Our friends Shelley and Jens have a thing for stuff that is deep fried. Being from the south, Shelley grew up frying fowl, but Jens is Danish and just developed a taste for it after meeting Shelley (we think). In any case, their love is strong so for Jens’ birthday last month, they had a ‘bring stuff to deep-fry’ party. We had deep fried chicken legs and thighs and wings, battered deep fried shrimp, deep fried Twinkies (Better than un-fried I might add, although still disgusting), and of course we brought; Sandwiches. We were a bit shocked to discover this, but of course someone has done this before, and there is a famous sandwich called the Monte Cristo with turkey, ham and cheese, and served with sugar and jam on top; a sweet, possible dessert, sandwich. So, we made it (and it was good, but fattening like a neutron bomb in your belly). This was an evening party and we forgot our good camera, so please excuse the photo quality…
The breakfast sandwich is one sandwich that doesn’t get enough mention on this blog. Perhaps that’s because I’ve considered my breakfast sandwich choices to be too uninspired for this blog. Some people’s idea of a breakfast sandwich is bacon, eggs, sausage, cheese or some combination thereof. Mine is much simpler – just an egg (either soft boiled or scrambled) that gets enjoyed on a weekend morning (typically Saturdays). For me, Saturday mornings are rife with possibilities. It is the beginning of two uninterrupted days of freedom when I can indulge some of the little personal pleasures that are bypassed in the hustle and bustle of the work week. One of these is the breakfast. On workdays, breakfast is a grab-and-go cup of coffee or tea and whatever fruit happens to be available at the moment, both of which gets consumed during my commute to the office. If I’m particularly hungry, a boiled egg gets tossed into the mix, to be eaten when I arrive at work. I look forward to the slower pace of the weekend breakfast. There I have a leisurely meal that serves as punctuation between my work week and weekend of freedom. For the most part, the basic ingredients remain the same as the work week breakfast; what differs is the preparation and presentation. The coffee/tea is served in a mug/teacup rather than my travel thermos; the single fruit is exchanged for a bowl of homemade fresh fruit salad; and the egg is served either scrambled or soft boiled, with or without a slice of toast. Better yet is that I get to enjoy this sitting on my favorite garden bench (weather permitting). It’s a breakfast that is a sort of culinary exhalation – as if to say, “Aaah.. it’s weekend and this is my time.”
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!
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 🙂
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.
We love to roast tomatoes for all kind of sauces and soups, and with our garden currently full of tomatoes, life is good. After roasting they look amazing (see photos), so we thought we would try and make a simple sandwich to show of the colors and tastes of a freshly roasted tomato fresh out of the oven.
This is a one-bite sandwich with two thing slices of baguette bread. A bit of pesto, some farmers market salami, tomato from the garden and a touch of green onions. It is great as an appetizer or a very small mid-day snack (Which is how we enjoyed this sandwich).
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.
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.”
When you live close to the Mexican border, you can’t help but be inspired by the fantastic Mexican cuisine. San Diego has to some extent adapted many of the traditional Mexican dishes and turned them American. The burrito, nowhere to be found in Mexico, is an American invention that pervades the fast-food culture here. That’s not a bad thing by the way, since I happen to love a good burrito (the best in town can be found in Del Mar at the Mucho Gusto joint). Carne asada is truly Mexican, and is usually flank steak, spiced up. The one we used is from a local butcher that makes his own spices, and it’s very very good, oh yes, veeery good.
How many ways can you make a smoked salmon sandwich? It turns out there are many – or so my search on Tastespotting revealed. Tastespotting is pure visual food pornography – some awesome photos of really great food with popularity driven by the online food community. We love it and have had a few of our own creations featured there. Sometimes I am just starved for inspiration. When we first started this ambitious blog, I thought coming up with 100 sandwiches would be itself an epic feat. Now as we approach the 200 sandwich mark, I marvel at some of the creations that we have come up with. Anders’ Big Bad Wolf Burger is one such marvel. As you can imagine, with this many sandwiches behind us, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with a creative (and postable) sandwich. When those moments happen, I turn to the Internet. Today it was Draganabakes by way of a photo on Tastespotting. That recipe included a shallot mayonnaise. With the abundance of cilantro from my last run to the grocery store, I decided to whip up some cilantro mayonnaise instead.
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).
There are some thinks that don’t translate so well across cultures. Bagels might be one of them. It was a dreary afternoon in Copenhagen, Denmark, when I walked into the Bagels Corner. A bit hungry I could not get myself to settle for a plain cream cheese bagel, so instead I opted for the luxury bagel (Choice of smoked salmon, shrimp, pesto chicken, Mexican chicken, etc). I decided on pesto chicken, and selected a whole-wheat bagel with rolled oats on top. Looked great. Then the lady asked me for what type of cream cheese I wanted. Cream cheese? Whaaaat? I decided to see where this would go, so I picked the herb-cream cheese. She added a generous layer. Then the pesto chicken (lots of it), then lettuce, cucumber, corn, and finally she asked me to pick a dressing. I selected the curry dressing. Again she added a generous layer on top, and closed up the bagel. Oh dear!
Wow, our previous sandwich “The Big Bad Wolf Burger” drew a lot of visitors this week, so thank you everyone for the links and the comments. Clearly we need to make more burgers for the blog. Meanwhile, we made this sandwich over the weekend. It’s simple and easy, but tastes great. The Calvados cheese may be hard to come by, but could be replaced with other aged cheese from your local cheese monger. In the background of the photo’s you can make out our vegetable garden. Most of the greens back there are tomatoes and zucchini’s. Should be a great summer on the barbie.
We love caprese salads so much we had Phil’s BBQ change their menu and serve it at our wedding (They did a great job too). So, it should come as no surprise that we had to try and turn the art of the caprese into a sandwich. A panini sandwich to be exact. It has all the classic ingredients: Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For the bread we went with our own homemade pesto-sourdough bread, but any regular sourdough will do just fine.