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.
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.
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.
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.”
A fantastic sandwich, using the highly undervalued leek. That’s right. When is the last time YOU cooked with leeks? That’s what we thought. We made the rolls specifically for this sandwich, they have a center (which you can’t see on the photos) of pesto-infused dough. It was a grand experiment, but in reality they didn’t rise quite as expected. This was our best specimen of the lot.
This is another of Jamie Oliver’s recipes we decided to make along with the “ Grilled Eggplant Crostini Appetizer” and the “Fava Bean Crostini Appetizer” both from his delicious book “Jamie’s Italy“. It’s basically tomatoes, basil olive oil and a slice of bread. The key is as always to use great ingredients for great results. We tweaked it a little like we always do since we believe in creative liberties.
And today we just launched the free Amazing Sandwiches iPad application. Why do you ask? Well, because we can. Browse all our sandwiches in glamorous high-res – literally sandwiches at your fingertips. It’s not fancy, it’s just… sandwiches. Enjoy. Oh, and you can download it directly from here.
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).
There are some thinks that don’t translate so well across cultures. Bagels might be one of them. It was a dreary afternoon in Copenhagen, Denmark, when I walked into the Bagels Corner. A bit hungry I could not get myself to settle for a plain cream cheese bagel, so instead I opted for the luxury bagel (Choice of smoked salmon, shrimp, pesto chicken, Mexican chicken, etc). I decided on pesto chicken, and selected a whole-wheat bagel with rolled oats on top. Looked great. Then the lady asked me for what type of cream cheese I wanted. Cream cheese? Whaaaat? I decided to see where this would go, so I picked the herb-cream cheese. She added a generous layer. Then the pesto chicken (lots of it), then lettuce, cucumber, corn, and finally she asked me to pick a dressing. I selected the curry dressing. Again she added a generous layer on top, and closed up the bagel. Oh dear!
Sometimes a man needs to be a man, and that’s when he makes “The Big Bad Wolf Burger“. Oh yeah, 1/2 pound of patty with basil, cilantro, oven roasted garlic and blue cheese chunks. What a great 4th of July celebration that was. Inspired by the moment, I topped it off with crispy hash browns and a jackfruit/avocado rough guacamole. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this burger is, but this is so far the best burger I’ve had in my life. The jackfruit guacamole sweetness perfectly blends with the spicy mayo, the juicy patty, and the crunchy hash browns. These are the times when I think back to all the missed opportunities of my childhood to celebrate with awesome burgers, the food of men 😉
Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s book “Jamie’s Italy” this is one of our favorite appetizers so far this year. It also looks beautiful. The crunchy toasted pane siciliano bread and the smoothness of the eggplant (or Aubergine as we call it in Denmark), goes very well together and fills your mouth with flavor and adventure. Eggplant seems to be largely a forgotten vegetable in the US, at least in SoCal (Southern California), and really it’s a wonderful ingredient in many dishes. People, wake up and smell the eggplant!
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.
This recipe originally comes from Jamie Oliver, from his book “Jamie’s Italy“. We recently bought it and very quickly fell in love with his down-to-earth simple taste foods. Absolutely gorgeous. This is how we made our fava bean crostini, which turned out beautifully. In the background, you’ll notice some other crostinis which were also inspired by Jamie and which we will write about in future posts.
Wendie bought these avocados for a salad, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to toast some bread and make a few avocado appetizers. Some would call them mini sandwiches. They’re dead simple and very refreshing when the weather is hot and you have a Sunday evening on the patio with a glass of red wine and Clapton and Bob playing in the background.