Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eats: Remember When Cafe At Home Cookbook (And A Recipe)

Hello! Purchased this at a recent garage sale:

The Remember When Cafe At Home cookbook. Remember When Cafe was a local restaurant, now closed. I never ate there, but their cookbook recipes, especially those in the sandwich chapter, made my mouth water! I do love a good sandwich, so I thought it'd be fun to try some of those recipes.

The breakfast chapter is solid too, and I was charmed by the mention every so often that a particular omelet or pancake recipe was Officer So-and-So's favorite. I told a friend who's a local about the cookbook and she said she had it too. Unlike me, she and her family had frequented Remember When Cafe and indeed, police officers were often seen dining there.

But back to that sandwich chapter - which of the many recipes should I try first? It just so happened that I had leftover steamed broccoli in the refrigerator, plus roasted red bell peppers (from last fall) and sliced ham (from Easter) in the freezer. With these ingredients needing to be used up, I turned to a sandwich recipe that called for them, the "Virginia Reel".

This wasn't my first choice from the sandwich chapter, as I wasn't sure if I'd like the combination of ham, broccoli and red bell pepper together. But it turned out pretty tasty:

As written in the cookbook, the ingredients made four sandwiches. I made one sandwich, so here's the scaled-down recipe, followed by my notes:

Virginia Reel Sandwich (adapted from Remember When Cafe At Home cookbook)

1/2 c. broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces, steamed
2 T. roasted red bell pepper, diced
1/2 t. vegetable oil
3 oz. thinly sliced ham
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices bread, buttered on one side

Combine broccoli and red bell pepper; heat in oil on 350 griddle. While warming, grill bread on griddle, buttered sides down. Heat ham on griddle. When bread is grilled to a light golden brown and vegetables and ham are warmed through, place 1 slice of cheese on bottom half of bread. Top with ham, vegetable mixture and second slice of cheese. Close with second slice of bread. Serves one. 

Notes: the recipe calls for fresh, not roasted, red bell pepper, but I used roasted since that's what I had on hand. My ham had been spiral-sliced and not thinly sliced, but it was fine. The recipe allows for a 4 oz. portion of the ham, but I thought 3 oz. was plenty. And lastly, the recipe actually calls for a bagel to be used, but I had some homemade Sourdough-Whole Wheat bread around, so I made my sandwich with it. 

And frankly, I think sandwich bread is a better choice for this recipe than a bagel. The sandwich was a little messy as it was, what with those bits of chopped vegetables wanting to pop out. A bagel half has even less surface area than a bread slice does, so I think the Virginia Reel would be even messier if made with a bagel. 

But what do I know? Like I said, I never went to Remember When Cafe, so I don't know if the cooks there had some tricks up their sleeves when making their sandwiches. But I do know that I'm looking forward to trying more recipes from the cookbook!

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