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Mistakes Were Made

I spent a lot of time in the study this week.

The “study” is the room where I “work” at my “desk” and where I never throw clothes, books, shoes, Christmas ornaments, or croquet sets.

Because that would be sloppy.

tooth paste

The study gets way more heat than the rest of the house.   That’s why I love it.  When it’s 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the living room, the study’s burning up.  You could do hot yoga in it.  Or steam a head of broccoli.

Thank goodness for the study, because every time I stepped into the kitchen this week, something went wrong.

broken egg

As Richard Nixon’s press secretary once said:  “Mistakes were made.”

Breads failed to rise at the appropriate time, and then they rose like they were on amphetamines.

Focaccia (allegedly). I'm still waiting to see if an alien cuts its way out of here.

Take this focaccia, for example.  I’m waiting to see if an alien cuts its way out.

Vegetables disappeared from the grocery bag and were later found in the mouths of beasts.

seymour and kale

But I soldiered on.  I stopped trying to make fancy things, and started making simple things.

ham and cheese sandwich

And finally I made stacks of creamy grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

ham stack small

They were addictive.  I basically mixed cheddar with cream cheese and a little cayenne, and then spread it on thin white bread.  I piled on some ham, and then I toasted the sandwich in a buttered skillet.

These taste almost like a croque monsieur, but you get to use cream cheese instead of fussing over a béchamel sauce.  And I can’t stop thinking of variations: wouldn’t some hot pepper jelly be good in there?  Or chopped olives?  Or pickled jalapenos?  Or a little Dijon?

I’ll leave you to it.  I’m off to see if I can roast a marshmallow over an air vent in the floor.

Ham & Creamy Cheese Stacks {Download & Print Recipe}
by eggton, inspired by a recipe for cheese puff hors d’oeuvres that our family friend, Aubrey Heller, shared with my family ages ago

Ingredients: {makes about 3 small sandwiches}

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

4 oz. cream cheese

1 Tbsp. butter (at room temperature) + more for buttering the skillet

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

6 slices of ham

6 slices white bread (I prefer Pepperidge Farm “very thin” white sandwich bread)

Directions:

