sandwich

Fried Green Tomatoes

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I go out to my garden now and it's still warm, like summer. But the leaves on big maple trees in the back are starting to turn and I can see the vague copper tips. It's that transition season when you want to grab the last of summer but your head understands that autumn is coming.

I've picked dozens of luscious tomatoes in the last few weeks, but there are still some green ones hanging on the vines. Do I wait for them to ripen and have the last few precious bites?

What if there's a sudden frost! That happened to me last year and all my tomatoes were ruined.

Here's what to do: use some green tomatoes and leave just a few to ripen and hope for the best.

In the past I've baked green tomato pie, fried green tomato slices, baked green tomato slices, made green tomato pickles and cut green tomatoes into different kinds of chutney.

This year I decided to pack them into a sandwich.

Dee-lish.

Fried Green Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Cheese Sandwich

  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with one teaspoon water
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 12-16 slices green tomato (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 4 Portuguese rolls, sliced
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill with the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell peppers and cut them into quarters. Brush the pepper pieces with the olive oil. Broil the pepper pieces, turning them occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until charred. Remove the pieces to a plate. When cool, peel off the skin.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mix the flour with some salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Place the beaten eggs in another dish. Place the breadcrumbs in a third dish. Coat the tomato slices with flour. Shake off the excess. Dip the coated slices in the beaten eggs, covering the slices completely. Coat the slices with the breadcrumbs. Place the tomato slices on a cookie sheet or baking rack to air dry for at least 15 minutes. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Place the rolls in the oven to warm them up for about 4-5 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven. While the rolls are warming, mix the mayonnaise and basil together. Spread equal amounts of the mayonnaise on the bottoms of each of the rolls. Top each with 3-4 tomato slices. Top each with two roasted pepper quarters. Top each with equal amounts of the cheese. Finally, cover with the top of the roll. Place back in the oven for a minute or so to slightly melt the cheese and serve.

 

Makes 4 sandwiches

Easy Peasy Fuss-Free Blueberry Jam

Things are still blooming in my garden. And I'm not usually so lucky when it comes to my produce plantings, so I only planted tomatoes and herbs.

Next year: going to try berries. Strawberries and blueberries.

In the meantime it's store bought for me (including farmer's markets).

So the other day, when Fairway had a sale on blueberries (each dry pint for $1!!!!)I bought 5 (the limit). Even though I already had some fresh blueberries at home.

And then I had to use them.

I made blueberry cake, blueberry muffins and blueberry soup (so refreshing on a summer day!). And a blueberry crisp.

And also blueberry jam.

I like jam, but don't like fussing with sterilizing jars and putting the jars in one of those water-bath things. So I only make an amount that will be used within a couple of weeks and store it in my fridge. For example, for:

Here's the simple recipe:

Fuss-Free Blueberry Jam

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 cup sugar

Place the blueberries, orange juice, orange peel and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing down on the ingredients with a wooden spoon to crush the berries slightly. When the liquid has thickened to jam-like, remove the pan from the heat. Let cool and spoon into a jar. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

 

Philly Cheese Steak, the Kosher way

Philadelphia. City of Brotherly Love. So named (from the Greek words "philos" meaning love and "adelphos" meaning brother) because the city's founder, William Penn, wanted the place to be a refuge from religious persecution. 

I wonder what Penn might think of that today, what with this year's contentious election and the Democratic National Convention at hand in the city.

But, current times aside, Philadelphia has a lovely history.

Home of the Liberty Bell. And Independence Hall, where the founding fathers debated (and adopted) the Declaration of Independence AND the Constitution.

Once the temporary capital of the United States while the newly minted America waited for the District of Columbia to be built.

And, among the more mundane of matters, home of the Philly Cheese Steak.

Philly Cheese Steak.

I have to say, I've been to Philadelphia several times and never ate one.

But thoughts of the city and its famous hoagie (hero sandwich, sub, whatever others may call it) got me to think about trying one at home.

Kosher.

