Pear, Ham, and Gruyere Melt with Pesto

I unfortunately did not get to eat this sandwich.

It has now been three days since I got my wisdom teeth removed, but I am still unable to open my mouth properly.  The only way I can eat is by taking the tiniest baby bites of food, chewing them carefully with my front teeth like I’m a rodent nibbling on a seed, and mushing that food around in my mouth until I eventually swallow the entire thing, still partially whole.  It takes me approximately an hour to eat a single meal.

With this dilemma in mind, it probably would have taken me an entire afternoon to eat this sandwich.  Instead of wasting away at the kitchen table listening to David Suzuki talk about decomposing bodies (seriously, this was what was on CBC  at lunch time), I decided to instead make this sandwich for my mom.  This sandwich was inspired by the leftover gruyere we had sitting in our fridge from the mac and cheese I made earlier this week.  The pear, gruyere, ham combination came flitting into my mind one day, and a quick googling told me that the three together would produce wonderful flavours.  My mom’s verdict of the sandwich was that it was really good, so I’ll have to take her word for it until I can eat solid foods again and make myself a duplicate of this sandwich back in Ottawa.

Anatomy of the sandwich:

Bread: focaccia or ciabatta bun
Layer 1: Two slices of black forest ham
Layer 2: Approximately six thin slices of gruyere cheese
Layer 3: One pear, sliced thinly
Layer 4: Pepper, to the max
Layer 5: Arugula
Layer 6: a dabbling of pesto

Voila! A delicious and quick lunchtime melt that is suitable for feeding mothers, significant others or, most importantly, yourself.  Grill all these things together and you have a savoury and filling sandwich.  I made my mom’s sandwich in our fancy convection microwave since it has a special “grill” button.  If you don’t have one of these high tech devices, you can always just melt everything in your toaster oven or oven.  Gosh I wish I had tried a bite.

PS: This whole wisdom teeth thing isn’t all bad.  Case in point: I’m currently eating a homemade chocolate milkshake with a spoon.  Life is grand.

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Gruyere Mac and Cheese

WARNING: If you do not like copious amounts of wonderful butter, cheese and heavy cream in your main dishes, then you probably won’t enjoy this post.

For the rest of you, welcome to my incredibly satisfying, highly fattening Tuesday night supper.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again.  GRUYERE.  My GOODNESS.  How can one small ingredient wield such amazing flavours?  It’s miraculous and fantastic.  If gruyere and brie had a love child I would either marry it or eat it.

I wanted to make one main course dinner meal for my family before leaving for Ottawa this weekend.  Since I’m getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow and will likely be unable to do anything but drool deliriously and be fed jello through a straw, I figured today was a good day to make it.  I also made dessert, which I’m scheduling to post in a few days, so stay tuned for that.

While Annie’s Eats is my absolute favourite blog for getting dessert recipes and ideas, I’d never made any of her main courses before.  I changed two little things from her original recipe.  The first was buying gruyere cheese instead of fontina cheese (I’ve never heard of this type of cheese before, what is it?!) and the second was using normal bread crumbs versus these special panko ones.  This recipe was one that I had inadvertently bookmarked on three separate occasions (sadly true, I counted), so I decided I finally had to make it.  Something that’s wonderful about cooking for your family?  Your mom buys all the ingredients.  That’s right, say hello to $15 worth of gruyere cheese!  And fresh parmesan.  Grocery shopping is a glorious experience when you’re not paying for it.

This was also just a really fast dinner to make.  At approximately 4:54 p.m. this evening, my mom strolled into the living room to find me curled up on the arm chair reading, a position which I had held for approximately five hours that day.  She informed me that supper needed to be ready for 5:30 at the very latest, since everyone would be absolutely famished.  Mission accomplished.  At around 5:27 p.m., the casserole dish of bubbling pasta was rushed up to my bedroom to be photographed.  Why my bedroom?  Well I’m the only room on the west side of the house and the winter light was fading fast.  Also, I had already prepared a mini photo studio for this meal by my window, involving a charming wicker table from the spare bedroom and an old folded apron.  ‘Nuff said.

Verdict: THIS WAS AWESOME.  So creamy.  So cheesy.  I have such a stomach ache now from mac and cheese and the dessert that shall not yet be named.  I need to fast as of 10 p.m. tonight, so it best be on a full stomach!

PS: I’m kind of really fond of these pictures.  Not so much the one of the entire casserole dish, but I love the ones of my plate.  Perhaps that wasn’t a very modest comment.  Oh well.

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Gruyere and Ham Pasta (Gruyere = the king of all cheese)

The insanity of what is my third year of university has finally begun in full force.  Rushing home from class and work today, Brittany (roomie) and I trekked down to the Byward Market in hunt of leather bracelets (Britt wants to be a rock star) and gruyere cheese.  Unable to find either of these two items (well this is a bit of a lie…the gruyere cheese at the International House of Cheese was, what I thought, super overpriced = not good), we sped off in Britt’s little hatchback and over to the trusty neighbourhood grocery store.

It was at this location that I found out buying a brick of gruyere cheese is nearly as expensive as buying a brick of solid gold.  Apparently the price of gruyere in the Market was actually reasonably priced, and I found myself paying $7.99 for a 195 gram piece of gruyere at the grocery store.  Refusing to accept any sort of cheese alternative for this recipe (although my iPhone tells me a cheaper alternative is emmental), I charged forth with my golden purchase, being sure to appreciate every delicious morsel of that damned cheese brick.

Preparing this Gruyere and Ham Pasta, I was faced with my largest “oh my god I need to cook so quickly” challenge to date.  THANK GOD this recipe was in the “make it in 30 minutes or less” section of my Canadian Living Make it Tonight cookbook.  If I had taken a minute longer to cook this meal, I would have made myself and all of my roommates late fora movie we were seeing.  As is I was forced to pack up my steaming dinner into a tupperware (post-food photographs, obviously) and charge off to the theatre, plastic Ikea fork in hand.  So everyone around me in the theatre could smell onions.. no big deal.

Also, this recipe called for chopped spinach, something I completely forgot to to add in at the last minute.  This being said, everything still tasted great (add lots of pepper though).  Thanks to my forgetful and rushed mind, I can look forward to a delicious baby spinach salad sometime later this week.  Perhaps it will involve strawberries.

Oooo, also this recipe made use of these fun little “Scoobi-doo” noodles, which I was disappointed to see did not resemble the cartoon character whatsoever.  Oh well, life goes on for those of us who are eternally young at heart.

PS: In case you are still rattled by how much I paid for the cheese (yes mom, I’m thinking you), this recipe actually made four servings, making the price for each serving be about $2.50.  Not the best, but not too shabby either.