Blend the cheddar, cream cheese, butter and cayenne until evenly combined.   (I use an electric mixer but you could do it by hand.)  Spread a thin layer of the mixture on two slices of bread.  Put two pieces of ham in between the two slices of cheese bread to form a sandwich.   Repeat for 3 sandwiches.  Grill sandwiches on a buttered skillet over medium heat, flipping to brown both sides, and serve.

~~~

It’s so warm and cozy in there that Thunder falls asleep sitting up.

58 Comments Post a comment
  1. The best food comes from “mistakes were made”! Sounds absolutely yummy and now I must get some cream cheese! And I love how dogs and cats can do that sleeping-while-sitting-up thing!

    February 2, 2013
    • I fell asleep sitting up a couple of times in college, in the back row, during morning classes. I’m not proud of it, but there you are. And maybe “a couple” is an understatement. Anyhoo, Thunder’s the only one around here who can do it these days. :)

      February 5, 2013
  2. stephbo93 #

    I had the exact smae sort of week. Well, month, really. Soldier on, my dear! I’m generally not a fan of hot ham and cheese, but that cheese mixture sounds amazing. I might have to try it!

    February 2, 2013
    • Oh dear. Here’s hoping things are better in February!

      February 5, 2013
  3. I love the picture of the alien focaccia.

    February 2, 2013
    • So, I ate it. I eventually took a knife to it and stabbed it in the puffy part and it was hollow and quite tasty. It tasted like grissini or whatever–a hard bread stick, you know? Just. …not what I had intended.

      February 5, 2013
  4. Bad days made better by simple comfort food. Well done for salvaging it!
    Gee

    February 2, 2013
    • Or a road trip! I enjoyed your last post. I stopped by Whitby many, many years ago with my family as a kid. I probably didn’t have the fish and chips at the place you mentioned, but I remember it being a magical day. I left with a pair of the tiniest jet earrings, and I treasured them for years (and then lost them, of course.)

      February 5, 2013
      • Thank you so much! I love to hear when people enjoy something I have written. Food makes up so much more of our lives than we realise.
        I’m loving exploring your site at the moment. I particularly like your kale thief and the guilty look you’re being given!
        Thank you again for having a look on my site. Hope you enjoy more of my food related tales.
        Gee

        February 5, 2013
  5. Oh my. Those toasted sandwiches look crazy good! I might just have to try this for tomorrow’s lunch ;-)

    February 2, 2013
    • Thanks, Nikki! If you try them, I hope the don’t disappoint.

      February 5, 2013
  6. I am a big fan of grilled cheese and/or grilled ham and cheese but I do add a little mustard to the bread for extra zip. But with that cream cheese, I’m thinking fresh minced jalapeños and crispy bacon instead of the ham for a sort of jalapeño popper grilled sandwich. See what you started here? I am off to the kitchen! Further bulletins as events warrant.

    February 2, 2013
    • Jalapeño popper grilled sandwich? Totally awesome! Some day soon I’ll post the photos with a link back to your inspirational sandwich.

      February 3, 2013
      • Horray!!! That’s so awesome!

        February 5, 2013
  7. You forgot to add the small size Diet Coke(with straw) in the list of ingredients….perfect!

    February 2, 2013
    • Hee hee. They sell those at the little grocery store down the street from me and I couldn’t help but get a couple. I have an old, wooden coca-cola carrying case and I keep a few in there so it looks legit. :)

      February 5, 2013
  8. Oh my, those sandwiches look good. And I am like Thunder; I will fall asleep in a warm room if given half a chance.

    February 2, 2013
    • Well, Dr. Alice, you and Thunder will get along famously then! She loves having someone to curl up against on the couch.

      February 5, 2013
  9. Wow! Those look delicious. Beautiful photos!

    February 2, 2013
    • Oh boy. I’ve been lost in your website for a while now. I really like it.

      February 5, 2013
  10. That focaccia makes the ones we’ve made at school look entirely underwhelming, Seriously.

    Oddly enough, we were at the grocery store after work this afternoon, and I told 2.0 that I was craving grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Now I’m thinking I’d rather have these stacks with my tomato soup. And a Diet Coke. Because it’s my soda of choice.

    February 2, 2013
  11. Pam #

    We had these for a quick dinner after the movies- and did add the olives…tasty.

    February 2, 2013
    • Pam, I’m so glad! Thanks for saying so.

      February 5, 2013
  12. jenny_o #

    Maybe the cool air was hampering your yeast?

    Those sandwiches look SO good.

    February 2, 2013
    • That must have been it! I do intend to try focaccia again soon. Perhaps I’ll let it rise in the study. ..

      February 5, 2013
  13. Hi Eggton ! I nominated you for Liebster award . Click this to receive the award…http://rhema3one7.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/one-more/

    February 3, 2013
    • Thank you very much, Rhema. This was really kind of you.

      February 5, 2013
  14. Seymour is such a diet-forward pup! My kitty, Henry, is prone to bladder crystals, so he has to eat prescription (i.e. unappetizing) food. The vet said to try to tempt him with veggies, but kale was not a hit. Neither was spinach, or broccoli, or chard. I think I’ll have to plant him a pot of grass…

    February 3, 2013
    • Hm. I don’t know about kitties. But in case they’re the same as dogs, I can tell you that Seymour and Thunder like carrots and they LOVE apples. Like, they will smell apples from far away and will follow you around until you bite them off a piece. (This all started when I saw Ryan Gossling feed his dog apple on a late-night show. It was hot.)

      February 5, 2013
      • D’you think Ryan would come feed Henry an apple? I don’t care anymore if he eats it…

        February 5, 2013
