Late Night with Cooks

Late night food gets pretty interesting when you live with cooks. In college I was the odd one out, whipping up post-party smoked mozzarella, basil and prosciutto crostini to the amusement/delight of my roommates. But after moving in with a friend from culinary school, I'm not alone in the 3 am cooking endeavors. Between myself and two roommates who are cooks in the West Village, there have been some delicacies and disasters created in the wee hours.

Word of warning: if you've hit the town hard, I don't recommend chopped salad, homemade slaws or any snacks that involve a lot of cutting (finger food is ideal late night fare, fingers in food is not). I learned this the hard way chopping scallions for our recent snack of homemade pork dumplings, and now sorely miss the skin on two knuckles. Another poor, Wild Turkey-inspired decision was using our smoker to "smoke infuse" a beer. Not only did we waste a perfectly delicious brew, but we smoked ourselves out of the apartment.

Lest the former give a bad impression of our cooking skills, we have enjoyed more successes than failures. Last Saturday's delicious late night nosh was bulgogi — a Korean dish that consists of thin strips ofbarbeque beef (which we had marinated the day before), eaten in lettuce cups with scallions, thai basil and jasmine rice. Washed down with tequila (our soju substitute), it prepared us for a solid night of sleep. Another hit were"dessert sandwiches," decadent Nutella paninis with vanilla ice cream. I have copied a version of the recipe below. These sweet treats are ideal because they’re extremely simple and don't involve sharp objects or fire (granted you have a panini press). A 5th grader, or drunken 24 year-old, could do it.

Dessert Sandwiches

I owe this recipe to our late night food mastermind, Chris. These sandwiches are delicious anytime, but best enjoyed after 1 am with good friends and good beer. Makes 3.

Ingredients:
6 slices white sandwich bread. Nothing fancy, Pepperidge Farm will do
1 jar Nutella
1 pint Haagen-Daza vanilla ice cream
Butter
Optional flare: sliced banana, caramel sauce, marshmallow fluff (or if you're feeling decadent, all of the above).

Directions:

  1. Heat up the panini press on medium (alternatively, a waffle press or hot saute pan will work).
  2. Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of the bread slices, and a thick layer of Nutella on the other. Add in any of the optional ingredients, and then press slices together to make sandwiches.
  3. Cook the sandwiches in the panini press until the bread is crusty and golden brown and the Nutella oozy, about 5 minutes (alternatively cook them in the pan while pressing down firmly with a spatula).
  4. Serve on a plate with vanilla ice cream, and plenty of napkins.