Author Archives: Matthew

About Matthew

A father, son, husband, and fairly rad dude.

French Soup

You take the onions, just a lot of onions and then you have to french them.
That doesn’t mean make out with them – it means you have to clench them
In a fist on the board and use your knife to cut them into wedges longitudinally.
This can cause many tears to form, so I suggest wearing goggles jubilantly.

Into a big pot the frenched onions go, and then a big knob of butter.
You cook them, and cook them some more until they start to sputter.
The shrink in size, the caramelize, be sure they don’t fry, gently cook
Them. Add a splash of red wine, salt if you have, and then take a look –
You have to watch them closely. Over time you’ll learn
If you aren’t careful – the onions will quickly burn!

But if they don’t – If you won’t let them cook to crisp
You’ll have a small pot of what the total start will seem a wisp.
To your mahogany alliums its time to add a measure of beef broth.
A bay leaf, too, maybe some thyme, will add treasure to the froth.

And then it simmers for half an hour, while you dry out some bread.
Shatter it into croutons so you can shower the finished soup and spread
Some gruyere cheese, or mozzarella, or anything you find nice.
Broil it harshly until you see the fella bubble up and then you can entice
A loved one to a meal with you. With cheese, and beef, and onion.
It’s a delightful soup in a days work, using the stove and oven.

French Onion Soup tastes like a million dollars and is super easy to make. Here is a recipe I wrote several years ago.

French Sandwich

French toast is from Belgium, or so I’m told.

But a sandwich deep fried? I’m sold!

Dusted with sugar and within is the ham.

Accompanied by Comté and raspberry jam.

Add a fried egg, and you’ve got Croque Madam!

Spoil yourself, if your day has gone well

And add a small ladle of hot Béchamel!

It’s a sandwich with confidence, hearty and bold.

Worth it’s weight in delicious caloric gold.

For the Soul

Let’s not pretend this concoction is hard

You could fit it all on one recipe card.

A whole chicken is fine, but with only thighs

The soup will taste great, and pleasing to try.

Take carrot, celery, chicken and onion

Put in some water and click the stove on.

Add the meat and the bones – bones are the key.

The simmering water sets flavor free.

Season it well with rosemary and thyme

And a bay leaf, the zest of a lime.

(Or lemon instead, enough for the zing)

Salt and pepper as it sits simmering.

Leave it alone for a turn of the clock

Pull out the bones and admire the stock.

To this, salt to taste and noodle it up.

When done to your liking, its time to sup.

Chicken noodle is hearty, hot, and nutritious.

Simmer bones longer for added richness.

It’s perfect, I say alone in the bowl.

A 1/2 sandwich will also feel right at home.

Personal Health

When you write about sandwiches you tend to eat a lot of sandwiches.
Which is okay, if it’s half-sandwiches, but you tend to eat whole sandwiches.

Which is okay, but only if you’re a person who expends a lot of calories.
And if you sit a lot, you’re still a lot, and you don’t expend a lot of calories.

And if you sit a lot, you aren’t flexible either, so it’s harder to move if you have to.
So you sit more and that means even physical play is not “get to” but “have to.”

So you sit more because of your mood and you spend time doing things that waste time.
Even though you’d rather be productive and solve world problems, you waste time.

Even though you’d like to cook more, you worry that you’ll just eat a lot of sandwiches.
When you write about sandwiches you tend to eat a lot of sandwiches.

Cubano

Maybe you need a new sandwich because you’re perfectly happy, but would like to change things up from the usual Reuben.

So you head into the kitchen and think you’d like more than ham and cheese, so you decide you’ll make a Cuban.

Luckily, your partner was only yesterday buying Cuban loaves of bread at the bakery.

And you already have some roast pork, so the sandwich will not be fakery.

Pickles are easy, as you always put up a few jars.

For some reason, your mustard is all in packets you took from local bars.

But it’s yellow, which is what you need, believe it or not, as this sandwich is simple and doesn’t need dijon flair.

But, still, you feel a little bit fancy, so instead of Swiss cheese you dig into the dairy drawer and pull out some Gruyere.

So, you paint on the mustard and layer the pork, ham, and cheese, and the pickles and then use some butter on the outside to grill the whole assembly.

And you remember to make two of them, because after all, it’s your partner’s bread and it’s important with a trusted partner to stay friendly.

It’s a good sandwich, and the pickles give it a nice crunch.

It’s been a while since you’ve had such a refreshing and memorable lunch.

Cubanos! Cubanos are honestly a bit like Italian Beef in that the best bet is to go somewhere that makes them. I’m pretty strict with my Cubans and like the basic recipe list, but I also am not much in the habit of judging those who need a little Dijon to get by.

The best choice you’ll likely make is making sure you have authentic Cuban bread, though. It’s made for this sort of thing, you see.

Also, if you like Cubans, see the Favreau movie “Chef” sometime. It’s not about sandwiches, but it’s pretty good.

Italian S̶o̶n̶n̶e̶t̶ Beef

If ever you wish make Italian beef
Ponder purchase instead from those who boast
As they know the difficulty the most
And will save you the agony and grief.
Better a buyer than recipe thief-
Better consumed from a talented host
Better to reward another in toast
For your struggle will be rewarded and brief.

For at home there is beef, and broth as well
To craft for a party of one. Time spent
Too cooking peppers and bread, Hunched and bent
Over stove to finish as the hours fell.
Your sandwich is fragrant, spicy, and wet –
The chef’s beef is better. On that you can bet.

