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 sandwich is literally a result of a quick raid of our refrigerator. We found some shrimp and olives, the last of our sun dried tomato hummus, and a bit of blue cheese. So, we made a sandwich (of course). You may recognize the cilantro-lime shrimp from earlier sandwiches, as they constitute a quarterly craving. Moving from Denmark to San Diego, one of the things I thoroughly enjoy are the large shrimp. Every shrimp I ate growing up (not many) were tiny, no more than an inch long, and thin to. We did shrimp in numbers, and adding those to a sandwich like this would have taken maybe 25 to 30. It’s such a joy to bite into the larger more succulent shrimp and really taste the meat, although the danish ones are by no means bad at all.
We love to roast tomatoes for all kind of sauces and soups, and with our garden currently full of tomatoes, life is good. After roasting they look amazing (see photos), so we thought we would try and make a simple sandwich to show of the colors and tastes of a freshly roasted tomato fresh out of the oven.
This is a one-bite sandwich with two thing slices of baguette bread. A bit of pesto, some farmers market salami, tomato from the garden and a touch of green onions. It is great as an appetizer or a very small mid-day snack (Which is how we enjoyed this sandwich).
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.
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 !
Potatoes are probably the national vegetable of Denmark. In fact, every year every Dane consumes on average 73 Kg potatoes (160 pounds). Potatoes au Gratin is one of our favorite ways of cooking potatoes, and one of the few ways that Wendie actually likes. It is of course a rather creamy affair, so we don’t do it very often. Recently we indulged ourselves, which left us with a bit of leftovers. Undaunted by the scornful look from Wendie, I went ahead and created this little beaut, a potato au gratin sandwich. What’s not to love when it comes to starch on starch?
We do love smoked salmon in our house, and it makes for great appetizers or snacks. Salmon is also fairly easy to combine with other ingredients, as long as you keep the taste influences light so as not to overpower the subtle fish taste. It works particularly well on fresh bread, or lightly toasted older revived bread.
This is a simple to make appetizer that looks great and taste even better. We used architokelemon pesto (Trader Joe’s), but regular pesto would make an equally good sandwich. We just like to mix things up a bit… that and use the multitude of spreads we have from our over exuberant grocery shopping. The Genoa salami is from a deli in Little Italy, but could be substituted for your own local variations.
This is one of the three appetizers we plan on serving for Thanksgiving. The secret is to use freshly-made ingredients, and so we made our own pesto and used Super Sweet 100 tomatoes from our backyard garden. We used goat cheese, which blends very nicely with the tomato and pesto. For bread, we stuck to a baguette.
During a recent weekend getaway to San Francisco, we ran into the very nice Cowgirl Creamery, which is an actual real cheese shop. These are a rarity these days, as the business of cheese has been largely delegated to supermarkets, and somehow the rather bland cheddar has been the victim of a marketing blitz turning it in to the star of California cheeses. Not that we don’t enjoy a good cheddar, but there are soooo many more fantastic cheeses that the general populous are missing out on. At the Cowgirl Creamery, we found the Red Hawk, “… a triple-cream, washed-rind, fully-flavored cheese made from organic cow’s milk from the Straus Family Dairy. Aged six weeks and washed with a brine solution that promotes the growth of a bacteria that tints the rind a sunset red-orange…” Indeed, this little gem is very tasty, and forms the base of the taste experience with this simple sandwich. A warm gently toasted baguette, Tuscan bean paste, Red Hawk and Genoa salami. That’s it.
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.