Tag Archives: sandwich

“Caprese” Sandwich with Goat Cheese

Goat Cheese Caprese

Goat Cheese Caprese

First off, let me apologize for the significant reduction in the frequency of posting on this blog. We began a new business venture last year and that has taken up a lot of my bandwidth. I will continue posting here but the frequency will be 1-2 posts a month.

This recipe was born really out of the desire to use up ingredients that were in the fridge. As you know, we are big fans of pizza in our house and lately we have switched to using grape/cherry tomatoes for Margherita Pizza since you can then get bite sized tomato pieces everytime you eat a slice. Plus, the flavor is actually pretty good. The idea came from, believe it or not, a railway station pizza from “Alice” in Florence (that was probably the best pizza I had in Italy). Anyway, after the last pizza session, there were a lot of tomatoes left over, as was a significant amount of goat cheese from the Kale Cranberry Salad (recipe here) and some french bread.

NOTE: Before I get the purists riled up, let me state this is not a Caprese sandwich. A true Caprese uses Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil. However, it definitely is a close cousin to it.

Anyway, back to the story – when life gives you cheese, tomatoes and bread – you make sandwiches. Which is exactly what I did. I made a little salad using Grape Tomatoes and then using Goat Cheese, made a sandwich. The result was pretty good and well worth a try. The salad was simple – Grape Tomatoes (sliced in thirds), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, shredded Basil leaves and some salt and pepper. The bread was a French Baguette and the cheese was Chevre.

Give it a try. I think you will like it.

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New Orleans inspired Veggie Sandwich

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New Orleans has a great culinary tradition. It has been a traditional melting pot in the truest sense of the term and the cuisine reflects that. The few times I have been there I have enjoyed the food especially in places like Emeril Lagasse’s “NOLA”, which cater to vegetarians very well.

Anyway, one of the mainstays of Louisiana cuisine is a Po’Boy sandwich. There are many different theories as to how this name came about. The French word pourboire, referring to a tip given to a waiter could have something to do with it. A famous local story attributes it to the Martin Brothers, former streetcar workers, who had a restaurant in New Orleans in the 1920s. As the story goes, they served free sandwiches to striking streetcar workers who jokingly referred to themselves as “poor boys” since they were not getting paid. And so, the story continues, the name stuck.

Since most Po’ Boys are seafood or meat based, I decided to turn to my go-to versatile ingredient – Tofu. This magic protein, has worked well for me, apart from the usual Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese foods, in things like Indian food (see here) and Tacos (see here). So I cut up big chunks of Tofu and coated it with a equal mixture of cornmeal and white flour seasoned with Cajun seasoning (I used “Slap Ya Mama” since this seemed to be the only one I could find in the grocery store that didn’t have a long list of chemicals in the list of ingredients). I then pan fried it with a little bit of oil and then baked it in the oven for about 20 mins at 350F to get a nice crispy coat.

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I made the Remoulade spread loosely following the recipe here. I had no horseradish, so I skipped that. This spread was fantastic and one I would make again.

Then to assemble the sandwich, I took some leftover hot dog buns, opened them up and put the tofu on them. Covered them up with some cheese, I used Cheddar, and then broiled it so that the cheese melted.

Then the buns were taken, the Remoulade spread on them, and slices of tomato added along with some spinach leaves. And that was it. It definitely made for a pretty satisfying meal and my slow eating kid wolfed it down. Couldn’t have asked for a better complement.

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Beet and Lentil Burger

 

Beet Burger with Yellow and Green Split Peas

Beet Burger with Yellow and Green Split Peas

The wife is getting a little tired of me. As soon as I come up with a veggie burger she likes, I make a different version the next time. I can’t help it. So despite, the success of my Vegetable Chop Style burger (see here), I decided to do a slightly different version. I made it with lentils – yellow and green split peas, and brown rice. I also changed the masala and used the Bhaja Masala recipe from here (click here). The masala was excellent.

As for the burger, it was very good but I still prefer some of the earlier recipes I came up with  (click here, and here and here and here). I felt this recipe had too much beet and you could not taste the lentils at all.

The story starts with a trip to the grocery store where I found an absolutely massive beet (1 lb and 12 oz). Knowing that the kids enjoy beet burgers, it came home. It sat in the fridge for a few days till I decided to tackle the project. On the day that I decided to make the burger patties I realized I was low on carrots and potatoes, but I did have yellow split peas (chana daal) and green split peas in the pantry. As it happened, I also had some cooked brown rice in the fridge. That went into the burger as well. This was a very libertarian burger.