I looked at lots of recipes and saw that they called for different cuts of beef, cut into strips. I decided on skirt steak because it's so juicy and flavorful.

I also noticed that the cheese could be cheddar or American or provolone and even -- OY -- cheese whiz. 

I opted for provolone (non-dairy, soy-based from Daiya Foods) because it has such a magnificent tang to it.

Some recipes called for sauteed mushrooms or other vegetables in addition to the more usual onions and red bell pepper. I decided not to.

In the end -- magnifico!!

Does it taste the way a Philly Cheese Steak is supposed to? 

I have no clue.

All I know is that it tasted good. Very good.

And so, in honor of Philadelphia's few days in the sun again -- my recipe for Philly Cheese Steak.

 

Kosher Philly Cheese Steak

  • 8 ounces skirt steak, semi-frozen
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into narrow strips
  • 2 hoagie rolls
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 slices Daiya soy “provolone style cheese”

Cut the beef into thin slices against the grain. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper strips and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add the meat to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Cut the rolls in half. Move the meat and vegetables to one side of the pan (or temporarily spoon into a plate) and place the 4 pieces of roll, cut side down in the pan. Cook for a minute or so, to lightly toast the rolls. Turn the rolls cut side up. Using equal quantities, place equal quantities of meat and vegetables on each of the two roll bottoms. Top with equal amounts of the soy cheese. Cover with the tops of the rolls. Turn the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for a minute or so or until the cheese has melted.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Avocado, California's Big Winner

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When I was a young Mom I met another young woman for a playdate for our daughters. She lived in the same town in Connecticut as I did, but had originally come from California. We became friends, and so did our kids, and we spent time together talking about things most mothers talk about. School. Babysitters. What our children should/don't/won't eat.

We also talked about food. One day she mentioned avocado. 

What?

Please don't think I'm a dinosaur, but back in the late 1970s avocados were not a thing. REALLY! I had heard of them. In fact once, when I was a little girl my mother took me for lunch at Lord & Taylor in the city and I insisted on trying tuna-salad-filled avocado (which my mother let me do although she insisted I would hate it -- and I did). 

I hadn't had an avocado since that time.

And I had not yet heard of guacamole, which this women raved about. She said everyone in California made guacamole. So, I started to also.

Now, these many years (and thousands of avocados later) I can say I am well acquainted with avocados, not just for guacamole but for dozens and dozens of recipes

Many thanks to the woman who name-dropped avocado. Many thanks to California, thriving avocado country (in fact, according to The California Difference, the Hass avocado is a California native).

Today that state will have its presidential primaries. And no matter who you are rooting for, I can say without question, the avocado is the state's big winner.

Avocado, Egg and Tomato Sandwich with Pesto Mayonnaise

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 slices Tuscan-Italian style bread
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, basil and garlic and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use (may be made 2 days ahead). Toast the bread slices lightly. While the bread is toasting, heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, pour in the eggs and cook, moving the egg around slightly to allow wet portions to reach the bottom of the pan. When the egg is almost cooked, flip it over, cook briefly and remove from the pan. Spread some of the pesto mayonnaise on 2 slices of the toasted bread. Top each with half the cooked egg. Top with slices of avocado and tomato. Cover with remaining bread slice. Cut sandwiches in half.

Makes 2 servings

Salmon Melt with Tomatoes, Squash and Chives

Salmon Melt

Salmon Melt

Everyone I know who has a garden says that it's overflowing with tomatoes and zucchini. Eggplants and basil. Lettuce and bell peppers.

What should they do with all this produce?

A question for the ages, because this happens to everyone who has a garden, every year.

Except for me. I got exactly one tomato on one plant, one tomato on another and the third one has three teeny green ones and a few flowers. Most of my basil was devoured by local animals and the few that were left have just a few leaves. 

I didn't even bother to plant anything else because I have failed summer after summer.

EXCEPT for the chives! I have a lovely, flourishing pot of chives!

So I snipped some of those lovely, fragrant stalks and added them to a Salmon Melt Sandwich. Leftover salmon of course, plus tomatoes and summer squash from someone else's garden.

