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.
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.
The quintessential American sandwich is the hamburger. That despite the fact that in nearly a decade of living here, I have yet to see a burger made with ham. Anders and I have very little experience with making burgers but as the owners of this blog, and having adopted America as our home, we have to powerful reasons to address this deficiency. And what better day to do that than on the grilling day of the year – Fourth of July. I know, I know – I am six months late in posting this entry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.”
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.
It’s that time of year in our local farmers’ markets. Our longer than average spring has given way to summer and with it has come one of the fruits that I only started eating when I moved to California – figs, glorious figs. There are some fruits whose appearance and tastes you can describe by comparing it to another. But a fig… Nothing tastes like a fig. It just is. Figs are popping up all over and once again, I am beginning to flirt with the idea of adding a tree to my garden. Until then though, I have kind friends who help satisfy my cravings by sharing from the bounty of their own gardens. This sandwich is the result of one such gift – a basket of black mission pigs.
While there are many ways to add figs to your diet, this is by far my favorite. The saltiness of the prosciutto, creaminess of the Cambazola (a soft ripened triple cream blue cheese) and the nuttiness of arugula – what at taste sensation. If ever a sandwich could be described as sensual, then this is it.
Leftover fajitas can be a wonderful thing ! 🙂