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Holiday Buffet Dagwood Sandwich
We have all done it.  Walked through a line, paper plate in hand, probably a fork and a napkin trapped underneath with your palm or your fingers while looking at the food that the host/hostess/caterer/overly concerned grandmother person has prepared for a holiday party.  Personally, I’m usually pretty happy with what’s there, but you never know.  My favorite is some kind of dinner roll, some ham, a few little snacks, maybe some kind of cheese spread or tapenade, and vegetables for texture. 
This one was no exception.  I usually ditch whatever beverage I’m drinking (that means holiday beer in most cases in December) in a safe place so that I can circle back and get it after the grazing mission is complete.  Drink ditched.  Paper plate, check.  Fork and napkin, check.  Let’s, um “roll.”  Not only is there ham and a couple of roll options, but there is a pretty legit charcuterie plate and some sliced cheese.  Also, there is some good looking mustard.  I like to sneak an olive or five into the layers in the absence of some kind of tapenade like dip, and if you do that don’t forget to check for pits. 
The results are above.  I think it was a big success.  Along with the aforementioned ingredients, there is some prosciutto and roasted red pepper. It stood still long enough for me to take a shot with the iPhone.  People are used to me taking sandwich pics at this point, and I like that.  Also, for scale, this little sandwich is about the size of your fist.  Not earth shattering, and quite frankly, you shouldn’t really be trying to stuff your face in front of that nice guy from accounting because you may need to ask him for a favor on Monday.  Smaller is sometimes better.  

Holiday Buffet Dagwood Sandwich

We have all done it.  Walked through a line, paper plate in hand, probably a fork and a napkin trapped underneath with your palm or your fingers while looking at the food that the host/hostess/caterer/overly concerned grandmother person has prepared for a holiday party.  Personally, I’m usually pretty happy with what’s there, but you never know.  My favorite is some kind of dinner roll, some ham, a few little snacks, maybe some kind of cheese spread or tapenade, and vegetables for texture. 

This one was no exception.  I usually ditch whatever beverage I’m drinking (that means holiday beer in most cases in December) in a safe place so that I can circle back and get it after the grazing mission is complete.  Drink ditched.  Paper plate, check.  Fork and napkin, check.  Let’s, um “roll.”  Not only is there ham and a couple of roll options, but there is a pretty legit charcuterie plate and some sliced cheese.  Also, there is some good looking mustard.  I like to sneak an olive or five into the layers in the absence of some kind of tapenade like dip, and if you do that don’t forget to check for pits. 

The results are above.  I think it was a big success.  Along with the aforementioned ingredients, there is some prosciutto and roasted red pepper. It stood still long enough for me to take a shot with the iPhone.  People are used to me taking sandwich pics at this point, and I like that.  Also, for scale, this little sandwich is about the size of your fist.  Not earth shattering, and quite frankly, you shouldn’t really be trying to stuff your face in front of that nice guy from accounting because you may need to ask him for a favor on Monday.  Smaller is sometimes better.  

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Breakfast sandwich at my house.  I left the egg yolk runny for extra messy goodness.

Breakfast sandwich at my house.  I left the egg yolk runny for extra messy goodness.

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HAPPY NATIONAL SANDWICH DAY!

HAPPY NATIONAL SANDWICH DAY!

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The Cuban

Post #7 in the Serious Sandwich Cookalong 

I planned to do this one last because I LOVE a good Cuban sandwich.  I’ve done a couple of versions of this sandwich myself, so this wasn’t foreign territory from a culinary perspective. 

The French bread rolls were located weeks ago in my earlier searches and were noted for later purchase for this very recipe.  Adding mortadella to the mix was genius.  Mortadella is a very subtle addition of flavor to a mostly standard Cubano sandwich that kicked this recipe up a few notches.  I really love Emeril’s new book “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches” for little things like mortadella.  Each recipe has been a learning experience for me in some way.

I also enjoyed using lime zest as a sticking/coating agent for spices on the outside of the roasted pork loin.  That was a new trick for me.  It worked very well. 

