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?
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.
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.
For the past few weeks I have been berating Anders that he has abandoned his sandwich making craft. Berating is a bit strong – more like a strongly nudging. He has been focusing on taking photos while I make the sandwiches. This week, he heard me and made this tasty sandwich that proves even more than his passport and birth certificate, that he is indeed from the land where smorrebrod was born. It was one of those evenings when I just got home from work and crashed with no thought as to dinner. I was in the middle of one of those marathon phone conversations with one of my girlfriends when Anders came through the door, smiled and nodded in my direction and headed to the kitchen. He was a man on a mission. 15 minutes later, his mission became clear. He returned to the living room with this dinner sandwich that was so good to look at that I felt guilty eating it. Not too guilty though. Costco membership that made purchasing the crabcakes possible: $60/year and worth every penny and more. Having a husband with smorrebrod making in his DNA: priceless!
I have a confession to make: I am apathetic about bacon. Perhaps it’s just that by the time I first had a taste of bacon, my taste buds were so developed in another direction that they were inured to its allure. I am the woman who actually thinks adding bacon to a plate of fluffy scrambled eggs and toast serves to spoil rather than enhance my breakfast. So apathetic am I about it that in all my years of making the US my home I have never once purchased and cooked bacon. Now that I think of it that is rather odd – especially considering that I am one of those shoppers for whom going to the supermarket is akin to a cultural carnival. I literally get giddy at the prospect of finding new unfamiliar items that I can experiment with. I am the shopper you’ll see at the Korean grocery store, looking quizzically at a new ingredient, putting it in my shopping cart and only then doing a quick search on my iPhone to find a recipe, oblivious to the queue of irate actually knowledgeable shoppers behind me. Yes that’s me… and if you’ve been one of those unfortunate victims of my ignorance and exuberance, then I am sorry.
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.”
I love a good crab cake, so naturally ever since we started this blog I’ve been dying to make a crab cake sandwich. Last week-end we had out-of-town visitors begging us to make some amazing sandwiches, so I thought that would be a good time to try it. One of our friends is Indian and an ex-vegetarian so naturally this had better be good or else he might snap back (he didn’t 🙂 ). When you make anything fishy, it’s almost impossible to add too much lemon, so we made sure to soak these sandwiches good in lots of lemon juice. The slice on top is just for show and is a classical Danish garnish back home.
The focaccia was baked by Wendie, and we highly recommend making more bread at home. It’s a lost art these days, but the smell of fresh bread in the house is priceless.
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 😉
Just for fun, we thought we would ask if Costco would publish one of our sandwiches. That was in November 2009. Imagine our excitement when they said yes! So, due to their long production time, we were scheduled for the March issue of the Costco Connection magazine. The editor asked us if perhaps we could make a St. Patrick’s day inspired sandwich, with corned beef. Of course we could, and with a deadline of mid-january, our Christmas consisted of making several corned-beef adventures since none of us have ever really used it (turns out corned beef is quite tasty). Of our many corned beef sandwiches (some of which we have published already here), we had two favorites:
- Corned Beef Coleslaw With Avocado on Demi Baguette Sandwich (by Anders)
- Corned Beef Burger with Mayo-less Coleslaw (below, by Wendie)
The winner was this one, a delicious burger with a side of mayo-less coleslaw. Costco unfortunately ran out of space, so the coleslaw couldn’t make it in the magazine. This is, however, the entire recipe. Let us know what you think.
Recipe for Roasted Garlic Mayo
- 5 roasted garlic
- 3 tsp mustard
- 4 tbs mayo
Smash the garlics to a pulp with a fork, then mix in the mustard and mayonnaise. Continue reading Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
Chicken Salad Recipe
- 4 roasted garlic
- 3 tbs Mayo
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (anis)
- 1/4 grated onion
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Tarragon Mustard
- 5 oz chicken pieces (picked from roasted chicken)
Mash the roasted garlic to a pulp with a fork, then mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Rejoyce, you are done!
Continue reading Chicken Salad
One of the best things you can do with potatoes is to make potato sandwiches. Simply boil the potatoes, let them cool, and get creative. Since potatoes a very subtle taste, this is a great opportunity to bring out your best toppings. A really good mayonnaise always complements potatoes nicely, and the fried onions brings a little crunch to the party. This is a classic Danish open faced sandwich (in Denmark they call it Smørrebrød), which any kid that goes to school can tell you.
For the vegetarians out there, you can’t go wrong with a delicious portobello mushroom burger. This is one of our favorite sandwiches, for yes, a burger is also a sandwich, much like a Lada is also a car (although reluctantly). Whenever we see fresh portobello mushrooms we try to secure a few for grilling. They are simply delicious when soaked in the right marinade, and actually taste better than most meat patties. The grilling really brings out the best in these shrooms, and you get to enjoy the wonderful colors and look of this gigantic Agaricus bisporus.
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.