Posts tagged ‘sandwiches’
Our daily life in Orebic was all about relaxation. We would run along the ocean in the morning, then walk to the market for fresh bread and any odds and ends we needed for the day. After a breakfast of fresh fruit and bread with nutella, we would make sandwiches and pack our picnic lunch for the beach. We would spend hours relaxing in front of the beautiful Adriatic Sea, alternating between swimming, reading and napping. Put best by Melissa, “The extent of my planning right now is to finish this chapter, turn over, and then take a nap.” If that isn’t relaxing, I don’t know what is!
There is pretty much only one type of bread in Croatia, just baked into a bunch of different shapes and sizes! One of my bakery transactions was solo, since Azra was picking up something at the pharmacy next door. I stood in front of the wall of bread trying to figure out what to get, when the woman informed me that they were all basically the same and it was impossible to make a bad choice. How true that is when the bread is freshly baked each day! We got huge round rolls one morning, which were bigger than my face! Another morning, we decided to get the longer sandwich rolls.
The sandwiches were pretty simple – tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese, and ajvar. But they were oh so tasty! Ajvar is an Eastern European spread made of roasted red peppers and tons of spices. I miss it so much! It took what is a pretty plain sandwich to a whole new level! I either need to find somewhere in Boston to purchase this or figure out a way to make it on my own… any recommendations? ;)
We also got to enjoy picnic lunches while on the beach in Italy, and were quite adept at pulling together to-go meals for long travel rides. Simple meals of bread and cheese can be really satisfying when they are good quality, and eaten by starving travelers! Some fresh fruit on the side for balance and you have yourself a simple, portable and satisfying lunch.
Question: What is your idea of the perfect picnic?
As I mentioned in a previous post, my best friends recently got engaged at the beginning of the summer. Little did we know they would be married by the end of the same summer! After finding a great deal that they couldn’t pass up, the wedding date was solidified for the end of this very short summer. I got the news the day before I left for Europe, and we quickly chose the only Sunday I had free for the rest of July and August for the bridal shower (I am quite the busy girl, what can I say?) There was some whirlwind wedding planning that went down while I was gone, but I was able to stay somewhat in touch via email. Amanda’s future mother-in-law, Momma K, took the lead for a tea party themed bridal shower. She had an incredible vision for the event from the start, and was very organized in executing every detail. She made all of the fabulous favors (mini clipboards that held the menu, but would be great recipe card holders for future re-purposing!) and pulled together the prettiest centerpieces. She is starting a craft blog, and is looking to start selling some of her favors! (You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!) Her talent and creativity are truly inspiring, so check her out.
Sticking inside of my comfort zone, I offered to make a lot of the food. Little did I know how many maid of honor duties would await me when I got back from vacation. Appointments with the florists, picking out music, bridesmaid dress shopping, catching up with the other bridesmaids… all of these events left me with very little time over the weekend to accomplish everything I needed to do! I drew up a checklist for each day and got completely bogged down. I spent my Friday evening making lemon curd and mini meringues (great to do together because one uses only yolks and the other only whites), as well as prepping the components for my tea sandwiches. I planned to wake early on Saturday to make the scones before our florist appointment, but my sister called me out on my craziness. She offered to bake the scones if I left the recipe up on my computer. What a lifesaver!
I found a great recipe for mini vanilla scones from the Pioneer Woman. Her recipe called for vanilla beans and heavy cream, neither of which we had on hand. I made a few adjustments: vanilla extract for the beans, milk for the cream. No big deal, right? Wrong! The wet:dry ingredients ratio got totally screwed up, and my sister ended up with something closer to pancake batter than scone dough! (Disclaimer: I have mentioned before that I am a cook and not baker! I have to be exact with everything else I do in life, and prefer to have a little more fun experimenting in the kitchen!) I get a frantic phone call from my sister while at the florist, but luckily she is both smart and determined. She figured out the ratio of flour and baking powder, and then added small amounts of that mixture until the dough was thick enough to be rolled. She watched the first batch like a hawk to get the perfect baking time, and we ended up with perfect miniature scones! I would have been lost without her help!