The cookalong has been a wonderful experience for me.  If you’ve been following along, you know that I felt like each recipe provided a new challenge or idea that made it interesting.  Thanks to Morrow Cookbooks for all of the support and for allowing me to participate! It is much appreciated.  The book giveaway will be announced soon.

Cheers!

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Artichoke, Salami and Fontina Panini  

Post #6 in the Serious Sandwich Cookalong  

Wandering around the same four grocery stores that I have been going to for more than a decade and feeling a little bit lost because I’m looking for an ingredient that I’ve never used before is becoming the norm in my cook along project for “Emeril’s Cooked-Up Sandwiches.”  My naiveté sometimes surprises me.  Looked up “fontina” to figure out what it tastes like in case I couldn’t  find any.  Turns out that Trader Joe’s has it.  Etc.  The rest of the ingredients were pretty obvious.  The vinaigrette used on this sandwich was simple and very tasty.  Fresh herbs make all the difference.

The recipe called for using a “panini press” but I don’t really have one.  I decided to try it with my usual go to press when I’m doing sandwiches:  a waffle maker.  It’s a little bit intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.  Emeril, if you’re out there, I hope you approve of my little tweak to your recipe. I think the picture validates the process myself.

The trick to using a waffle maker as a sandwich press is to avoid making your sandwich too big and to turn the sandwich around the other way about halfway through the cooking.  When you turn it around, you need to get the holes/ridges in the sandwich lined back up with the waffle iron.  It’s pretty simple. You just push the flipped around sandwich around until it locks into the waffle pattern.  If you don’t switch the sandwich around, you’ll get kind of a sloped thing, or that’s what I suspect happens anyway. 

Fontina, salami, and marinated artichokes make an amazing combination, especially with balsamic vinaigrette.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Cheers

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Grilled Chicken and Bacon Sandwich with Mint Honey Mustard

Sandwich #5 in the Serious Sandwich Cookalong

Sometimes it’s the little things.  You start with a chicken sandwich that includes mayo tomato and lettuce, add bacon, and then BAM, Emeril adds Mint Honey Mustard.  Whew, this stuff is going to be a staple at our house going forward.  It adds tons of flavor without overpowering everything else. 

There is a whole section of “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches” that includes mayos, spreads, sauces, dressings, vinaigrettes, ketchups, etc.  I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of this book and I’ve been cooking out of it for two weeks.

The sandwich starts with pounding chicken breasts into a more even size and shape, marinating them in jalapeno, ginger, garlic and some other things, and then marinating them in the fridge for a few hours.  I am a big fan of the marinating process as it breaks up the cooking tasks for a meal.  Get it started, clean up and go do something else, and then come back.   Continue where you left off. It makes for a less stressful final prep/cook experience.  At least it *better*!

Later, I primed the chicken grilling pan by cooking up the bacon before putting on the chicken.  Grilling up the chicken was easy given that it was all about the same size and shape.  Emeril’s recipe suggested using his homemade mayo recipe, and my plan is to wait to try that recipe on a day in the future.   As I said earlier, the Mint Honey Mustard is fantastic.  

Assembly is simple, and you know what you need to do after that.

Cheers 

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The Breakfast Burger

Sandwich 4 in the cook along project

After making and tasting the brioche from Emeril’s new “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches” book, I could completely understand why it would make great french toast. 

Enter the Breakfast Burger.  Two slices of brioche based french toast, a patty of breakfast sausage, hash browns from scratch, and of course some cheese melted on for good measure. 

I might just make hash browns from this recipe by themselves.  They are fantastic!

Making the brioche French toast wasn’t too difficult and combining all of the ingredients together for a brief visit to the oven was pretty easy. The results are wonderful.

Back to the hash browns:  Emeril suggests using a 4” biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the finished potatoes to fit on the bun.  I had a tiny moment of panic because I don’t own a 4” biscuit cutter.  Of course then I remembered that our kitchen is FULL of things that are round and are roughly the same size.  Coffee mugs, pint glasses, drink shakers, heck, even a vase or two.  I found the vessel with the proper sized opening, which happened to be a pint glass, and cut out a circle of hash browns to fit the brioche French toast.  Not exactly a revolution in the kitchen, but a nice adaption nonetheless. 

