Category Archives: sandwich

Dearest Neighbor (A Christmas Letter)

Pickled Peppers and Onions jar 1

Please pardon the oversight, but I have nothing to drop on your doorstep this year. No holiday cookies, no baby poinsettia. I promise it doesn’t mean I intend to ignore my neighborly duties. I will still drink your chocolate milk when you’re in Hawaii and let you bring my garbage cans in three days late and loan you chickpeas when you’re desperate to make hummus. But this year, there probably won’t be any pickles left.

It may sound outlandish, but I’m going to blame a hipster at Metropolitan Market. He came barreling down the produce aisle in a panic. “Peach-basil or pear-lemongrass?” he asked frantically, eyes searching. I looked around, wondering whether his sidekick had a bad moustache also.

He was talking to me. (Was he flirting with me?) “Peach-basil,” I said, missing only the briefest beat. I was standing in front of a giant peach display at a grocery store that’s recently outfitted its employees with t-shirts advertising their peaches’ Brix levels. It seemed so obvious. He took off again. (He definitely wasn’t flirting.)

But you know what that goober did? He went over to the lemongrass and picked up a big bunch. Then he took some pears. Then he was gone. I wanted to elongate my arms and twist that annoying little moustache til it hurt, then lift him until he was dangling by nothing by a few hairs. I’d look him straight in the eye and say, “What’s the matter with you? It’s peach season, buster.”

But he was gone. There was nothing I could do, except take advantage of having an empty trunk and buy a flat of peaches myself. I looked around the produce section, thrilling at having landed there the week when the grocery store looks most like a farmers’ market, with “grown locally” signs proudly painted near so many picks. I took home blueberries and basil and onions and peppers, and those peaches.

They rode home in the front seat, coddled in their cardboard box like jewels. It made me wonder whether the store puts all the peaches away at night, the way fancy jewelry stores do.

That afternoon, I did a lot of staring, the same way I do at Tiffany’s, when I’m not really sure I deserve to be in the presence of things that are so delicate and beautiful. I stared at cookbooks and at the peaches and at the basil. I piled those blushing beasts up in a wide wooden bowl, and fed one to my kid, who’s decided peach juice does a much better job polishing wood floors than almost anything. Then I sort of wussed out. What can you do to a dripping-ripe peach that makes it taste better?

Onions, though. I’ll tell you something, loud and clear: I don’t care for raw onions. But slicked with vinegar, sweetened and spiced, I’ll put them on anything that sits still. Ditto for peppers, especially the spicy ones. So it made sense to me, the way two people make sense together, to postpone the peach decision and instead pack the peppers and onions into little jars and smother them in vinegar.

Pickled Peppers and Onions open

I started with a pickled jalapeno recipe from Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars. I changed the vegetables, and the vinegar, and the sugar and seasonings, and a few other things. So actually, it wasn’t really her recipe at all, but she was there, holding my hand through it all, promising me that if I wanted to, I could still put the end concoction on everything from sandwiches to nachos to hot dogs. In that moment of panic I still face when I’m canning, I looked her in the eye for a some quick assurance. She nodded.

I made five pints of pickled peppers and onions. The first jar went with my husband to work, and the second jar came camping a few weekends ago. The third went down easy at home, disappearing the way a batch of brownies does, little tastes at a time. The fourth is coming to the Wild & Scenic Music Festival this weekend, where we’ll be camping out, and the fifth . . . well, let’s just say the fifth reaches the criteria for stage four edibility, and probably won’t make it until Christmas.

But oh, those peaches. I did go back for more, and the hipster was nowhere in sight. The next box of peaches went into three little peach and raspberry crisps, which I’ve carefully packaged and frozen for our camping trip. I’m hoping to set the little foil pans over the fire in the space between dinner and new hunger, so their sweet scent fills the air as we finish off the pickle jar.

With any luck, there will be pickles or jam next year. Until then, please accept my apologies.

