Last Minute Sandwiches

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Yesterday, in the middle of an intense study session, my fiance and I both agreed it was time for a dinner break. I opened the fridge, hoping some leftovers would magically appear. Unfortunately, they did not. I decided then to whip up some tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I did not have the pepper jack cheese which is usually my grilled cheese staple. Instead I had a small slice of brie, a slice of Spanish manchego, and a tiny piece of aged gouda. So, as a variation of the traditional grilled cheese, I made grilled brie sandwiches and a manchego-fig sandwich once the brie ran out.

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Grilled Brie Sandwich made with brie, fig jam, and strawberries

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Grilled Manchego sandwich with fig jam

If I were to do this again, I would switch out the fig jam in the brie sandwich for something spicier, like a jalapeno jelly, to balance out the sweetness of the strawberry and add some greens (spinach or kale) for some crunch.

In the Manchego sandwich, the fig jam worked much better to balance the nuttiness of the manchego. However, I would add some caramelized onions for some substance.

Happy Grilling!

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Coconut Ginger Scones

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My love for baked goods began before I was allowed to wield a chopping knife or a stove. Mama Kikani would let me bake cakes or muffins after she finished cooking to let the wafting smell of sugar, butter and vanilla cover up the spice smells of her cooking. I had never loved scones. Nor did I hate them. I was completely indifferent to them. Until now. This recipe, modified from bakingbites.com, leaves you with scones with a delicate flaky crust, a teasing sweetness, and the coziness of a blanket and tea on a rainy morning.

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As I was scrambling through my kitchen looking for the dried pineapple that the original recipe called for, Mama Kikani suggested that I use the crystallized Thai ginger I had sitting on my kitchen counter. I eat them like candy. They are delicious – little nuggets of sweet and spicy all wrapped into one. I adjusted the sugar to accommodate for the crystallized ginger.

These are delicious with a dollop of lemon curd which balances out the spiciness of the ginger perfectly.

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Recipe modified from bakingbites.com

Coconut Ginger Scones
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 8-10 pieces
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized Thai ginger
2/3 – 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add butter to flour mixture and toss to coat. Rub butter into flour mixture using your fingertips, until no pieces larger than a pea remain and mixture is sandy. Add in shredded coconut and finely chopped crystallized Thai ginger.
In a small measuring cup, combine coconut milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly -floured surface and divide it into two balls. Shape each ball into a disc about 3/4-inch thick and cut into sixths. Arrange triangles on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scone with a bit of coconut milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until scones are light golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

Makes 16 mini servings