One sandwich I have never gotten around to liking is the chicken salad sandwich. Perhaps it’s because I was introduced to it at a deli counter. The mayonnaise was so plentiful that I could hardly taste the chicken. Since then I’ve stayed away from all chicken salads, and supermarket deli counter foods for that matter. Still searching for a quick meal last night I decided to attempt to make my own and thereby kill two birds with a single chicken breast: rescue the chicken salad from mayonnaise hell and make a week night meal in time for Anders and I to enjoy a date night (go see the movie Unstoppable). Both were handily accomplished.
I guess we have to admit it… we love smoked salmon, and use it often on sandwiches. Over the years we’ve posted many variations that might seem similar, but all serve as a reminder of how easy it can be to add variation to your sandwiches by just changing a few key ingredients. This is no different.
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.
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.
This is a simple sandwich for people in a rush (well, assuming you have the ingredients available). You need some hummus, and a bit of really good mozzarella, like this buffalo mozzarella which is smooth and creamy. We make our own hummus, which is a variation on this recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus. This is a spicy hummus with cilantro and banana peppers instead of the sun-dried tomato basil.
I have a confession to make: I am apathetic about bacon. Perhaps it’s just that by the time I first had a taste of bacon, my taste buds were so developed in another direction that they were inured to its allure. I am the woman who actually thinks adding bacon to a plate of fluffy scrambled eggs and toast serves to spoil rather than enhance my breakfast. So apathetic am I about it that in all my years of making the US my home I have never once purchased and cooked bacon. Now that I think of it that is rather odd – especially considering that I am one of those shoppers for whom going to the supermarket is akin to a cultural carnival. I literally get giddy at the prospect of finding new unfamiliar items that I can experiment with. I am the shopper you’ll see at the Korean grocery store, looking quizzically at a new ingredient, putting it in my shopping cart and only then doing a quick search on my iPhone to find a recipe, oblivious to the queue of irate actually knowledgeable shoppers behind me. Yes that’s me… and if you’ve been one of those unfortunate victims of my ignorance and exuberance, then I am sorry.
Ever heard of the four cheese sandwich? Typically this sandwich involves an abundance of cheese with little smidgen of veggies. A few weeks ago, we decided to turn that recipe upside down and make the four tomato caprese panini. Thanks to overshopping (yet again) at the annual Tomato Mania, our garden has quite a variety of this summer necessity. If only the variety was matched by abundance. Sigh! This year, we have been outdone by the garden pests who have made off with most of our yield. Poor Anders. In anticipation of this annual raiding, early in the season he stocked the pantry with peanut butter – the bait of choice for our Have a Heart trap. Months later, we are out of peanut butter and tomatoes. There are some very fat well fed squirrels and rabbits running around Poway right now and they owe it all to Anders. How they managed to get to the PB without springing the trap is beyond me. Ocassionally, (grudglying, we suspect), they left us a few, from which we were able to have a few tomato meals – like this sandwich.
You can use any combination of tomatoes you wish. We used: white oxheart, brandy boy, Mr. Stripey and XXX. It was delish, so much so that after eating his mammoth sandwich, Anders begged for another. After eating his second sandwich, he was nearly comatose on the sofa. Sweet reward for me… that and hearing him declare, “this is hands down the best panini I’ve ever tasted.”
When you live close to the Mexican border, you can’t help but be inspired by the fantastic Mexican cuisine. San Diego has to some extent adapted many of the traditional Mexican dishes and turned them American. The burrito, nowhere to be found in Mexico, is an American invention that pervades the fast-food culture here. That’s not a bad thing by the way, since I happen to love a good burrito (the best in town can be found in Del Mar at the Mucho Gusto joint). Carne asada is truly Mexican, and is usually flank steak, spiced up. The one we used is from a local butcher that makes his own spices, and it’s very very good, oh yes, veeery good.
How many ways can you make a smoked salmon sandwich? It turns out there are many – or so my search on Tastespotting revealed. Tastespotting is pure visual food pornography – some awesome photos of really great food with popularity driven by the online food community. We love it and have had a few of our own creations featured there. Sometimes I am just starved for inspiration. When we first started this ambitious blog, I thought coming up with 100 sandwiches would be itself an epic feat. Now as we approach the 200 sandwich mark, I marvel at some of the creations that we have come up with. Anders’ Big Bad Wolf Burger is one such marvel. As you can imagine, with this many sandwiches behind us, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with a creative (and postable) sandwich. When those moments happen, I turn to the Internet. Today it was Draganabakes by way of a photo on Tastespotting. That recipe included a shallot mayonnaise. With the abundance of cilantro from my last run to the grocery store, I decided to whip up some cilantro mayonnaise instead.
A few weeks ago, we had a friend visiting for the weekend. He is a recent convert to the omnivore lifestyle – after over 30 years of a purely vegetarian diet. Food is nearly like a religion and each style has its adherents who hold to it with zeal and conviction that borders on fanaticism. So when our friend converted, we were so thrilled that he had chosen to walk the other side that we now consider it our mission to ensure that his forays into the omnivore lifestyle are rewarding enough to cement his place as a member of our growing sect 🙂 “Thou shalt not backslide”. Still, even with this new adventurous palate, his lifetime of preparing only vegetarian cuisine means that he is at a loss as to what to do when confronted with meat or fish. He does well enough when dining out, but at home he needs to prepare vegetarian cuisine if he is to eat at all.
When he visited, he remarked that our blog is woefully lacking in vegetarian style sandwiches that he could create at home. We have been remiss, and so have prepared this little sandwich in his honor. Subu, this one’s for you (more acts of repentance to follow).
We love caprese salads so much we had Phil’s BBQ change their menu and serve it at our wedding (They did a great job too). So, it should come as no surprise that we had to try and turn the art of the caprese into a sandwich. A panini sandwich to be exact. It has all the classic ingredients: Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For the bread we went with our own homemade pesto-sourdough bread, but any regular sourdough will do just fine.
Living close to Mexico means there is a constant influx of great Mexican cuisine. Carne Asada is one of those things that are very popular in San Diego, and it is essentially a long slice of skirt of flank steak, usually marinated or rubbed, and then grilled. It is fantastic when done right. Wendie got us a couple of these steaks, and of course I had to go make a sandwich out of them. I opted to add some ‘green stuff’ from the local farmers market on the bread. We call it ‘green stuff’ because we don’t really know what it is, but the guy that sells it swears by it. It tastes a bit like spicy tabbouleh without the couscous. In any case, substitute with pesto and all shall be well. The greens on top are called “micro greens’ and are also from the farmers market. These taste very lemony, and I wish we had more precise name for them, but alas, ‘micro greens’ it is.
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).
We just got married, and we were very saddened by the Icelandic cloud of ash that kept several of our Danish friends from attending our wedding. But everything can be a blessing in disguise. We didn’t tell our caterer, Phil’s BBQ, so we ended up with extra beef ribs in the freezer. While we miss our friends, at least we have ribs. And as the old saying goes, “if life gives you ribs, make rib sandwiches.” And so here we are, summer just started, and this wonderful panini (thank you Scott and Choo for that wonderful machine!!) is our first and most basic beef rib sandwich. Yum.
Saturday: Wake up. Shower. Get Dressed. Breakfast now, NO, kitchen remodel. Drink milk, drive to Escondido. Get mulch and rosebushes, look at avocado tree. Back, unload, Costco. Gas, Bank, Home. Hungry, NO, kitchen remodel! What to do? This. Simple, good, easy, fast, out the door again…