Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Good Example of Why a Knock-off is a Knock-off

My friend, Sara, of i like to cook recently posted a fun week of sandwiches. I tend to overlook sandwiches in favor of something more complicated. I know! What the hell is wrong with me? Well after reading 7 days worth of delicious and unique sammies on her blog, I got myself a cravin'.. a bad, bad craving. A "so not on your diet you hog!" kinda sammich. I tried to not give in, but well.. I haven't had chocolate in 4 fakkin' days!! That's FOUR DAYS WITHOUT MY LIFE SOURCE people! Okay well, I guess I just lied again. I did enjoy a handful of mini chocolate flavored rice cakes the other day. And by enjoy I mean, blech ewww puke buickkkkkkk.

My craving was for a delicious Monte Cristo. (I know, could I have picked a worse sammich? I think not.) I had my choice of two recipes. A knock off of Bennigan's Monte Cristo, which I've had and enjoyed quite a bit. Theirs was crispedy, crunchedy and light and airy.. yes, although it is a DEEP FRIED sandwich, theirs was not heavy.

My other choice was a Monte Cristo with a lighter batter and baked, not deep fried. This one was much lower on fat (really, Lis? I never would have guessed.) and had mustard on it. It got rave reviews.. the kind that mostly said, "I've ate a 100 deep fried Monte Cristo sammies and your version is not only healthy but tastes equisite!"

So which one did I go for?





For those of you who guessed the baked one.. you obviously haven't been reading my blog for very long. :P

Bennigan's Monte Cristo

OF COURSE I went for the deep fried version.. Paula Deen IS my idol after all! Hello? Have ya'll been drinking?

And so I began to make the batter and as I was mixing in the huge amount of flour to the lesser amount of liquid, I thought something might be awry.. this was a very thick batter and dipping my triple decker whole wheat, roasted chicken (went with real chicken as opposed to buying pieces/parts deli turkey slices), bavarian ham, swiss & american cheesed sammich was not easy. You know how you are walking on wet ground and you accidentally step in a mud hole? First you are sqicked, but you keep going only to realize that your next step is shoeless? Because the mud sucked your shoe right off your left foot? Yeah well my poor sammich kept getting it's chicken sucked out from the bread because this stuff was so damn thick. But I persevered.. you know me.. where a normal person would thin out that batter before going on, not I. No sir. I'm bound and determined to get my sammich dipped without losing any more scrumptious chicken breast by trying a different technique - you know a different wrist bend angle? To try to "slide" the sammich in under the goop and then twist the wrist to outsmart the goo by giving it a fake left and then rushing the right?

I had a lot of chicken breast to pick outta the batter.

Bennigan's Monte Cristo<

After getting my sammich all battered up I gently layed it in the deep fryer and right before my eyes I watched my whole wheat bread absorb that oil. Mmm mmm good. I figured if I just let it set in there for a while, the sandwich would eventually repel all that oil. That the thick coating of protective goo would shield my sammich from the bad juju of the hot oil.

While taking it out of the oil and letting the excess grease drain, I realized that my sammich had gained about 50 pounds. That sucker got heavy! I laid it on some paper towels to absorb the excess oil (PLEASE DON'T TELL ALTON) and carried on making a second sammich for Hubbs.

Once both were done, we sat down to watch Ugly Betty and enjoy our restaurant knock-off Monte Cristo sammiches. I made it to about 1/2 of a 1/2 of the sammich. He made it to a little over half before we just dropped them back down on the plate and sat there feeling as if someone had poured cement down our gullets while we weren't looking. God.

Bennigan's Monte Cristo

Why am I posting such a crappy sammich? Well.. I'm thinking that this could have potential. Maybe using canola oil for the frying wasn't the right kind of oil? Maybe if the batter is thinned out it'd take less time to get to it's golden brown deliciousness and therefore wouldn't be as heavy, but more like the crispedy, crunchedy light and airy version that Bennigan's serves. But maybe, this post will jar your memory about how good a Monte Cristo can be and you'll all go search out the baked version and try that one instead. ;)

I'm not even going to post this recipe.. if you are adventurous and want to try to make it the traditional way, then check it out here

Bennigan's Monte Cristo

I hope everyone enjoy's their weekend! We've got a brand new group of Daring Bakers for May and I'll have their links up this weekend, so be prepared to go check out some amazing blogs!

Salads.. I'm so about the salads for the rest of the week/weekend!

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Comments on "A Good Example of Why a Knock-off is a Knock-off"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/04/2007 7:50 AM) : 

The most likely reason for the sammie coming out greasy or heavy is that the oil wasn't hot enough, or that there wasn't enough oil to *stay* hot enough.

I know I just threw out my fancy-shmancy deep fryer because i swear the temp gauge was off. It couldn't even crisp potatoes...



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/04/2007 9:57 AM) : 

Waou!!! I love your sandwich with cheese. Now I'm hungry.


Blogger Cheryl said ... (5/04/2007 10:28 AM) : 

Now I know it didn't turn out well for you, but dang it sure looks good. Ain't nothing deep fried bad.

And I still love you even though you are an Ugly Betty fan (from The Office fan).


Blogger Sara said ... (5/04/2007 11:49 AM) : 

Oh my God...the minute I saw that picture my stomach started to growl. Looks great even if it didn't taste good. Guess what! Our office is bringing in lunch today...sandwiches! Guess my sandwich vibe rubbed off.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/04/2007 1:00 PM) : 

I can imagine that was a pretty heavy sandwich, but it still looks good!

