A few weeks ago, we had a friend visiting for the weekend. He is a recent convert to the omnivore lifestyle – after over 30 years of a purely vegetarian diet. Food is nearly like a religion and each style has its adherents who hold to it with zeal and conviction that borders on fanaticism. So when our friend converted, we were so thrilled that he had chosen to walk the other side that we now consider it our mission to ensure that his forays into the omnivore lifestyle are rewarding enough to cement his place as a member of our growing sect 🙂 “Thou shalt not backslide”. Still, even with this new adventurous palate, his lifetime of preparing only vegetarian cuisine means that he is at a loss as to what to do when confronted with meat or fish. He does well enough when dining out, but at home he needs to prepare vegetarian cuisine if he is to eat at all.
When he visited, he remarked that our blog is woefully lacking in vegetarian style sandwiches that he could create at home. We have been remiss, and so have prepared this little sandwich in his honor. Subu, this one’s for you (more acts of repentance to follow).
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.
While driving home from an exhausting day shopping for a new kitchen (who knew there were so many options for beveling), we passed Miami Grille. Well, we passed were it used to be before it went out of business. I guess Poway wasn’t the right place for a $15 sandwich place after all (and let’s not forget tax and tips!). Anyway, this gave us a sudden craving for a Cuban sandwiches, which as we neared our home faded into a craving for ‘something Cuban inspired.’
So, browsing the web for a couple of base sauces, we read them, ignored most, and invented our own. We made both a marinade and a dipping sauce, marinated the meat overnight, and put together this sandwich the next day. It was moist, tender, and awesomely garlicky. Love it.
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.
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.
If you are a regular reader of this fledgling blog (Hey who am I kidding here? I don’t even think my dearly loved sister is herself a regular reader. But I can dream, can’t I?), you will note that the sandwiches here have a strong carnivore bent and as one kind reader was astute enough to note, had a bit of a “Dagwood” style. For that I blame Anders as he eats way more sandwiches than I do and so it stands to reason that this blog is populated with his preferred dinner choices. This next one is born of a weekend’s inspiration and my winning the battle in Kitchen Central! I love eggplants, even if they seem to hate the soil in my garden – which must be the reason why although I can get squash and tomatoes to grow in profusion, healthy growing eggplants continue to elude me.
Lucky for me we live close to a well-stocked Middle-Eastern supermarket which never seems to run out of eggplants. Thanks to them I was able to make this tomato eggplant marriage come to life. (P.S. The tomatoes are from our garden). An advanced warning; this recipe is not one you slap together in 10 minutes. It takes a little thought and might be best accomplished over a lazy weekend day. I have been known to do this in the middle of the week but it does take a wee bit of planning.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of this lavash cracker recipe, or the ingredient list. The process is a bit involved and definitely requires more time than a sandwich but the effort is well worth it. With a little attention, even novice bakers will be able to make this a staple in their pantries. Add the spices and seeds you like, and make it your own creation.
When life gives you tomatoes, you make tomato salad, tomato pesto, roasted tomato soup, caprese salad… well you get my meaning. This has been a particularly bountiful year for tomatoes in the kitchen garden. This next recipe, although not a sandwich is a wonderful, refreshing accompaniment to your favorite sandwhich.
Roasted tomato lends itself to many uses – the base of a soup, roasted tomato pesto, or just as-is for a sandwhich topping. Roasting concentrates the tomato flavors, redeeming even the most lacklustre fruit from a state of blandness to delighful tomato goodness. For this recipe, we used an assortment of heirloom tomatoes from the backyard garden.