I am certain that the chives make all the difference in how wonderful this tastes.

 

Salmon Melts with TOMATOES, SQUASH and Chives

  • 2 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
  • 8-12 thin slices yellow squash or zucchini
  • 4-8 slices tomato
  • 5-6 ounces cooked salmon, broken into chunks
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the butter equally on one side of each of the toast slices. Place the slices on a cookie sheet. Place 2-3 slices of squash and 1-2 slices of tomato on top. Place equal amounts of the salmon on top of the tomato. Scatter with the chives. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake the sandwiches for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.

 

Makes 4 pieces

Turkey Burgers with Avocado Ketchup

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A long time ago I read that ketchup began in the far east as a kind of fish sauce and it was ages and ages later that some smartie decided to make it with tomatoes.

The rest, as they say, is history. When you say "ketchup," most people picture the thick, red, viscous condiment.

In my family we don't argue over what ketchup means. We don't even argue about what kind to buy, because even though I've cooked my own tomato ketchup from time to time, our brand is Heinz. 

But I do make other kinds of ketchup too. Plum ketchup, for example. They're sort of like smooth chutneys that go well with grilled chicken, beef, lamb and so on. 

So recently, now that it's outdoor grill season, I made avocado ketchup, which is the perfect condiment for turkey burgers. No cooking involved (except for the burgers).

Is it really just a simplified form of guacamole, pureed to a fare-thee-well?

Maybe. But I call it ketchup.

 

Turkey Burgers with Avocado Ketchup

 

  • 1 large, ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 medium scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium Serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, optional
  • 8 slices toasted bread
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced

 

Cut the avocado into chunks and place the pieces in a food processor. Add the tomatoes, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice and some salt and pepper and process until thoroughly blended and uniform in color (mixture should have the consistency of ketchup). Set aside. Place the turkey, scallions, Serrano pepper, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl and mix to combine the ingredients evenly. Shape the mixture into 4 burger patties. Grill the burgers on an outdoor grill OR heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the burgers for about 2 minutes per side or until crispy and cooked through. Place 4 slices of toasted bread on each of four plates. Place tomato slices over the bread. Top with the burgers. Top with equal amounts of the avocado ketchup. Cover with remaining toast slices.

 

Makes 4 servings

Chicken Salad with Apples and Almonds

Ed and I have been married long enough for us to have discussed a zillion topics from public school vs. private to what color to paint the living room to which is the best mouthwash.

We never run out of conversation. But I sure was surprised last week when we found ourselves talking about whether chicken salad tastes best when you make it with soup-cooked, poached chicken or leftover roasted/rotisserie chicken. 

How had we missed this important matter in all this time?

It seems as if he finally felt compelled to let me know that my way — like my mom’s, using the chicken from the pot of chicken soup I had cooked — was not as good as the way he remembered his mom’s way (made with leftover roasted/rotisserie chicken). He added that all these years he had been eating my softer, more tender chicken salad, and enjoying it, but missed that extra “chew” you get from the meat of a roasted bird.

What do you know about that?!

Well, in any event, we both remembered that despite the difference in the way the chicken was cooked, both mothers diced the meat, added some chopped celery, mixed it with mayo and called it a day. Whereas, I never make chicken salad that way and, in fact, rarely make it the same way twice.

So folks, whatever you prefer — poached or roasted, barbecued, rotisseried or whatever, the following salad makes for a tasty sandwich filler. Feel free to change the meat to turkey, the almonds to hazelnuts, the apple to pear, the dill to tarragon, if you get my drift ….

Chicken Salad with Apples and Almonds

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 4-5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the chicken, apple, almonds and dill in a bowl and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the mayonnaise, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, mix.

