Not Your Average Sandwich

This month we elevated the humble sandwich to levels that'll make you the envy of every lunch table! We explored some lower carb options, as well as other sandwich-making tips.

September 25, 2019

Don't miss the next episode

Audio Transcript


What’s Cooking – Not Your Average Sandwich

Presented by Elyse Heinrich and Pam Winters

September 25, 2019

Elyse H: Welcome, everybody, and we would like to welcome you to the What's Cooking discussion group. My name's Elyse Heinrich, a learning expert with Hadley, and I'm here with my cohost, Pam Winters. We will be moderating, but definitely loving your suggestions and input today.

Pam W: Hi, everybody. This is Pam. I'll be jotting down the resources that people share today. Let's see; so before we get started on our topic, I wanted to see if there's anybody who tried out anything new over the past month that they wanted to share with us. Well?

Elyse H: Sue, do you have a comment to share?

Sue: I wanted to let you know that I've done some more fermentation experiments. This morning, I even made avocado sauerkraut, and it is delicious.

Pam W: Awesome. If you have a recipe for that, Sue, and you want to email it to either Elyse or myself, that'd be great.

Sue: Will do.

Pam W: We're collecting all of them. We're not sure yet how we're going to go about sharing those, but we'll collecting all the recipes that people share with us, so that would be great.

Elyse H: This is Elyse. I'm just curious. How did you ever come up with avocado, to think to ferment avocado?

Sue: I really have gotten overboard with fermentation. As a matter of fact, I have volunteered to do a presentation at my local library, and I want to make sure that before I put out some suggestions of the more weird things that I have come up with that I have actually tried them. So this morning, I took one of those huge avocados, not the normal size ones, but the huge ones, and we used 3/4 of it to half a head of cabbage and a tablespoon of salt and a couple of cloves of garlic.

I had more than enough for one jar but not really enough for more than one jar. You know, like a couple left over tablespoons, and it is so good. I can't wait to actually go after it in several days.

Elyse H: Oh, what a great idea. So you're trying them out before you tell other people.

Sue: I sure am.

Elyse H: Great. Other people have fermentation experiments they want to share? Charles. I'll go ahead and unmute you.

Charles: Okay. How about green tomato relish?

Elyse H: Why don't you tell us it.

Charles: Basically, you take your grater, like a cheese grater, and you grate your tomatoes and you pour salt over the top of it and let it sit 24 hours. Then you remove the salt that's on top and you've got a brine. Then you mix it with celery seed, and I don't know what all I used- it's been about 25 years since I've made this. When I was a boy, I used to make green tomato relish and we'd put it on hotdogs, or my mom would make it for the hotdogs.

Today, I can't eat the cucumber relish. When I can find the tomato relish in the store, I buy it, but I don't like the cucumber relish. I love the green tomato relish. You can look it up on the internet probably, finding out how to make it, what ingredients. But it's fermented.

Pam W: Okay, thanks Charles. I'm one that's like you and I'm not a big relish person, so I would be interested in- this is Pam- I'd be interested in trying that out as well, so-

Charles: I have found the Amish make it.

Pam W: Okay.

Charles: And I've bought some from the Amish. And, about 20 years ago I made a batch and lasted me forever. You know, you put something up and it just seems to last forever. Until it runs out.

Pam W: Right, for sure.

Charles: It's good on beans too. Like pintos or great northern beans.

Pam W: Okay. Yeah, I'm going to have to look that up here. I'm going to try to do that right now, actually, while we continue on.

Elyse H: Yeah. Yes.

Charles: Getting to your topic of today; have you ever had a quesadilla with cheese and onion and some chicken, and some avocados? And then you fill it up, or close it up and cook it on your skillet; you know, heat it up so the cheese is melted?

Pam W: That's great. Now is there a certain way that you close it up? Or do you just kind of fold it over and hope that it stays together?

Charles: I just use a large tortilla-

Pam W: Uh-huh.

Charles: And then I put the toppings in on one side and then close it up and then put the side that was on top on the bottom while it's heating up and then after a few minutes, while the cheese melts, I flip it over- back over.

Pam W: Do you have any trouble when you do that, with the ingredients falling out when you're flipping it over; do you have any tips for us on that?

Charles: If you put too much in it, it does fall out. But if you don't stuff it real thick, you don't have any problems flipping it.

