Why Life Is Like A Sandwich

sammich-close-up

Life’s been a tad squishy lately. Ever feel that way? Just when you think things are set in stone, black ‘n’ white, and/or definite, fate throws you a curve ball. I tend to compensate for the chaos by constructing sandwiches.

Sandwiches are solid, dependable, infinite in variety, and as creative as your imagination and fridge contents (immediate, too, not counting toaster time) and things feel slightly more “predictable” with a self-made Dagwood in hand. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you’re in charge of what goes into your mouth.

Pictured above is a flavor combo I fabricated awhile back: sun-dried-tomato turkey with avocado, Dijon mustard, and martini olives on gluten-free toast with sweet pickles. The Pastrami was an afterthought. (Who says you need bread to enjoy a slice of Pastrami?)

The appeal of avocado slices paired with savory turkey felt apropos. Spontaneity won. Take charge of your life — and your food — when things don’t go as planned.backwards-olives

Why is life like a sandwich? Because there are more choices than you realize at times. Make decisions (and sandwiches) that make YOU happy. Even when they’re squishy.

I’m gonna be off the grid again (second trip to Minnesota in two weeks) and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you a lil’ more regularly when I get back. In the meantime, go make yourself a sandwich. :) Let me know what you come up with, too!

Enjoying the unexpected,

~ Kim

Oven Baked Sandwich with Raspberry Balsamic Butter

Oven Sammich

After last week’s lively debate on the pros and cons of long vs. short recipe titles (loved your thoughts, thank you), today I’m hitting you up with the whole shebang. Well, almost. I omitted a few ingredients from the title so as not to overwhelm.

At times I need to revise my menu plan to focus on the folks in front of me (’tis far, far better to spend time with people than my stove), and The Man Of Few Words has an unpredictable work schedule and an appetite to match. I never know if he’ll walk through the door ravenous as a grizzly or in ‘snack mode.’

My solution is to throw together whatever’s lurking in the fridge and present it in “new & improved” form (shhh…) and this sandwich was the result of one of those occasions.

Oven Baked Sandwich with Raspberry Balsamic Butter

1/2 loaf of Italian Bread (or other rustic-style bread), split horizontally

Slices of leftover Roast Beef

Slices of Sharp Cheddar cheese

Thinly sliced red onions (I used caramelized onions*)

Sliced mushrooms

Roasted red peppers, drained (I used the jarred kind)

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Red & green lettuce leaves

Raspberry Balsamic Butter

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 Tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard

1/2 Tbsp. raspberry balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

1 Tbsp. capers, drained

(*Caramelized onions are marvelous in this, but they require at least an hour of prep, unless you happen to keep a stash on hand like me…)

Combine Raspberry Balsamic Butter ingredients; set aside.

Place a piece of tinfoil large enough to accommodate the “stuffed” sandwich on a sturdy baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375° F.

In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms until nearly browned. Add roasted red peppers (pat dry, if needed) and stir until heated through.

Slather interior of bread with Raspberry Balsamic Butter, then layer with roast beef and cheese slices. Top with caramelized (or red) onions, mushrooms and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Close the sandwich (as best you can) and wrap in tinfoil.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until beef is heated through and cheese is melted. If you prefer a “crispier” sandwich, open the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Transfer to a serving platter, insert lettuce leaves at will, slice, serve, and enjoy!

Oven Sammich 3

~  .  ~  .  ~  .  ~

For you football fans out there, this is an easy ‘make-ahead’ for Superbowl weekend. Assemble earlier in the day, wrap and refrigerate, then heat and eat. (Adjust baking time as needed.) This made 4 servings; feel free to multiply.

Spend time with the people you love!

Enjoying punting in the kitchen,

~ Kim

Do you cook for a spontaneous eater?

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Bacon, Onions, & Provolone

It all started with a perfectly delectable recipe for roast pork — herb-encrusted, slow roasted, nestled on a bed of homemade applesauce — the stuff autumn meals are made of… heartwarming and heavenly.

Until it was time to take the picture.

I can empathize with a certain amount of reluctance to “say cheese” — I’d rather be behind the lens than in front of it any day!  But as a “foodie,” it’s important to portray deliciousness in all its glory.  Not as a matter of pride, but because I want you to know how absolutely wonderful something tasted, perhaps inspiring you to give it a try.

