16 November 2008

Stuffed Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Red Pepper

In her later years, Grandma Annie seldom traveled but when she did, it was often to come to the aid of her oldest daughter who underwent a series of surgeries at mid-life. During those extended trips, my mother (a younger daughter) would haul us across the river to Annie's house in Frenchtown to "check things." These trips usually took place after school and they always seemed to be on gray November days.

We'd enter the cold, empty house, the day's mail in our hands, and quickly turn up the furnace. While my mother checked every room in the deep, narrow house, we children would huddle in the living room waiting for the heat to kick in. The furnace provided a gentle, lulling sound, a sort of comforting white noise that still soothes me today. I would eagerly sift through Annie's mail for the latest women's magazine so I could read the fiction. Those were the days before stories about orgasm and geriatric sex replaced quality short stories or novellas.

While the house was empty without Annie, her spirit always seemed to remain there as it lingered for many years after her death. Late afternoon, that time of deepening darkness, was a cozy time at the old house with the incandescent lights providing a yellow glow.

When Annie was in residence, this was the time she retreated to the kitchen to make soup, salad and sandwiches for the evening meal. I did this yesterday, as night fell, preparing a quick meal of cheese sandwiches and cole slaw. As always, Annie was with me, whispering those memories in my ear. I wonder what she would think of my concoctions?

Stuffed Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Basil

  • 8 slices of roasted red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thick slices of sourdough or Italian bread
  • 2 thicks slices of gouda or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 slices tomato
  • 4-8 basil leaves
  • butter


Coat the pepper slices with olive oil and roast in a 450-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Set aside. Butter the bread lightly on all four sides, then layer with cheese, pepper, tomato and basil leaves. Melt butter in a skillet, and toast the sandwiches until both sides are golden brown.

Next time, I'll layer the sandwiches with sautéed onion slices for extra flavor.

I served this with cole slaw to which I added chopped cranberries and grated Granny Smith apple. I think an olive medley would have been a better choice.

18 comments:

Christine said...

Well Mimi, you've written a lovely novella yourself, and given me the perfect thing to fix for my dinner tonight. Bless you!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

My pleasure, Christine. I'd love to pop over to join you for supper - you are so creative!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Nothing better than a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold Fall day. And it's nice to read about Grandma Annie again.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I think so, too, Lydia.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I know what Annie would think about this sandwich: it's gorgeous granddaughter!

That looks like a fabulous sandwich, I would love it.

Judy said...

I guess great minds think a like. I stayed home today with a nasty cold and I've been craving a grilled cheese all morning. Of course I'd have to go buy the makings and getting dressed is not a thing I want to do right now. It's 10:30 though and the closer it gets to lunch time, getting dressed sounds better and better. I love your Annie stories and always say Oh Goody when you write one.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Thanks, Tanna. I once had a dream, not long after I started this blog, that Annie came back and told me she was proud of me. It warmed me for days.

Judy, I hope you are feeling better soon. Personally, I think cheese may do the trick.

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Some of my favorite finds at tag sales are the old women's magazines! You are so right...much of what is being published today is drivel. You made me laugh out loud over this post, Mimi! And as for the menu, we have had some similar of late, with all the cooler weather...soup and sandwich go together!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Cyn, remember the gentle writings of Gladys Tabor and Faith Baldwin in the 1960s women's magazines? The closest I've come to finding anything similar is the late Jo Northrop in the County Living magazines of the 1980s.

BTW, I've sampled several different versions of tomato soup lately, all of them wonderful!

Toni said...

Haven't made a grill cheese sandwich in ages. Thank you for reminding me! Seems that somehow, grilled cheese sandwiches are part of everyone's childhood memories. I think Grandma Annie would have absolutely loved your sandwich.

Glenna said...

mmmmm....lovely. Really lovely, from the memories to the sandwiches.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Toni, I often wonder what she would make of her place on my blog. I think she would smile that sweet secret smile she had...

Hi Glenna! I just crave melted cheese this time of year, for some reason.

breadchick said...

Oh Mimi, these are such lovely looking sandwiches! Glad you are back in the groove in too.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

BC, I think a specialty bread would really enhance this sandwich!

Eileen said...

Comfort food!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Yes! Let's hear it for comfort food!

Betty C. said...

When I first tasted roasted red pepper, I thought I had died and gone to heaven! They're served a lot in sandwiches in London, I know -- maybe in Paris too or the "real" south of France, but not in these parts.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Go figure, Betty!

The red peppers I found last year in Paris were divine.