Pam W: Right.

Elyse H: To piggy-back on that, Charles; I've been at restaurants, and they put one tortilla down on the skillet, add all the middle- the toppings, the cheese, the chicken, the veggies, and then put a whole other tortilla on top. Almost like a little sandwich.

Charles: Yeah, you could do that. It's almost like a flat enchilada.

Elyse H: Sure is. Sure is. So if you want to try that with a tortilla on top and a tortilla on the bottom; it may bring the cheese and everything- bring all the middle together a little bit more.

Charles: Yeah.

Elyse H: Yeah; it's a great idea. It's definitely not your typical sandwich there.

Charles: Yeah. And also a Dagwood sandwich. Have you ever heard of a Dagwood sandwich?

Pam W: No.

Charles: This goes back- I'm 70 years old, so this goes back to when I was a kid. We used to make a- you could do it with anything, I suppose. We used to do it with peanut butter and jelly. We'd start out- we would use butter. Spread some butter on it and then put peanut butter on it and put some jelly and put some bananas and then put a piece of bread on top of that. And then we'd start another layer of butter with peanut butter and jelly and bananas; put another piece of bread on it and then start another row.

Pam W: Ooh.

Charles: And do the same thing on up- have about four pieces of bread in there. It's not healthy at all. We would do it similar to what Elvis used to do and we would put it in the griddle on the top of the stove in a pan, and we would grill one side of it and then flip it and grill the other side. So, we would have a grilled peanut butter sandwich, but the Dagwood, which would be these different layers. About four high.

Pam W: And how messy was that to eat?

Charles: It's pretty messy. It's about like going to Burger King and getting a Whopper.

Elyse H: I'm thinking you're going to need a knife and a fork for a whole-

Charles: Well, you probably could.

Elyse H: Four layered high sandwich. Wow.

Charles: It's sort of like a Club sandwich. You could probably do it with meat and other things, you know.

Elyse H: Sure.

Charles: It's similar to a Club but Elvis used to- if you ever go to Memphis [inaudible], Elvis would have a fried peanut butter and jelly- peanut butter and banana sandwich. But I don't think he did the Dagwood, and Dagwood was based off of Dagwood in Blondie. He would always have this Dagwood sandwich. It started in the 1950s.

Pam W: Charles, I did find on All Recipes just now a green tomato relish recipe, and it has the celery seed, like you mentioned; it also has red and green bell peppers in it. Did yours have-

Charles: Yes.

Pam W: Okay. Yeah, and this one is a five-star rating; 329 people have made it and 183 people have reviewed it and it has a full five stars, so-

Charles: My mother would also make a red tomato relish, but I didn't like it. I thought it was a little spicier than the green tomato relish.

Pam W: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay.

Charles: But you can make it either way, I think.

Pam W: Right. Okay. Great

Charles: Okay, I'll see you later.

Pam W: Thank you. Thanks for sharing.

Elyse H: Great. My taste buds are salivating; let's keep going. People want to join in and share their favorite toppings or fillings for sandwiches. Kind of like a brainstorming, as we are going to talk about, not your everyday school lunch kind of sandwich. Feel free to jump in with a favorite topping or fillings that you like to add.

Pam W: Well, I know that I found- oh, Sue's got something here. I'll wait with mine; we can go to Sue.

Elyse H: Okay. Okay.

Sue: You make French Toast, and you've got your batter, so you put your two pieces of bread into the French Toast batter, and you cook one side of that French Toast- you know, the two pieces of bread go down and you're cooking just one side. When that side is done, you flip one of those pieces over so it's cooking the other side, then you put a layer of cheese in the middle and you put the side that's cooked on top of the cheese and then, when the one bottom side is cooked, flip the whole sandwich. In other words, what you're making is a grilled cheese sandwich, only it's layered in French Toast batter.

Pam W: Ooh, yummy.

Sue: We used to make those on campouts, and they were fantastic. Another thing that Charles suggested, and I'm going to carry it even further, is make a dessert sandwich and put your tortilla down on your pan. You then sprinkle on marshmallows and chocolate chips, and you can put some peanut butter on that top tortilla, but towards the inside, of course. Or you don't have to, but that is a phenomenal dessert sandwich. When you flip it and you've got those marshmallows oozing out and the chocolate all melted, and...

