Post #400 Handy Eating

August 7, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #400 Handy Eating

Before I start, let me just say Thank You! to everyone who has stuck with this blog thing for 400 posts!!  Every hundred post mark seems like a milestone I never expected to see.  So thanks again.  I’ve had fun and I hope you have too.

When I was still working in an office atmosphere, one of the most pressing cooking concerns I had was what to cook for lunches at work.  Like offices everywhere, we were limited not only in space, but in appliances.  There were three “kitchen” areas, one that was right next to my office, and the other two located at various points on the floor.  There were fridges in each of them, coffee makers, microwaves, and one had a soda machine, snack machine, filtered water, and a small ice machine.  I usually brought a salad with some leftover meat on it, or went to the cafeteria downstairs.  My problem was there was so little time for eating.  But it was a question on everyone’s mind.

Some people resolved the issue by buying lunch all the time.  Others resolved it by skipping lunch altogether.  Some, like me, brought leftovers, salads, lunches from home.  Still others bought pre-fab hand-held nuked sandwiches designed to fill the tummy and empty the wallet.  I’m referring, of course, to:

hot-pockets

Don’t get me wrong.  Hot pockets and their ilk fill a niche in the food market.  They’re handy; cost effective when bought in bulk; serve their purpose.  For me, a six-foot 190 pound guy, they don’t fill me up with one, or even two.  It takes three and sometimes four which eliminates their cost effectiveness.  (Sort of like eating on 6 oz tub of yogurt.  I eat one and try to feel not-hungry, only to reach for the Oreos about three minutes later.)  Once, a young lady in my office put a hot pocket in the microwave and misread the instructions.  She set the timer for 15 minutes, then walked away from it.  suddenly, we all smelled smoke, and the smoke alarm went off.  I went to look, and a young man was at the sink with a blackened carbonized rectangle, cursing softly about people leaving things in the microwave, etc.  I was happy it was taken care of, but when the young lady, who is a friend of mine, confessed to me what she had done, I started laughing about it.  I still laugh about it.  I’m chuckling now.

Handy heated sandwiches that are carried easily have been around for a very long time.  I won’t go into a long history, but if you think about it, you’ll figure it out.  Think empanadas.  Think pasties.  It’ll all come to you.  The thing is, it’s all been around for a long time, long before mass produced frozen conveniences.  So people were making dough filled with stuff and baked to take with them for a long time.

It’s actually really easy to do.  There are shortcuts, but you have to use the right short cut.  Who remembers these?

sandwich maker

They were advertised as the best thing to make sandwiches since the bread slicer.  My mom bought one.  It was terrible.  One of the recipes was for an apple turnover.  You were supposed to take two slices of bread, put applesauce between them, put them in the machine, and wait for it to cook.  Bingo!  Three minutes later you had this terrible tasting icky hot handful of apple sludge.  None of the other recipes worked any better, although the grilled cheese came close.

The best shortcut is to use refrigerated tube dough.  I prefer to use the bread loaf dough rather than those that are pre-cut.  This way I can size the hot pocket sandwich any way I want to.  Take one tube of french bread loaf dough and roll it out with a rolling pin to a 6 inch x 8 inch rectangle.  Cut it into four equal pieces.  Then scoop a quarter cup of your favorite filling (more about that in a moment) into the center.  Fold the shorter edges into the center, stretching the dough to make sure they meet.  Then fold the long edges into the center making certain they overlap just a bit and pinching the edges to prevent leaks.  Place them seam side down on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush an egg wash over the top, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Cool to warm and eat.  To store, cool completely, wrap in plastic, and freeze.  To reheat, wrap in a slightly damp paper towel and microwave in 30 second increments until warm.  The damp paper towel will help keep the dough tender.

hotpockets1

So what do you fill them with?  What are you in the mood for?  I’ve made them with blueberry pie filling to have homemade Pop Tarts.  I sprinkled a little sugar over the top before baking for extra sweetness.  You can also use meats, cheeses, vegetables, or chocolate.  Really, it’s only limited by your imagination.  Just try to make the filling as dry as possible so it doesn’t leak out the crust.  One of these days, I’m going to try a cheesecake and fruit filling to see what happens.  One time, I used left over beef taco meat with the seasoning, and put tomatoes and cheese in it.  It was slightly too wet, so wasn’t a perfect success, but what a great flavor.

When trying a new filling, one I’m experimenting with, I tend to make one first, to see how it’s going to turn out.  If it’s a success, I make more and freeze them.  I like cold meats and stews, etc. so I don’t always reheat these.  To my taste, they’re fine just thawed and at room temperature.  They’re also pretty decent thawed and still chilly.   I wonder what they’d be like filled with brownie batter?

Enjoy

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