A few months ago, we posted about our ongoing quest to ensure that our reformed vegetarian friend S. doesn’t abandon his recent embrace of the omnivore diet. To wit, that meant introducing him to foods that showcase the diversity of his new diet. That is no mean feat. You see he is fortunate enough to be from a country that has enjoyed thousands of years of history of making vegetarian food. So for him, American vegetarian food is definitely lacking in options. He still bemoans the fact that vegetarian food at most restaurants consists of some steamed or sautéed veggies with pasta and a sauce with a unidimensional flavor. That just does not work for him – he is used to a cornucopia of flavors of incredible intensity and variety. He assumed that when he switched diets, he would have more variety (read; flavor), but has since found that to him it is just ‘more texture, but same lack of flavor’. In other words, Bleh!
So it is Anders’ and my responsibility to be good evangelists of all things omnivore. We take this very seriously. Last time he was here we made this little sandwich to showcase some of the flavors we love about meat. And by we, I mean Anders:-). Unlike Anders who (nearly) salivates at the very prospect of eating meat, I am not much of a meat lover myself. I feel about meat the way I feel about bacon – aphathetic. So I figured that if I could make a sandwich for S. that I was in love with, then he was sure to love it as well. This is a simple sandwich with really great ingredients that unite superbly- grilled steak (medium rare); mushrooms sautéed with garlic and thyme (my favorite way to make mushrooms); Cambozola cheese (a combination of French soft ripened triple cream cheese and Italian gorgonzola, and a staple in the kitchen); and to crown this all…a drizzle of balsamic reduction as benediction. I humbly submit that there is no greater steak sandwich than this. OK… maybe next time I could add a slice of avocado 🙂
After making a fantastic tuna sandwich, we made a few variations of tuna appetizers the next day. This is one of them, and it’s great. When working with tuna, be very careful not to overpower the subtle taste. We added a very mild Saint Faron cheese as a spread almost, and topped it with a small amount of balsamic vinegar reduction. Notice how the vinegar brings out the texture of the tuna in the pictures. This is a bite of food heaven.
Wanting desperately to create something fantastic, our recent endeavors into the world of pasta-making inspired these two sandwiches. Well actually, it was perhaps one part inspiration and two parts madness (at least, according to Wendie). She thinks that this was a waste of perfectly good ravioli but I was not to be deterred on this quest. The sandwiches were both reasonably tolerable, but they were neither great nor amazing. However, in the interest of full disclosure, they do warrant a cautionary mention on the blog.
Perhaps some of you have ideas for improvements, or just need a extreme discouragement from taking this culinary road less travelled. In either case, I present the result of two days of making homemade pasta (an otherwise fantastic butternut squash reduction inside our own ravioli) that resulted in these two extra extra large raviolis on sandwiches.
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.