Pam W: Ooh, yeah. Sounds like a tortilla s'more.

Sue: It is.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: This is Elyse. Have you ever done a tortilla with melted butter and cinnamon? And then baked them for probably about five minutes so it's a little crisp?

Pam W: That sounds good too.

Elyse H: And then cut them into strips. Not so much a sandwich, but it's a dessert type, with the tortilla.

Pam W: About how long do you usually have to bake that Elyse?

Elyse H: Probably about five minutes.

Pam W: Okay.

Elyse H: I did it in a toaster oven on the toast setting so it gets nice and crispy, but you've got to make sure you're not burning the butter.

Pam W: Right. Awesome.

Elyse H: Great. Thanks Sue, for your French Toast cheese sandwich. That's a new one for me.

Sue: Enjoy it.

Elyse H: Okay. I'm jotting it down to try it. We have another hand up, Ben. I'll unmute you. Go ahead.

Ben: Yeah, I'm primarily a vegetarian so I don't eat a lot of meat on sandwiches, so I eat a lot of different roasted vegetable sandwiches, and instead of using mayo, I use black bean spread or hummus. And I usually make my own hummus. It's very easy to make. You can just get a can of chickpeas and some olive oil, garlic, and season it with whatever else you want and just a little bit of lemon juice and make your own hummus. You can make it as chunky as you want and use it as a base spread for anything you want.

Pam W: This is Pam and I have a little addition there to the hummus. One thing that I've found, a few years ago when I was working with one of my school-aged students on some cooking kinds of things, is that you can replace- a lot of hummus's have tahini in them. Tahini is kind of costly so one of the things you can do is replace the tahini with peanut butter. So,

Ben: Absolutely. Because I don't use tahini paste either. You can either use... you can even replace it with just a little bit of ripe avocado too.

Pam W: Okay.

Ben: Or add anything to it that you like. You can add roasted peppers and it turns a little creamier with the avocado in it. It has a consistency of like a pimento cheese spread almost. So, it just depends. As long as you've got the chickpeas grounded up as your base, you can flavor it, or add anything you want to make it taste like anything.

Pam W: This is Pam again. I have a question then. With the black bean spread that you mentioned; do you just use the black beans in replacement of the chickpeas when you make-

Ben: No. It's totally different. The black beans- it's your black beans, you add roasted peppers, onions, garlic, and a little bit of spinach. You take the spinach, you drain it, get all the water out, you add the spinach, a little bit of milk and some cheese, and it makes a creamy black bean spread. You can also have it as a dip and take your tortilla chips with a little olive oil and lime seasoning, like Mrs. Dash lime seasoning, and put it on them and make pita chips and have it as a dip or use it as a spread for your sandwiches.

Pam W: Well, and using that Mrs. Dash cuts down on the sodium then too.

Ben: Absolutely.

Pam W: Yeah. Great. Awesome. Thank you so much.

Elyse H: Those were great ideas for vegetarian cooks or people looking to eat vegetarian.

Sue: This is Sue and I wanted to add, on top of what Ben just said. Actually, you can use any kind of beans, not just chickpeas, and I've gone all the way from lentils or split peas, to Lima beans and pinto beans and just any kind of bean works to make hummus. Of course, it's not official hummus, but you know, that's beside the point.

I also like to add beets to my hummus, and that makes it really good. Nice and purple. Nice creamier look to it.

Pam W: Yeah. I've been wanting to make beet hummus but my favorite hummus that I make- this is Pam again- is a roasted carrot hummus. Using the carrots instead of the chickpeas. So, yeah.

Ben: Oh, and just in case there's anyone out there looking for carb-friendly sides, you can always try cauliflower potato salad. You substitute cauliflower for the potatoes, and you use whatever favorite potato salad recipe you have-

Pam W: I actually-

Ben: And it comes out and tastes, actually really good.

Pam W: This is Pam again, and my mother-in-law is actually a huge connoisseur of potato salad and when she came over one day, we made that for her and we all sat around the table because everybody knew, except her, that it wasn't really potato salad, and she just was going on and on about how great it was and then we told her that it was actually cauliflower and not potatoes. She was so surprised.