Pickled Peppers and Onions 1

Spunky Pickled Peppers and Onions (PDF)
Based loosely on Marisa McClellan’s recipe for Basic Pickled Jalapeño Peppers in Food in Jars, this colorful, mildly spicy blend of bell peppers, red onions, and jalapeños makes the perfect Christmas gift—if you can keep them around that long. If you want to use them this summer, wait a week for the flavors to marry, then try piling them on grilled pork with slices of grilled peaches.

If you’re familiar with canning, you’ll be comfortable with the instructions below. If you’re new to it, check out Food in Jars. It’s an excellent guide.

Note that this recipe makes extra pickling brine. I tend to do that each time I pickle; I keep the brine for quick pickling things like green beans and carrots.

Makes about 5 pints

2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 pounds small bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4 jalapeño peppers, stems and steeds removed, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Prepare and sterilize five pint-sized jars (or similar) and fresh lids for canning per the jar manufacturer’s instructions. (Marisa McClellan has superb directions on page 10 of Food in Jars.)

In a large soup pot, combine the vinegars, water, kosher salt, sugar, garlic, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for a minute or two, until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Add the bell and jalapeño peppers and the onion to the brine, stir, and let cook over the lowest heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the red onion begins to lose its color and the jalapeños are a darker shade of green.

Using tongs, pack the peppers and onions into the sterilized jars. Pour the hot brine over the peppers and onions in each jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Use a wooden chopstick to poke and stir the ingredients (to encourage any bubbles to escape). Add more brine, if necessary.

Wipe the rim of each jar carefully with a clean cloth. Apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, again using the jar manufacturer’s instructions or the directions on page 11 of Food in Jars.


Filed under gluten-free, recipe, sandwich, side dish, snack

Promised: Chicken Salad


A few weeks ago, I promised you a new chicken salad.

There’s no story here – just plump chicken, chopped and blended with a spunky vinaigrette made with my new best friend, a lemon-infused olive oil. If you’re in a rush, fold in chopped rotisserie chicken. If you’re looking for a thinly-veiled excuse to eat the crisp, peppery skin off an entire bird you’ve just roasted perfectly on the grill (not that I would know anything about that), double the recipe. Try it in sandwiches or scooped next to a big green salad, or serve it inside endive spears or lettuce wraps.

Lemon-Spiked Chicken Salad (PDF)

TIME: 10 minutes
MAKES: Enough for 2 big sandwiches

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped leftover chicken
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a mixing bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice, shallot, salt, pepper, and mustard to blend. While whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, and whisk until all the oil is blended in. Stir in the chicken and parsley and serve.


Filed under appetizers, chicken, gluten-free, Lunch, recipe, sandwich

A perfect use for mustard seeds

Pickled Red Sandwich Onions on a fork

I am on the precipice of a love affair with mustard yellow.

It started in Spain. I got hooked on the idea of going home with a sunny-colored watch, and on our last day in Haro, I spied a square-faced yellow number—something to be worn as an accessory, rather than out of habit.

Since then, I’ve worn it cautiously, but my annual shopping pilgrimage to Freeport, Maine with my mother-in-law last week encouraged me that if there’s any time in my life to embrace a color that society so deeply dislikes when it’s out of favor, it’s now. There is yellow everywhere.

Wearing mustard yellow requires a deep commitment, which can be challenging, especially if, as is the case with me, it is under no circumstances to be worn near the face.

For roughly the next three months, you’ll be able to recognize me by my new yellow corduroy skirt, or by the yellow belt I just got for my birthday, which sort of makes me look like I got in a fight with a hot dog vendor with very precise aim.

But here’s my big secret: I don’t actually like the taste of mustard all that much.

It’s okay if you disagree. I hear mustard can be pretty good. But aside from salad dressings, sauces where it’s not so detectable, or the occasional sandwich smear—or when its application is beyond my immediate control—I don’t really eat it. I put ketchup on my hot dogs. (My neighbor Bob says that makes me un-American, simply un-American.) I’m happy with plain pretzels. I eat my pate with just the pickles.