Makes 2 servings

Grilled Cheese, Egg and Avocado Panini

Grilled Cheese with a difference 
 For me, grilled cheese brings to mind the  version my mother made : slices of American cheese over one piece of white bread (sometimes topped with a slice of tomato) and broiled or toaster-oven toasted until the cheese melted and bubbled on top. 
 But grilled cheese is one of those dishes that defies definition. Although almost everyone’s mother I knew back in my childhood days made the sandwich with American cheese and white bread (except that, unlike my mom, they used two slices of bread and fried the sandwich instead of toasting it), that wasn’t the case for all households. 
 Some moms used actual, real cheese, not processed American. Like my friend Lynne’s mother, who made it with Swiss cheese, which I hated, but this woman was so strict and glared at us so sternly that I ate every bit of that sandwich when I was at her house. To this day I can see Mrs. Remer standing there, arms folded over a well-endowed chest and willing us to finish. 
 When I was much older I realized that grilled cheese might be a kid favorite (at least when it had American cheese or, at worst, cheddar), but it continues to endure all through adulthood. It does in our house. Ed and I eat grilled cheese for dinner occasionally, or for a Sunday late breakfast, lunch or early dinner.  
 I use all sorts of meltable cheeses (even Swiss) and types of bread and add other ingredients for variety. Like  fruit   or     jam . One time we wanted something more substantial, so I made this version: 

  
 Grilled Cheese, Egg and Avocado Panini 
 2 teaspoons butter 
 2 large eggs 
 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
 4 slices homestyle white or multigrain bread 
  1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, optional  
 3-4 ounces cheddar, sliced 
 4-6 tomato slices 
 1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and sliced 
 1 tablespoon butter 
 Melt the 2 teaspoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs and place them in the pan. Cook until the whites are set and barely crispy. Flip the eggs and cook for 30-45 seconds. Dish out and set aside. Spread equal amounts of mayonnaise on each of two slices of bread (mix the mayonnaise with basil if desired). Top with equal amounts of cheese, tomato and avocado slices. Add one egg on top of each sandwich. Cover with second piece of bread. Melt half the remaining tablespoon of butter in the sauté pan over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan. Place another, heavier pan on top. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the heavier pan, lift the sandwiches with a spatula and add the remaining butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, turn the sandwiches on the uncooked side, weight down with the heavier pan and cook for another minute or so or until second side is golden brown. Makes 2 sandwiches

Grilled Cheese with a difference

For me, grilled cheese brings to mind the version my mother made: slices of American cheese over one piece of white bread (sometimes topped with a slice of tomato) and broiled or toaster-oven toasted until the cheese melted and bubbled on top.

But grilled cheese is one of those dishes that defies definition. Although almost everyone’s mother I knew back in my childhood days made the sandwich with American cheese and white bread (except that, unlike my mom, they used two slices of bread and fried the sandwich instead of toasting it), that wasn’t the case for all households.

Some moms used actual, real cheese, not processed American. Like my friend Lynne’s mother, who made it with Swiss cheese, which I hated, but this woman was so strict and glared at us so sternly that I ate every bit of that sandwich when I was at her house. To this day I can see Mrs. Remer standing there, arms folded over a well-endowed chest and willing us to finish.

When I was much older I realized that grilled cheese might be a kid favorite (at least when it had American cheese or, at worst, cheddar), but it continues to endure all through adulthood. It does in our house. Ed and I eat grilled cheese for dinner occasionally, or for a Sunday late breakfast, lunch or early dinner. 

I use all sorts of meltable cheeses (even Swiss) and types of bread and add other ingredients for variety. Like fruit or jam. One time we wanted something more substantial, so I made this version:

Grilled Cheese, Egg and Avocado Panini

2 teaspoons butter

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 slices homestyle white or multigrain bread

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, optional

3-4 ounces cheddar, sliced

4-6 tomato slices

1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon butter

Melt the 2 teaspoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs and place them in the pan. Cook until the whites are set and barely crispy. Flip the eggs and cook for 30-45 seconds. Dish out and set aside. Spread equal amounts of mayonnaise on each of two slices of bread (mix the mayonnaise with basil if desired). Top with equal amounts of cheese, tomato and avocado slices. Add one egg on top of each sandwich. Cover with second piece of bread. Melt half the remaining tablespoon of butter in the sauté pan over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan. Place another, heavier pan on top. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the heavier pan, lift the sandwiches with a spatula and add the remaining butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, turn the sandwiches on the uncooked side, weight down with the heavier pan and cook for another minute or so or until second side is golden brown. Makes 2 sandwiches

