Around this time of year I start looking for signs of spring anywhere and everywhere. It is to no avail, but I am always hopeful, trying to cheer myself with mantras such as: The days are longer! The snow melted on our sidewalk! The sun is brighter! My violets are blooming (inside)! The truth is, February shoves its way in between a month of winter fun, and the beginning of spring; 28 or 29 long days during which the snow turns a dull gray, hiding icy layers beneath. The gray sky lingers, offering snow, rain, sleet and ice—often simultaneously. Stalwart buds protrude from tree branches, like impatient shoppers waiting for door-buster sales. In their eagerness to burst out of hiding, the buds are often munched by hungry rabbits.
In fact, February was referred to as the “hungry month,” by some Native Americans, as Barbara Kingsolver notes in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Shopping for local foods at the grocery reveals root vegetables, and some cabbage and apples that were stored away at the end of summer. Buds start to seem pretty appetizing, even to me.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic when PT from SuperCharge! Foods offered me fresh sprouts. A whole pound and a half of fresh sunflower and peas shoot sprouts bursting with life! Sprouts are highly nutritious and surprisingly versatile. The sprouts arrived, tender and delicate. I already knew what my first sprout meal would be--Whisker Sandwiches. This favorite childhood comfort food of mine is a take on a grilled cheese sandwich. My mom layered cheese, sprouts and fresh tomato between two slices of bread and then grilled it until the cheese melted and the bread was golden. Dunk it in ketchup, and it's a perfect meal. Oh, the name? As you bite into the sandwich, the sprouts pull out of the gooey cheese, and hang out of your mouth like an untrimmed mustache. Fun for kids of all ages!
As I pulled together the ingredients for the Whisker Sandwich, I realized that we were out of ketchup and bread. Perfect excuse to make a more refined version of this sandwich (which my kids loved, too).
I baked crusty homemade bread, layered it with cheddar cheese, sprouts and tomato. The final touch? Homemade ketchup from a wonderful blog, "Chiot's Run." A delicious, comforting meal on a cold February night.
Now what to do with the other pound and a quarter of sprouts....
2 slices bread
cheese (try cheddar, mozarella or gouda)
sprouts (soft sprouts work best, I used sunflower and pea shoot)
fresh tomato (omit if tomato is shipped out of season from CA and mushy, like mine was)
butter for grilling
Layer bread with cheese, sprouts, tomato.
Top with second slice of bread.
Butter one side and heat over medium low until golden. Turn over and grill other side.
Serve with ketchup. Enjoy!