But sandwiches! Sandwiches are a problem. I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise, either—not because I don’t like eating it, but because it’s one of the few foods I feel guilty eating if it’s not homemade—which means that when I get a loaf of dry bread, like the whole wheat sourdough I picked up last week, I can’t make a quick sandwich without either drinking a lot or getting very creative very quickly.

Soaking onions for pickles

So over the weekend, when I went on my very first canning binge, I concocted jars upon jars of sweet pickled red onions made with mustard seeds—they’re addictive enough to eat right out of their brine, but spread on sandwiches, they add not only bite, but also the perfect amount of extra moisture. They’re soft enough to bite through, so you won’t pull them out from between the meat and the bread with your teeth, but still firm enough to give a sandwich some extra crunch. They have a touch of mustard’s spice, but none of whatever it is about it that offends me.

And, as it turns out, they’re also great on sausages. Better than mustard, even, if you ask me. And the juices look way better with my skin.

Pickled Red Sandwich Onion in jars 2

Pickled Red Sandwich Onions (PDF)

Since you’ll be slicing up five pounds of onions, consider borrowing a mandoline slicer, which makes the process go much, much faster, and moving the whole operation outdoors, which cuts down on the eye stinging.

The onions are ready to eat right when they cool because they’re softened ahead in the vinegar brine, but you’ll have extra brine leftover. Instead of throwing it away, use it to make refrigerator pickles: bring it back to a boil and pour it over fresh, clean baby carrots, green or yellow wax beans, or cooked, sliced beets, and refrigerate for a few days before eating.

This recipe makes enough for 8 pints pickled onions, but you can do whatever combination of large and small jars works for you and your canning set-up.

TIME: 30 minutes, plus canning
MAKES: 8 pints

2 cups sugar
10 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
5 pounds red onions, cut into 1/8” slices with the grain
Dill blossoms
Mustard seeds

Combine the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a large pot and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally as the sugar dissolves. Place the onions in a large bowl (or two), pour the vinegar mixture over the top, and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In each (squeaky-clean) canning jar, place a few dill blossoms, a few peppercorns, and a big pinch of mustard seeds. When the onions have softened and turned bright pink, stuff each jar full. Add the brine until it comes to 1/4” from the rim. Wipe rims, add lids, and process (20 minutes once the water returns to a boil).


Filed under appetizers, cocktails, Etcetera, gluten-free, recipe, sandwich, snack, vegetables

A new thing

Lemon-Chive Chicken Salad 1

There’s a clear order of operations to my conversations these days. You know, like how in 8th grade math class you looked through an equation to find all the additions you had to do, then the subtractions, then . . . or wait, was it the multiplications first? (This is why I’m not a math teacher.)

But yes, it goes like this: First, people ask how the baby is doing. (He’s great, by the way. More than ten pounds!) Then, they ask how I’m doing. (Fine also.) Finally, always the third question:

Are you writing?

Honestly, this one sort of cracks me up – first, because going back to work is really still nowhere near the top of my list of priorities, and second, because when I was working regular full-time hours, people in general assumed I wasn’t writing. I’m not sure if this applies to all freelancers, but most of my friends with normal jobs have always called at, say, 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, when they’re on their lunch break on east coast time. They say something brilliant, like Hey, what are you doing? Like Tuesday morning is popcorn hour for all freelance writers. It always seems to come as a big surprise that I’m working. Sometimes I make things up, just for shock value. Oh, you know. Getting a pedicure before my dog’s Botox appointment. Normal Tuesday stuff.

But now, six weeks after Graham’s come home, it seems everyone expects me to be writing writing writing. And, well, what can I say? I sort of expected I might be, also. It’s not that I don’t want to write. And the words still come – only now, they flood my brain at the most inconvenient times. I do my best to contain them, while I’m nursing or walking or rocking a baby in the middle of the night, but it’s marbles on an ice rink, and I’m not even wearing skates. Heck, I don’t even own skates.

