Like most of the northeast, Philadelphia woke up this morning to a thick layer of snow. Though I didn’t venture outside to measure, friends in the next neighborhood up from ours had 8 inches on their back deck and I hear that there were some areas that got even more. I had to cancel the class I was scheduled to teach and Scott’s office was closed, so we hunkered down for a cozy snow day.
Thankfully, I braved the pre-storm crowds at Trader Joe’s yesterday and so the fridge was fully loaded for a day at home (it was my first full shop since getting back to town on Monday, so things would have been pretty stark otherwise). As we contemplated lunch, Scott made an off-hand suggestion that I should write a post about using jams on a snow day.
As soon as he said it, I realized that it was the perfect day to pull out my old stovetop sandwich makers and toast up a few jam-filled treats. I’ve had these two pie/sandwich irons for ages now and don’t use them nearly enough. My mom grew up making sandwiches in a Toas-Tite at her aunt’s house, and so when she spotted on at an antique mall some years back, scooped it up and gave it to me for Christmas. The KwiKi-Pi (don’t you just love the name?) cost a quarter at a Lancaster County garage sale some years back.
There’s nothing fancy about either of these gadgets, though I will say that the I find that the Toas-Tite delivers a better finished product than the KwiKi-Pi (it’s heavier and seals better). There are other vintage brands out there, like Nutbrown Sandwich Toaster and Jem Toaster, and there a handful of companies who still make these kinds of irons (like this round one). There are also electric sandwich makers that do the same sort of thing, but I like these lo-fi ones better.
The way it works is that you take a couple pieces of bread, flatten them out a little with a rolling pin to create a little extra filling space, and lightly butter the outsides like you would a grilled cheese. You fit the first slice into the bottom of the mold (don’t worry about the overhanging bread yet), and fill. Go light to the fillings so that the sandwich doesn’t ooze during cooking.
Once the fillings are in, you line up the top piece of bread and close the Toas-Tite down. Then, using a paring knife, cut away the overhanging bread, taking special care around the hinges, as that spot can sometimes trap some large crumbs (save those crusts for homemade bread crumbs!).
Because I have a pokey old electric stove, I preheat the smaller burners to medium-high while I construct the sandwiches. When the burners are hot, you just lay the sandwich makers directly onto the burners. If you have a gas stove, you proceed in much the same way, though you shouldn’t need to preheat. Turning regularly, your sandwich should be done in four or five minutes.
For my first sandwich, I used a combination of prosciutto, shredded cheese, and tart plum jam on whole wheat. For the second round, I flattened a couple hot dog buns that Scott had picked up while I was away and stuffed them with herbed goat cheese and apricot jam. Of course, you can fill your sandwiches with anything you want, but keep the number of ingredients fairly low. Any more than three or four ingredients and the flavors start to get muddy.
I realize that in some ways, these are nothing more than homemade Uncrustables, done with fancy ingredients. But made with kids, or on a snow day when you just feel like a kid, they’re a very fun treat. And they’re such a good way to use up your jams and chutneys in a slightly different way.
How are you guys using your preserves these days?
Those would definitely make an ordinary sandwich a bit more fun to make. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled in the thrift stores…
And, I’ve been using my fruit preserves on waffles, toast, or English muffins. I’ve also got about 15 jars packed up to use for Christmas gifts in round 2 of Christmas- white wine mustard, ketchup, red onion relish, lemony pickled cauliflower, spiced applesauce, apple butter, dilly beans and pickled asparagus.
I love pickling veggies, but don’t really know how to use them besides eating them straight from the jar…
I love old kitchen gadgets and what cute little sandwiches they make.
I use my jams on toast, pancakes, waffles and French toast roll-ups.
(I need to keep an eye out for some of those adorable gadgets.)
Stay warm and stay safe
These little tools are so cute! I’ve never seen anything like this before.
wondering how these would work on a smooth top electric stove but they are darling!
using jams stirred into hot cereals all winter!
Just signed up for the newsletter, glad to be receiving it! Two of the reasons I’ve signed up are: 1) I have resolved that this year I am going to learn to can and get good at it, and 2) I want to take a class as soon as it’s offered prior to the growing season. So…no classes are listed on the website (that I saw), so I was intrigued to see you mention a class. Can you provide more details? Thank you!
Doug, I don’t have any classes currently on my schedule because it’s the canning off-season. Come mid-March or so, my schedule will start filling up again. Check the classes tab along the lefthand side of the site in a month or so!
MY SON USES MY HOME MADE APRICOT OR PLUM JAM ON HIS FRIED EGG, AMERICAN CHEESE AND HAM BREAKFAST SANDWICH. THE STOVETOP TOASTIES WOULD WORK WONDERS.
This takes me back to my Girl Scout Leader days. We used these to make what we called Pudgy Pies in the coals of an open fire. We could and would put almost anything between two pieces of bread and call it a meal. Yum.
Such great idea!
My dad used to make me grilled cheese sandwiches with one of these. Now I am wondering what happened to it! Blenheim apricot jam on plain yogurt with a sprinkling of granola – yum
those are SO cute!
You just made me remember to get my gadget out! These look so great!
My boyfriend grew up having his grandma make him grilled cheeses with the Toas-Tite. For Christmas last year, she gave us the money to buy our own off of Ebay (she can’t use a computer and was reluctant to share her’s). I never thought of putting some jam in mine, but what a great idea! I will have to find it in the back drawer and give it a go this week!
I bet these would make wonderful nutella and fruit sandwiches for next snowy day!
I was at the grocery store with my husband over the holidays and noticed he was buying strawberry preserves. I said, “You know, we still have a fair amount of the jam I canned this summer.” He said, “oh! I didn’t realize that was for us!” (I do give a lot away as gifts). So that’s how we’re using ours – my husband is eating it. He has jam on toast almost every morning.
Those are so adorable! Makes me wish I had one of those irons. I could see it being great for kids, too… I bake our family’s bread so it’d be something fun that’s so much better than the store-bought Uncrustables. Thanks for the inspiration!
I grew up with a Toas-Tite and my sister and I now have our own. I’ve never used jam in them, but I love to use them for grilled cheese sandwiches on a cold day with a cup of soup. Perfect comfort food!!!
My mom has one like this, I think it’s cast iron or something fairly heavy. When I was a kid and had friends over, we would make grilled cheese in them. It always seemed much more special than a regular grilled cheese!
These are fabulous and I have seen them at swapmeets, but never bought one. (I think I will now) We have something similar that is made from cast iron and used to make pie over an over fire. (We also have a set to make hambergers – yum)
We take them on camping trips and my kids love to use them in the summer over our fire pit. The directions say to use bread, but we use pre-made pastry. Even the burnt ones are delicious!
Now I want one for the stove top!
try this recipe – steam potatoes, grate them. add salt, pepper, grated cheese, ginger garlic paste and of you have it – lots of fresh green flat leaf parsley or coriander. Toast as suggested in the original recipe.
Alternately if you don’t have an old fashioned stove top toastie toaster, make open s/w in the oven
Eat with ketchup, mustard or Indian style mint chutney.
Hot, yummy satisfying. : )
plz try and let me know if it you like it?