Enter the reluctant pork loin…

Maybe it was my level of distraction that day.  Maybe it was the monochromatic color scheme.  Maybe it was the background I used.  (What was I thinking?!)  Or… maybe it was meant to be eaten and enjoyed?

Put. The. Camera. Down.

For a glimpse of how it’s supposed to look, click on this link — thanks, Claudia Lamascolo — your original recipe was fantastic!

Plus, it made great sandwiches the next day. :)

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Bacon, Onions, & Provolone

For each sammich you’ll need:

2 strips of bacon, fried to your liking

1 slice of Provolone cheese

A pile of onions (cut ’em chunky)

Pulled pork (aka leftover roast pork…)

Spicy BBQ sauce (I used this recipe — thanks, Patio Daddio!)

1 onion bun (or other flavorful roll), split & buttered

Oven fries & pickles, optional

Begin by frying bacon to desired crispness.  Remove from skillet; set aside to drain on paper towels.

Add chopped onions to skillet (I like mine fried); saute over low heat until edges are browned.

Meanwhile, grill bun (buttered sides down) on a griddle until golden.

Shred pork with a fork.  (Pardon me for waxing poetic…)

Mound shredded meat on bottom bun; top with Provolone.

Nuke until cheese melts.  (Gasp!  Yes, I used my microwave…)

Top with onions and bacon.

Drizzle with BBQ sauce.

Add the top bun and dig in!

Say cheese!

Enjoying redeeming myself photographically.. or not! 

~ Kim

Sometimes You Just Gotta Have A Sammich (Chicken, Cheddar, and Avocado on a Bagel)

 Howdy do.  This is going to be a quick little post because I’ve been yearning to spend an entire day with you.  (YOU, not the sandwich!)

 
 

Or… as we call them at our house, a “sammich.”

The occasion called for a spontaneous throw-together.  A whole wheat bagel.  Leftover roast chicken.  Sliced avocado.  Wisconsin cheddar.  A sprinkle of S & P.  And maybe a smidge of Green Goddess Dressing:)

There ya have it.

Enjoying a day to catch up (and a sammich!),

~ Kim

Setting Things A-Rite With Alton Brown

After my vacation over the 4th, I promised you some travel highlights and food.  Now that it’s the end of July, I must set things aright (or a-rite as the title alludes…)  And, while I enjoy writing about my own food frolics, sometimes I simply must extol the virtues of “other people’s food.”

“Good heavens, what is she babbling about?” you may ask.

I’m talking about Maid Rites.

Maid Rites are a ground beef phenomenon on a bun.  A Midwest marvel in a sandwich.  A ticket to hamburger heaven…  Okay, you get my drift.  (The Man of Few Words agreed; he signified “aye” with his elbow.)

Simply put:  Maid Rite’s made right.  They’re served right, too.

Notice the classic “burger basket” presentation.  The sandwich is wrapped in logo-laden-waxed-paper with a generous side of hand-cut fries in their own paper basket, artfully assembled on a red plastic tray.  (The previous information was shared with the intent to avert your eyes from the “beef crumble” stuck to my sweet tea glass — oh well.)

The only embellishments necessary for a Maid Rite are thinly sliced dill pickles and onions, which are added when you order.

At the table, ketchup and mustard await in nostalgic dispenser bottles, which you may add.  (I don’t.)  No need to mess with perfection.  Love those little “maid” get-ups.  (Really — I do!)

FYI, hover your mouse over the photos for a summary of this review.  (I often tell a “second story” in the pop-up captions.)  Such fun. :)

Regarding the vacation re-cap, it pretty much consisted of 28 hours in a car with no air conditioning, more relatives than I could possibly include in one post, and R & R by the lake.   A good time was had by all, especially me.  There you have it.  A promise is a promise.

So where does Alton Brown figure into the scheme of things, besides our mutual penchant for road trips and diner food?

In a previous post, I mentioned Alton’s book, “Feasting On Asphalt.”  Not only is it highly entertaining fare, he included the recipe for Maid Rites (or a pretty darn close adaptation), which I know you’ll enjoy very much.  He also wrote a much more comprehensive review.  Give credit where credit is due, I say.

Enjoying the journey (and a Maid Rite or two),

~ Kim

P.S.  My review took place at the Iowa Visitors’ Center, where we stopped to cool off on the way home.  I’m happy to report that the “tipped” cows are now aright — or a-rite, whichever you prefer.  And, something new has been added…