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.
It’s that time of year in our local farmers’ markets. Our longer than average spring has given way to summer and with it has come one of the fruits that I only started eating when I moved to California – figs, glorious figs. There are some fruits whose appearance and tastes you can describe by comparing it to another. But a fig… Nothing tastes like a fig. It just is. Figs are popping up all over and once again, I am beginning to flirt with the idea of adding a tree to my garden. Until then though, I have kind friends who help satisfy my cravings by sharing from the bounty of their own gardens. This sandwich is the result of one such gift – a basket of black mission pigs.
While there are many ways to add figs to your diet, this is by far my favorite. The saltiness of the prosciutto, creaminess of the Cambazola (a soft ripened triple cream blue cheese) and the nuttiness of arugula – what at taste sensation. If ever a sandwich could be described as sensual, then this is it.
Leftover fajitas can be a wonderful thing ! 🙂
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.
When I was growing up, I had this thing with my mom where she would wake up around midnight, wake me up, sneak in the kitchen and eat a sandwich. This was undoubtedly quite unhealthy, since she had a weakness for fat-sandwiches… No, I don’t mean ‘sandwiches that are fattening’, I mean literally bread with fat and salt on it. If you have good fat, like duck fat, this can be quite delicious. In any case, I shed the habit many years ago. Last week however I was working late and got hungry and I know my mom would approve; I went and made a sandwich. Thanks mom for all the fun midnight sandwiches and good chats.
This sandwich was really just a quick lunch-snack to keep us going through a long day of yard work. Putting down the gloves after weeding the tomato garden we found a bit of leftover grilled salmon from the night before, some veggies, and voila, a sandwich was born. When I grew up in Denmark, my mother tended to make the same sandwiches day after day. Liver pate sandwich, potato sandwich, Russian salad sandwich, chocolate sandwich (dessert). Rinse, repeat. Now, with this blog, we have made literally hundreds of different sandwiches, and I wonder what my childhood would have been like with that kind of variety. It’s so easy to have fun with sandwiches, so don’t get stuck in the same humdrum, live a little 🙂
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 😉
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.
Many of the sandwiches on this blog are the result of a specific plan and shopping trip to realize an idea that one or both of us have. I’ll be sitting at work and have an idea that just must be pursued. More often than not, this means I have to make a trip to the grocery store to purchase one of more of the critical component for the dreamed-up sandwich. Other times, a sandwich just sort of emerges from the ingredients on hand- it’s a case of just opening the refrigerator and pantry doors and letting our creativity run wild. In Jamaica, we have a saying for that: “tun yuh han’ an mek fashion”. I won’t bother providing the literal translation, since, as with all languages, much gets lost in that endeavor. I suppose the nearest English equivalent I can find is: ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Hmm.. even that attempt seems to dilute the essence of this colloquialism.
Anyway, this sandwich was one result of us making fashion by sleight of hand. The ingredients – pugiliese bread, blue cheese and salsa verde left over from the much-mentioned recent wedding @ and zucchini left unused from recent stir fry.
I miss plantains. For those who don’t know, it is the larger cousin of the banana. Unlike the banana it is typically cooked before eaten. I suppose one could just peel and eat it like you would a banana, but that would just be… well, wrong. My favorite way to enjoy a plantain is to fry it and simply eat as a side dish. Unfortunately, along with my strong accent, one of the things I lost in moving to San Diego is the ready availability of plantains.
Two weeks ago, I had a meeting in a neighborhood in San Diego known for it’s “ethnic’ population. Ehem… let me pause here to continue my fight against the application of this terminology. Why is this term reserved for non-Caucasians alone? Are they by some miracle of biology without shared cultural heritage that underpins the term ‘ethnicity’? But I digress, linguistic misapplication aside, I was lucky to be in an area of town with a fair share of Vietnamese and Filipino supermarkets.
As I drove through I remembered a plantain dish I once had in a Filipino restaurant many years ago. “Dare I hope?”, I wondered. I was not disappointed, I came out of the supermarket with a huge green plaintain. It took about one week to ripen, and the cooked fruit was a key ingredient in Anders’ breakfast last week Saturday.
(The other half found its way in a plantain flambé – my take on the banana flambe, something I am unable to make because of my one-woman boycott of the US commercial banana industry).
A great tasting pizza for every occasion. This is fairly simple to make except for the dough, but places like Trader Joe’s now sell pizza dough which should make this super easy. We made this pizza as part of a giant birthday party involving 8 other pizzas which you can find elsewhere on amazing sandwiches.
This is almost as simple as you can get. A Danish “thebirkes” with cheese. The cheese is called “Helge”, and that’s all there is to it. Very good, very easy, great for breakfast.
Note: A thebirkes is like a very flaky croissant, with poppy seeds on top, and with a marzipan mix inside. Read more about danish pastries.
Caramelized onions are such a treat but requires good quality sweet and savory onions to really bring out the best taste of the food. They go extremely well with mild blue cheese, such as the Roquefort we used here. The first time we really discovered the joy of caramelized onions was at a visit to the farmers market in Temecula, Ca. The ‘strawberry lady’ had brought some gigantic onions that she was raving about. She told us to go home and slow-cook them (caramelize), and basically just eat onion for dinner. We did almost that, but added a steak too (man must eat). However, since then we regularly enjoy this often overlooked treat in our cooking. Most people probably don’t realize how easy it is to make amazing food with something as cheap and simple as onions, so hopefully this can server as inspiration.
Last summer we went on vacation to Greece, to the island of Lesvos. We were prepared to taste amazing foods, local delicacies and great tasting salads. Our friends have told us enough stories about the Greek islands that we were rather excited to taste the cuisine. Honestly though, it was a bit of a letdown. The island seems to have gotten a bit ‘touristy’, and the food was usually bland. It wasn’t bad per se, it was just not very interesting. After two weeks eating all over the island, we did find a restaurant on the last day of our trip which was actually great, but that was the exception. Given the less-than-satisfying culinary experiences, we did find one simple dish we kept returning to; The greek salad. It is a salad with a simple dressing, topped with a gigantic block of feta cheese. We decided to combine this a little with the pan seared feta dish called saganaki. We roasted a slice of feta in the oven, and placed it on top of a simple salad on toast. The result was amazing, and here is the recipe.
So many things have happened the last month, it’s hard to recap it all in one sandwich post… Let’s see… We got married and had a wonderful ceremony and party in our own back yard (fixed up for the occasion) with Anders’ sister Birgit as the Deputy Marriage Commissioner (for a day). What a fantastic day it was, lots of friends, family and food, but alas, no sandwiches. It turns out after much thinking that teaching everyone to make sandwiches would be too much work, as would assembling any great sandwich for 70 people. Instead we opted for Phil’s BBQ and some of our own appetizers. The sandwich below is pre-wedding, from back in March when we still had time to do daily sandwiches, and had a kitchen to do them in. It’s a wonderful turkey sandwich with a great old Rembrandt Gouda Cheese on top, and a chili-sauce kick to it.