Coating my tongue
Dripping down my chin
I lick it from my lips and fingers
It is simple and luxurious, sinful and decadent.
It is over too soon and I cry for more.
I sin equally in sex as I do in food. My breakfast concoction this weekend and Sunday night’s dinner are like pure sin on the tongue. The silky gorgeous mouthfeel of high-fat-content dairy foods is really in the top 3 of sinful food. Melted sweet cream cheese; cream sauces; runny warm egg yolks. Just fucking divine.
Oh, I’m sorry. What did you think I was talking about??
You want sexy food? I got it, right here. And I’m going to share it.
This weekend was the Grilled Cheese Invitational (Thanks Mollena for telling us about this!) I am a fan of cheese and grilled cheese? Yum. It’s tasty and simple; for me it’s the ultimate comfort food because it is literally the last thing my father made me, the day before he died. As I was drooling over the website for the GCI (for the website is all I can drool over – the damn thing is held on the west coast), in pure jealousy, and looking over the different categories one can enter in this cooking contest, I see the dessert grilled cheese category. Huh? Took me a minute to remove my head from the thoughts of gooey orange cheese. And in those moments I thought up the Grilled Cream Cheese Breakfast Sandwich. Sure, maybe I’m not alone in this but in my mind it was unique. I’ve never heard of it.
I used cinnamon raisin bread because that’s what first popped into my head. But also equally delicious would be to use a plain, sweet Hawaiian bread and add more than just cream cheese to the sandwich. Strawberry preserves or even fresh strawberry slices come to my mind. It is cooked in true grilled cheese fashion. Slather on margarine and grilled until brown and crispy on the outside, warm gooey melty on the inside. I sweetened the cream cheese with 2 tspns of sugar and added 1/8 tspn of vanilla extract, because I’m an oddball who’s not a huge fan of plain cream cheese. I used 1/4 brick of cheese for 2 sandwiches. Smooshed a chilly lump in the center, for once it melts it will spread out nicely. Ohsweetmama it’s heaven. Completing the mouth-feel breakfast experience was poached egg on toast, the runny rich yolk just making a mess of me.
Dinner was Fettucine Alfredo (ok linguine, I was out of fettucine, so sue me) and grilled chicken breast. As I have mentioned in the past I am a stickler for tradition. I firmly believe that adding garlic, while a nice Italian staple, is just wrong. My only slight deviation is the addition of another, similar, cheese because it adds depth. I allowed this concession because someone’s old Italian grandmama gave my mother this recipe and it is how she does it.
There are certainly less sinful ways to make Alfredo, this I know, but just this once will you give in to the devil? For me?
I normally cook like Julia Child – kinda unprepared, very messy, I don’t clean up as I go and I don’t measure and the kitchen is an utter disaster after a big meal. But for Fettucine Alfredo, it all happens so quickly and in an order that doing a Mise en place is fully necessary. The whole dish goes from noodles boiling away to finis in about 2 and a half minutes.
Because this is so rich I cannot have it for a meal, just by itself. I know Chef Flavio would gasp in horror, but hey. So be it. So between the halved recipe, and splitting a grilled chicken breast between us, dinner was born.
Preheat the oven to 250, because unless you’re perfect, the rest of dinner won’t be exactly ready when you’re finishing up the Alfredo. I also put the dish in the oven to keep it warm. My mother used what she called a “chafing dish”, looked to me like a big pottery dutch oven. I use what I have, the Corningware casserole dish is just fine.
Cook the pasta in well-salted water (so help me, if you don’t, I’ll kill you), and prepare your soldiers. Gently warm the cream – just before you’re ready to assemble, pour it into a bowl. Grate the cheeses. Slice the cold butter into small chunks. Kosher salt and ground black pepper at the ready. Egg yolk in a bowl, still “whole” – no waste if they stay intact plus scraping the thick yolk from the prep bowl will take too much time, as well.
Pasta is cooked – you ready? Whirlwind starts now!
Drain the pasta. Remove the dish from the oven. Pour in the pasta and dump in the butter. Gently, stir stir stir! Until it is all melted and coating each strand. Egg yolk! Gently, stir stir stir until well incorporated! Hurry now, pour over a third of that warmed cream, stir stir! Sprinkle in half the cheese, stir! Stir! Remaining cheese, stir! Another third of the cream, stirring! Sprinkle a pinch or two of kosher salt, some pepper too. How’s the consistency? Should be creamy and silky, not gluey and thick, but not too thin either. It will “firm up” a bit while it’s kept in the oven, reserve the remaining cream to incorporate just before serving. Don’t keep it in there on warm for more than oh….15 minutes. Lid on, to be sure!
4 oz (dry) fettucine
2 oz freshly grated parmesan (may have 1/2 an ounce of that be another cheese like Asiago or Romano)
6 oz heavy cream
2 1/2 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk (I know, I used 2, and I shouldn’t have)
Optional: If you feel fancy, garnish with chopped fresh parsley