I think that I made the sausage patty a bit thick.  I probably should have put a little three fingertip indentation in the middle of the raw patty and made it a big flatter.  Live and learn.

The Breakfast Burger is wonderful by itself, but I’m thinking that next time I’ll serve it with a side of strawberry preserves and/or some syrup.

Cheers

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The Rachel

Sandwich 3 in the cook along project

For my first “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches” post, I dug out the mixer and made brioche.  For the second, I used our trusty old blender to make French onion dip.  I suspect that this blender was a wedding gift *to* my parents, but it still works even though most days it gathers dust.  For this sandwich, the “Rachel” I broke out my mandolin to slice all of the stuff for the slaw.  This book is proving to be an adventure!

A Rachel is kind of a healthy cousin to the Reuben.  It’s also one of the very first recipes in the book.  It looked simple enough, bread, Swiss cheese, sliced turkey, Russian dressing, and slaw.  Leave it to Emeril to kick it up to notches previously unknown!  The dressing was made from scratch (I posted a pic of most of the ingredients) and so was the slaw (also posted an ingredient pic).

I learned that jicama isn’t too hard to find, but a chayote, or merliton, is more difficult.  That’s the pear looking thing on the right in the slaw pic.  More info here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chayote  Basically, it’s in the gourd family and is slightly sweet.  It’s a native of Brazil but it is grown in many places in the Americas now.

The Rachel itself was excellent!  I had one the next day and it seemed even more delicious.  Perhaps the flavors in the slaw had a chance to get to know each other better, who knows.

If you’d like to be entered in the contest to win a free copy of Emeril’s book, please click on “ASK ME ANYTHING” above or send an email to btwslices@gmail.com with a description of your favorite sandwich.

Cheers

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Roast Beef Sandwich with French Onion Dip and Crispy Shallots

This one is from Emeril’s new “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches” book.  It is TASTY!  The french onion dip is pretty easy to make and could be done a few hours ahead of time.  The shallots are covered in hot sauce and then breaded with flour before being briefly fried.   In my opinion, the french onion dip could easily be augmented with things like chives or maybe rosemary, or thyme if you are so inclined, but it is great as is. 

I would dare say that it is a perfect sandwich for serving people while watching a football game.  You could make the dip ahead of time and then fry up the shallots at halftime right before serving.  It goes well with a nice lager.  I know because I tested it myself. 

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First Things First: Brioche

One of the many great things about “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches” is that it has recipes and information about lots of stuff besides just putting things between two slices of white bread.   There are sections about dessert, condiments, open faced sandwiches, and of course a section covering how to make good sandwich bread.  I made rolls from the brioche recipe for, you guessed it,  sandwiches.   The brioche rolls are VERY tasty, and as we will see in a later post, a good vehicle for French toast as well.

Emeril’s recipe involves using a mixer with a dough hook and letting the dough sit overnight.  I followed the recipe as exactly as I could, and all of the things he said would happen did happen.  The recipe calls for mixing the dough in your mixer for 20 minutes.  It is sticky, then it completely falls apart, then it comes back together.  When it is together, it gets really heavy and sticks to the hook which makes the mixer work pretty hard.  After that, there is what I thought of as the fun part where you get to mix in the butter bit by bit.  It’s kind of an adventure if you haven’t done it before.  I can’t imagine how in the heck one would make brioche dough without a mixer.  You’d have to be as strong as a gorilla. 

After an overnight visit to the fridge, the dough balls are left out to rise for 2 hours.  After they rise, they are brushed with egg wash.  

The end product, seen above, is not only very good looking, but really flavorful and rich.  They were just plain heaven when fresh out of the oven with a little bit of butter.   Mmmmm- MMMMMM!

I will be using the brioche rolls for at least one other recipe, and hopefully for two.

Cheers

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