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I can not remember how we got on the subject, but a few years back Mr. Food It Yourself and I realized that if you make a Monte Cristo sandwich with SPAM instead of ham you could call it a Monte Python. This weekend, we finally tried them.

In case you have not heard of a Monte Cristo sandwich, it is basically a toasted ham and cheese on French toast. Check out the Wikipedia page for a full run down of this cafe classic. In case you have not heard of Monty Python, I am not sure I can explain them. A bunch of their stuff is on Netflix. Have a binge-watch and get back to me.

I picked up a loaf of sliced Vienna bread, a can of SPAM, and extra eggs from the grocery store. We have plenty of home-made raspberry jam. Only the cheese required some careful thought. Mr. Food It Yourself and I had a long discussion about what type of cheese would be best for this application. Swiss is the traditional Monte Cristo choice, but Mr. Food It Yourself does not care for it, and it is far from my favorite. We considered red Leicester, Tilsit, Caerphilly, Bel Paese, red Windsor, Stilton, Gruyere, Emmental, Norwegian Jarlsberger, Liptauer, Lancashire, white Stilton, Danish blue, double Gloucester, Cheshire, Dorset blue Vinney, brie, roquefort, Pont-l’Eveque, Port Salut, Savoyard, Saint-Paulin, Carre-de-L’Est, Boursin, Bresse bleu, Perle de Champagne, Camembert,Gouda, Edam, Caithness, smoked Austrian, Japanese sage Darby, Wensleydale,Greek feta,gorgonzola, Parmesan, mozzarella, Pippo creme, Danish fimboe, Czech sheep’s milk, Venezuelan beaver cheese, cheddar, ‘Illchester, and Limburger. We decided that good old deli sliced American would be just fine. Mr. Food It Yourself requested the yellow version.

Here is what we did.

Mr. Food It Yourself sliced the SPAM thinly. I bought the “LITE” version, mostly for the reduced sodium content.
We fried the SPAM crisp in a skillet. Evidently SPAM can be eaten cold, but neither of us was interested in the possibility of cold SPAM in the middle of a sandwich.
While Mr. Food It Yourself fried the rest of the meat, I started construction. I spread some spicy brown mustard on each slice of bread, topped them with cheese, and added two slices of SPAM to each. After a dip in an egg/milk mixture, we grilled them up using a sandwich press. Yes, the pictures are out of order. You get the point though, I’m sure.
Here are some of the finished sandwiches, along side some raspberry jam.

The result was surprisingly good, considering I don’t like SPAM. The jam really makes the sandwich. That little bit of sweetness perfectly off-sets the saltiness of the meat and cheese. Mr. Food It Yourself suggested soaking the bread with more of the egg mixture, and I agree that would improve the overall texture of the sandwich. We are most certainly going to make this again.

An interesting point- I was convinced that someone else must have invented this sandwich before we thought of it. Monty Python has been popular (among some of us) for decades. Both Mr. Food It Yourself and I scoured the internet and could not find another Monty Python sandwich like the one we made. We did find this post on the blog Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen for a “Full Monty Python” sandwich. A different variation on the same fandom theme.

So, what is the most pun- based, or fandom inspired food you have tried? Share in the Comments!

In case you have not heard of a Monte Cristo sandwich, it is basically a toasted ham and cheese on French toast. Check out the Wikipedia page for a full run down of this cafe classic. In case you have not heard of Monty Python, I am not sure I can explain them. A bunch of their stuff is on Netflix. Have a binge-watch and get back to me.

I picked up a loaf of sliced Vienna bread, a can of SPAM, and extra eggs from the grocery store. We have plenty of home-made raspberry jam. Only the cheese required some careful thought. Mr. Food It Yourself and I had a long discussion about what type of cheese would be best for this application. Swiss is the traditional Monte Cristo choice, but Mr. Food It Yourself does not care for it, and it is far from my favorite. We considered red Leicester, Tilsit, Caerphilly, Bel Paese, red Windsor, Stilton, Gruyere, Emmental, Norwegian Jarlsberger, Liptauer, Lancashire, white Stilton, Danish blue, double Gloucester, Cheshire, Dorset blue Vinney, brie, roquefort, Pont-l’Eveque, Port Salut, Savoyard, Saint-Paulin, Carre-de-L’Est, Boursin, Bresse bleu, Perle de Champagne, Camembert,Gouda, Edam, Caithness, smoked Austrian, Japanese sage Darby, Wensleydale,Greek feta,gorgonzola, Parmesan, mozzarella, Pippo creme, Danish fimboe, Czech sheep’s milk, Venezuelan beaver cheese, cheddar, ‘Illchester, and Limburger. We decided that good old deli sliced American would be just fine. Mr. Food It Yourself requested the yellow version.

