For the past two months, we’ve been hosting weekly pizza parties. Well, truth be told, they have been competitive throw downs where our friends are invited to say goodbye to the week that was and bring their best recipes to battle it out for the pizza crown. We’ve had some pretty fantastic creations. After 8 weeks though, inspiration begins to wane. So we were quite excited to hear of the tastespotting.com Johnsonville Italian Sausage competition. Inspiration, the chance to get our pizza on our favorite food porn site AND the likelihood (albeit remote) of winning a food making competition. How could we not be excited?
Anders had this one on his mind for a whole week and came up with this creation: Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza with roasted garlic, Portobello mushrooms and topped with parmesan crisps and toasted pine nuts. Does it get any crazier than this? We hope you like it, and if you do please vote for us when the time comes.
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.
One of the pizzas from Wendie’s surprise birthday party, this one has some grilled chicken (with a very nice spice blend including smoked paprika), two cheeses, olives, tomatoes, green peppers and onions. The dough is a pizza dough with honey I sort-of invented (based loosely on our Lavash crackers recipe), and the tomato sauce has a wide range of spices, most noticeably a hint of fennel. We had 13 guests and I made a total of 9 pizzas and I was stunned that there were almost no leftovers. I really had expects to fill the freezer too, but at least everyone had a great time. Next time I’ll make more!
When I was a kid, one of my absolute favorite things about visiting our summer cottage in Sweden was the prospect of Swedish meatballs. Not just any Swedish meatballs, but a specific brand. We would always stop on the way to the house to get provisions at the local grocery store chain, and I remember running down the aisles to find the meatballs. My mother would cook them on a frying pan until they were quite dark, but not really burned. She would use lots of butter (where we use olive oil), and we would all sit and munch on meatballs and mashed potatoes while the house warmed up. Good times!
So, it was with great surprise I found one day these very same meatballs were being sold in the local Ikea in San Diego. What are the odds! Celebrating my Swedish childhood, I decided to create a Swamerican (Swedish-American) sandwich. I still prefer the meatballs without condiments – just by themselves, but as sandwiches come, this wasn’t half bad at all !
If you want to make a ‘Sloppy Joe’ style sandwich, you must first make the chili. This is how we make ours! The recipe has evolved over years, since the college days when chili was the preferred antidote to pizzas. Back then, the chili was mostly meat and beans and tomatoes, but today there are a number of different beans and veggies, as well as more advanced tastes going on. We started adding wine last year, which adds a very nice flavor, and 6 months ago we started adding the sugar after we discovered that is the secret ingredient in most BBQ sauces.
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 !?
Since his birthday lunch of seared tuna at Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill, Anders has been dreaming about making a tuna sandwich. But the price of fresh tuna and our relative inexperience with cooking it has served as a big deterrence. You don’t want to ruin a $14/lb tuna steak! Anyway, this weekend he could not be stopped. We finally succumbed and bought a ginormous ahi tuna steak at Costco. This was one fantastic looking steak – probably big enough for 4-5 tuna rolls. So the plan was to sear the tuna, and, borrowing inspiration from Blue Water Seafood, serve it on a soft bun, rather than the artesan-style breads and rolls we typically use.
With a game plan in mind, the search was on for an acceptable roll. Anders just happened to be shopping at Lucky Supermarket – one of the 6 supermarkets that we just had to visit this weekend to satisfy our finicky grocery needs – when he happened upon: Pandesal rolls. Slightly sweet Filipino bread rolls which are very soft. Getting home with the unexpected find, it was time for the searing. A quick Google search, and a plan were laid to do one steak with sesame seeds, and one with a spice rub. From this point on we basically improvised the recipes below based on the content of our pantry, and the rest was… well see for yourselves.
At our favorite shawarma shop on Strøget in Copenhagen, known as Shawarma #1 (presumably because the address is at #1, but also because it was the first shawarma shop in Copenhagen anno 1980), one of our favorite sandwiches is the kafta burger. When ordered, you must wait patiently while the patties grill for 10-15 minutes and frequently ask yourself “did they forget me?” In 20 years, they have never forgotten me, and the wait is always worthwhile.
Living in San Diego, we wanted a way to re-create our own version of the kafta burger. So, we created this recipe, which is a mix of severalotherrecipes found online. We wanted our own unique blend of spices; More spicy, more parsley, and of course with fennel.
Open faced sandwiches can be beautifully stacked creations, but when squeezed into a lunch-bag, carried by 10-year olds biking to school in a backpack and thrown in a community refrigerator, open-faced sandwiches may not be the first choice of lunch.
Not so for my mom. She was a firm believer in open-faced sandwiches and made them as if I was eating at home, except, she wrapped them tight in cellophane wrap before stacking them in my lunch box.
As you might image, the end result was not always… appetizing. Cod roe sandwiches with remoulade and fried onions turned into cud roe salad with wet soggy onions. A once tantalizing potato sandwich with mayonnaise and green onions turned into something wet and soggy, almost like paste.
This sandwich, a cod roe creation, is my own personal rebellion against my childhoods school sandwiches. I reject the cellophane wrap method, and embrace exuberance.
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.
It can sometimes be very hard to find a great liver paté in your local grocery stores. Thankfully, creating one from scratch is easier than you might think, and the result is amazing. This recipe was handed down to me from my step mother Maria, who wooed everyone she knew with this magic creation. It is simply the best liver pâté I have ever had anywhere, and that says a lot. It is also very easy to make, given you can find the raw ingredients, which are not that common anymore, but which any decent butcher should be able to divine.
I consider this a variation on the veterinarians midnight snack, a classic Danish sandwich (In Danish: ‘Dyrlægens natmad‘. Try saying that one!). The bones of Anders’ Viking ancestors will rattle in their graves to protest me saying this, but in this variant, the inclusion of the roasted garlic and the removal of the aspic is a HUGE improvement. Together, those simple actions make this sandwhich palatable for me, a non-Dane. Anders thinks this presentation is a bit more playful, looking a bit like a rib cage or something medieval. I suppose, it’s his attempt at appeasing the spirits 🙂 It consists of liver pate on home-baked rye bread with butter, with a rolled up slice of ham. This is topped with half-moon slices of onion rings, roasted garlic and a couple of dill pickles. Fennel seeds and ground black pepper spices it up a bit.
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.