Ben: Yeah, it shocked me because I never liked cauliflower because it smells like feet a little bit, but once I tried to substitute and monitor my carb intake, I just started trying it. So, like different- like the cauliflower mash instead of having mashed potatoes and you just season and doctor it up the way you want. It comes out great.

Pam W: Great. Thanks, Ben.

Ben: No problem.

Elyse H: Very great. V. Baldwin; Mr. Baldwin, Ms. Baldwin, you're next.

V. Baldwin: Hi. Yeah. My mom made this and now I do. I just really like it. You can either use canned chicken or tuna and we add little pieces of apple- about the end of your little finger- and chopped nuts of your choice and raisins or cran-raisins, something like that. That would sweeten it just every once in a while when you bite into it and it's just a real good combination. Different twist on a tuna sandwich.

Elyse H: Oh wow.

Pam W: So you said little pieces of apple in the tuna sandwich, or in the tuna mix?

V. Baldwin: Yes.

Elyse H: And are you still using mayonnaise with that? Or Miracle Whip or salad dressing or no?

V. Baldwin: Yes, you are.

Elyse H: Okay. Awesome.

Pam W: We have some really great, creative cooks out there. I love it. Let's keep going down the list here. This person's phone number starts 515. Can you tell us your name please?

Jo: Jo.

Pam W: Hi Jo. You have a comment to add to our group here?

Jo: Well, I came in a little late, but I heard you asking for spreads or fillings, and one of the things that we do, and it's not very original, so I appreciate all these new things to try. I use a couple of eight ounce packages of cream cheese and probably about a cup and a half of stuffed olives and a cup of either chopped walnuts or pecans and a little bit of the olive juice and a little bit of mayo and we use that, stir it together and use it for bagels.

Pam W: Ooh. Sounds really good.

Elyse H: That's a great idea. So, putting a spread on a bagel that you- homemade spread really.

Jo: Yeah.

Elyse H: Yeah. Not just the regular cream cheese from the store. That's great. Thank you so much for sharing.

Jo: Thank you.

Elyse H: Great. Rachel, you're next in line. Go ahead.

Rachel: Hi there. I just wanted to make a comment on the sandwiches you had mentioned. Especially the grilled cheese. My dad and I love making grilled cheese, especially with bologna. Fried bologna. We love doing that.

Elyse H: Now, I've got to ask; do you fry the bologna before you put it between the bread or is it just-

Rachel: We do.

Elyse H: Yes. Yes.

Elyse H: So good.

Elyse H: I used to do that as a kid with my great-uncle. Fond memories.

Rachel: Especially when you put onions in and grill them. Sure.

Elyse H: Yes. Yeah, it definitely is elevated grilled cheese then.

Rachel: Definitely.

Elyse H: Oh wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel: No problem.

Elyse H: Let's see. Lynn, you're next in line.

Lynn: I wanted to say, it was so interesting that your last caller was talking about grilled cheese because that's the reason I called. I like tuna melts, that's one of my favorite things. But I- this might be a little bit off topic, I guess, but how do you guys- I'm totally blind. So, how can you make grilled cheese that comes out the right way. I mean I always end up burning it or not making it toasty enough and I can't seem to get it right by myself. I was wondering if you had any tips on that.

Elyse H: Oh, for sure. The perfect grilled cheese without the burnt bread.

Lynn: Yes.

Elyse H: Yeah. Let's open it up to the floor; see if people have some tried and true techniques they use. Great question. Let's see, Barb, you're next in line- other comments.

Barb: Well, I was trying to put my hand back down because somebody had already come up with the filling. I've taken cream cheese and added chives to it, and-

Elyse H: A different kind of-

Barb: Put it on a tortilla and put some ham in it and just make my own wrap, but I'm looking for ways to get away from bread products, so I'll be interested when we get into that aspect of it.

Elyse H: Okay. So, you make tortilla wraps at home; which I've seen like little favors. They'll put the cream cheese on and then a thin layer of ham, roll them up, and then do you put like a toothpick in between and then slice them? I guess I've seen them-

Barb: No. I just roll it up and eat it like that or sometimes, I'll slice it up. But I definitely want to try that one with the green olives and- that sounded so yummy.

Elyse H: It sure does. Great, thank you. Why don't we keep going down the line here? Great ideas. Let's see, Marilyn, you're next in line.

