Hot Pockets

A few years ago a good friend of mine came across one of the devices you see below (the one on the bottom to be exact) in an antique store. It was called a Toas-tite, and it could be used to make delicious sandwich pockets over an open flame. At the time, we both lived in the city and didn’t have regular access to a campfire or grill, so we did what New Yorker’s do, and we improvised by heating the device over a gas stove. We typically made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and it was good fun. We won’t get into the details of how this went down, but when my friend moved out of NY, I took possession of the beloved sandwich press.

Campfire Sandwich Press by somethingwewhippedup.com

Campfire Sandwich Press by somethingwewhippedup.com

In the last few years I’ve acquired quite a few of these presses, also called pie irons and pudgy pies. They couldn’t be simpler to use: Just coat two pieces of bread lightly with butter and place them inside the iron butter-side-down. Fill with the ingredients of your choice, close the press and cut or tear the excess bread from the sides. Then hold over a flame for 7 to 10 minutes or until toasted. It’s a great way to make a delicious and quick dinner, even in the dark (see below).

Campfire Sandwich Press Creation by somethingwewhippedup.com

Campfire Sandwich Press Creation by somethingwewhippedup.com

These days, I’m able to use my presses over a fire pit at the farm, probably a bit safer, and definitely a lot more fun that in a tiny NYC kitchen. I typically go with a traditional and simple grilled cheese (always with a slice or two of tomato) but have plans to stuff some with bbq pulled pork and cole slaw or goat cheese with arugula and grapes in the future. What would you put inside your sandwich press?

SWWU Tip 1: Make sure the bread you use is larger than the press. If it falls short, you won’t get a good seal on your sandwich.

SWWU Tip 2: If you’re lucky you can spot vintage sandwich presses at garage sales, antique stores and on websites like Etsy and eBay

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Grilled Cheese Jam Session

I’ll admit that we’re a little behind with the grocery shopping. After being away and working a few late nights this past week, our poor fridge is looking pretty empty. But there are two things we always have on hand: bread and cheese. To amp up our go-to grilled cheese meal we added a sweet layer of blueberry jam. Sure, it’s an unlikely pair, but the subtle sweetness of the jam was a nice contrast to the bite of the sharp cheddar. Delicious!

Jam-Stuffed Grilled Cheese by somethingwewhippedup.com

Jam-Stuffed Grilled Cheese by somethingwewhippedup.com

Jam-Stuffed Grilled Cheese

Makes as many as you want. It’s grilled cheese, you know the drill. Two pieces of bread per sandwich, then fill to your desired gooiness.

1. Heat a skillet over medium.

2. Meanwhile, slice the bread into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Add a thin layer of butter to all sides.

3. Heat the bread until warm and butter is melted, then flip to other side. Top one heated slice with three-quarters of the grated cheese (the warm bread will help it melt faster). Top the other slice with a thin layer of jam and the remaining cheese. Allow to cook until cheese is just starting to melt, then put the slices together to form a sandwich. Allow to cook until bread is browned and cheese is gooey.

SWWU Tip: Play around with different selections of jams and cheeses. We’re big fans of the blueberry/goat cheese combo, the raspberry/Jarlsberg mashup and more. Mix and match and have fun!

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