Friday, November 13, 2009

30 Rocks My Socks: Dealbreaker!

For those who haven't heard, NBC's 30 Rock is a freakin' funny show. And that says a lot because I rarely enjoy situational comedy, aka, "The Sitcom." Short of early seasons of The Simpsons, most sitcoms are kind of... awful. The magic of Tina Fey's brain and all her wacky castmates creating behind the scenes shenanigans of an SNL-like series melted my Grinchy heart. Plus it's awash with arcane quotable lines, which I will mercilessly pepper this post with, so deal wit it, Cate Blanchett!

When one of my favorite blogs, The Chickenless Kitchen, announced a cooking challenge to come up with a 30 Rock-themed recipe, I immediately thought, That's crazy! But then I heard Tracy Morgan/Tracy Jordan's high-functioning alcoholic voice exclaim: Who's crazier? Me or Anne Curry?! Short of hearing the voice of God or seeing a burning bush, I felt like my questionable mental stability must be issuing an edict to make this challenge happen! So with the help of Mr. Wasabi, who is a huge 30 Rock fan, we came up with something as disturbing and indulgent as the show is. We like to call this little beastmaster, The Dealbreaker.

There's a sandwich under there, I swear! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Much like the confused look of terror that's probably on your face right now, there's just no easy way of explaining this. It's a bit like walking in on a crime being committed. The foodie foundation of The Dealbreaker is a Croque Monsieur, which is French for the sandwich that will surely end you -- the meaning loses a bit in translation, trust me. A grilled ham and cheese sandwich wasn't enough, no sir, this one had to be smothered in a beer cheddar sauce. Main character Liz Lemon's favorite thing is a sandwich, because it's a perfect meal placed between two slices of bread, and one of her absolute favorite foods is cheese -- any and all of it. Much like this meal, Liz is a big hot mess, as shown by this ample collection of quotes and gags.

The name, Dealbreaker, refers to a catch phrase from a self-help character Liz creates for her skit comedy show that's full of quotable relationship advice like, "Long distance is the wrong distance - shut it down!" The radioactive colored crumbles over the top are a nod to Sabor de Soledad, The Taste of Solitude, or generic offbrand Cheetos, as Liz calls them. Alec Baldwin's awesomely offensive network exec, Jack Donaghy, discovers there is an actor who looks like him, playing a villain called the Generalissimo on a Telemundo soap opera. Donaghy's trying to win over his girlfriend's mother who hates the Generalissimo, so he plots to have the character killed off on the series, so his face isn't associated with someone she hates. Here is a clip that mentions Sabor de Soledad, and also happens to be awesome:

I'd like to believe this is a Liz Lemon-worthy meal, as it's designed for an indulgent serving of one, enjoyed in the comfort of one's home at some late night hour on a Saturday night, watching the Generalissimo on TV, curled up under a Slanket.

The Dealbreaker

2 slices of bread
4 thin slices of ham
slices of gruyere cheese - enough to cover one side of the bread
1 tbsp butter (for grilling sandwich and spreading on bread)

6 oz beer, preferably an ale (just drink the rest, I did)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste

For garnish: 1/4 cup crushed Sabor de Soledad (or Cheetos, whatever)

Make sauce first: on a burner set to medium, place a small saucepot and melt the butter and sprinkle in flour. Incorporate the ingredients untilthe paste is slightly browned and slowly add the beer, mixing or whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce burner temperature to low. When sauce is smooth, slowly add in handfuls of the shredded cheddar until it's melted and a creamy sauce has formed. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the sandwich: smear the butter on both sides of the inside surface of the bread and lay down a layer of gruyere and ham. Place a skillet on the stove and turn on burner to medium. Melt a pat of butter in skillet and grill the sandwich on both sides, pressing to ensure inside is melted and fused together.

Plate the grilled sandwich and pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle over bits of Sabor de Soledad and shout to the world, THAT'S A DEALBREAKER, LADIES!

Special Wasabi thanks to local bakery, Macrina, who provided a loaf of their amazing Pane Francese, a bread developed from grape yeast from Hightower Cellars. It's a really hearty and flavorful bread which stood up to all this 30 Rock silliness. I'm fairly sure Liz Lemon would wrestle the Pane Francese from my hands in the street to make a sandwich out of it... but not without a fight, Ms. Lemon!

Let's make a Deal(breaker) with the help of Macrina Bakery - Photos by Wasabi Prime

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  1. Wow, your sandwich is super awesome. This is an upgraded version of a croque monsieur. I've missed a lot of episodes of 30 Rock. I got to find time for that. Maybe a marathon with your sandwich.:)

  2. LOL! Love those clips and I think I need to watch 30 Rock now. Brilliant sandwich, esp with the Sabor De Soledad (aka Cheetos) topping!

  3. you are a funny, funny wasabi girl! i was sooo close to taking up said challenge- happy someone from the 206/425 chose to represent strong. that sandwich looks like a gob of sweet gooey madness- perfect fodder for the situation room in liz lemon's wild world, trucker hats be damned...

  4. I think Liz Lemon would definitely approve of this amazing sandwich. I enjoyed your post!

  5. Liz would be proud. This post is hilarious. 30 Rock is the best show, hands down. Alec Baldwin is a a genius.

  6. Oh my goodness! That sandwich looks sooo good!

  7. i'm a huge fan too! honestly i've never like alec balwin until this show! tina fey's given him chance, i'd say. :P
    i'm sure liz lemon would die for your sammy!

  8. This looks so good! Such a wonderful idea!

  9. Oh my God, Denise. I laughed so hard when I read your blog I almost cried. The recipe looks disturbing yet delicious so I will have to give it a try. Thanks so much for ending my Sunday night on a high note!

  10. Thanks so much for participating! Sorry I'm late, just catching up on my FB inbox.

    Glad to hear you thought the challenge was crazy at first... that's the reaction I was going for ;) And so flattered to know that mine is one of your favorite blogs.

    Appreciate all the attention to detail that went into your croque monsieur. This deep-fried masterpiece completely shows up my disastrous pumpkin ravioli:

  11. Immediately I thought of cheesy blasters and then thought, oh no, the Dealbreaker is much, much better. I'd say you went above and beyond this challenge. Tine Fey would be honored and full :)

  12. Sandwiches always my favourite kind of food and this looks extremely amazing! hmm...mmm... just look at those melting cheese. Oh man, you're such a good cook!

  13. This is not a sandwich. It's a masterpiece! What a work of art... I could use one of these immediately. In addition to the pizza in the next post and the onion soup in the post after that. Seriously. You're killin' me smalls.

  14. OMG that is sooooooooooooooo Liz Lemmon! Love it Wasabi!


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