Many of the sandwiches on this blog are the result of a specific plan and shopping trip to realize an idea that one or both of us have. I’ll be sitting at work and have an idea that just must be pursued. More often than not, this means I have to make a trip to the grocery store to purchase one of more of the critical component for the dreamed-up sandwich. Other times, a sandwich just sort of emerges from the ingredients on hand- it’s a case of just opening the refrigerator and pantry doors and letting our creativity run wild. In Jamaica, we have a saying for that: “tun yuh han’ an mek fashion”. I won’t bother providing the literal translation, since, as with all languages, much gets lost in that endeavor. I suppose the nearest English equivalent I can find is: ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Hmm.. even that attempt seems to dilute the essence of this colloquialism.
Anyway, this sandwich was one result of us making fashion by sleight of hand. The ingredients – pugiliese bread, blue cheese and salsa verde left over from the much-mentioned recent wedding @ and zucchini left unused from recent stir fry.
Caramelized onions are such a treat but requires good quality sweet and savory onions to really bring out the best taste of the food. They go extremely well with mild blue cheese, such as the Roquefort we used here. The first time we really discovered the joy of caramelized onions was at a visit to the farmers market in Temecula, Ca. The ‘strawberry lady’ had brought some gigantic onions that she was raving about. She told us to go home and slow-cook them (caramelize), and basically just eat onion for dinner. We did almost that, but added a steak too (man must eat). However, since then we regularly enjoy this often overlooked treat in our cooking. Most people probably don’t realize how easy it is to make amazing food with something as cheap and simple as onions, so hopefully this can server as inspiration.
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…
Well our kitchen remodel is under way now, and today our old kitchen was reduced to rubble, and placed in a giant container outside the house. We are very excited to get the new one in about 4-6 weeks, and before the demilition began we had the sanity to make a few sandwiches and pizzas to keep things interesting while we await perfection. This weekend we shall attempt some sandwiches made entirely on our BBQ, and look forward to being creating. Until then, this is a little gem we made last week, falafel (great for sandwiches), with a nice homemade yogurt dressing. We hope you enjoy it.
Well, well, it seems we are to be featured in the upcoming Costco Connection magazine (March), with one of our recipes. We’re very excited of course, so make sure you read the next one carefully :). This was planned back in December, which means we spent Christmas contemplating St. Patrick’s Day inspired sandwiches. This is the one that was not chosen to be in the magazine, but which we really loved. It’s based on corned beef naturally, and it has a little green in it. We hope you enjoy, and check back at the end of February to see which one made the (cold) cut…
While driving home from an exhausting day shopping for a new kitchen (who knew there were so many options for beveling), we passed Miami Grille. Well, we passed were it used to be before it went out of business. I guess Poway wasn’t the right place for a $15 sandwich place after all (and let’s not forget tax and tips!). Anyway, this gave us a sudden craving for a Cuban sandwiches, which as we neared our home faded into a craving for ‘something Cuban inspired.’
So, browsing the web for a couple of base sauces, we read them, ignored most, and invented our own. We made both a marinade and a dipping sauce, marinated the meat overnight, and put together this sandwich the next day. It was moist, tender, and awesomely garlicky. Love it.
For the vegetarians out there, you can’t go wrong with a delicious portobello mushroom burger. This is one of our favorite sandwiches, for yes, a burger is also a sandwich, much like a Lada is also a car (although reluctantly). Whenever we see fresh portobello mushrooms we try to secure a few for grilling. They are simply delicious when soaked in the right marinade, and actually taste better than most meat patties. The grilling really brings out the best in these shrooms, and you get to enjoy the wonderful colors and look of this gigantic Agaricus bisporus.
After Thanksgiving, it’s time for the leftover turkey to reign supreme. Truth be told, we celebrated thanksgiving with friends, and forgot to bring home leftovers, so, undeterred, we cooked another turkey the next day. Just for sandwiches. Is that dedication or what !?
There’s something to be said for simplicity, and when we cook it is usually Wendie saying it. After we baked our Lingonberry bread, Wendie made this sandwich and I made the “Turkey Sandwich with Creamy Garlic Paste, Avocado, Red Bell Pepper and Onion on Lingonberry Bread“. Both were good, but given the exuberant amount of toppings on mine, it should have been 4 times better. However, this simple construction proved to be a worthy contender in our internal struggle for sandwich supremacy. The slight chewiness of the mushroom goes really well with fresh bread. Wendie’s genius is of course to sauté the mushrooms in olive oil with a hint of chili, which really pops out your taste buds so they can pick up the flavors of the wonderful Roquefort.
About two weeks ago I promised Anders that I would make him the perfect steak sandwich. His raised disbelieving eyebrows might have been because I am frankly not a fan of beef. I mean, I don’t get it – what is the fascination? Still, a promise is a promise so I determined that this would be the day.
I left work with the plan in mind: rush to Trader Joe’s to buy ciabatta bread, watercress and the requisite rib-eye steak and get home and get down to business. Alas, the steaks at Trader Joes were disappointingly thin – a setback that resulted in a trip to two more supermarkets before I found the perfect steak. Two hours later, I finally made it home, tired and with some of the wind gone from my sail. Still, the look on Anders’ face when he bit into this sandwich made the evenings’ frustrations well worth it.
For Christmas 2007, Wendie bought me a torch – one of those you use in making desserts such as creme brulee. I had seen one on TV and I wanted it desperately. When I got it, I started manically torching everything, hoping to discover new uses and develop new dishes. As it turned out, most things don’t do well being torched. Roast beef… not so good. Vegetables…nope. Cornflakes… wouldn’t recommend it. The one thing that actually has its moments is cheese.
With the torch I can melt the surface of the cheese, and when biting into it you get a a feeling of warmth on your upper lip, while the rest of the bite is cold. Not entirely unpleasant. For a cheese sandwich, this requires a huge amount of torching action, due to the surface that needs to be melted, but for appetizers it works. After two years I still haven’t made creme brulee, but I’ve managed to construct this appetizer, which in my opinion is perfect for all those torches out there collecting dust. Enjoy.
Blame it on my Danish upbringing, but I can’t walk away from a good cheese, and this sandwich sports one of our favorites: Roquefort. For those not in the know (but care to be), it’s like a mild blue cheese, soft and tangy, and usually crumbles easily (although this one didn’t). We bought it at Costco (which means we have a family sized block for the two off us). Since it is a ‘Product of France’, European law dictates that only those cheeses aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may be called Roquefort. Similarly, Feta cheese may rightfully be called Feta if and only if it’s from Greece. We always find it interesting to know where our foods really come from, and this is one of those rare occasions where we have a clue.
The sandwich itself is simple, lettuce, tomato, roasted tomatoes, Roquefort and a wonderful creamy garlic paste with tarragon from Majestic Garlic which we got at the Temecula’s farmers market. You need to get this spread it’s fantastic on sandwiches, eggs, pasta and so much more!