Before Graham was born, I had a very clear-cut creative process. I wrote in violent storms, usually in the morning. They were never any more predictable than that, but when they came – always with mental lightning and thunder, some sort of warning that got me sitting in front of a keyboard before the rains came – I was usually available. Now? Not so much. I’m often whole rooms away from a keyboard. The rains come, and they drench me, and then they pass, and I’m left sitting there in a big puddle of words.

Someday – who knows when? – I’m going to have to find a new creative process, for the days when I’m not in charge. Not an umbrella, per say, but maybe gutters, or a good, dependable catchment system for all these thoughts. A new thing, for this new life. I don’t think it will necessarily be a better way of writing, or worse. Just different. I’m really looking forward to it, whatever it is.

For now, since all those words about my neighbor’s birthday party have long since dried into puddle crust on the kitchen floor, just a recipe for the chicken salad I made for a group of giggly women. If nothing else, I beg you: Make the herbed mayonnaise. It goes a long way to make things exciting when you’re slapping turkey sandwiches together in the middle of the night.

Lemon-Chive Chicken Salad 3

Lemon-Chive Chicken Salad with Herbed Mayonnaise (PDF)

My neighbor recently had what she called her first 49th birthday party. I volunteered to bring chicken salad. I wanted something summery and light and herby, but didn’t want to make any presumptions about how gooey guests liked their sandwiches. (Goodness knows there’s nothing worse than eating the wrong rank on your mayonnaise scale.) I think I found the ultimate solution: I mixed the chicken up with about half the dressing—a mixture of mayonnaise, plain yogurt, bright lemon zest, and handfuls of herbs from my porch garden—and let people slather the rest on baguette halves, along with tomatoes, avocado slices, and pickled onions, as they assembled their own sandwiches.

Save any extra herbed mayo for bartering; it’s worth its weight in gold. (And if you make your own mayonnaise, it’ll be worth whatever’s more expensive than gold.)

If you’re pressed for time, substitute pre-roasted rotisserie chicken (2 large or 3 small) for the chicken breasts.

TIME: 45 minutes
MAKES: About 10 big sandwiches’ worth

4 cups chicken broth
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 cups chopped celery (from 4 big ribs)
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
1/2 cup finely chopped chives, plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped chives
1/3 cup finely chopped tarragon
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley, plus 1 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large shallots, finely chopped

Bring the chicken broth to a bare simmer in a wide, shallow pan. Add the chicken breasts, and poach, turning occasionally, until cooked through (about 15 minutes). Transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool. Add the celery and raisins to the hot broth, and let sit for 5 minutes. (This softens the celery a bit and plumps up the raisins.) Strain celery and raisins (reserving broth for another use, if you’d like), and set aside to cool.

Herbed mayo

In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 cup finely chopped chives, tarragon, and 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Shred or chop the chicken, and transfer to a large mixing bowl, along with the celery, raisins, 1/4 cup coarsely chopped chives, 1 cup coarsely chopped parsley, chopped shallot, and 1 cup of the herbed mayonnaise. Mix well, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Serve on lettuce or in sandwiches, with additional mayonnaise on the side.

Lemon-Chive Chicken Salad 4


Filed under chicken, gluten-free, Lunch, recipe, sandwich, snack

Feeling Pressed

Scores of people have made it through house construction before. Heck, people remodel their entire homes and make do with workmen scurrying about for months on end, without kitchens, bathrooms, etc. But somehow, today, I feel like the only person on the planet who has to live through this. Every three and a half seconds a sledgehammer hits the concrete that covers the place where our sewer line comes out of our house, and the whole structure shakes. A photograph’s backstay collapsed and the photo crashed to the floor just now. And they’ve only been here for – what is it now? – about fifteen minutes.