Marilyn: Hi. My idea was for sandwiches, I love a BLT with cheese. With cheese or pimento cheese, and I like to cook the bacon ahead of time so it's not greasy when you put it on the sandwich because that kind of makes the sandwich more greasy than you might want it to be. If you want a BLT but you don't really want to cut into a tomato or you have trouble slicing a tomato, you can take grape tomatoes, cut them in half and lay them flat on your bread. That way you get the tomato flavor without either having to cut into a tomato or if it's a problem for you.

Pam W: This is Pam. Marilyn, I was just wondering, have you ever tried using either a tomato-knife, or a lettuce knife to cut tomatoes?

Marilyn: Well, I tend to use one of those- I'm not sure what they're called- but they have multi slots in them and you press the whole tomato against it and it slices it...

Pam W: Right. Um-

Marilyn: It cuts the whole tomato. If I'm going to do one, that's usually the way I'll do it, but sometimes I just want one sandwich and I haven't really tried to slice it that thin, as thin as I want it.

Pam W: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. I love that lettuce knife because you really can't cut yourself with it and it's got the serrated edge on it, so it really cuts through that tomato skin very nicely.

Marilyn: Right, and with lettuce, I've always heard that if you're cutting lettuce, it's better to use plastic because the lettuce doesn't darken; is that true?

Pam W: I've heard the same thing. I think that it keeps better when you cut it with that lettuce knife that's made out of plastic. Yeah.

Marilyn: Yeah. That's what I've always heard, so that's what I do with my lettuce.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: Great point.

Marilyn: Okay. That's all I've got. Really mostly about the bacon.

Elyse H: Sure.

Marilyn: Cook it ahead of time and it's not as-

Elyse H: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marilyn: Yeah. That way, it's had time to drip its grease.

Elyse H: Right. BLT was on my list, so I'm glad you brought that up.

Marilyn: Oh, I love it.

Elyse H: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's a great summertime sandwich.

Marilyn: I always put cheese on them too and sometimes I use the pimento cheese-

Elyse H: Yeah.

Marilyn: You know that comes in a 16-ounce container or sometimes a slice of cheese. Just depends on what's handy.

Elyse H: Okay. And you melt the cheese a little before or you just let it sit on the bread and that's how melted it gets?

Marilyn: Either way. If you have time, you can melt it, but I don't require it. I'm fine with it just like it is. There's also a cheese spread that you can get in a jar, but it's pretty good. And you can get that in cheddar or pimento.

Elyse H: Yes. My mom used to get that for crackers, when we'd do crackers and cheese.

Marilyn: Yeah. It is good on a sandwich too.

Elyse H: Yeah. That's a great idea. I'll have to try that. Thanks, Marilyn

Marilyn: Okay.

Elyse H: Be sure to stay on. We have another caller; Ben, you're next in line.

Ben: Hi. For the young lady who was having an issue making the grilled cheese sandwich, who is completely blind; one idea she can do is, using parchment paper, and use like a butter-flavored cooking spray. Spray the bread, wrap it in parchment paper and press it down and put it in the oven, and do it that way. It's not going to be your traditional grilled cheese sandwich, but it'll toast the bread and melt it and the cheese will still be good.

Pam W: Oh neat. How long do you keep it in the oven then?

Ben: Probably no longer than five minutes.

Pam W: Yeah.

Ben: Because if you wrap it in the parchment paper, it'll make it almost like convection and it'll brown around it too and help it cook a little bit faster instead of putting it in aluminum foil, but she can do it that way. And for the young lady who wanted something different instead of eating bread; you've always got lettuce wraps or they do have different wraps that are not gluten based or flour based that are made out of different things like rice, or bean, or pea protein and you can use those. A good lettuce wrap recipe is shrimp sautéed in ginger and soy with pineapples and you can put that after you cook it, stir fry it and put that inside your lettuce wrap and wrap it up and just eat it like that; like a little bun.

Pam W: Sounds delicious.

Elyse H: It almost sounds like something from a restaurant, like a Chinese restaurant.

Ben: Yeah, but it's very simple. You can even just get a can of pineapples and just a little bit of soy sauce left from the Chinese restaurant, the package that you have and you can get, actually cooked shrimp. Cooked, peeled shrimp, and all you really want to do is just marinate it for maybe about an hour and then just warm it up. You really don't even have to cook that much because the shrimp is already cooked, and you just want to get the flavors. That's it. Just put it with whatever, butter lettuce or regular iceberg lettuce and just fold it over and you can use toothpicks to hold it. You can serve those as appetizers or have them as a main course with a side dish.

