Friday, February 22, 2008

One Heck of a Good Sandwich

I'm one of the many thousands of fans of a fun food blog called The Pioneer Woman Cooks, written by Ree, who is married to an obscenely sexy cattle rancher dubbed Marlboro Man, on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. She cooks with obscene amounts of butter, cream, meat, bread, cheese, and all things fattening, but in a very down home fashion. No major grocery store chains, no little gourmet shops, in her neck of the woods. Canned biscuits are the norm, but what she does with them, oh my! Most of the time I can only look, because my arteries would harden and my zipper would burst if I ate that way on a regular basis. Her cooking could be considered downright irresponsible if it were not for the fact who entire family expends all kinds of calories wrestling cows and stuff.

One of her posts called The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich -- grilled cheese on rye with whole chili peppers, tomatoes, onions, and Dijon -- inspired me to adapt something similar for my own tastes. It was, in a word, excellent.

I stuck to the recipe pretty faithfully except two minor things: I used a Panini press instead of a frying pan, and, I used a light butter spread on the outside, instead of obscene amounts of butter, because I don't think the sandwich really needs any more than that -- although it would be good either way.

I generally stick to a recipe very closely the first time out, and then adjust in the future if I want to change it (except for obvious subs required by allergies, etc). I think any shared recipe deserves that much respect. In that regard, I always find it really funny when people write in comments about someone's recipe and say something like "Thanks for the Beef Stew recipe! I didn't have beef, so I substituted chicken chunks, and, we don't like tomato sauce, so I substituted Cream of Chicken Soup, and I didn't add onions or garlic, I added carrots and celery instead. It was okay, I guess. Not the best beef stew I ever tried. Probably won't make it again, but thanks for sharing it." Wha---?! I'm serious, you read stuff like that ALL the time.

On the flip side, the other posts that crack me up, are from the very bossy cooks themselves, who will accept no substitutions. I read a recipe for Mini Party Cheeseburgers from the 1950s. The woman posting said "This was how my grandmother made them, so you must use THESE condiments, and NO substitutions AND I MEAN IT, BECAUSE OTHERWISE IT ISN'T MY GRANDMOTHER'S RECIPE." Alrighty then!!!

Here is The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich, and now, one of mine, too!

Rye Bread
Cheddar Cheese
Provolone Cheese
Whole Chili Pepper
Red Onion

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