Grilled cheese sandwich!

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I am not in the mood to prepare something elaborate for supper (not that I do, normally) so I thought I’d make this updated grilled cheese sandwich. It’s fairly easy and the caramelized onions add zing while the veggies add crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, 1 medium onion (use the white or yellow, not the red)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • greens (like kale or spinach. I used spinach)
  • unsalted butter
  • sliced cheese (I recommend cheddar, but any melty cheese will do)
  • sliced bread (this recipe calls for thick slices of robust bread, think sourdough. But I only had multigrain bread so I used that)

To make caramelized onions:

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook a bit. Add the salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the onions are soft. About 10 minutes.

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2. Add sugar and continue cooking for about five minutes. The recipe calls for two tablespoons of sugar, but you might want to add a bit more if you like your onions sweeter. Stir constantly.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking the onions until very very soft and dry — consistency of relish. About 10 more minutes. If you want the onions to have a bit more crunch, you may want to stop the cooking sooner (like I did).

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4. You’re not going to be able to use all of the onions you cooked. Store in a plastic container for use in other sandwiches — or with meats.

To assemble the sandwiches:

1. Butter one side of four slices of bread and set aside.
2. On one slice of bread (unbuttered side), layer a slice of cheese, then caramelized onions, then the spinach, then another slice of cheese. Top with a slice of bread (buttered side up).
3. Repeat the process for the second sandwich.
4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches on the skillet until the bread is golden and the cheese melts. Flip the sandwich to cook on the other side.
5. Slice and enjoy!

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As someone who doesn’t cook much (indeed, growing up, my brothers tended to cook more, while I washed the dishes), I am somewhat amused that people who peruse this blog check out the one and only recipe I’ve ever posted — the one on corned beef pasta. Either there is a mad love for corned beef out there (entirely plausible) or people who know me can’t believe I actually bestirred myself to prepare something that involves a stove (again, entirely plausible).

Anyway, this sandwich is great for a light dinner or for weekend lunches — or as a snack. All in all, from making the caramelized onions to grilling the sandwiches, it takes one hour to prepare. But if you cook the onions ahead, this can be assembled in 20 minutes.

Lessons from doing this:
1. Should have sliced the onions even thinner so they cook more evenly.
2. To balance the flavorful caramelized onions, use a strong flavored cheese, otherwise the onions might overpower the whole sandwich.
3. It would be interesting to try this with kale — as in the original recipe.*
4. Because of the components, you need a thicker-sliced bread.
5. Make sure the skillet is really hot when you grill the sandwich so the cheese melts.

I based the recipe on the one featured in A Cup of Jo. Click on the link for the original version of the recipe and the more photogenic sandwich. πŸ˜‰

It’s about time Filipino cuisine got some love

It’s about time Filipino cuisine got some love

This is a topic that friends and I sometimes talk about when we’re out gorging on Filipino food — why our homegrown cuisine never gets the same kind of international publicity/recognition Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and other Asian cuisines get. My own theory is that our cuisine, like us as a people, can adapt or blend into its environment. Filipinos are great adapters, a survival skill we have honed to perfection especially since so many of us work outside the country. Same way with our cuisine. I love Filipino food, not just because it is my own, but because I personally think that it can compare with the best in the world. But why has it not been publicized more often than it should? Because it is adaptable. Add a few ingredients here, replace something with another, and you have a familiar dish that might have come from somewhere else. It frustrates me sometimes — which is why it always gives me a kick to see Filipino food getting attention in the international press, like these reviews in The New York Times of Pinoy restaurants thriving in the Big Apple. Hey, it’s New York. If we can make it there, surely we can make it anywhere.

[photo of Pig and Khao, one of the Filipino restaurants]

[image borrowed from the article in The New York Times]

Corned beef pasta!

Corned beef pasta!

Last Sunday, I was having a Whatsapp convo with Mina, Karen and Chiquit (like we do) about what to have for lunch. It being a weekend, we were all in our respective places but managed to have an utterly weird, funny conversation about… stuff. Most of it centering on food, and hunger and the fact that we were all lazy to get up and cook.

As a result of that conversation, I ended up hankering for corned beef pasta. So last night, I finally gave in to the urge and made some. I’m publishing the recipe here, though I am not sure about the measurements because I generally just guess.

Continue reading Corned beef pasta!