Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lentil/salad sandwiches

I wanted to call this post "Vegetarian Salad Sandwiches" but it sounded too much like "vegetarian-salad sandwiches" -- you know, made with real vegetarians!

So I didn't.

For Arij's birthday we had one of his favorites: hamburgers. I made rolls, as I usually do. (I use a recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, which is a great recipe but way too sweet. If I cut the sugar way back, they're just the way we like them.) They're fun and easy and very satisfying. But the problem is they do not keep at all. Seriously, mere hours later, they're just not as good anymore. I have finally hit on a solution -- one that I personally like even better than the original incarnation.

There's more backstory here.

Several years ago I decided not to use nonstick pans anymore. I have a couple, and I use them for exactly one thing: crepes, which I make about twice a year in a good year. I basically switched over to well-seasoned cast iron pans, and by and large, they rock. They retain heat, they put iron in your food, and the more you use them, the easier they are to use and clean. They're the best!

One of the things I missed, though, was a griddle. I had an All-Clad square griddle that I loved, but it had nonstick coating. It was perfect for pancakes, for grilled cheese . . . and it conducts heat like a dream (okay, I confess, I still pull it out and use it once in awhile.) So I took the logical step of buying a cast-iron griddle. I selected the two-burner model, imagining that many more pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches. It's even reversible: it has a grill-pan on the other side! I bought it maybe 3 years ago, and it was I think one of the last things Lodge sold without the factory-installed pre-seasoning. So we set about seasoning it. Things stuck to it horribly, and it had hot spots and cool spots so pancakes would be burnt and raw and stuck to it. It drove me nuts.

Finally I decided to just use it every single day. That's right: one fried egg for breakfast? Out it came. A couple of grilled cheese sandwiches? Check. Some bacon? Bring it on. Well, it helped with the seasoning, but I still have trouble with the hot/cool spots. The best solution we've found is to blast the heat so it's really well pre-heated, then put the food on and immediately turn the heat down. Fiddly, but that's the price I pay for refusing to embrace better living through non-stick cookware.

Anyway, there's a point here somewhere. I had never used the grill side before last night. I split and buttered several leftover hamburger rolls, and then put those suckers on the grill/griddle, pressing them a little with a spatula to make sure they toasted. They looked and tasted amazing.

I made a lentil salad with just warm lentils, feta and dressing made from Penzey's "Greek Seasoning." With green salad, crammed on that toasted roll, it was a very satisfying dinner.


The Two Of Us said...

Very nice~

Phantom Scribbler said...

Oh my gosh, those rolls look wonderful. I covet them, and the skill you used to create them, too!

Tall Kate said...

K: thanks for stopping by.

Phantom: really, now, these rolls are almost exactly the same thing as challah. You could so totally do this, you champion challah-baker, you.

chichimama said...

hmm. I have been eying one of those Lodge cast iron griddle/grill pan combos. Should I not add it to the "someday when money grows on trees" list?

chichimama said...

Oh, and those rolls look fab. Have you tried freezing them?

chichimama said...

And pps (just so you think I am totally stalking you) found you through phantom :-). Now I am really going, pinky swear.

Tall Kate said...

chichimama, laughing! I didn't think you were stalking me -- I thought I recognized your handle from the old days at Phantom's blog.

The Lodge griddle is okay, as long as you "get" its limitations. I really like the Lodge round griddle pan as it seems to heat more evenly, but it can only do like 3 pancakes at a time . . .

Yes, those rolls freeze really well. In fact, my sister swears by that strategy. She always makes extra and freezes them.

Thanks for visiting!

Phantom Scribbler said...

Chichimama, I have the same Lodge griddle and have had the same experience as TallKate -- hot spots and cold spots. I use mine a lot, but I had to learn to work within its limitations. And I definitely wouldn't use it for certain fussy things. (None of which I have the skills to make, anyway!)

chichimama said...

Hmm. Good to know about the griddle. Still on the fence as to what to do. Perhaps will buy the cast iron waffle maker instead :-).

Tall Kate said...

Mmm . . . waffles.