First of all, we’re sorry about the VERY slow release of new sandwiches and recipes, we’ve been extremely busy with other projects, but we hope to return to making at least a couple of posts per month.
Last night we had a great New Years eve dinner with our friends. It’s a tradition, and we always cook a 7-course gourmet meal, with each couple making one or two dishes, paired with a great drink/wine. As you can imagine, we’re rather buzzed at the end of the night. Since Wendie got a Thomas Keller The French Laundry Cookbook, she decided to make a Caesar Salad. The Caesar Salad was made with a crouton, which makes it a sandwich (a tiny one) in our mind!
We recently went on a short weekend getaway to Santa Barbara, and on the way home we decided to stop by the Mario Batali pizzeria in Los Angeles called “Mozza.” We shared a Fried squash blossoms with ricotta pizza which was excellent, but did lack a little bit of oomph. It was bland I guess, but good. We were sitting at the bar, watching the chefs prepare the dough, and learned a new technique to keep the bubbles in the edge. So we thought we would give it a try, and make a similar pizza in style, but with much more taste in it.
Spring has arrived in San Diego. The weather is warm, our vegetable beds are loaded with freshly planted tomatoes, and we are just finishing a couple retainer walls that give us a few hundred more feet of planting space. Life is good. And to celebrate, we made this lovely (and simple) roast beef panini sandwich.
NO matter how much we want to push the envelope for sandwiches, we can’t possible fit this posting into that category. However, after growing fava beans over the winter (they call it winter here in San Diego, but it’s really similar to spring in Denmark), we have a tremendous harvest. Wendie came up with an amazing recipe for fresh fava beans, and in a moment of optimism, we decided to make a youtube video of the entire process.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, for once we have a non-sandwich recipe, and a video to go with it. Please let us know if this is something you want to see more of in the future, and what you think of the video. Wendie didn’t want me to tape her head for some reason, but if we do more I’ll make it happen to avoid further ‘headless presentations’ 🙂
Last weekend I decided to try making Pane Siciliano bread. It’s not an easy decision, as it is a three day process which involves overnight rising in the refrigerator, twice. On day one, I made the Pâte Fermentée, which was stored overnight to get some taste. The next day, the Pâte Fermentée was used as ingredient in the Pane Siciliano dough, which again, was set to rise overnight. The last day, I removed the dough to get room temperature, but something had gone wrong. The bread had not risen. Or maybe it had. It was hard to say. It was about 75% larger than the day before, but surely not doubled. Also, it had flattened out. This typically means there is not more rise to be had, so the only choice at that time was to bake it.
Continuing our tradition of declaring pizzas ‘a kind of sandwich,’ we present this shrimp pizza with pesto sauce and smoked paprika. Like the pizzas that went before it, it descends from our 15 week pizz-off Friday end-of-week celebration stint. We’ve come to love these Fridays, and hope to start anew soon albeit with a different theme (Yet to be determined, maybe tapas?).
There is something oddly alien and organic about beech mushrooms that just makes them pop in photos. As an added benefit, they also taste really good, and you can usually pick up a bunch from your local Asian grocery store. Cut of the base where they are all connected and treat them like ordinary mushrooms after that. This sandwich brings out the best of the mushrooms, because they are so prominent compared to the other ingredients. We opted for a brief sautéing with olive oil and thyme.
After a visit to the local 99c Market (Asian grocery store), we got inspired by their roasted ducks and decided to make a panini sandwich. We have to admit though, the duck was of pretty poor quality which ruined the sandwich once we ate it, but if we had had a decently home-roasted duck we both feel confident this would have been a great sandwich. We also partly made this because of Ujin, who at the time had been interviewing us for an article in a Chinese youth-magazine. Respectfully we named the sandwich after her.
We’re not sure this is a classic Danish open faced sandwich in the sense that the toppings are a bit untraditional. Fried sage and Dukkah? That’s not what you would typically see in a Danish sandwich shop. But the concept is very typical: Meatball sandwiches are seen everywhere and classic toppings includes sweet pickles, lettuce and mushrooms. We just improvised on the theme, adding a bit of San Diego flair…
I love it when I can turn Anders on to new and/or previously unloved foods. Much of our experience of food comes from our earliest introduction as children and it seems that taste memory is the longest memory. He must have had a bad introduction to anchovy as a child and hated it because he just cannot abide the stuff. Well he couldn’t until he had this pizza. Still, I can see how a child would be unenthusiastic about anchovies – salty, oily, and fishy. Lucky for me I wasn’t introduced to this taste trilogy until I was in college. A Bulgarian friend gave me a slice of fresh bread with butter and anchovies sprinkled with lemon juice. It was a delight and I have loved it ever since.
This pizza made an equal convert out of Anders: anchovies, with lemon slices, mozzarella, goat cheese and caramelized onions. The look on his face when I mentioned it – consternation. The look after his first bite – rhapsody!
On a recent Pizz-Off!, we had three amazing pizzas. Two were made by our friends, and this one was our entry into our competition. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy the abundance of butternut squash now making its appearance in fall farmers markets, this is it! I love butternut squash. I have got to find a new way of expressing my pleasure about foods, since I seem to ‘love’ everything. But it really is true. There are very few foods that I don’t absolutely delight it and can’t find a way to work into a tasty meal. That has served me well since I’ve managed to quiet some of Anders initial protests and converted him to many foods that he had previously sworn off: Swiss chard, oxtail, sweet potatoes. Anyway, back to the butternut squash. I think it was about our 7th or 8th pizza night and I was racking my brain trying to come up with a new recipe to serve. When you have a pizza competition with friends every Friday, with each friend making a different pizza, you begin to stretch creativity. Then I remembered my birthday gift to Anders last year – a cooking class at Sur la Table. For that class, we prepared butternut squash ravioli with fried sage. It was wonderful-so much so that the following weekend we made our own homemade version. We haven’t made it since then (an oversight I will have to remedy soon!) So this pizza for me is reminiscent of that meal and combines all the flavors of that meal on a pizza : Butternut squash with fried sage and caramelized onions.
Note: This pizza is a little involved but it’s so worth it. You can prepare some of the ingredients (the squash and the onions) in advance to save time on the day of. I unfortunately thought up this recipe while at work. With two hours to prepare the ingredients before the guests arrived, I had to shop, roast squash, caramelize onions and the most critical thing – clean the kitchen! I needed every second of those 2 hours.
This is a very simple sandwich, which basically is a great piece of Naan bread from Trader Joe’s, a slice of salmon, and a touch of tarragon mustard. I’m sure any Indian would cringe his or her toes considering the bread to be actual Naan, but whatever it is we get it every few months. It is a very soft and thick bread that almost melts in your mouth.
As one of our guests said when I won the weekly pizz-off pizza dinner with this pizza: “It’s not fair, no one can loose with seared tuna!” To be fair I have to concede the point I suppose, as even breakfast cereal with seared tuna would probably be awesome (someone try and let us know). The dough was new for us as our friends at Rossi Pasta sent us a few samples to cook with (Thanks guys). Probably one of our best tasting pizza’s ever.
One of the wonderful thing of making scones for a living (We run The Scone Company), is that sometimes we have to experiment with new flavors. This sandwich includes a savory scone we made as an experiment, which has goat cheese, chives and cracked pepper and salt on top. It was delicious and although the goat cheese melted too much, it still left a nice flavor in the scone. This is one of our test-sandwiches – a seared ahi tuna sandwich with Mr. Stripey tomatoes, a bit of garlic mayo and a smidgen of pesto.