One sandwich I have never gotten around to liking is the chicken salad sandwich. Perhaps it’s because I was introduced to it at a deli counter. The mayonnaise was so plentiful that I could hardly taste the chicken. Since then I’ve stayed away from all chicken salads, and supermarket deli counter foods for that matter. Still searching for a quick meal last night I decided to attempt to make my own and thereby kill two birds with a single chicken breast: rescue the chicken salad from mayonnaise hell and make a week night meal in time for Anders and I to enjoy a date night (go see the movie Unstoppable). Both were handily accomplished.
Spring has arrived in San Diego. The weather is warm, our vegetable beds are loaded with freshly planted tomatoes, and we are just finishing a couple retainer walls that give us a few hundred more feet of planting space. Life is good. And to celebrate, we made this lovely (and simple) roast beef panini sandwich.
Sometimes we do crazy stuff to our sandwiches which doesn’t work out so well, like our infamous pasta-sandwich. If you don’t try it how would you know, right? This time we did crazy stuff, and it worked out wonderfully, although by any stretch of the imagination this sandwich should not have worked. Perhaps one really can’t do any evil with seared tuna….
We’re not sure this is a classic Danish open faced sandwich in the sense that the toppings are a bit untraditional. Fried sage and Dukkah? That’s not what you would typically see in a Danish sandwich shop. But the concept is very typical: Meatball sandwiches are seen everywhere and classic toppings includes sweet pickles, lettuce and mushrooms. We just improvised on the theme, adding a bit of San Diego flair…
Since this was my first attempt at chicken salad, I used a recipe from Food Network as my guide. But I changed it up tremendously to make it nearly unrecognizable. The chicken was grilled instead of poached; celery was replaced by fennel (celery is one of the few vegetables that I just don’t like); the herbs were doubled (many recipes are just too timid with the use of herbs); and some of the mayonnaise was replaced by sour cream (my attempt at a healthier and more tangy salad).
On a recent Pizz-Off!, we had three amazing pizzas. Two were made by our friends, and this one was our entry into our competition. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy the abundance of butternut squash now making its appearance in fall farmers markets, this is it! I love butternut squash. I have got to find a new way of expressing my pleasure about foods, since I seem to ‘love’ everything. But it really is true. There are very few foods that I don’t absolutely delight it and can’t find a way to work into a tasty meal. That has served me well since I’ve managed to quiet some of Anders initial protests and converted him to many foods that he had previously sworn off: Swiss chard, oxtail, sweet potatoes. Anyway, back to the butternut squash. I think it was about our 7th or 8th pizza night and I was racking my brain trying to come up with a new recipe to serve. When you have a pizza competition with friends every Friday, with each friend making a different pizza, you begin to stretch creativity. Then I remembered my birthday gift to Anders last year – a cooking class at Sur la Table. For that class, we prepared butternut squash ravioli with fried sage. It was wonderful-so much so that the following weekend we made our own homemade version. We haven’t made it since then (an oversight I will have to remedy soon!) So this pizza for me is reminiscent of that meal and combines all the flavors of that meal on a pizza : Butternut squash with fried sage and caramelized onions.
Note: This pizza is a little involved but it’s so worth it. You can prepare some of the ingredients (the squash and the onions) in advance to save time on the day of. I unfortunately thought up this recipe while at work. With two hours to prepare the ingredients before the guests arrived, I had to shop, roast squash, caramelize onions and the most critical thing – clean the kitchen! I needed every second of those 2 hours.
As one of our guests said when I won the weekly pizz-off pizza dinner with this pizza: “It’s not fair, no one can loose with seared tuna!” To be fair I have to concede the point I suppose, as even breakfast cereal with seared tuna would probably be awesome (someone try and let us know). The dough was new for us as our friends at Rossi Pasta sent us a few samples to cook with (Thanks guys). Probably one of our best tasting pizza’s ever.
One of the wonderful thing of making scones for a living (We run The Scone Company), is that sometimes we have to experiment with new flavors. This sandwich includes a savory scone we made as an experiment, which has goat cheese, chives and cracked pepper and salt on top. It was delicious and although the goat cheese melted too much, it still left a nice flavor in the scone. This is one of our test-sandwiches – a seared ahi tuna sandwich with Mr. Stripey tomatoes, a bit of garlic mayo and a smidgen of pesto.
Unlike many of my American friends who were tormented by liver as children, I actually do like liver. Well, I do if either my mother or I made the dish. Oh… and I shouldn’t forget that liver breakfast served by the Pegasus hotel in Jamaica. At least, they used to when I frequented that place about 10 years ago. Liver just happens to be one of those dishes that can so easily cross the very thin line between sumptuous and sickening, light and leathery. This is especially true of cow’s liver, which I have been unfortunate enough to dive it only to find myself masticating like a cow! For that reason, I prefer to eat liver only from people whose cooking abilities I can entrust my liver eating palate only to – those who have consistently demonstrated the ability to respect that line of demarcation. Until I discovered liver pate, I thought that was a realm occupied only by myself and the chef at Pegasus. Liver pate is one of those dishes that are remarkably forgiving of overcooking. I’ve never made liver pate myself but have been happily eating it since Anders introduced me to it on my first trip to Denmark a few years back. It is the key part of one of his favorite smørrebrød items.
This past week one of this blogs co-founders celebrated his birthday and was given a party that in true Amazing Sandwich style. Anders was not only born in Denmark but spent most of his life there and it is his and that country’s commitment to the sandwich that served as the inspiration for our blog. Denmark is the world that has transformed this humble meal to gourmet standards. So it was only appropriate that Anders’ birthday be celebrated with an ode to the smørrebrød. So last week saw me scurrying about to purchase the necessary ingredients that would make Ida Davidsen proud. Ida Davidsen is the Grande Dame of Danish smørrebrød and operates a Michelin-starred restaurant devoted solely to this national dish. We planned on three of Anders’ favorite Danish smørrebrød: leverpostej (liver pate), Fiskefilet med remoulade (fillet of fish with remoulade) and frikadeller (meatballs). Today’s entry will be devoted to the fiskefilet. I know you are thinking – what could be so special about a fish fillet? Let me tell you my friend, this is no mere fish on bread. The preparation, construction and… alone took me hours. We had 14 at our party and so in making for your own, you’ll need to adjust the ingredients accordingly.
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.
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.
Once again, we had a refrigerator full of leftovers, so we decided to make a few appetizers for a midday snack. There is no great or deep background story, no childhood memories or frustrations. Just a simple appetizer.
This is a simple sandwich for people in a rush (well, assuming you have the ingredients available). You need some hummus, and a bit of really good mozzarella, like this buffalo mozzarella which is smooth and creamy. We make our own hummus, which is a variation on this recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus. This is a spicy hummus with cilantro and banana peppers instead of the sun-dried tomato basil.