Comfort Food on the Road – Grilled Cheese

When Susan Russo, author of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches shared her favorites with Larry  Bleiber of USA Today in 10 Great Place for a Surprising Sandwich in April, I tucked the article away, hoping I would get to one of the cities listed.  The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco near the baseball stadium topped the list, and I found myself queuing up with Giants baseball fans on a sunny, crisp Sunday afternoon recently.

Although the article touted the “piglet,” I opted for the classic “mousetrap” – a combination of sharp cheddar, creamy havarti, monterey jack, on sourdough” – with roasted tomato.  If macaroni and cheese defines your comfort food, this little eating place also offers a macaroni and cheese sandwich.  Although the outdoor seating provided a great view of the orange and black outfits on the way to the ballgame, the little park around the corner at South Park was quiet, with benches and picnic tables, and a little coffee shop on one of the side streets – perfect for having an espresso to clear the arteries.

I’m keeping the article handy; maybe I’ll get to some of the other sites listed:

  • The Meatball Shop in New York
  • Kenny and Zuke’s Deli in Portland,Oregon
  • Capriotti’s in Las Vegas
  • Homegrown in Seattle

A travel tour of sandwich shops sounds good to me.  Have you been to any of them?

Comfort Food Fix

Somedays only macaroni and cheese or creamy clam chowder will sooth the troubled soul.  Everyone has a favorite comfort food, and Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix has the recipes to make those artery clogging selections healthier for you.

Using her tools as nutritionist and popular host of the Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite” show, Krieger sticks to natural ingredients and simple strategies.  With nine chapters, from “Breakfast, Brunch, and Bakery” to “Desserts” – my two favorite topics, Krieger includes snacks, salads, and vegetarian dishes, as well as the routine meat, poultry, and seafood.

Not as many pictures are included as most cookbooks, but each recipe includes a footnote with a “before” and “after” count of calories, fat, sodium, and fiber; the “before” assumes you are using the worst – cream, butter, white flour, etc.; the “after” count identifies the dish with Krieger’s substitutes. Her mushroom, onion, and Gruyère Quiche with oat crust falls from 530 calories with 22 grams of saturated fat to 290 calories with only 7 grams of saturated fat.  The substitutions include old-fashioned rolled oats, low-fat buttermilk, olive oil, egg whites to supplement whole eggs, and lots of herbs.

If banana bread is your downfall, Krieger’s recipe reduces 500 calories with 12 grams of fat a slice to 300 calories with only 1.5 grams of fat.  Her secret? More bananas and non-fat yogurt in the mix.

Any cookbook that includes chocolate always get my vote, and Krieger comes through with dark chocolate pretzel clusters – only 110 calories (not that it matters when it comes to chocolate), and her index includes 8 chocolate recipes, including cookies, cupcakes, and pudding.

Krieger cautions in her “15 Fix Factors” that portion size does make a difference, but she still uses “a bit of butter” just like Julia Child, and her easy to follow recipes may be the catalyst to keeping some of those New Year’s resolutions.  I plan to use one of my Christmas gift cards to buy a copy, now that the book is due back to the library.