I don't like to use the word "picky" but there are certain foods and food groups that I will not touch. Like seafood. Bleck. I also get weirded out by foods sometimes and stop eating them for long stretches of time. I once went for over a year without eating meat of any kind because of a bad ham incident. Then one day I decided I wanted a cheeseburger, and bam! I was a meat eater again.
Going out to new restaurants can be a bit of a challenge to me since I'm not familiar with the menu, and I usually panic for a few minutes as I frantically scan for something I know will be safe, like chicken fingers, before actually taking the time to look at the more exotic options.
The first Hot Brown I ever ate was at a new-to-me restaurant, and I was on a date with RJ, back in the days when we were just dating, seriously but not TOO seriously, and I didn't want him to know how crazy I really am. As I was scanning the menu I saw it listed under Sandwiches. I read the description - turkey, tomatoes, bacon, cheese and thought it seemed a safe bet. It's hard to screw up a turkey sandwich, right? When the plate came out, it was this huge gooey bubbly mess and I was convinced that they had gotten my order wrong, but I didn't want to seem high maintenance (still dating, remember?) and I set into it determinedly, vowing to eat it even if there were shrimp dancing all over the plate.
One bite in and I was hooked. Turns out it WAS what I had ordered, and it was delicious. Since that first experience with Hot Brown, I have sought them out all over Kentucky (it's kind of a regional dish) and have even had it a time or two at The Brown Hotel, which is where it originated.
None of them have ever been quite as good as that first one though, the one I had when I was just a girl on a date with a boy, trying for all the world not to seem crazy.
I've made them at home many times, some from the Brown Hotel recipe, and more recently from this recipe from Beverly's Back Porch, but the recipe that follows is my quick and easy cheater's version, which (if you use precooked bacon) you can have on the table ready to eat in about 20 minutes, start to finish.
This recipe makes 2 separate servings.
WHAT YOU NEED:
4 slices of rye bread
8 thin slices of turkey
8 thin slices of ham
1 tomato, sliced
6 slices of bacon, precooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
WHAT YOU DO:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On two oven safe plates, assemble your sandwiches by laying out equal amounts of the bread, then topping each with the turkey, then the ham, then the tomatoes, then the bacon. In a small bowl, mix together the cream of mushroom soup, the milk, garlic powder, parsley, and parmesan, then spoon half the mixture over each sandwich. Top each with half the cheddar cheese, then bake in the preheated over for 15 minutes.