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Satisfying substitutes for grilled cheese

In Monday's Daily Mail, "Country Living" columnist Suzanne McMinn waxed poetic about the glorious fried bologna sandwich, a staple of many a diet around these parts.

She'll get no argument here.

I prefer mine with a slather of spicy mustard and a cold, hoppy beer, but I also dig the "hot" versions you see in the South, where the bologna is bathed in spicy barbecue sauce.

Just like a hot-off-the-press panini or a good grilled cheese, a warm fried bologna sandwich is one of life's simple pleasures. And I'm here to introduce you to another ...

The fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I know what you're thinking, and it probably involves a loss in my credibility as a serious food dude. But that's only if you've never tried one. Once you do, you'll be hooked, too.

You make it just like a grilled cheese sandwich (buttered bread and all) but instead spread one slice with peanut butter and the other with your favorite jelly. Once you put the two together in a hot skillet, you get that same buttery, toasty goodness on the outside and warm jelly blending with melty peanut butter on the inside.

The resulting sandwich is a bit messy, but worth every drippy bite!

***

If you're hankering for an evening of international cuisine, two upcoming dinner events can satisfy that craving without the need for a pricey plane ticket.

This Friday night, Huntington's Pullman Plaza Hotel presents "Paris at the Pullman," a multi-course meal featuring specially selected wines served with each dish.

Executive chef Thomas Hickey's Parisian-inspired menu includes prosciutto-wrapped figs with fried green olives, a traditional bouillabaisse, a cheese and bread board with charcuterie (sausage and dried meats), flounder with creamy dill sauce, roasted boneless duck topped with crab and Hollandaise, bittersweet field greens with peppered goat cheese and assorted pastries by Joe Mays.

The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $75 per person. For more information or reservations, call 304-691-5414.

Two weeks later, on Feb. 2, Lewis County's Stonewall Resort is offering "A Taste of the Spanish Coast" with an evening of tapas paired with selected wines.

Dating back to Spain in the 1600s - but gaining popularity in America the last several years - tapas is the centuries-old tradition of making a meal out of small portions of several different eclectic dishes.

Those dishes at Stonewall will include serrano ham and queso blanco stuffed cherry peppers, crispy bleu cheese stuffed olives, cherry tomatoes stuffed with Spanish olive tapenade, fried oysters with spicy marinara and chili-roasted new potatoes.

Also on tap are a terrine of pork rillettes with balsamic onion puree, citrus-cured salmon with fennel-apple salad, crispy calamari with saffron aioli, herb-seared tuna with pickled vegetables, almond-crusted chevre, manchego and chorizo Puffs, and steamed mussels with saffron, chiles and lime.

The event costs $189 per couple, which includes the dine-around tapas dinner, wine, live entertainment (two Spanish guitarists, of course!) and one night's lodging.

For more information or to make reservations, call 304-269-7400 or visit www.stonewallresort.com.

***

It seems my Food Guy email account got hacked last week, resulting in a slew of interesting messages being sent to followers under my name, but without my knowledge.

If you were the recipient of said spam, please accept my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience. The account is cleansed now.

And to set the record straight, I do not suggest you wire funds to an undisclosed European bank account, invest in a Nigerian scheme, bail me out of a Luxembourg prison, act on super-secret stock tips or visit a site to spice up your love life.

That especially goes for you, Dad. Apparently I sent him an invitation to check out some, shall we say, tasty Russian dishes.

Spicy indeed.

Contact writer Steven Keith at dailymailfoodguy@aol.com or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at http://blogs.dailymail.com/foodguy/.

 


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