BTW - the Giada post wasn't just her and I. It was questions asked from the audience. I was one of about 1000 people there.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/04/2007 1:28 PM) : 

LOL - I know that feeling when the grease intake is just too much - and a solemn swear of salads is uttered...
I agree, though - that sammich has lots of potential... as do most things with melty cheese. :)


Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (5/04/2007 3:55 PM) : 

Well that's a shame it wasn't what you'd have liked, but it looks really good!


Blogger Brilynn said ... (5/04/2007 5:49 PM) : 

What a disappointment, it had so much potential!


Blogger Helene said ... (5/04/2007 8:22 PM) : 

You know the still looks too good for me not to want your half and W's....!!!


Blogger Peabody said ... (5/04/2007 8:55 PM) : 

Ah my favorite sandwich. I like mine fried too!


Blogger Deborah said ... (5/04/2007 10:24 PM) : 

It seems like lately someone makes what I've got on the menu a day earlier or a day later than me....I just made Monte Cristos earlier this week! I do mine a little differently, but I have always loved Bennigans deep fried ones!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/04/2007 11:28 PM) : 

My goodness! I have never ever heard of this sandwich, but I think I must be craving something indulgent as the idea of a deep-fried sandwich is making me hungry! I wonder if using a sandwich press to seal the sandwich together before frying would help keep it all in one piece?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/05/2007 1:50 AM) : 

That is quite awesome, Lisa! I'd have gladly helped you finish it!


Blogger Unknown said ... (5/05/2007 2:08 PM) : 

Congrats to you, browniebabe! Those did look good...and this reminds me of a sandwich I really liked from a local (now closed) 50's style diner. It was a turkey and swiss grill. Oh, so good.


Blogger whozyerdanny said ... (5/05/2007 2:35 PM) : 

I have come to the realization that I eat 'cause i'm fat and i'm fat 'cause I eat!so..... bring it on. Try it in a pannino press, specfakkintacular!


Blogger Ed Tep said ... (5/05/2007 3:27 PM) : 

Lis - I love monte cristo sandwiches (although my waistline might have an argument or two)! Thanks for sharing your experiences with trying to make them.


Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (5/05/2007 8:42 PM) : 

You couldn't finish it!
I'll stay tuned maybe you'll have an improved recipe.


Blogger Lis said ... (5/06/2007 1:33 AM) : 

Jerry - You're most likely right - I should have thought to turn up the heat in the fryer on that 2nd sammich. Thanks!

Pom - Thank you sweetie =)

Cheryl - I agree about the deep frying. lol And thank you for still loving me! I've always wanted to start watching the Office, I really need to start Tivo'ing it, dammit!

Sara - Well I know, regardless of how mine turned out, I'm quite grateful for your week of Sandwiches! I truly enjoyed that. :D

Kristen - Heavy is an understatement. ha! Thanks for clarifying.. some really great questions were asked of her!

Gilly - Oh good, so I'm not the only one, eh? lol

Kelly-Jane - Aww thanks honey.. I'm going to try that baked version next ;)

Bril - I know! grumble..

Helene - har! Well you are eating for the bean too, so I guess I can understand. lol

Gracie - Now that sounds familiar - didn't you post one them once? I need to go search out your archives!

Deborah - I'm going to go check out how you did yours - thanks for letting me know! :D

Ellie muh luv - I think you are on to something there! Course if I used the brain given me, I'd stop at the panini press before deep frying. lol

Ivonne - Aww I want you to come over for dinner! And I won't make you greasy 50 lb. sammiches either. ;)

Claire - Thank you! I love being Browniebabe of the month! Woo! Mmmm a turkey & swiss melt sounds heavenly..

Danny - har! I'm with ya! And yeah, I'll definitely try this combination in my panini press!

Ed - My pleasure! So good to see you! xoxo

Tanna - I might just do that.. the potential is there for sure. :D


Blogger Lis said ... (5/06/2007 9:26 AM) : 

Deborah - DUH! It was YOUR blog (I'm SUCH A DORK) that gave me the craving! I should have made them like you did.. just dipped in a egg batter and fried. They look and sound so much better than mine. =) (leaving this comment on your blog as well)


Blogger K and S said ... (5/06/2007 10:21 AM) : 

Wow! those look artery-clogging good!


Blogger Callipygia said ... (5/06/2007 4:50 PM) : 

Just one for the fryer gods! Tis a pity since it did look good, I've always privately lusted for monte cristo.


Blogger Unknown said ... (5/07/2007 1:06 AM) : 

Lucky I have had my dinner! I am not really a fan of sandwich, but I love to roll any sort of salad and avocado with smoked chicken on a flat bread. Simple but enough for little tummies hehehe...


Blogger Freya said ... (5/07/2007 9:49 AM) : 

Lisa (and Sara), you have both tormented me with this delicious looking sandwich! I have no bread, ham or chicken in the house so all I can do is dream about it!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/07/2007 2:06 PM) : 

oh man..that sammy looks wicked,
meat and cheeses, deep-fried..yum!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/09/2007 2:46 PM) : 

Lisa, You crack me up. How did I not see this post? Duhhhh, by not looking...dork. The grease, er, um juice splattered right out of my monitor and on to my desk top. All I need now is smellivision. The whole grease, fat, frying, 50 lb. thing is hilarious. Isn't this like that croque monsieur or something? I just remember all the cheese and meat and frying. The pictures are doing the growly thing to my gut. It's lunchtime and I've got left over meat downstairs...


Blogger Kirsten said ... (5/10/2007 6:11 AM) : 

Oh Lis!!!

I KNOW this is TOTALLY off topic, but in college I learned to drink at Bennigan's and this exact Monte Cristo might have saved me time and time not-so-good as it may be...

I am still alive, and still drink whisky, vodka and rum. :)

xoxo, Kirsten


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