Nothing says unnecessary deforestation like a printed publication based on the content of the auxillary website of a major and long-established printed periodical. Still, as I flipped through the most recent copy of MixingBowl.com (exactly) in the check-out line of my market, several pictures adequately whetted my un-lunched appetite, and I soon found myself enthusiastically parting with $4.99. Let’s just say that’s a little much to pay for this “Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication.” Featuring recipes from three spotlighted contributors, as well as multi-page spreads on topics such as “It’s Chili,” “Open a Jar,” and “10 Recipes You Can’t Screw Up,” the good people over at the Meredith Corporation are obviously fans of the get-content-on-that-page approach to print media.
Nevertheless, I’ve selected a handful of recipes to test such as Slow Cooker Clam Chowder, Easy Chicken and Noodles (from the “Picky Eaters” section), and a chocolate chip cookie that fascinatingly employs corn syrup and vinegar. My first audit, however, was of DEECOOK’s Grilled and Peppered PST (Prosciutto, Spinach, Tomato). While conceptually a little Californian for my taste, the contributor redeemingly hails from Durham, NC and detests okra, two reassuring qualities.
The Peña reviews were mixed; Mr. P had to remove the Brie immediately, and he tried his hardest to plow through the rest cheerfully, but a wife knows. I, on the other hand, found it absolutely delicious, yet the indefinable oddness kept me on edge through the last bite. Mr. P noted that it might work well with mozzarella instead of Brie, but I’m not convinced that substitution alone would negate the hmm-factor. Here’s how I went about executing DEECOOK’s masterpiece (I assume you can find his exact version on the less expensive virtual mixingbowl.com).
To make 4 sandwiches:
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C roasted-garlic pasta sauce
1/4 C canned green chile peppers, chopped
8 slices prosciutto
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
4 cibatta rolls, cut in half
10 oz high-quality Brie, sliced into 1/4″ thick squares
1 C fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
salt and pepper
Mix together the cream cheese, pasta sauce, chile peppers, Parmesan, and a little salt and pepper. In a cast iron pan, fry the prosciutto until crisp, then transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate to drain the grease. Butter the INSIDE surfaces of the sliced cibatta rolls. The buttered surfaces will be the outsides of the sandwiches. For this reason, you may want to slice off a little of the raised tops of the buns. With the buttered sides down, layer each of the bottom halves with slices of Brie, tomato slices, spinach and prosciutto. Spread garlic sauce onto the top halves (again, not on the buttered side), and assemble the sandwiches. In a hot cast iron pan, cook the sandwiches over medium heat until each side is golden brown and the Brie has melted (give it a couple of flips, it’s not a steak).
You’ll want to serve this with a hearty and starchy companion, as you may, like poor Mr. P, wind up calling it a tater tot night, depending on how this perplexing fist fight of a flavor combination strikes you.