A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Diners and Rubens

From a foodie perspective, one of my favorite things about living in the northeastern US is the fact that I am surrounded by diners! I don't know of any diners in Newfoundland ( we have Fish and Chips spots and Take-Outs) so for those who have never been to a diner, true diners are prefabricated restaurant buildings, often with an exterior of stainless steel, and resembling diner cars from trains. The most populous diner areas are in New Jersey and Long Island, but you can find one or more in almost every town.

Many restaurants call themselves even if they are not true diner buildings because their menu is "dineresque". What is a diner menu? Well diners usually have a very large menu and wide range of food, usually American. Many of the diners I have been to are owned and operated by Greek-Americans and thus large portions of the menu are dedicated to Greek cuisine. Diners are always open early, and many are 24-hour joints. Breakfasts are often large and the menu will be filled with all sorts of sandwiches, burgers, salads, cold plates, hot plates, blue plate specials, fried chicken, baked scrod, soups, stews and chowders, meatloaf, stuffed sole, grilled salmon, chicken parm, shrimp scampi, hot turkey or roast beef, corned beef and cabbage and the list goes on. Needless to say, there are many diners I have been to where you wouldn't need to order the same thing twice.

For more on diners, check out these sites.

My favorite TV Show - http://www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives/index.html

General Info - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diner

A great diner in NJ - http://www.jeffersondiner.com/

One of the most common items I order at a diner is the Ruben Sandwich. A Ruben is a grilled sandwich made with either corned beef or pastrami on rye bread, with Swiss cheese, thousand island or Russian dressing and sauerkraut. When done right, it is the perfect combination of savory, salty, meaty, tangy goodness. Paired with some chips and a large pickle and you're all set!

I often make Ruben's at home on my cast iron stove top grill pan, and I play around with the combination's of the bread and cheese. When I have a craving I buy good deli sliced corned beef but other times I use leftover corned beef, or will slow cook a corned beef just for the sandwiches (and hash). I like rye bread better than I used to, but I love sourdough, and often use that. Same goes for the cheese, I like Swiss which is classic, but I love sharp Vermont cheddar. The sauerkraut is constant, and I prefer Boar's Head brand bagged variety. I usually use Thousand Island dressing, but if I only have Russian on hand then that's what I'll use. I also sometimes like to have a really good mustard on the side for the occasional dip.

Here are a few pics of some deli meat and homemade corned beef Rubens I have made recently. If you don't have a grill pan or panini press, a fry pan will work fine. Make them as you would a grilled cheese. Once the bread has nice grill marks and the cheese has melted...it's time to eat.

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