INGREDIENTS (for 14 patties)

1 mongo beetroot – boiled and peeled

1 small potato – boiled and peeled

1 medium carrot – boiled and peeled

1/4 cup yellow split peas – cooked and drained

1/4 cup green split peas – cooked and drained

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup roasted peanuts – roughly chopped

Salt to taste

1 egg

Panko bread crumbs

A little olive oil

For the Bhaja Masala

Cumin Seeds — 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds — 1/2 tsp
Corriander seeds — 1/2 tsp
Clove — 6
Green Elaichi — 3
Cinnamon — 1/2″ stick
Peppercorn — 12
Red chili — 2-3
Bay leaf — tiny

STEPS

1. Roast all the ingredients for the Bhaja Masala till they just start to smoke and grind them into a powder.

2. Mash the beet, potato, carrot, lentils and rice in a large bowl.

3. Add the Bhaja Masala, salt and egg and mix well.

4. Add salt to taste.

5. Fashion into patties, coat with Panko and then in saucepan with a little oil, lightly brown on both sides.

6. Prepare all the patties and place on a cookie tray. Stick in an oven at 425F for 20 minutes. You are done.

7. When you are ready to consume, heat patties on low heat a skillet/frying pan till they brown on both sides. You can even melt some cheese on top.

8. Use the patty like a standard burger patty and serve with your favorite fixins on a burger bun.

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The humble Grilled Cheese sandwich

 

Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/Tomatoes

Post countdown. Post number 93. Seven till a 100.

If you have kids, you know how to make a Grilled Cheese sandwich. Along with Peanut Butter and Jelly, and, Mac and Cheese, the Grilled Cheese sandwich forms the holy trinity of kid-friendly foods in America.

While our kids love them, my wife and I have had mixed feelings about Grilled Cheese sandwiches. On the one hand they are really simple to make. On the other hand, is there really much nutritional value in them? They really are just carbs and fat when you think about it. So we have been sneaky. When we make Grilled Cheese sandwiches for the kids we either put sliced tomatoes while grilling in them, or serve them with a side of veggies.

The problem with putting sliced tomatoes in Grilled Cheese sandwiches is that it makes them soggy. So when my wife recently forwarded me this recipe(click here) for a sandwich, I got the idea of trying a similar treatment for a Grilled Cheese sandwich.

I took two slices of whole wheat bread and put a little bit of butter on them. Then some sliced tomatoes and salt and pepper. Topped them off with some shredded cheese. So at this point I had two open sandwiches or “pizzas”. On low heat and using a little bit of olive oil I toasted each on the bread side, on a frying pan till the cheese was just starting to melt. I then stuck both slices in the oven and broiled them till the cheese started to bubble (NOTE: Don’t broil too long or you might burn the bread. See my picture above as a cautionary tale). That’s it. At this point I could eat each slice separately or, close them up cheese side to cheese side and eat the sandwich. I chose the latter. It was good and the tomatoes were not soggy.

 

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Lunch Special – Shibani’s Spinach Corn Sandwich with a Chipotle flavored sauce

Shibani’s Spinach and Corn Sandwich

Every time I visit India now I am blown away by how good the food is. Being a country of foodies, even airline food rocks. The best part is that even on domestic flights, there are meal options (though on discount airlines you have to buy the meals). On my flight from Bangalore to Delhi, I noticed that among the many veggie sandwiches on offer were

  • A Spinach and Corn sandwich
  • A Paneer with Tomato Gravy sandwich
  • Mushrooms, Baby Corn and Olive Sandwich

Though I didn’t try any of them, I was quite intrigued by the combinations. So with some recently acquired local fresh spinach sitting in the fridge, when the picky daughter asked what she will have for lunch the next day, we decided to brainstorm. We started off with the spinach and remembering the spinach/corn combo, decided to throw in the corn as well. I threw in some onion and garlic, and because my kids like the Chipotle Southwestern Dressing at Subway, we threw a variation of that in there as well. All in all, it turned out to be a very satisfying sandwich.

Since I was clearly winging it, there is no recipe. Below is a general guideline of what I came up with.

  1. Heated some oil and fried some finely chopped onion and garlic till the onion turned transparent.
  2. Threw in spinach and corn kernels. Cooked till the spinach had wilted.
  3. Salt and pepper for seasoning.
  4. Mixed it all with some olive oil mayo, honey, chipotle seasoning and shredded cheddar cheese.
  5. Spread it thick on whole wheat bread and we were done.

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A very veggie ham

Honey Glazed Veggie Ham

As you know from my tagline, I am a carnivore in rehab. While I really miss eating meat, I don’t regret my decision to quit. However, I don’t let any chance to try a meat substitute go by.