Here is what we did.

Mr. Food It Yourself sliced the SPAM thinly. I bought the “LITE” version, mostly for the reduced sodium content.
We fried the SPAM crisp in a skillet. Evidently SPAM can be eaten cold, but neither of us was interested in the possibility of cold SPAM in the middle of a sandwich.
While Mr. Food It Yourself fried the rest of the meat, I started construction. I spread some spicy brown mustard on each slice of bread, topped them with cheese, and added two slices of SPAM to each. After a dip in an egg/milk mixture, we grilled them up using a sandwich press. Yes, the pictures are out of order. You get the point though, I’m sure.
Here are some of the finished sandwiches, along side some raspberry jam.

The result was surprisingly good, considering I don’t like SPAM. The jam really makes the sandwich. That little bit of sweetness perfectly off-sets the saltiness of the meat and cheese. Mr. Food It Yourself suggested soaking the bread with more of the egg mixture, and I agree that would improve the overall texture of the sandwich. We are most certainly going to make this again.

An interesting point- I was convinced that someone else must have invented this sandwich before we thought of it. Monty Python has been popular (among some of us) for decades. Both Mr. Food It Yourself and I scoured the internet and could not find another Monty Python sandwich like the one we made. We did find this post on the blog Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen for a “Full Monty Python” sandwich. A different variation on the same fandom theme.

So, what is the most pun- based, or fandom inspired food you have tried? Share in the Comments!

After several summer squash-free years, the Food It Yourself has been visited by the Zucchini Fairy once again. So far, I have put up a dozen jars of zucchini relish, stocked my freezer with zucchini-bread-recipe-sized containers of shredded zucchini, made some zucchini chips, and baked a HUGE pan of moussaka. However, where there is so much squash to savor, one can never have too many recipes.

A little search of the internet yielded multiple recipes for somehting I had never heard of before- an eastern European dip or spread made with zucchini and other vegetables called “ikra”.

I had to try this “zucchini caviar”!

I grabbed two large zucchini, a few carrots, two onions, and three garlic cloves. Everything was shredded with a box grater, except for the garlic which I smashed in a garlic press. If you have a food processor with a shredding attachment you can certainly use that. It will probably make shredding the onions less painful.

I was just about to grab my favorite, huge, cast-iron skillet, but I had a thought. The instructions for each of the recipes required babysitting the veggies as they cook down. I was not particularly entranced by the idea of hanging out in my kitchen all afternoon. If only there was a way to cook down vegetables unsupervised without burning them. Oh wait, I have a way!

Hello, old friend. Sorry it’s been so long.

What kitchen implement is better at cooking without burning than a slow cooker? I didn’t think of it right away, because I do not use it so much in the summer. I sprinkled the veggies with just a little salt, set the cooker to “high” and walked away. By “away” I mean out to the garden, because this ikra needs some tomato, and I have plenty of them!

Oh look! There is exactly one tomato that might eventually get ripe. Good thing I keep some canned stuff around.

No shame in this game. I poured about half the can of puree into the slow cooker and gave it a good stir. After that, I mostly left the ikra alone for a good five hours. I did give it a little stir now and again.

Once all the vegetables were very well cooked, I gave it a brief squish with my trusty hand blender. I did not make the mix completely smooth, I just wanted break up the larger pieces. Afterwards, I propped the slow cooker lid open with a pair of chopsticks to allow the extra water to evaporate.

Once the thickness was to my liking, I a tasted a little. I added a couple fat pinches of salt, but nothing else. The flavor of the vegetables was enough for me. If your vegetables are a little bland, any seasoning you like could be added, from adobo to za’atar. The important thing is to wait until the end to add the seasoning, even if it is just salt. Flavors develop and concentrate during the cooking process. “Just enough” at the start of cooking can easily become “way too much” by the end.

And here it is, after a cool down. Ikra is delicious with crackers and vegetables; I am also eager to try it on pasta. I can even imagine dipping french fries in it. This may be my new favorite use for zuchhini!

I am so happy I learned about ikra. How had I not heard of it before? What new recipe have you added to your DIYet this summer? Share in the comments section!