my sister kate made me one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches i have ever had, and i’ve been trying to repeat it since. i have reason to believe it didn’t really have anything to do with her sandwich making skills, though they do run in our family, but more because of our dad’s toaster oven. it also helped that she used good bread, and extra sharp cheddar cheese. i found some of my dad’s hot tomato jam in the refrigerator and slathered some of that on it as well. for today’s meatless monday lunch, this was my attempt to recreate it:

good rustic sourdough bread from two bits market

sliced.

slice sharp cheddar and gruyère thin.

brush or spray a little olive oil on the outside of the bread, and layer with cheese on the inside.

carefully place on a rack in a 350º oven for 5 minutes. turn over for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

remove from the oven. open up the sandwich, and spread some tomato jam on the inside.

i like to have a little extra to dip it in too.

it was close, but still not as good at the one kate made me. damn it.

danny’s hot tomato jam:

  • x pounds of tomatoes and equal amount of sugar (out of season this may be made with large cans of plain whole tomatoes)
  • crushed red pepper flakes (to degree of hot)
  • 1-2 lemon juice and rind slivered
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

scald the skin the tomatoes in a large heavy pan. cut tomatoes into small pieces and crush fine. cover with the sugar, stir. add 1 tsp pepper flakes (or more to taste). add cinnamon stick, zest and juice of lemon, grated ginger to taste. let stand in the fridge overnight 8-10 hours. Drain juice from pulp and cook down. add pulp and cook down until jam begins to pearl and thicken. while cooking prepare jars and lids by boiling them for 10 minutes. let jars cool. if you use paraffin, fill jars to within 1/4″ with hot jam and let cool a bit. then cover with paraffin and seal with lids. or, fill jars close to full, cover with lids and tighten slightly. when jars have cooled seal them tight.

(wf+t notes: i found a whole clove in the jar i just opened, so they may have been mistakenly omitted from his recipe. personally, i wouldn’t mind a little more heat, but because he doesn’t state the amount of tomatoes he used for the 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, that will have to be experimented with. also, even though i would have liked to talk to him about his recipe while he was still alive, because there are a few things left unclear, they will have to be left up for interpretation, which is how he liked to cook anyway, so it seems fitting.)

thanks pops! miss you + love you.

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