I have a massive pot of chicken stock simmering away on the stove. It is making me VERY hungry. One of the (maybe strange) things I do which most people do not (but should) is make my own chicken stock. I make 8-10 Litres every couple of months. It is not hard. It is not complicated. It is very user-friendly. You pay what like…. $4.50 or so for 750mL of chicken stock in the supermarket? Making stock at home costs almost nothing. It is fresh and delicious and there is no salt or preservatives added. I keep all the chicken carcasses I go through (in between stock making days) in a ziploc bag in my freezer. When I have enough, or am out of stock I pull them out and throw them in a pot, cover them with cold water and turn the pot onto high. I skim all that grey crud that comes up to the surface with a ladle or a little strainer (that’s all the blood and impurities and skin and such), and skim off the fat floating on the surface every so often. Once all the grey stuff stops floating up I toss in a chopped up onion or two, some celery, some parsley stems (I also keep those stashed in the freezer as I don’t buy fresh parsley very often), a tsp or so of black peppercorns, one clove, a couple of bay leaves, and some fresh thyme if I happen to have it. I leave that puppy on medium low and let it do its thing for about 7 hours. After the stock is done I let it cool off for a little while in the pot and then strain it through a colander into another pot and/or some really big mixing bowls. I toss the garnish and usually reduce the liquid by boiling it down for another hour or so, but you don’t need to. I usually strain it once more through a fine mesh strainer and then fill glass jars with the liquid (leaving an inch and a half at the top) and freeze it. Good times.

Sure, it is a little easier to just buy stock…. but think of all the chicken bones you’ve wasted!

Anywho. That’s been my day. Around noon my house was smelling divine and I was getting rather peckish. I decided to make a simple grilled cheese sandwich and instead this is what happened: 

I know, right? I eat way too much food. It’s fabulous. I had some baked salmon left over in my fridge. Then I started fantasizing about Mikael’s Grilled Salmon Club that we used to get for staff meal from time to time at the MB club. I couldn’t resist the temptation. I believe that sandwich making is an art form. It completely depends on your willingness to be creative, but there are certain rules that you should always follow (in my mind anyways).

Sandwich Making 101:

Prepared yellow mustard is never ok. Use dijon, grainy mustard, or speciality mustard.

Always put a layer of fat-based spread facing inward from the bread on both sides of the sandwich. This rules comes from Chef Gill at RRC in garde manger 1, not from me. Put a butter or mayo or aioli or whatever on the bread, it creates a moisture barrier which is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of the bread and preventing sogginess.

If there is meat (ham or beef or bison or whatever) there really should be mustard right next to it. So it would be Bread, Butter, Mustard, Meat, then whatever else. This is important. This is the way you taste the fillings. The mustard melts together on your palate with the meat and gives it just enough tanginess to differentiate the flavor of the meat from that of the bread. I struggle with enjoying mustard in general, but even a tiny little bit is better than none at all. But it must be next to the meat!

Lettuce should ideally be away from tomatoes. Creat a cheese barrier or something unless you know the sandwich will be eaten immediately. It is really really nasty to eat wet soggy wilty lettuce on a sandwich.

Always season tomatoes with salt and pepper when you have put them on the sandwich. Just do it. Take the time. It’s crazy what a huge difference it makes.

Bacon needs to be crispy. I don’t understand non-crispy bacon on a sandwich. This is my own personal issue, mind you. Non-crispy bacon is just gross. Over crispy bacon is also not ok.

That’s all the rules I have to share with you at the moment. So maybe this is common knowledge, maybe I am crazy, maybe no one really cares……..

Back to talking about the Grilled Salmon Club.

It was so good. The very specific order of ingredients was:

Whole wheat french bread, caper lemon mayo, baby spinach leaves in a single layer so as not to overwhelm, salmon fillet, thinly sliced seasoned roma tomato, cheddar cheese, soppratsetta, dijon, butter, bread.

Then I buttered the outside and grilled it.

It was very good. I had the rest of the roma tomato and some leftover green beans as well. Sprinkled a little olive oil, white wine vinny and a crack of salt and pepper over top of the veg.

The only problem with impromptu delicious and decadent lunches is that I feel like maybe I should share them with someone. That maybe if I shared them it wouldn’t be quite so indulgent and gluttonous. And I also enjoy feeding other people good things. But no one was around today and I had this all to myself.

I am amazed that I don’t weigh like 500 lbs after doing this stay-at-home thing for the last 17 months. Back to work on monday by the way. Yup. It’s true. I will have to change my bio.

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