On campus we have a College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. I don't really know much about it except that I can go to the student run restaurant and eat lunch for about $5 and that they have a wonderful archives.
This archives was started as part of the Hilton Archives and then sort of morphed. Have you ever watched Mad Men? The producers of the show came to the archives to get images, old advertising materials, and an idea of the look of that era. Pretty cool, no?
This archives has things like plates from restaurants and hotels around the world, a spittoon from God knows where, images, movies and vinyl records from Hilton and other hotels from around the world, a picture of Hemingway ogling a young starlet at the Havana Hilton opening, and last (and in my opinion) the best; cookbooks from the 1870s to current. Hundreds of them! Every edition of the Joy of Cooking! Not to mention the cooking magazines and pamphlets collection! Yes, my friends, it is a Michele Playland!
We will be scanning some of these gems into digital to preserve them since most of the oldest ones are falling apart. This means that I just had to borrow a few to look at. I'll be sharing some home remedies with you later in the week but for now I'll share a recipe that I only had to tweak a little and it turned out wonderful. It is not what you think of as tomato sandwiches.
1 - 8 ounces package of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons dried seasoning mix, like Italian, Herbs d'Provance, Cajun, taco or whatever you have on hand. I say get creative.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg beaten with a little milk
1/2 cup bread crumbs
4 medium to large firm tomatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Mix cream cheese and seasoning mix together. Let stand until flavors blend. Usually an hour or so. This is a great mix ahead sort of thing. Just be sure that you take it out of the refrigerator to allow it to soften up before you make the sandwiches.
2. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 to 1/2 in slices. (don't you hate it when recipes get real precise on the size of slices? Really, recipe writer? Do you expect me to whip out my handy ruler?) It kind of goes without saying that you will need an even number of these slices. Divide into two stacks.
3. Spread a tablespoon or so of the cheese mixture onto each tomato slice of one of the stacks. Top with another tomato slice. Press down to distribute the cheese mixture. See little tomato sandwiches. Now, you could eat them just like this, I know I would but let's take it one step further into the realm of deliciousness.
4. Place the flour, egg mixture and bread crumbs into separate dishes. Basically, you are setting up a breading station. I like to use salad plates. They seem to be the right size and shape but use whatever you have that's handy. We are now coming to the really messy part.
5. Dip one tomato sandwich into the flour, coating it on both sides. Then the egg mixture, once again coating it on both sides. Then the bread crumbs. Yep, you'll be coating it on both sides. Place on a wire rack until you have all the sandwiches coated. I made them up ahead of time and stored them uncovered in the refrigerator until I was ready to fry them up. Gives them a little time to firm up before you put the fire to them. A little tip for you. Use only one hand to do the breading operation. That way you only have one breaded club hand.
6. Heat up butter and olive oil in a large frypan. Fry each side of the tomato sandwich until golden brown. Serve warm. 1 per person. 1 very large and 3 medium sized tomatoes serves about 6.
They are awesome the next day. I warmed up the remaining two under the broiler while I poached a couple of eggs. Placed on a bed of fresh spinach, topped with the egg and some chopped fresh tomato. Yum!!!!
Uh, yeah, pictures. Sorry. We ate them too fast and I didn't think of it. If you need an image in your head think really thick fried green tomatoes, only not green and oozing cheese. Aren't I helpful?
I'm pretty sure that these would be wonderful with herbed goat cheese. In fact, I plan to try it this week and will pass on the results. Maybe, I might even take pictures. Wouldn't that be cool?
Give this recipe a try for Meatless Monday or any old day of the week.