Salmon Zucchini Melts with Dill Butter

Sandwiches for breakfast?  Why not?! They’re easy to prepare and they fill you up. That sounds good to me, especially in the summer when you want to get out of the kitchen quickly and get on with your life.   They’re good for brunch too. Note that if you have sleepover company during the summer, which I do, often, so I am always looking for food that’s easy but a little different too.  You can carry some sandwiches around, to eat on your terrace or at a picnic area or playground. (Remember that sandwiches were invented for convenience, by a gambler who wanted to eat and play at the gaming tables at the same time).  And they’re an especially good way to use up leftovers, which is a particular thing for me. I hate to throw food out (ask my kids, who would often make fun of the little packages of this and that in my fridge. In fact, they still do that, come to think of it.)  Here’s one, a riff on the old Tuna Melt. It’s not the tote-around kind of sandwich, but is a terrific, nutritious and satisfying sandwich for late breakfast or brunch. Or even dinner. And it finishes up that little bit of salmon from yesterday’s dinner. And the small amount of extra mozzarella cheese. And the English muffins you’ve had in the freezer for a while.   Salmon Zucchini Melts with Dill Butter   2 English muffins (or 2 slices whole wheat bread)  1-1/2 tablespoons butter, slightly softened  1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill  8 slices zucchini  4 slices tomato  4 ounces cooked salmon  1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese  4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese  Heat the oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Lightly toast the bread and spread each piece with equal amounts of butter. Sprinkle the dill on top. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Layer 2 slices of zucchini and one slice of tomato on top. Cut the salmon into small chunks and place on top of the tomato. Scatter the mozzarella cheese over the fish. Finally, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake the sandwiches for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.     Makes 2 sandwiches    

Sandwiches for breakfast?

Why not?! They’re easy to prepare and they fill you up. That sounds good to me, especially in the summer when you want to get out of the kitchen quickly and get on with your life. 

They’re good for brunch too. Note that if you have sleepover company during the summer, which I do, often, so I am always looking for food that’s easy but a little different too.

You can carry some sandwiches around, to eat on your terrace or at a picnic area or playground. (Remember that sandwiches were invented for convenience, by a gambler who wanted to eat and play at the gaming tables at the same time).

And they’re an especially good way to use up leftovers, which is a particular thing for me. I hate to throw food out (ask my kids, who would often make fun of the little packages of this and that in my fridge. In fact, they still do that, come to think of it.)

Here’s one, a riff on the old Tuna Melt. It’s not the tote-around kind of sandwich, but is a terrific, nutritious and satisfying sandwich for late breakfast or brunch. Or even dinner. And it finishes up that little bit of salmon from yesterday’s dinner. And the small amount of extra mozzarella cheese. And the English muffins you’ve had in the freezer for a while.

Salmon Zucchini Melts with Dill Butter

2 English muffins (or 2 slices whole wheat bread)

1-1/2 tablespoons butter, slightly softened

1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

8 slices zucchini

4 slices tomato

4 ounces cooked salmon

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Lightly toast the bread and spread each piece with equal amounts of butter. Sprinkle the dill on top. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Layer 2 slices of zucchini and one slice of tomato on top. Cut the salmon into small chunks and place on top of the tomato. Scatter the mozzarella cheese over the fish. Finally, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake the sandwiches for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.