The plumbers were supposed to start yesterday, which of course meant today, and I had the audacity to plan around the schedule they proposed last week. Today was supposed to be a quiet day, with no running water, but now that’s tomorrow – today is sledgehammering and concrete-sawing day. It coincides nicely with SLAM the phone interviews SLAM I had planned for the SLAM day. I have poblano peppers and tomatoes and beautiful, bright-leafed celery waiting in my fridge, which is directly above the slamming, and I can’t be in the kitchen for more than about six slams before I have to leave. How do people do this?

It comes down to this: I am so bad at being trapped, pressed into a corner when I want to roam free. Rather, I’m so good at convincing myself that I’m stuck in situations that are really beyond my control. I want to stay home and do my phone interviews and nap away the aching left in my body from a weekend of painting, and cook something for the folks at the hardware store, all in my pajamas. But no, today will be a coffee shop day, I’ll get my derrière into the shower (because it still works), then tote my broken computer over to Herkimer and type away there, hopping outside every fifteen minutes for a phone call. Grrr.

At least I have a panini press to save me from having to spend more than 10 more seconds here.

Chicken, Zucchini, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Panini 2

Recipe 248 of 365: Grilled Zucchini, Chicken, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Sandwich To Go

Preheat a sandwich press. Slice a small zucchini lengthwise into 1/4″ strips. Spray the strips lightly with olive oil spray on both sides, and grill in the press for a few minutes, until browned. Meanwhile, load a piece of whole grain bread with goat cheese, fresh tomato slices, and pulled chicken. When the zucchini is done, add it to the sandwich, and top with another slice of bread. Spray the top piece of bread with the olive oil spray, flip the sandwich onto the grill (with the oiled side down), and spray the second piece of bread with the olive oil. Grill for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melting and the bread is nicely toasted. Eat and run.

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Filed under recipe, sandwich

There’s a hole in my heart where Willow Tree used to be

This morning the fog rolled up from Puget Sound, past Ballard and toward Phinney Ridge, and I thought of the occasional foggy mornings on Cape Cod, and of eating chicken salad in kitchens so close to the ocean that I could see the fog hanging around inside, too, right there above the sink.

You might have guessed that I love chicken salad. But you probably don’t know the whole story.

I used to avoid foods that combined anything meatish and the word “salad” on the same label. Ditto with tomatoes, anything with a sauce, anything spicy, or anything not immediately identifiable.

But seriously – the chicken salad thing stuck with me until just a few years ago. It seemed . . .I dunno. Too squishy.

Then Michaela introduced me to good chicken salad. Willow Tree Farm chicken salad, to be exact. You might describe it as “premium” grocery store deli counter chicken salad. I started buying it at Shaw’s in Falmouth when I was shopping for my personal chef clients (and hey – wow – the thought of shopping in a massive grocery store seems so strange right now). I rarely had time to eat a proper lunch, and it was a fast, convenient, tasty way to shove a thousand calories down in, oh, about ten forkfuls. It got me through the day.

But then I started buying it at home, when friends visited, and in the winters, when I definitely didn’t need any more calorie-dense foods in my refrigerator.

The fog reminded me that I haven’t even looked for Willow Tree here. It disappeared from my life, like braces and pegged pants.

I just cruised over to the Willow Tree website, for old times’ sake. I thought I might stumble across a place to order it online – the things one could do with a ten-pound bucket – but I was unwittingly lured to a page with nutritional information. It turns out that about 75% of my love for Willow Tree Farm chicken salad (a.k.a. calories) comes from fat. Tons of mayo and sugar, too. No wonder I loved it.

Then I looked around online some more, and found I can actually order it. I started daydreaming – three pounds of chicken salad, fresh on my front porch. Maybe I could use it to patch the hole in my heart where Willow Tree used to be. Or just glue it to my thighs, as my mother used to be so fond of saying.