Elyse H: That sounds really good. Just the other day I had a stir-fry with a little bit of pineapple in it and I wasn't sure how it was going to do, but it gave it that extra little sweet twist to it. I really enjoyed-

Ben: Yeah. And you can always, if you like it spicy, you can always add your favorite hot sauce. Just a little splash so you can have that sweet and hot, and spicy, that umami flavor to it.

Elyse H: Sure. Do you do red pepper flakes ever, for a little spicy?

Ben: Yeah. I like it, the spicier, the better.

Pam W: Me too.

Elyse H: Yummy. Yum. Great. I think Lynn was asking about the grilled cheese, so I'll be sure to follow up with her.

Ben: No problem.

Elyse H: Yeah, with the parchment paper in the oven. To get that perfect bread grilled cheese and not anything burned. Our next person in line is Ms. Baldwin again.

V. Baldwin: Some other alternatives are cabbage leaves for using roll-ups and also, I have started cutting and cleaning out cucumbers and stuffing them with sandwich toppings or bell peppers. I like those little baby bell peppers. They come in tri-colored selection in the bag. I don't know if you've seen those yet or not, but they're real easy to deal with and then I'll put hummus of some sort in those and maybe a sliver of avocado or some sunflower seeds on top. So, it's just another way of eating sandwich type things, and I thought, gosh this would be cute for hors d'oeuvres if you go to a party or something.

The gal with the grilled cheese issue: I'm totally blind also, and I just found that I don't have a sense of smell so I can't tell when it's starting to burn. But I can tell by the way it feels with the spatula. It starts to feel crunchy and I just flip it and do the other side. Sometimes I have to flip it back and forth until it gets to that crispness that I like. I wanted to thank everybody. These ideas are wonderful. I just am really enjoying this, thank you.

Pam W: Yeah. We have a lot of people participating today. We love that.

Elyse H: Definitely. A lot of great ideas too. I'm curious about the mini bell peppers. This might not matter; do you cut the bottom off, or- well the top too, with the stem and then is it like hollowed out? Or do you keep one end on when you put your fixings in for the middle?

V. Baldwin: They're about as long as- they vary, of course, but your thumb or maybe as long as one of your fingers. And I'll cut the top off where the stem is and then I'll slice it down lengthwise, and I use the end of my thumb just to clean out the seeds.

Elyse H: Oh. Okay.

V. Baldwin: And then I'll let them dry on a paper towel and pat them dry, and they stay that way without going bad.

Elyse H: Oh neat. So kind of like the celery stalk, you know you had the ants on a log when you were a kid.

V. Baldwin: Exactly.

Elyse H: Okay. Thank you. I couldn't picture the orientation of that.

V. Baldwin: Same with the cucumbers. Just clean out the center and if you wanted to, I suppose you could slice a little tiny bit off the bottom so that it's going to sit nicely and not rock.

Elyse H: Rocking and rolling around. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pam W: This is Pam. Just to add to that, it's not sandwich-related but I do that to make nachos with those little mini bell peppers instead of using the actual chips for a lower carb alternative and they are yummy that way. I've also used jalapenos, you know because I like spicy, but I still clean out all the seeds so it's really not even that hot when you do it with jalapenos, but it completely, almost completely takes all of the carbs out of it by doing that.

Elyse H: What a clever idea. Instead of chips, using bell peppers and then all the toppings on top. Or whichever toppings you like, really.

Pam W: Exactly.

Elyse H: Great. Let's see. We have a big long line here, so we'll keep going for- Charles is next in line.

Charles: Another thing you can do is on your stove, turn your stove on high, but before you start cooking put your skillet on, turn the stove down to low or in between medium and low. Then put your skillet on and let it heat up. The reason you turn it on high to start with is that you want that burner to get warm and then you turn it down low to cook on. You cook on low and it should take about three minutes to toast.

Pam W: Okay.

