Category Archives: Baking

Caesar Salad, New Years 2012 Gourmet Dinner

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!

Deconstructed Caesar Salad Parmigiano-Reggiano Custards with Romaine Lettuce, Anchovy Dressing and Parmesan Crisps
Deconstructed Caesar Salad Parmigiano-Reggiano Custards with Romaine Lettuce, Anchovy Dressing and Parmesan Crisps

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Prosciutto Pizza with Pesto and Portobello Mushrooms

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.

Prosciutto Pizza
Prosciutto Pizza with Pesto and Portobello Mushrooms

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Pane Siciliano Bread

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.

Pane Siciliano Bread
Pane Siciliano Bread
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Pizza With Pesto, Cilantro Lime Shrimp, And Smoked Paprika

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?).

Pizza With Pesto, Cilantro Lime Shrimp, And Smoked Paprika
Pizza With Pesto, Cilantro Lime Shrimp, And Smoked Paprika

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Meatball Sandwich with Sautéed Beech Mushrooms

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.

Meatball Sandwich with Sautéed Beech Mushrooms
Meatball Sandwich with Sautéed Beech Mushrooms

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Anchovy Pizza With Fluffy Goat Cheese ‘La Lemon, Mozzarella and Arugula

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!

Anchovy Pizza
Anchovy Pizza

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Pizza! Caramelized Onions With Roasted Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, Fried Sage And Parmesan Crisps

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.

Pizza! Caramelized Onions With Roasted Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, Fried Sage And Parmesan Crisps
Pizza! Caramelized Onions With Roasted Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, Fried Sage And Parmesan Crisps

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Seared Ahi Tuna Pizza with Avocado and Beech Mushrooms

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.

Seared Ahi Tuna Pizza with Avocado and Beech Mushrooms
Seared Ahi Tuna Pizza with Avocado and Beech Mushrooms

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Warm Liver Patê Sandwich With Danish Bacon, Fried Onions, Sweet Pickles and Beets

Unlike many of my American friends who were tormented by liver as children, I actually do like liver. Well, I do if either my mother or I made the dish. Oh… and I shouldn’t forget that liver breakfast served by the Pegasus hotel in Jamaica. At least, they used to when I frequented that place about 10 years ago. Liver just happens to be one of those dishes that can so easily cross the very thin line between sumptuous and sickening, light and leathery.  This is especially true of cow’s liver, which I have been unfortunate enough to dive it only to find myself masticating like a cow!  For that reason, I prefer to eat liver only from people whose cooking abilities I can entrust my liver eating palate only to – those who have consistently demonstrated the ability to respect that line of demarcation.  Until I discovered liver pate, I thought that was a realm occupied only by myself and the chef at Pegasus. Liver pate is one of those dishes that are remarkably forgiving of overcooking.  I’ve never made liver pate myself but have been happily eating it since Anders introduced me to it on my first trip to Denmark a few years back. It is the key part of one of his favorite smørrebrød items.

Liver Pate Sandwich
Liver Pate Sandwich

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Phil’s Chicken BBQ Sandwich

We used the very last of our leftovers from our April wedding (where we were lucky enough to have Phil’s BBQ cater) to make this sandwich. And… It’s magnificent! I’ve been trying for weeks now to get my workplace to order Phil’s BBQ for lunch, but they’re “saving it for a special occasion.” Oh those fools, don’t they know that every time you eat at Phil’s, it’s a special occasion? OK, enough with the ranting, I never knew I would become such a fan of BBQ, but there you have it.

In this sandwich the ‘crunch’ comes from the radish and the micro-greens, and the spice from the cayenne garlic spread we get at the local farmers market. I would like nothing more than to be able to make that darn delicious garlic spread myself, but after having run the food processor for 30 minutes straight, I realized it’s impossible to get the fluffy goodness needed (as well as getting rid of the strong taste of garlic). An industrial blender or puree machine is needed to it, so; farmer’s market is our only solution.

Phil's BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Phil's BBQ Chicken Sandwich

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Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza With Roasted Garlic, Portobello Mushrooms and Parmesan Crisps

For the past two months, we’ve been hosting weekly pizza parties.  Well, truth be told, they have been competitive throw downs where our friends are invited to say goodbye to the week that was and bring their best recipes to battle it out for the pizza crown.   We’ve had some pretty fantastic creations.  After 8 weeks though, inspiration begins to wane. So we were quite excited to hear of the tastespotting.com Johnsonville Italian Sausage competition.  Inspiration, the chance to get our pizza on our favorite food porn site AND the likelihood (albeit remote) of winning a food making competition.  How could we not be excited?