Luckily, I caught myself before circling the drain of chicken salad desire. There’s a reason I like it, I thought, and I can most likely duplicate it, maybe even do my body more good than harm.

And I can have it for lunch.

See, I really like it when chicken salad is shreddy – yes, that’s a technical term, shreddy, as opposed to square and/or chunky. Because the gooey stuff gets between the strands of shredded chicken better than it does between whole chunks of chicken, shreddy chicken salad – like the stuff from Willow Tree – is more moist in the mouth. It also holds a sandwich together more effectively, and is better at grabbing mix-ins in. Grapes and almonds, apples and walnuts, pecans and craisins, various herbs . . .

But hear this: if you make chicken salad in a stand mixer, separating the chicken meat by beating it apart into strands with the paddle attachment, it’s possible to make a rough estimate of the Willow Tree texture. That is, as long as you don’t start with dry chicken.

Making shreddy chicken salad

But even with perfectly tender chicken, there’s still the problem of moisteners: I know roughly what it’ll take to achieve the silky mouthfeel and slightly sweet flavor of Willow Tree, but I can’t physically bring myself to add that stuff in.

Here’s a good compromise, a shreddy chicken salad, made with some of the good stuff and some of the bad. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

I stuffed it into a pita, and the chicken salad had enough (hmm, insert something a physics PhD would say here – Tito? Carlos? Melanie? Is it surface tension?) that when the pita started breaking down, as they always seem to do, the chicken salad didn’t come cascading down the front of my white tank top and ruin my lunchtime porch session.

No, I waited until later and poured cold coffee down the inside of said tank top instead.

Oh, my. We’re going back east soon for a visit. Maybe I’ll have to hit the grocery store.

Shreddy Apple-Walnut Chicken Salad

Recipe for Shreddy Apple-Walnut Chicken Salad
Recipe 207 of 365
Whipping chicken in a stand mixer is a good, quick alternative to chopping it, and leads to chicken salad with just the right “shreddy” texture.

If you’re using fresh roasted chicken for this (the small rotisserie birds from the grocery store are perfect!), remove all the skin first, then tear the meat off and chop it into roughly 2” – 3” pieces before adding it to the mixer. Be sure to use both the light and the dark meat.

TIME: 15 minutes (with cooked chicken)
MAKES: 4 to 6 sandwiches

1 pound cooked chicken (from a 3- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken, or 1 1/4 pounds raw chicken breasts, cooked)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Pink Lady or Granny Smith apple, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, using on-off pulses “whip” the chicken on medium speed until it reaches the desired consistency – whipping longer will result in smaller pieces. (Use your hands to tear apart extra long pieces, if necessary.) Add mayonnaise, yogurt, and mustard, season with salt and pepper, and mix until combined and creamy, about 15 seconds. Add additional mayo or yogurt, if you want a wetter consistency, and stir in the remaining ingredients.


Filed under chicken, recipe, salad, sandwich

158: A Fat Vermonter

I think most New Englanders would agree it’s hard to go amiss with a Vermonter, that classic sandwich with layers of turkey, sharp Vermont cheddar, and thin-sliced apples. I typically make mine in a panini press, which tends to give whatever bread I’m trying to use up a new life.

Of course, the better the ingredients, the better the sandwich. I remember leaning over the counter at Noonie’s in Middlebury in college, overseeing the process of piling apples, cheese, and turkey together and microwaving them to make sure they didn’t cook the questionable deli meat to the point of exhaustion or melt the cheese so far that its oils began to ooze out of it. With the panini press, you get the great grilled flavor on the outside, and warm – but not hot – cheese, in the semi-melted state that lets its flavor shine best.

Growing up, before the Vermonter entered my life, I always coveted turkey and avocado sandwiches, the best of which is made (in my opinion) by Cobby’s in Boise.

So there we were, me and Lindsay, the skinny Vermonter, deciding whether to make Vermonters or use an adorably tiny avocado:

Baby avocado

Why not, I thought?