Charles: For your grilled cheese sandwich. Then you take your hand and the feel of it, you can't see it, and if it's not toasted enough, you can put it back on a minute. If you can't smell it; I do it by smell and if it smells burnt, I know I burned it. But if you cook it on lower heat, you have more to play with and you're more likely to not burn things that way. Whereas, if you cook it on high heat, your meat or whatever you're cooking, it's tougher and you have a tendency to burn what you've got. If you're cooking pancakes, you can cook it on high heat. You ever seen Green Acres where Oliver fixes- uses his wife's pancakes for gaskets for his tractor? That's because she cooked it on too high of heat. And it gets rubbery. So if you cook it on lower heat, or medium heat,

it'll cook through and without burning.

Elyse H: Right. Like I like to say, low and slow. Sometimes you've got to be patient. Yeah, keep the heat low so nothing's getting burned too fast.

Charles: Yeah. And the thing I like on sandwiches is fajitas.

Elyse H: You like fajitas? Yes.

Charles: You put- I use brown sugar, chili powder and salt, and seasoning. Rub that over your steak and then cook your steak on the grill or however you want to cook it.

Elyse H: Yeah. Next person in line; your phone number starts with 303. Can you tell us your name please?

Debra: Yes, that would be me, Debra. I'm calling from the Rocky Mountains.

Elyse H: Ooh Debra, I got an email from you, I think.

Debra: Yes you did. And I was about five minutes late. I dialed the wrong number and I got into a furniture refinishing segment.

Elyse H: Wow.

Debra: So if anybody needs- I kept thinking, what? Okay. Won't waste your time. What I need is some advice on- I was volunteering with some... when I say elderly, I'm 70 and they're quite a bit older than I am, in their 90's, some. We were making sandwiches, not as a cooking class but just for lunch and they were having a lot of trouble with the spreads. Whether it was peanut butter or pimento cheese or the mayonnaise on their breads, and I've been without sight all my life, so I know what my favorite thing is but I end up using some fingers and they were not willing to do that.

They have only recently lost their sight, so what do other people do where- I had suggested starting in the middle of the bread and spreading out because they kept tearing their bread by starting on the outside. What other techniques are other people using that I can pass on to these women? Because they were very squeamish about touching the food and boy, I'm not. And they were tearing their bread by doing it the way they had always done it all their lives. So what do we have to offer them?

Elyse H: I'm chuckling because I would use my fingers too. But I'll let other people chime in here. My suggestion would just-

Debra: Please do because I'm sure somebody's got a very good sneaky Pete way to do it and I just can't come up with it.

Elyse H: Oh sure. Sure, let's ask our community here. Next person in line is Ben.

Ben: Well, I'm completely blind and I do all of the cooking in my household for a total of four people, so, I cook meat; everything. Make sandwiches. One of the things that I tend to do is, I use the back of a spoon. Or if they're harder spreads like peanut butter, just leave them out a little bit. Or cream cheese. So they can kind of get to room temperature, so they're a little bit more pliable and spreadable. But, usually using the back of a spoon seems to spread a little bit better than using a knife.

Debra: That's a very good idea, and I think one of the things they're struggling with is how do they gauge the glop of peanut butter or whatever.

Ben: Yeah. If you don't scoop with the front of the spoon, but use the back and just press, you'll pull up some and then just spread and then just go that way. The whole thing with the hands, even if- they just have to come to grips with, we do things a little bit different and it's okay. Even if you have to say, hey if you guys want to use gloves or something like that, but the spoon is the easiest thing.

Debra: There's an option- gloves.

Ben: Yeah. One recipe because I know you guys are running out of time; for the person who wanted carb-free. A very simple flatbread recipe is one cup of cooked sweet potatoes. So, if you have canned sweet potatoes, you just put them in the microwave. Make sure they're not the ones in syrup; just plain sweet potatoes that are already cooked and oatmeal flour. So you can take regular rolled oats and pulse them in a blender till they get fine, like almost flour and take the hot sweet potatoes and mix it up with the flour mixture. Then just put it in a cast iron skillet or a hot skillet and you press it out and make them into like little flat cakes.

You just keep them in there for like one minute, until they brown on one side and one on the other and store them and stack them between each other with wax paper and they keep well. You can have them for breakfast wraps or dinner. Just two ingredients.

Pam W: Thanks so much, Ben.

Ben: No problem.

Pam W: I'll definitely be trying that. This is Pam.

Elyse H: Now that's a great idea. Rachel, you're next in line.

