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!
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…
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.
This past week one of this blogs co-founders celebrated his birthday and was given a party that in true Amazing Sandwich style. Anders was not only born in Denmark but spent most of his life there and it is his and that country’s commitment to the sandwich that served as the inspiration for our blog. Denmark is the world that has transformed this humble meal to gourmet standards. So it was only appropriate that Anders’ birthday be celebrated with an ode to the smørrebrød. So last week saw me scurrying about to purchase the necessary ingredients that would make Ida Davidsen proud. Ida Davidsen is the Grande Dame of Danish smørrebrød and operates a Michelin-starred restaurant devoted solely to this national dish. We planned on three of Anders’ favorite Danish smørrebrød: leverpostej (liver pate), Fiskefilet med remoulade(fillet of fish with remoulade) and frikadeller (meatballs). Today’s entry will be devoted to the fiskefilet. I know you are thinking – what could be so special about a fish fillet? Let me tell you my friend, this is no mere fish on bread. The preparation, construction and… alone took me hours. We had 14 at our party and so in making for your own, you’ll need to adjust the ingredients accordingly.
If you’ve been in San Diego for the past few weeks, you would be wondering where is that glorious San Diego sunshine that we are known for. It’s been nothing but rain and overcast skies and nary a day above 70 degrees. Of course, for our mid-West and East coast friends, you are now reading this with great disdain for our inability to tolerate any temperature below 70. We can’t help it – we are spoiled. In my case though I don’t mind the colder weather as much as I mind what it means for the backyard garden. It is in the decline of production that I see the first signs of the end of summer, and am reminded that I need to get the jackets cleaned before the winter really hits us. The tomatoes have yielded the last of their crop; the cucumbers have given up their valiant fight; the basil plants are beginning to go to seed and the zucchini – that prodigious producer – has finally kicked the bucket. Time to pull up the old plants and start with the winter garden. In the meantime, here’s a sandwich that serves as an ode to summers past: grilled zucchini with parsley-jalapeno paste and roasted tomatoes. We made this in the good old days of summer.
Once again, we had a refrigerator full of leftovers, so we decided to make a few appetizers for a midday snack. There is no great or deep background story, no childhood memories or frustrations. Just a simple appetizer.
Our friends Shelley and Jens have a thing for stuff that is deep fried. Being from the south, Shelley grew up frying fowl, but Jens is Danish and just developed a taste for it after meeting Shelley (we think). In any case, their love is strong so for Jens’ birthday last month, they had a ‘bring stuff to deep-fry’ party. We had deep fried chicken legs and thighs and wings, battered deep fried shrimp, deep fried Twinkies (Better than un-fried I might add, although still disgusting), and of course we brought; Sandwiches. We were a bit shocked to discover this, but of course someone has done this before, and there is a famous sandwich called the Monte Cristo with turkey, ham and cheese, and served with sugar and jam on top; a sweet, possible dessert, sandwich. So, we made it (and it was good, but fattening like a neutron bomb in your belly). This was an evening party and we forgot our good camera, so please excuse the photo quality…
The breakfast sandwich is one sandwich that doesn’t get enough mention on this blog. Perhaps that’s because I’ve considered my breakfast sandwich choices to be too uninspired for this blog. Some people’s idea of a breakfast sandwich is bacon, eggs, sausage, cheese or some combination thereof. Mine is much simpler – just an egg (either soft boiled or scrambled) that gets enjoyed on a weekend morning (typically Saturdays). For me, Saturday mornings are rife with possibilities. It is the beginning of two uninterrupted days of freedom when I can indulge some of the little personal pleasures that are bypassed in the hustle and bustle of the work week. One of these is the breakfast. On workdays, breakfast is a grab-and-go cup of coffee or tea and whatever fruit happens to be available at the moment, both of which gets consumed during my commute to the office. If I’m particularly hungry, a boiled egg gets tossed into the mix, to be eaten when I arrive at work. I look forward to the slower pace of the weekend breakfast. There I have a leisurely meal that serves as punctuation between my work week and weekend of freedom. For the most part, the basic ingredients remain the same as the work week breakfast; what differs is the preparation and presentation. The coffee/tea is served in a mug/teacup rather than my travel thermos; the single fruit is exchanged for a bowl of homemade fresh fruit salad; and the egg is served either scrambled or soft boiled, with or without a slice of toast. Better yet is that I get to enjoy this sitting on my favorite garden bench (weather permitting). It’s a breakfast that is a sort of culinary exhalation – as if to say, “Aaah.. it’s weekend and this is my time.”
Sometimes a man needs to be a man, and that’s when he makes “The Big Bad Wolf Burger“. Oh yeah, 1/2 pound of patty with basil, cilantro, oven roasted garlic and blue cheese chunks. What a great 4th of July celebration that was. Inspired by the moment, I topped it off with crispy hash browns and a jackfruit/avocado rough guacamole. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this burger is, but this is so far the best burger I’ve had in my life. The jackfruit guacamole sweetness perfectly blends with the spicy mayo, the juicy patty, and the crunchy hash browns. These are the times when I think back to all the missed opportunities of my childhood to celebrate with awesome burgers, the food of men 😉
I miss plantains. For those who don’t know, it is the larger cousin of the banana. Unlike the banana it is typically cooked before eaten. I suppose one could just peel and eat it like you would a banana, but that would just be… well, wrong. My favorite way to enjoy a plantain is to fry it and simply eat as a side dish. Unfortunately, along with my strong accent, one of the things I lost in moving to San Diego is the ready availability of plantains.
Two weeks ago, I had a meeting in a neighborhood in San Diego known for it’s “ethnic’ population. Ehem… let me pause here to continue my fight against the application of this terminology. Why is this term reserved for non-Caucasians alone? Are they by some miracle of biology without shared cultural heritage that underpins the term ‘ethnicity’? But I digress, linguistic misapplication aside, I was lucky to be in an area of town with a fair share of Vietnamese and Filipino supermarkets.
As I drove through I remembered a plantain dish I once had in a Filipino restaurant many years ago. “Dare I hope?”, I wondered. I was not disappointed, I came out of the supermarket with a huge green plaintain. It took about one week to ripen, and the cooked fruit was a key ingredient in Anders’ breakfast last week Saturday.
(The other half found its way in a plantain flambé – my take on the banana flambe, something I am unable to make because of my one-woman boycott of the US commercial banana industry).