  15. Seymor the Kale Bandit!!! Those ham n cheeses look amazing. Please serve when I drop by Alabama for tea!
    xoxo

    February 3, 2013
    • Word. I will happily update the piece of paper on my fridge entitled “grocery list for when Kara comes to town”!

      February 5, 2013
  16. Anna F. #

    Those could be the perfect place for some of the “bacon jam” I tucked in a few stockings at Christmas. Yum!

    February 3, 2013
  17. The Sessionista #

    I will have to try these with that AMAZING roasted red pepper soup you posted a few months ago.

    February 3, 2013
    • Oh I’m so glad you like that soup! It’s seriously amazing, and boy would it be good with these.

      I am on a quest to make a good cauliflower soup. I’ve tried it many times before, but I just borrowed my friend’s immersion blender. I used it on white bean soup the other day and it worked great, so I’m going to try it on cauliflower next.

      February 5, 2013
      • The Sessionista #

        My husband only likes green peppers, and even he liked the red pepper soup. I quietly add that to my “Win” column. Also, every time I use an immersion blender, I immerse my kitchen with tiny bits of flying, macerated food. But I keep trying.

        February 6, 2013
  18. amoeba focaccia! i want the recipe.

    February 3, 2013
    • Man, amoeba is such a good word.

      February 5, 2013
  19. I was hungry before I read this; after these photos I’m rounding the clubhouse turn toward starving. And is that canine eating kale? My dog loved cauliflower. He could also strip an ear of corn to the nub and enjoyed a good lettuce core (followed by a foot-long piece of deer meat swallowed whole, but that’s another story).

    February 3, 2013
    • Man, I love venison. I don’t know if I could swallow it whole, but I might try!

      I’m making cauliflower right now, so I’m glad you mentioned it. I’ll see what they think!

      February 5, 2013
  20. Amy #

    You totally took grilled cheese up a notch! I love simple sandwiches like this…and you can’t beat a good pb+j :)

    I wish I craved kale like Seymour…it would make dieting so much easier.

    February 3, 2013
    • I do love me a PB&J. Have you been to that peanut butter restaurant on Sullivan or Thompson and West 3rd or thereabouts? I had a white chocolate/peanut butter (kind of like a homemade white chocolate nutella) sandwich with marmalade and sliced almonds there once. I think it was called the creamsicle. It was really good.

      February 5, 2013
  21. Hot pepper jelly. Yes. That is all.

    February 3, 2013
    • Man I love hot pepper jelly. One of my friends down here in Alabama does too (well, a lot of them do), so whenever we get together we smother a log of goat cheese in hot pepper jelly and we spread it on bread or crackers. It’s a good way to spend an evening, that’s for sure!

      February 5, 2013
  22. My boyfriend/personal chef is travelling for work a couple of days this week, so I think we’ll be doing a bit of experimenting with this. I particularly loved the jalapeno popper suggestion from earlier.

    February 4, 2013
    • Yes, I can’t wait to see that jalapeno popper sandwich. There’s a new restaurant/pub in our town that serves grilled jalapenos stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon. They are so, so hot. But so good.

      February 5, 2013
  23. Hah! Love the part about the mouths of beasts. “Mistakes were made” has become a common joke at my office. We say it whenever anything goes wrong. That meal looks perfect!

    February 4, 2013
    • One of my favorite office sayings is one that Denzel Washington says in Training Day. I’ll bleep it out here, but it’s:”It would behoove you not to f— this up.”

      February 5, 2013
  24. Kate #

    How many did you have to make to get that picture of them sliced? I would have butchered that.

    There is something vaguely reminiscent of a tea sandwich here, with the cheese mixture and the choice of bread. Looks delish.

    Thunder is the cutest.

    February 4, 2013
    • I agree! Kind of an Americanized tea sandwich, for better or worse, depending on your perspective. I think it would go very nicely on a platter with some cucumber and butter sandwiches, or coronation chicken, or smoked salmon! It’s hard to beat a good egg salad tea sandwich, though. I’m such a sucker for those.

      February 5, 2013
      • And Kate, I only had to make just those three sandwiches to get that shot. You know why? Not because I am coordinated or good at cutting, but because I got a chef’s knife for Christmas! It’s amazing. Big, new, sharp knives are un-freaking-believable. Cuts through everything like butter. Especially butter.

        February 5, 2013
  25. Love that picture of Thunder! And I’m desperately in need of a grilled cheese with ham now, so thanks…

    February 5, 2013
    • Thanks! I loved that picture of her, too. She often gets so tired that she can’t keep her eyes open. When we were at my parents’ house for Christmas there was so much activity that it happened to her all the time. It was a riot.

      February 5, 2013
  26. Last week was full of kitchen mishaps for me, and I am currently surrounded by the smell of burning granola (I managed to save one batch before it was too late). It happens. Wish I had the ingredients in my house for these sandwiches – they look like they taste like the perfect kitchen-mistake redemption.

    February 5, 2013
    • Oh darn. Did the burned granola really turn out terribly? I’ve SO done that. It’s crazy how dark it can get and still taste good, though, isn’t it?

      February 5, 2013
  27. oh no; kitchen disasters week. you know i know what you’re talking about, too. gotta hate the days your kitchen sticks out its hand and says “no: you will not be making anything successful today. leave now.”
    but cream cheese mixed with cheddar and cayenne, then grilled between bread and ham?!? I feel like that may cancel out science class focaccia.

    February 8, 2013

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