Don’t you hate it when you want something and you just don’t get it. Or when what you get is not in tune with what you had envision? I know I do. But I’m not a spoiled brat, and I know No means No. That is not the problem, or what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the times when you spend time feeding your expectations only to be disappointed by the end result. That hurts, and the pain, even for something unimportant and inconsequential, seems to last forever.
The aftermath of unmet expectations can be complex. Sometimes is a matter of dealing with your expectations themselves. For example, during the weekend I went to see a Shakespeare play (Titus Andronicus) turned into a musical – a rock musical to be precise. So, for some unknown reason I envisioned a Rent-like musical, with a killer soundtrack I would buy and then sing for months (if not years). Deep down I knew chances were slim. I was going to the “World Premiere”, and we were told in advance that we were sort of the test audience as well. Let’s say it wasn’t like Rent at all, and I was somewhat disappointed. But the play wasn’t the problem, my expectations were. In fact, the musical was fun and entertaining. Since it was at the Cleveland Public Theater and it was Friday, we had FREE BEER at the end. Suddenly the whole thing was getting better. And since it was the premiere of a project years in the making, they brought snacks as well, and the cast mingled with the audience for the rest of the evening. They had me at FREE BEER, so I was screaming BRAVO! And I got over it fast.
Other times, the expectations are fine but the product isn’t. Another last-weekend example. I went to a local dinner chain that shall remain unnamed (mostly because I have always enjoyed eating there in the past). I ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich, and it was, well, a disappointment. I mean, I was starving, but I still was eager to wait for it. NOT WORTH IT; it was OK at best. Luckily, I was in good company so I enjoyed myself, but the sandwich, hmm, not so good.
So I started the week craving my sandwich. A Monte Cristo is basically a ham sandwich made with Gruyere cheese and French toast. They didn’t even give me the traditional preserves that come with it. Nada. Anyway, I ended up making French toast to make me feel better. They were really good, so I thought I killed the craving there, until I realized I didn’t. So I decided to just make the sandwich myself. I’ve never made it before, but I’ve made plenty of Puerto Rican grilled-sandwiches, cheese melts and Croque-Monsieurs (and Madames), so how hard could it be?
I’m glad I did, because I finally feel I satisfied my craving without indulging in too many calories. I did take some liberties and deviated from the standards. First, I wasn’t feeling like having Swiss cheese, so I went for (reduced fat) sharp cheddar, and I’m not apologizing for it. I really enjoyed its sharpness. I didn’t use butter to toast this sandwich mostly because I felt I had enough calories already, and I went easy on the vanilla mostly because I’m trying a new brand and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t overpower my sandwich. Often the Monte Cristo is topped with powder sugar and served with preserves, but just like with the butter, I dropped them to stay within my calorie/sugar budget. It still turned out very good, hence, I’ll share it with you.
On the road shortcut
Nutritional info per serving (one serving):
506 calories, 40 g carbs, 19 g fat, 36 g protein.
2 large eggs
¼ cup 2% Milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 ounces of French bread, sliced into 2 slices
2 ounces ham
1 ounce cheddar cheese
Mix eggs, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup in a dish that can fit the bread. Add the bread slices and soak them until they have completely absorbed the mixture. I do 7 minutes per side, starting with the non-crust side down. I flip them and let them soak for 7 more minutes, and then maybe 5 more minutes on the first side.
Spray the slices with cooking spray. Place them on a hot griddle pan with the non-crust side down under medium high fire, and gently press. Cook for 3 minutes, and flip them. Cook for 2 minutes, gently pressing the bread slices. Add half the cheese on one slice, and the other half on the second slice. Split the ham between the two slices. Assemble as a sandwich and cook for one more minute per side.