PEN-Powered Activity Guide II

IN PR A ISE OF THE S A NDWICH: THE VLT

What is it about bacon that we love so much? It is surely not the death of the pig, but certainly there is something smoky, earthy and tasteful in their salty flavor.  So, I have a surprise for you. It is possible to do– at least in a close way– with pecans! The secret is to prepare the pecans so their fatty juices are baked in a way that releases similar flavors into salt. Here’s how:

INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp of butter 2 cups of shelled pecans Salt & Pepper

2 slices of Swiss cheese 2 slices of a sweet tomato Bibb lettuce Mayonnaise Optional: cranberry sauce

1 tbsp of honey 2 slices of bread

STEPS 1.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter of faux butterin a skillet.[1] Place two cups of shelled pecans in the butter and lightly sauté, covering them with the butter.

2. 3. 4.

Salt the pecans liberally. Then add one tablespoon of honey and stir until the pecans are uniformly covered.   Remove to a baking tray, salt again and roast pecans at 325 F for about 20 minutes. This is the tricky part. You will have to stir and turn them midway through the baking process. Also, you will have to watch them pretty carefully. The key thing is that you want the pecans to become dark brown in the roasting process without becoming black. If 20 minutes doesn’t do it, you must go longer. If they are ready in 15 minutes, so be it. But just a few minutes too long will ruin them; too short will leave them insufficiently toasted. They must be close to being burned without being burned.  Now, let them cool; they can be stored for days in the refrigerator, but we are going to use some now. While that is happening, we will take our slices of wonderful bread (another subject) and butter them and place open-faced on each a nice slice of Swiss cheese. This is the second thing to learn about in praising sandwiches– the marvelous transformation that happens to Swiss cheese or gruyère when it is broiled. The flavor of the cheese changes completely, moving from a pungent dairy flavor to a song for the tongue that is sweet, carmelized and fragrant. For me, it is the key element in the wonder of the Croque Monsieur! Now, we use it for our VLT. When we toast our bread slices for the sandwich, we want to make sure that the Swiss cheese bubbles in the toasting process and becomes browned and a little crispy on its edges. Check that the bread is nicely toasted and allow to cool.  Now, slice a large sweet tomato and prepare some leaves of bib lettuce Take a few tablespoons of the toasted pecans and sliver or quarter them lengthwise On the slice of bread for each sandwich without the melted cheese, liberally spread mayonnaise Now, liberally place the toasted pecan sections onto the mayonnaise Cover with the tomato slices. Liberally grind pepper on and then some salt onto the tomato Cover with the lettuce leaves. (A smudge of whole-cranberry sauce is sometimes a nice addition) Assemble the sandwich and cut in half for the plate Green iced tea lemonade? Are we ready for the veranda and VLT?  May all beings enjoy summer. [1]For non-butter, I suggest Earth-Balance original flavor. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

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