Man, I don’t know if you can make an Italian Beef at home to compare to a Chicago mainstay. Probably? I’ve had them at home, and they can get pretty good. But, dang, the pros know what they are doing!

I always get mine dipped. Don’t see the point otherwise.

PBJ

A peanut butter sandwich in the usual way
Is a delight, it’s salty sweet, on any kind of bread.
Some will ignore it, listen to what I say
And you’ll enjoy the sandwich having been honestly led.

Peanut butter thinly spread on either piece of bread
Contains the jam keeping the bread from soggy soaking.
Take care to keep a drink near your head
As too much sticky can cause choking.

Instead of jam, one can use marshamallow fluff.
It’s a fluffernutter then, the sweet more controlling.
Again, only a thin layer is needed of the stuff.
It’s a comfort when needing consoling.

Lobster Roll

You’d think first you’d grab a crustacean,
Which is the main ingredient of the roll.
Actually, you first stop at a dairy station
For brown butter will provide the soul.
Pick up some rolls in the New England style
And toast them lightly on either side.
Melt the butter and let it toast a short while
And a lobster grilled, steamed, not fried.
The meat will come mainly from the claws
And then toss it in the butter that’s brown.
Place it the rolls judiciously and pause
To ladle any leftover butter around
The meat. Then, just a squeeze of lemon
And what do you know, it’s complete!
It may drip on your chin, but I reckon
It’s worth it as its so good to eat.

Lobster Rolls! Lobster rolls CAN be made with mayonnaise as well, but I think the butter version is superior. Some people dice up chives or raw onion. Those people are monsters.

I am a mayonnaise apologist, but I do prefer butter. I also prefer New England style hot dog rolls – my first lobster roll, I thought was served in plain white bread as they are split on the top! 

Rueben

It’s not necessary to corn your own beef –
It’s not hard, but will save you some grief
To pick it up from a reputable delicatessen.
Having them slice it on site will lessen
The work load when you are home
Giving you time to stop and comb
The grocery shelves for fine sauerkraut
Which delivers salty, crunchy clout.
Thousand islands do not enter discussion,
Make sure your dressing is actually Russian.
(This sandwich is original fusion cuisine)
Grab some Swiss cheese, wash your hands clean.
For bread, try a rye deftly marbled –
Pumpernickel, too, quite dark and
If you prefer, a light rye is tradition
Though, I feel it carries a condition
Of distracting the tongue from the innermost filling –
Which by the way, take care is not spilling
Out on the plate. Keep the sandwich contained.
Now for the step that really ups the game:

A Reuben sings if you take time to grill it.

Take a heavy pan, add butter, and we’ll wit
It on the burner, medium low.
Into the pan, the rye bread will go.
When toasty and warm, flip it over and spread
The dressing upon a toasty brown surface
Layer beef, cheese, kraut and in earnest
Flip the plain sauce side onto the heap.
Hold on – you’re almost ready to eat!
On a plate and then slice at an angle.
Now, time for your taste buds to jangle!

Friends, I love a Reuben sandwich. It is, perhaps, my favorite sandwich. My default of my meat-eating days. I don’t mind 1000-Island, but Russian is traditional! This sandwich has varying inventors – but it’s got ingredients named after different countries!

I do prefer dark or marbled rye to light – so much so, I typically ask and then don’t bother with the light. Mileage varies, I guess.

Sandwich hounds may know of the “California Reuben” which uses turkey and cole-slaw instead of corned beef and sauerkraut; it is also tasty. I’m not the biggest fan of straying from tradition on sandwiches that have specific names. It gets confusing! I have found the Reuben to be the most consistently named sandwich in my travels. The only variations are the amount of ingredients. I prefer a small heap to a mound o the beef, and don’t skimp on the dressing!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

INGREDIENTS: Two Slices of bread
American Cheese – yeah, that’s what I said!
Some sort of fat, butter is typical
But mayonnaise is another victual
Spread thinly upon the bread, both sides!
Place them upon the griddle to fry.
When each slice has reached a golden brown
The time has come to flip them upside down.
A slice of cheese on the browned side is dealt,
As the other side toasts, the cheese will melt.
The melted sides then combine into one
Sealing the sandwich – you’re almost done.
You can choose to place it upon the plate
And cut in half – it will taste great!

Or…you can take this savory comestible
To a superior level – that’s incontestable.
If you enter the fridge and grab the cheddar,
And use for a minute on a box shredder,
Keeping the sandwich on the heat –
Put this cheese on top, take care to be neat.
Let THIS cheese melt under a towel or lid
And beneath it have a spatula slid
Then flip it quickly so cheese hits the pan
And do your best to stand and withstand
The aroma as these shreds caramelize.
But give it a minute until your spatula can prise
This sandwich back on the your dish.
Some seasoning is now all you may wish
To add to this perfect grilled cheese – with no fault!
I suggest a small sprinkle of fine garlic salt.

Bro! Best grilled cheese sandwich ever. Yeah, and I love food and cheese and fanciness, but salty, melty American will always make the best grilled cheese. Don’t @ me, bro!

That said, I love to change up the breads, the cheeses, throw on some fruit or jam. If you add fruit, warm it up in the pan or micro before adding it to the cheese. Apples and brie are a treat. So’s fig jam with some sharp cheddar on whole wheat.

If you really want to reach back to schoolyard days, squish it down after it’s done.