I sprayed the outsides of the rosemary bread with olive oil spray, loaded up the cheese (western orange cheddar this time), apple slices, turkey, and a little Dijon, and a few avocado slices, and pressed it.

Fat Vermonter

“Look,” I said to Lindsay. “A fat Vermonter.”

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Filed under recipe, sandwich

A sandwich of commitment

Homemade Steak Bomb

On the eve of his departure (he’s headed to Korea for field work), Tito took one look at our leftover steak and channeled Nino, who must have been the big Italian dude in charge of the menu at Nino’s on Charles street in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, where we lived a few years back. I never actually met Nino, but based on some of the subs the place offered, I don’t think it’s outrageous of me to assume he was a pretty hefty guy.

Our favorite was the steak sub, which we usually opted to convert into a steak and egg sandwich topped with melted provolone. We dubbed it The Steak Bomb, and when our 5th floor walk-up got hot in the summer, it somehow made everything better. Perhaps it was just cheaper than any of the salads sold on our street.

The S.B. was a toasty, buttery bun, loaded with hot sauteed onions and shaved steak that had been mixed with scrambled eggs, topped with a slab of provolone, and melted just enough, in the pizza oven, if I remember correctly. It was massive, and it was a sandwich of commitment. You know the type: once you pick it up, you either have to keep holding it and finish it, or put it down and risk having it explode with all its supernatural sandwich force all over your plate/lap/clothing.

Here’s our home version. Considerably smaller and much less greasy, but not for lack of trying. We just don’t have a twenty-year-old griddle, that’s all.

The Steak Bomb
Recipe 152 of 365

For some reason, writing out a letter-by-letter recipe for a steak bomb seems like utter sacrilege.

Here’s the idea:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and heat a big cast iron pan over medium heat. Melt a hunk of butter in the pan. Open up two big hoagie rolls and smear the insides around in the melted butter. Toast them in the oven for a few minutes, until just colored around the edges.

Add a little olive oil to the pan, and saute half an onion, sliced very thin, for about 10 minutes, or until good and brown. Add a mess of thinly sliced leftover steak (about 1/2 pound), and some bell peppers, if you please, and saute until you get that good meat aroma going.

(Did you forget about the rolls? Put them on a baking sheet, this could get messy.)

Skooch the onions and steak to the edges of the pan, and add a bit more butter to the center of the skillet. Crack in two eggs, let them cook there until the whites begin to gel a bit, then scramble them in the center of the pan. Mix them up with the steak and onions.

Fry time

Put a little cheese on the buns. (Provolone would be ideal, mozzarella or cheddar would work; I used string cheese, because hey, you got what you got.) Pile the steak/onion/egg mixture into the buns, and slap some more cheese on top.

Bake the sandwiches until the cheese is good and melty, about 5 minutes on the top rack.

Now, eat it. Without putting it down.

Eating a steak bomb

And no, using the sweat from your beer glass to clean your hands afterwards is not shameful.


Filed under Beef, husband, recipe, sandwich

Lunch with a friend

Turmeric’s supposed to be a great natural inflammation-fighter, so I’m trying to sneak it into my diet more frequently (beyond the occasional Indian take-out).

Curried yogurt chicken salad

Recipe for Curried Yogurt Chicken Salad
Recipe 138 of 365

Here’s a variation on a classic curried chicken salad, made with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, and with apples and chopped fresh cilantro. The spices melt into the yogurt with time, so it’s a great one to make ahead. Serve it on salads, sandwiches, or tucked into a wrap with lettuce and avocado.

Chopped bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, or pistachios would make great additions.

TIME: 10 minutes, with leftover chicken
MAKES: 3 sandwiches or wraps

1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (or sour cream, or mayonnaise, or some combination thereof)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped or shredded
1/2 granny smith apple, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Blend the yogurt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, salt, a big grinding of pepper, and the lemon juice in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Season again to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

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Filed under chicken, Lunch, recipe, sandwich