought an ice pack and ran out to purchase Solarcaine.  The throbbing was so intense!  So today, I have a very nice blister that covers most of my second toe.  Putting shoes on this morning was tricky. 

I bet BC never has to put up with anything like this!!!

 

On a better note, one night last week a work buddy took a group of us to a fabulous restaurant in San Jose - Amber India.  Thanks Raj, for introducing me to great Indian food!! I had a grilled chicken kabob that had been marinated in lemongrass and Kafir lime.  Delish!  I also had this fantastic sauce (I believe it's called Chutney even though it was a smooth sauce - when I think of Chutney, I think of a chunky relish type thing) that was a deep vibrant green and spicy hot.  I believe it had cilantro, mint, garlic, lime juice and serrano chiles in it.  I went to B&N last night and dug thru several Indian cookbooks until I found what I think may be a recipe for it.  Shhhhhh!  Don't tell Michael - I'm going to spring it on him at some point.  He has said he doesn't think he likes Indian food because he doesn't like curry or coconut but I think this sauce would be great on bruschette, steak or (God help me) boiled potatoes.

My sis has asked for the recipe for the lemon-thyme sauce so I'm including it here:

zest of one large lemon

juice of 2 or 3 lemons

3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme - only the leaves

several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil - whisking in with the lemon juice

freshly cracked pepper to taste

kosher salt to taste

I usually boil 4 soft skinned potatoes, then cut them into chunky bites and mix with the sauce.  The sauce would make a great salad dressing also.