As many of you might know, east Asia has a long history of Buddhism. Now, while traditionally, Buddhist monks ate whatever they were offered, the preference was for vegetarian cuisine. Over many centuries with typical East Asian ingenuity and brilliance, many different meat substitutes emerged. Mostly soy based, these “mock-xyz” (substitute xyz for Chicken, Tuna, Ham etc.) are quite tasty and readily available at Chinese grocery stores. It was on a visit to one of these stores that my younger daughter professed a desire to try veggie ham. We bought a two pound cylinder and once thawed and sliced, it was delicious.

Holidays came and the wife wanted to host a traditional holiday dinner. A traditional American holiday dinner, of course, means it has to have ham, turkey or both. Problem was that we are vegetarian – so ham and turkey were out. We solved the turkey problem by buying some Tofurkey. For ham, I went back to the Chinese store and bought another two pound hunk of ham. This time though, I decided to cook it like it was regular ham. I found a recipe for Honey Glazed Ham at allrecipes.com and I subjected the veggie ham to the same directions. It was wonderful. I couldn’t stop eating it at the dinner and for many days afterwards, I had ham sandwiches for a snack.

The daughters craved it again and so a month or so after the holidays, I made it again. It was great the second time around as well. It is really easy to make. Hope you enjoy it.

INGREDIENTS (for a two pound cylinder of Veggie Ham)

Whole cloves

1/8 cup dark corn syrup

1 cups honey

1 stick of cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

 STEPS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Score ham into diamonds(cut about 1/4 inch deep) and stud with the whole cloves. Place ham in foil lined pan.
3. Heat the corn syrup, honey, butter and cinnamon in a double boiler. Keep this warm while baking the ham.
4. Brush glaze over ham, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Every 12 minutes or so, baste the ham with the honey glaze.
5. During the last 4 to 5 minutes of baking, turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze.
6. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving.

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Tofu Banh Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich

Tofu Banh Mi

For years the French colonized Vietnam. While one can argue both for or against colonization, there is one thing that there is no argument over: the French introduced the baguette to the Vietnamese and that was undeniably a good thing. Enterprising and adventurous cooks that the Vietnamese are, they created the Banh Mi. Definitely a high point in the sandwich’s history.

When we visited Vietnam a couple of years back, we found Banh Mi everywhere but being the carnivores that the Vietnamese are, there was not a vegetarian version to be had. And so it remained till the the last couple of weeks. I had an excellent Tofu Banh Mi in Chicago week before last and a not-so-excellent-but-still-serviceable veggie Banh Mi in, of all places, West Glacier in Montana last week. So I came back home and looked here and here and this is what I found.

For a good Banh Mi you need

1. A not-too-crusty baguette

2. Mayo

3. Daikon/Carrot pickle

4. Some herbs

5. Nicely flavored/spiced protein

So here is what I made. Turned out pretty well. This is not a purist’s Banh Mi, this is just the foodydoody Banh Mi. Very very easy to make and something you can put together when you don’t have much time. Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS (Enough for four decent sized sandwiches)

1 French baguette (not too crusty)

11 oz hard Tofu

Minced garlic

Soy sauce

Rice vinegar

Black pepper

Cooking oil

Some shredded carrot

Some sliced cucumber

Some fresh sliced jalapenos

Reduced fat mayo

Vietnamese style pickle (I used a mustard greens and carrots pickle I found at the Chinese store)

Some cilantro leaves

Some sweet basil leaves

STEPS

1. Slice the tofu into thin slices and then put it in a ziploc bag with some garlic, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, black pepper and oil. I didn’t measure the exact portions but more or less winged it. You want the tofu to be very well seasoned so play around with proportions to your liking. You can do 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp hot sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and about 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Add a tbsp of cooking oil.

2. Put the ziploc bag with the tofu aside for an hour.

3. On high heat in a saucepan sear the tofu. You don’t need to add any more oil since there is oil in the marinade.

4. To assemble the sandwich, cut about a six inch length from the baguette. Slice it in half and scoop the inside out with your fingers. You can keep the entrails for breadcrumbs.

5. Generously smear mayo on both sides.

6. Stuff it with tofu, carrots, sliced cucumbers and some cilantro, basil and jalapenos. You can stuff as much or as little as you like.

7. Enjoy the sandwich.

NOTE: If you like, you can even toast the bread before you assemble the sandwich. If you are using a meat protein, you should be able to easy substitute the tofu for some shredded pork, grilled chicken or salami (or anything else that takes your fancy).

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