 

Makes 2 sandwiches


 

Kid Lunch. Toasted Cheese

Gillian’s new App,  Lalalunchbox , is a big hit. Kids all over the world, it seems, and their parents, are using it to help them pick stuff for lunch. (And the App also sets a shopping list up for you.) 
 Naturally, I’m thrilled for her. And happy for all those people out there who use it and have a chance to talk with their kids about the food they bring to school. And the App is fun to use too. 
 It also prompted a conversation about lunch with my trainer this morning because while I’m working out, as I’ve mentioned here before, Robbie and I talk about food practically the whole time I am doing pushups, squats and running up and down the stairs. 
 We talked about “retro-lunch.” You know, the kind of stuff we took to school or ate at home (I walked home from school at lunchtime) when we were kids. His Mom sent things like meatball sandwich (two of them) plus an apple or other fruit, “something crunchy,” like Doritos, and something sweet, like chocolate chip cookies. 
 My Mom made a sandwich, like salami or cream cheese and jelly or leftover roast beef. But my favorite was her Toasted Cheese, hot if she was home, cool and waiting for me on the counter if she wasn’t. No fruit as I remember. Or anything crunchy or sweet. Snack was for when I got home at the end of the day at 3:30, always milk and cookies. 
 I still make Toasted Cheese the way my Mom did. Two or three slices of American cheese on each of two pieces of bread, then broiled (these days in the toaster oven of course). Eaten open-faced. 
 Very often she left the sandwich in the broiler a few seconds too long and burn bubbles appeared on top of the cheese. I didn’t complain about that. In fact, I thought it added to the flavor. 
 Still do. 
 Here’s how I make the Toasted Cheese, which, by the way, you can put in a kid’s lunchbox as a sandwich (I’ve done that for my grandchildren), by slapping it together like a regular sandwich. 
 Toasted Cheese 
 2 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread 
 1 tablespoon butter, optional 
 4-6 slices, approximately, American cheese (or cheddar slices) 
 tomato slices, optional 
 Slather the bread slices with butter, if desired. Place 2-3 slices American cheese on each slice of bread. Top with a slice of tomato if desired. Toast in a toaster oven until hot and bubbly, or longer if you like blackish-brownish burnt bubbles on the surface. Eat open-faced or place the centers together for a traditional closed sandwich. Makes one sandwich.

Gillian’s new App, Lalalunchbox, is a big hit. Kids all over the world, it seems, and their parents, are using it to help them pick stuff for lunch. (And the App also sets a shopping list up for you.)

Naturally, I’m thrilled for her. And happy for all those people out there who use it and have a chance to talk with their kids about the food they bring to school. And the App is fun to use too.

It also prompted a conversation about lunch with my trainer this morning because while I’m working out, as I’ve mentioned here before, Robbie and I talk about food practically the whole time I am doing pushups, squats and running up and down the stairs.

We talked about “retro-lunch.” You know, the kind of stuff we took to school or ate at home (I walked home from school at lunchtime) when we were kids. His Mom sent things like meatball sandwich (two of them) plus an apple or other fruit, “something crunchy,” like Doritos, and something sweet, like chocolate chip cookies.

My Mom made a sandwich, like salami or cream cheese and jelly or leftover roast beef. But my favorite was her Toasted Cheese, hot if she was home, cool and waiting for me on the counter if she wasn’t. No fruit as I remember. Or anything crunchy or sweet. Snack was for when I got home at the end of the day at 3:30, always milk and cookies.

I still make Toasted Cheese the way my Mom did. Two or three slices of American cheese on each of two pieces of bread, then broiled (these days in the toaster oven of course). Eaten open-faced.

Very often she left the sandwich in the broiler a few seconds too long and burn bubbles appeared on top of the cheese. I didn’t complain about that. In fact, I thought it added to the flavor.

Still do.

Here’s how I make the Toasted Cheese, which, by the way, you can put in a kid’s lunchbox as a sandwich (I’ve done that for my grandchildren), by slapping it together like a regular sandwich.

Toasted Cheese

2 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread

1 tablespoon butter, optional

4-6 slices, approximately, American cheese (or cheddar slices)

tomato slices, optional

Slather the bread slices with butter, if desired. Place 2-3 slices American cheese on each slice of bread. Top with a slice of tomato if desired. Toast in a toaster oven until hot and bubbly, or longer if you like blackish-brownish burnt bubbles on the surface. Eat open-faced or place the centers together for a traditional closed sandwich. Makes one sandwich.