Rachel: I just wanted to add to the spreading issue. Because I had trouble as well with the spreading, and still do, with the bread tearing. However, you can buy- it looks like a tube of lotion but it's peanut butter that's in the tube, and I don't know the brand name, so I apologize. But it's like squeezable peanut butter that's in a tube, and then there's also- I think it's by Smuckers- but it's peanut butter and jelly that's mixed together. Unfortunately, I think they only make it in grape flavored jelly. But you can probably look in the grocery store, maybe online at Stop N' Shop; they might have different flavors, but I don't know. Don't quote me on it. But that might be the fastest way of spreading.

Pam W: And I believe they make mayonnaise too and some other things like aiolis in those kind of squeezable-

Rachel: Yup.

Pam W: Packaging now. Yeah. Awesome. Great suggestion.

Rachel: Yeah, but that might be the fastest way that- for somebody that needed that help. Debra, I believe.

Pam W: Right. Thank you.

Rachel: Yeah.

Debra: Thank you.

Rachel: You're welcome.

Elyse H: Great. I think we have time for a few more. I see Marilyn has her hand up. I'll unmute you.

Marilyn: Yes. On the spreading, the fingers are the best way but there are people who take a while to get to that place and I don't know if it's because they don't want to touch the food cause they feel like they've contaminated it or if they just don't like to get messy. Whichever way it is, you they just have to kind of adapt. But one thing you could do; salad dressings that have the flip top where you can get just a little drizzled out at a time, you could get one of those and then go around the edges first. That way, you've got your edges covered and then do a little in the middle and then maybe they would be able to use either a knife or the back of a spoon to even it out. But that would keep their hands a little bit freer. That's all I have.

Pam W: Thank you.

Elyse H: Okay. Right. So re-purpose an empty salad dressing bottle.

Marilyn: Right. Well, or just use a salad dressing bottle. Use the dressing; the dressing, you know, is very close to mayonnaise or some other topping that you might choose to use. Whichever your favorite one is.

Elyse H: Oh, sure.

Marilyn: It's a good spread.

Elyse H: Okay. Ms. Baldwin. You're next in line.

V. Baldwin: Yeah. I'm total, and I have that same issue. I don't want to get the stuff all over my fingers and I have to wash them off and go back and forth; just seems like it takes a long time. The alternative that someone taught me, and I still don't like this, is to use a large spoon. And it takes a little time to figure out how much to measure out for a piece of bread, but you just take that big blob and put it in the middle of the bread and then spread it around toward the corners. So you've got your measurement already figured out and then it's not too much of a problem after that.

Elyse H: Great idea. A large spoon; the back of the spoon to spread, a little bit easier than a knife.

V. Baldwin: Yeah. And you can actually use, like you were saying, the back of the spoon and the end of the spoon to get the peanut butter out of the original measuring tool.

Elyse H: Okay. Yup. Makes sense to me. Thanks for adding that in, Ms. Baldwin. We have Jo with your hand up.

Jo: Thank you. I just wanted to suggest about the grilled cheese sandwiches; one thing to be sure that you have buttered sufficiently really pretty well on both sides of your bread. That it's buttered and even the little edges king of. Then I also use a fairly big spatula. I have a griddle that is nonstick, but I just happened to have a nonstick one that I use. Then I have a fairly good-sized spatula that I use especially for grilled cheese sandwiches and it's pretty nice. You can kind of flip them over pretty easy that way. Just make sure, like you say, don't get it too hot, like the gentleman said but you need them hot to start with and then turn it down a little bit, but I find that I- you want to make sure you really got both sides buttered well. Thank you.

Pam W: Thank you.

Elyse H: Yeah. This is really a great discussion everyone. I hate to say that we're running out of time. We may have to table our cooking discussion until next month and pick up where we left off here.

Pam W: Right.

Elyse H: I hope everyone has enjoyed your time together. We heard a lot of great ideas and sharing from our community. Again, I think we mentioned in the middle, but if you think of something that was said or throughout the month, feel free to email myself at and that's spelled e-l-y-s-e-h @, and Pam is So-

Pam W: That's right.

Elyse H: Easy one. Yeah. So if you want to share something or recipes that you've heard here today, and that you tried, let us know how they went. You can tell us what's cooking in your kitchen.