Anders had this one on his mind for a whole week and came up with this creation: Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza with  roasted garlic, Portobello mushrooms and topped with parmesan crisps and toasted pine nuts. Does it get any crazier than this?   We hope you like it, and if you do please vote for us when the time comes.

Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza

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Smoked Salmon Pizza With Garlic Butter Fried Portobello Mushrooms And Parmesan

This was a pizza Anders put together during one of our weekly pizz-off’s, where we wave goodbye to the old week… with a friendly pizza competition amongst friends. The goal is not to win, but to have a great time (and win). Our newfound love for smoked paprika once again manifested itself in a generous sprinkle on top, which has the odd side effect of producing some rather red-tinted photos (for which we apologize). As we were all sitting around the table, sipping red wine like the pro’s, we reminisced about our childhood cardboard-pizzas from the nearby Domino’s or local pizza pusher, and wondered why we didn’t make our own pizzas while in college when it’s really not that hard and so much better.

Smoked Salmon Pizza With Butter Garlic Fried Portobello Mushrooms And Parmesan Wafer thin slices of Lemon, Onion, Stilton Blue Cheese, Smoked Paprika, Tomato Sauce with Honey and Anise
Smoked Salmon Pizza With Butter Garlic Fried Portobello Mushrooms And Parmesan Wafer thin slices of Lemon, Onion, Stilton Blue Cheese, Smoked Paprika, Tomato Sauce with Honey and Anise
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Grilled Fig Pizza With Goat Cheese And Honey

Reason number 1099 why I love living in Southern California: fig season! We don’t have our own fig tree – a gardening oversight that we plan on remedying soon. We have the perfect spot picked out and Wendie has done her research to determine which variety to grow. More on that later. Between the local farmers markets and generous friends we’ve eaten more figs this season than in our entire lives. We love eating them fresh from the tree and have also experimented with making preserves, jams, sandwiches and this latest use – on pizzas. This little configuration was served as dessert in a recent pizza party: fig and goat cheese pizza with caramelized figs and onions.

Grilled Fig Pizza With Goat Cheese And Honey
Grilled Fig Pizza With Goat Cheese And Honey

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Pizza: Apricot with Prosciutto, Thyme and Arugula

As we promised, we will be posting pizza recipes from all of our Pizza Cookoff Fridays. Actually, I should confess that that title is the more sanitized and hence publishable version of the actual title.  Here’s another of our creations – this was week 2. This is a sauce less pizza (distinct from the saucy pizza with all her insolence and impertinent attitudes :-)) that we find works best early in the evening of pizza debauchery. Light and pleasing, it was a nice introduction and palate opener to the heavier pizzas that were to follow that night.

Apricot prosciutto pizza with mozzarella and arugula
Apricot prosciutto pizza with mozzarella and arugula

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Pizza With Sautéed Leeks, Grilled Mushrooms and Goat Cheese Whipped with Lemon Zest

This summer we have introduced a new tradition in the Amazing Sandwich home – Pizza Cook-off Fridays. What started as dinner with a friend who came over to show us how to make pizza on the grill, has morphed into my new favorite evening of the week. The basic concept is this: get some friends together, Anders and I provide the dough and competitors bring their favorite wines and toppings for 3-4 hours of trash talking, ardent pizza making, even more ardent eating, and just a wonderfully good time.  So far, we’ve had some awesome creations: classic margarita with fresh tomatoes from our respective gardens; pesto with grilled mushrooms; feta with hummus, grilled pork and finished with tahini drizzle; smoked salmon with thin lemon slivers; apricots with prosciutto and arugula. But my favorite so far was one entry from last weekend: sautéed leeks with garlic, grilled oyster and shimeji mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella and then topped with dollops of a whipped goat cheese/lemon zest blend and sprinkled with fresh thyme.  It was divine. I mean really…it was soo good it bears repeating – it was divine!  We whipped the goat cheese with a fork, added some lemon zest and bit of olive oil.  After baking in the oven, it was so light and creamy and the lemon just gave it the perfect amount of tang.  I can’t wait till Friday – we might just make this one again.

Leeks with grilled shimeji and oyster mushrooms and topped with whipped goat cheese
Leeks with grilled shimeji and oyster mushrooms and topped with whipped goat cheese

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