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).
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.
After a night of excess featuring Alton Brown’s “Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?” ribs, we were lucky enough to have a few leftover. Neither myself nor Wendie have ever has a rib-pizza, so we thought we would give it a try. We cleaned the meat of the ribs, and basically used it as one of the ingredients. This pizza was one of 9 we made for Wendie’s 39 years birthday (Surprise!!). That was the last big cooking day in the old kitchen (notice the brown tiles – all gone now), and one day we can’t wait to reconstruct in the new kitchen when it’s ready in a few weeks. For now we will struggle on without a kitchen, dust all over, and a hole in the floor where the drain will connect our island to the ‘mainland.’ Sigh, life’s hard with no kitchen.
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 !?
When you are in a rush, Oats Crispbread (or knækbrød as it is called in Denmark) is the way to go. Slap on some cheese and jam and you have a very tasty snack. This is everyday food in Scandinavia and criminally ignored in the US. Simple and good.
You need pizza sauce to make pizza, and this is a simple and good recipe for making your own homemade pizzas.
Pizza Sauce Recipe
- 2 cans of skinned tomatoes
- 1 tbs fennel seeds
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp curry
- optionally: 1 tsp rajma masala
Heat all the ingredients in a pot, stirring until boiling. Turn the heat down, and let it simmer for half an hour simmering on low. If it is too wet to add to a pizza, either remove the extra liquid, or add a teaspoon of corn starch and stir it in, leaving it simmering until the liquid becomes thicker.
We recently discovered a great food store in Little Italy in San Diego. It should be noted that Little Italy is very aptly named, since it’s basically just one street. You blink, you miss it. If you are of Italian descent, please move to San Diego so we can add a couple more streets. In Little Italy, we found Assenti’s Pasta, a wonderful little delicatessen shop where you can get fresh pasta of all shapes and forms. Arriving there at 5:59pm we were simply happy traffic had not delayed us more, and positively exuberant that Assenti let us in. Yes, we had a rushed 5 minute shopping spree, but it was great. Here we found muffaletta and tuscan bean spread as well as fresh pasta (which weren’t really for sandwiches, although Anders tried and failed).
This sandwich is our first using the muffaletta, is was delicious. It fell a bit apart due to the iceberg lettuce, which became very slippery with the oil from the muffaletta and the melted cheese. We had to add toothpicks to hold it all together long enough to take pictures.
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.
We eat a lot of salmon in our house; smoked salmon, grilled salmon, and last night seared salmon. So we had to try and see if we could turn some of the leftovers into a delicious second-day sandwich (It’s what we do after all). In this case, we have a piece of seared salmon with black sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and spices. Since salmon is ‘light’, we decided to add a few grilled vegetables, a bit of cheese, and some thinly sliced pear. Of course, we used roasted garlic as a smear. This combination does hide the salmon taste a bit, but it brings out all the lovely nuances of the grilled veggies, and we were very pleased with the final outcome. Judge for yourself, try it, and let us know what you think in the comment section.
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 several other recipes 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.