NO matter how much we want to push the envelope for sandwiches, we can’t possible fit this posting into that category. However, after growing fava beans over the winter (they call it winter here in San Diego, but it’s really similar to spring in Denmark), we have a tremendous harvest. Wendie came up with an amazing recipe for fresh fava beans, and in a moment of optimism, we decided to make a youtube video of the entire process.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, for once we have a non-sandwich recipe, and a video to go with it. Please let us know if this is something you want to see more of in the future, and what you think of the video. Wendie didn’t want me to tape her head for some reason, but if we do more I’ll make it happen to avoid further ‘headless presentations’ 🙂
There are occasions when my enthusiasm goes a bit overboard… This is one such occasion, where dinner turned into a monster sandwich. By the way, nerd moment; the top photo reminds me of the “alien” in the movie of the same name. Anyone see the resemblance?
There is something oddly alien and organic about beech mushrooms that just makes them pop in photos. As an added benefit, they also taste really good, and you can usually pick up a bunch from your local Asian grocery store. Cut of the base where they are all connected and treat them like ordinary mushrooms after that. This sandwich brings out the best of the mushrooms, because they are so prominent compared to the other ingredients. We opted for a brief sautéing with olive oil and thyme.
I love it when I can turn Anders on to new and/or previously unloved foods. Much of our experience of food comes from our earliest introduction as children and it seems that taste memory is the longest memory. He must have had a bad introduction to anchovy as a child and hated it because he just cannot abide the stuff. Well he couldn’t until he had this pizza. Still, I can see how a child would be unenthusiastic about anchovies – salty, oily, and fishy. Lucky for me I wasn’t introduced to this taste trilogy until I was in college. A Bulgarian friend gave me a slice of fresh bread with butter and anchovies sprinkled with lemon juice. It was a delight and I have loved it ever since.
This pizza made an equal convert out of Anders: anchovies, with lemon slices, mozzarella, goat cheese and caramelized onions. The look on his face when I mentioned it – consternation. The look after his first bite – rhapsody!
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).
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.
The quintessential American sandwich is the hamburger. That despite the fact that in nearly a decade of living here, I have yet to see a burger made with ham. Anders and I have very little experience with making burgers but as the owners of this blog, and having adopted America as our home, we have to powerful reasons to address this deficiency. And what better day to do that than on the grilling day of the year – Fourth of July. I know, I know – I am six months late in posting this entry.
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.
If you’ve been in San Diego for the past few weeks, you would be wondering where is that glorious San Diego sunshine that we are known for. It’s been nothing but rain and overcast skies and nary a day above 70 degrees. Of course, for our mid-West and East coast friends, you are now reading this with great disdain for our inability to tolerate any temperature below 70. We can’t help it – we are spoiled. In my case though I don’t mind the colder weather as much as I mind what it means for the backyard garden. It is in the decline of production that I see the first signs of the end of summer, and am reminded that I need to get the jackets cleaned before the winter really hits us. The tomatoes have yielded the last of their crop; the cucumbers have given up their valiant fight; the basil plants are beginning to go to seed and the zucchini – that prodigious producer – has finally kicked the bucket. Time to pull up the old plants and start with the winter garden. In the meantime, here’s a sandwich that serves as an ode to summers past: grilled zucchini with parsley-jalapeno paste and roasted tomatoes. We made this in the good old days of summer.
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.
The Belen Artisan Bakery is owned by José. It is located in Escondido a bit of the beaten path. They specialize in European artisan breads, and so naturally we went there only to find they made sandwiches. We had a roast beef sandwich on ciabatta bread, with avocado, tomato and olives. The bread was perfect; just a bit crunchy on the outside, thick, and fresh and spongy on the inside, and you could clearly taste the freshness that so many sandwiches lack. Service was speedy, and sitting outside on their little patio a delight, despite the odd location and nearby road.
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.
A few months ago, we posted about our ongoing quest to ensure that our reformed vegetarian friend S. doesn’t abandon his recent embrace of the omnivore diet. To wit, that meant introducing him to foods that showcase the diversity of his new diet. That is no mean feat. You see he is fortunate enough to be from a country that has enjoyed thousands of years of history of making vegetarian food. So for him, American vegetarian food is definitely lacking in options. He still bemoans the fact that vegetarian food at most restaurants consists of some steamed or sautéed veggies with pasta and a sauce with a unidimensional flavor. That just does not work for him – he is used to a cornucopia of flavors of incredible intensity and variety. He assumed that when he switched diets, he would have more variety (read; flavor), but has since found that to him it is just ‘more texture, but same lack of flavor’. In other words, Bleh!
So it is Anders’ and my responsibility to be good evangelists of all things omnivore. We take this very seriously. Last time he was here we made this little sandwich to showcase some of the flavors we love about meat. And by we, I mean Anders:-). Unlike Anders who (nearly) salivates at the very prospect of eating meat, I am not much of a meat lover myself. I feel about meat the way I feel about bacon – aphathetic. So I figured that if I could make a sandwich for S. that I was in love with, then he was sure to love it as well. This is a simple sandwich with really great ingredients that unite superbly- grilled steak (medium rare); mushrooms sautéed with garlic and thyme (my favorite way to make mushrooms); Cambozola cheese (a combination of French soft ripened triple cream cheese and Italian gorgonzola, and a staple in the kitchen); and to crown this all…a drizzle of balsamic reduction as benediction. I humbly submit that there is no greater steak sandwich than this. OK… maybe next time I could add a slice of avocado 🙂
Ever heard of the four cheese sandwich? Typically this sandwich involves an abundance of cheese with little smidgen of veggies. A few weeks ago, we decided to turn that recipe upside down and make the four tomato caprese panini. Thanks to overshopping (yet again) at the annual Tomato Mania, our garden has quite a variety of this summer necessity. If only the variety was matched by abundance. Sigh! This year, we have been outdone by the garden pests who have made off with most of our yield. Poor Anders. In anticipation of this annual raiding, early in the season he stocked the pantry with peanut butter – the bait of choice for our Have a Heart trap. Months later, we are out of peanut butter and tomatoes. There are some very fat well fed squirrels and rabbits running around Poway right now and they owe it all to Anders. How they managed to get to the PB without springing the trap is beyond me. Ocassionally, (grudglying, we suspect), they left us a few, from which we were able to have a few tomato meals – like this sandwich.
You can use any combination of tomatoes you wish. We used: white oxheart, brandy boy, Mr. Stripey and XXX. It was delish, so much so that after eating his mammoth sandwich, Anders begged for another. After eating his second sandwich, he was nearly comatose on the sofa. Sweet reward for me… that and hearing him declare, “this is hands down the best panini I’ve ever tasted.”