I fell in love with Swiss chard at first sight. I first spied this vegetable at the local farmers market while I lived in Illinois. And there is a specificity to my infatuation – they must be of the rainbow variety. Large shiny radiant green leaves pillared by a red stalk and multiple veins throughout. What’s not to love? Two years ago, I took my infatuation to the next level and started a garden flirtation with this nutrient-dense veggie. I dedicated a 4 by 1 ft section of our tomato garden to their cultivation. Unfortunately, I waited too long to harvest and by then they had an earthy flavor that was most disappointing. Still, I just loved the way they looked in the garden and so allowed them to grow to near Jurassic proportions. Last year, in my second attempt, our nutrient depleted soil resulted in a single plant which I was loathe to cut. Enter this year and Anders’ threat that if we are giving up much-prized tomato real estate for this vegetable, then we had better have something to taste for it. Thus warned, I embarked on a mission of soil amendment research and implementation that an agronomist would approve of.
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.
This is almost as simple as you can get. A Danish “thebirkes” with cheese. The cheese is called “Helge”, and that’s all there is to it. Very good, very easy, great for breakfast.
Note: A thebirkes is like a very flaky croissant, with poppy seeds on top, and with a marzipan mix inside. Read more about danish pastries.
A simple ham sandwich on dark rye bread, with melted cheese, onion and corn. The mustard gives it all a kick, and in retrospect perhaps we should have added a bit of freshly grated horseradish. If anyone tries that, let us know how it works out in the comments. This sandwich is highly dependent on the quality of the ham, so don’t be stingy. This here is our Jamaican Christmas ham, which is cooked traditionally with pineapples and lots of cloves, and works brilliantly for sandwiches and pizzas. Since we come from Jamaica and Denmark, this sandwich could be considered a cultural merger.
The return of the 2009 Christmas ham is always joyful and filled with good memories. This time we unfroze a few slices for a sandwich, melt style (Meaning, lots of cheese on top). To meat-it-up, we also added some buffalo chicken from the local grocery store. Do you ever go through life, looking at the same thing over and over again, not really thinking about what it is, but still forming an opinion that sometimes turns into solid knowledge? This is the way I feel about Butterball buffalo chicken breast. I have seen it many times at the local grocery store, and never really given it a second glance. I knew, somehow, that this gigantic ball of chicken must be a chicken breast, after all that’s what it said on the package. Last week, I then decide to try it. As soon as I see the meat cut, I realize to my horror that obviously this is not a gigantic 10 pound chicken breast, but rather another conglomerate of pressed meats of unknown origin. I could have kicked myself, but the nice lady had sliced it already, so here it is.
When you are in a rush, Oats Crispbread (or knækbrød as it is called in Denmark) is the way to go. Slap on some cheese and jam and you have a very tasty snack. This is everyday food in Scandinavia and criminally ignored in the US. Simple and good.
The story of this sandwich is as much a tale of the bread as it is the sandwich. Although we are somewhat ‘accomplished novices’ in making sourdough breads, this was our first attempt at making a baguette. This deceptively simple bread was anything but. Several things went wrong: after the final rise the baguettes looked amazing, big and puffy and we were congratulating ourselves on being such good students of Peter Reinhart. However, we had not done the final proofing on the baking sheet and, in transferring them, ended up loosing about 30 percent of their size. As a result, they are very solid inside, and not soft and airy like real baguettes. We also managed to somehow get the crust too crunchy. It should be mentioned that our oven is terribly old and very unreliable, which turns all our baking into exercises in patience and surprises. The taste was decent however, and although not the stuff of Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie legend, the baguettes performed creditably in a number of sandwiches, such as this one with salami and cheese.
We love grilling on the BBQ, and we love sandwiches (obviously), so this sandwich was bound to come about sooner or later. Neither of us has done a lot of grilling growing up, so we’re discovering the joy of barbecuing together. We frequently use chicken, and have learned (after a few… mishaps) to get it moist and tender. Grilling chicken usually involves a marinade or a rub, since chicken by itself can be a bit bland. This particular recipe calls for teriyaki sauce, which is great for marinades.
Contrary to what you might believe from reading the rest of this blog, sometimes we do enjoy the simple sandwiches. This one is about as simple as it gets: Bread and butter, salami and cheese. The only trick is to get good quality ingredients, freshly made bread, Italian salami with a great taste, and a fantastic cheese such as this Danish one called “Helge”. Yes, in Denmark cheeses have people-names. Go figure. Don’t even attempt this one if your bread is not fresh by the way, it will ruin your day.
This spicy roast beef cheese sandwich has hot (but sweet) chili sauce inside, and is made with a strong pungent cheese as well, both adding to the spicy flavor. It’s made on a toasted ciabatta roll, and has plenty of crunch from the sprouts. Adding a few fresh basil leaves brings it to a whole new level.
When you need to awake from the schlump that is Thursday night after work, a spicy kick to your system can be just what you need. This sandwich does just that. With a strong danish cumin cheese, sweet (but hot) chili sauce, and a strong organic and local salami from Poway Farmer’s market, this one will wake you up. Just for kicks, I added one tsp of fennel seeds on the bread and cheese while in the toaster oven. It added a very nice flavor that went really well with the cheese and ham.
Admittingly, I never envisioned adding scrambled eggs to roast beef. It just seems wrong, but scrambled eggs were being made for dinner and so I thought, “Why not”. You can call this the serendipitous sandwich because lo and behold, it actually turned out quite tasty. For a little extra crunch, I added onions (both fried and raw, sliced). Another serendipitous discovery was just how good tomato relish was on this – it went suprisingly well with the eggs and roast beef.
The classic Danish cheese sandwich is extravagent to say the least. This one, from the restaurant Peter Liep, represents the extreme amount of cheese that is needed. In fact, we couldn’t even see the bread when it was served.