The morning of the bridal shower, I kicked Amanda out of the house after feeding her a great breakfast. I enlisted the help of my sister again, as well as another bridesmaid. We got to work on all of the finger sandwiches, a quintessential part of any tea party. We covered the kitchen island with waxed paper and set up out own assembly line. My sister, well-trained as a nanny, began cutting all of the crust off the bread. She handed the bread squares to Sarah, who scooped and spread and filled all of the sandwiches. They were then passed to me to be cut from rectangles to squares to triangles, finally to be artfully arranged on the prettiest of my mom’s serving platters. With all three of us at work, we were done making 3 loaves of bread worth of sandwiches in less than an hour, as well as whip a whole quart of whipped cream! Many hands really do make light work, as does an immersion blender with a whisk attachment ;)
The bridal shower was perfect. The scones were delicious with the lemon curd, whipped cream, or any number of assorted jams. The sandwiches were a hit, and there were many great cookie options provided by Momma K and the other bridesmaids. The spread was rounded out with a store-bought fruit and veggie platter, as well as by some spanikopita (such a fun word to say!) For beverages, there was a wide selection of teas, as well as a fun jug of water filled to the brim with lemon slices. Not only did the water taste really lemony and fresh, but it also looked beautiful! The centerpieces tied the tea theme together with Amanda’s wedding colors, and really transformed the house into a tea room. We had a great time eating, talking, playing games and opening gifts. A special event for a special bride-to-be!
I made a lot of food for the event, stocked with recipes and inspiration from many of the blogs I read! My scones were a failure, but I am sure that the Pioneer Woman’s original version would not have the problem if you stick with it! My mini meringues, while tasty, also gave me a problem, but that was likely the high humidity. (Instead of being light and crunchy, they were a little sticky…) If you are interested in the original recipe, you can check it out here. For the lemon curd, I followed Alton Brown’s method exactly. The whipped cream is also simple, as I have pointed out before. It is literally whipped cream, which I lightly sweetened with table sugar and vanilla. So fresh and so simple! If you are having your own tea party, check out those recipes, or look below for how to put together three different types of tea sandwiches! If you do make the sandwiches, save the crusts… you can use them later for croutons! (Hint: look forward to a future post.) Waste not, want not!
Creamy Dill Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
1 loaf pumpernickel bread
8 oz Neuchâtel cream cheese
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp dill
2 large English cucumbers
Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Mix the softened cream cheese with the plain Greek yogurt and dill. This can be done a few days ahead of time, or right before putting the sandwiches together. Peel the cucumbers with a vegetable peeler. Slice thinly into rounds. Cut the crusts off of the pumpernickel bread. Spread each side lightly with the cream cheese mixture. Spread one to two layers of cucumbers and top with the other slice of bread. The cream cheese will help the cucumbers to stick to the bread. Slice the rectangle in half to create two squares. Slice each square in half to create triangles. One loaf of bread will yield about 48 finger sandwiches.
Turkey Cranberry Tea Sandwiches
1 lb turkey breast
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 1/2 oz dried apricots
3 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1 loaf seedless rye bread
Thinly slice the dried apricots. Cover with orange juice and allow to soak, covered in the fridge, for several hours. Combine in a small sauce pan with cranberry juice and bring to a boil. Spoon in a can of whole cranberry sauce and allow to simmer. Allow to reduce for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and the apricots are well combined. Return to the fridge and allow to sit overnight. When ready to prepare the sandwiches, slice the crusts off the bread. Spread a spoonful of cranberry sauce on one side of the sandwich, and layer the turkey on the other. Combine. Cut into squares, and then cut the squares into triangles. One loaf of bread will yield about 48 finger sandwiches.
No-Mayo Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 dozen eggs
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
4 stalks celery
2 tbsp chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf wheat bread
Place 12 large eggs in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and then set a timer for 7 minutes. After the eggs have boiled for 7 minutes, immediately submerge the eggs in an ice water bath. Shell the eggs; separate the yolks and egg whites but keep in the same bowl. Add the yogurt, finely chopped celery, and chives. Mash with a fork until the eggs are broken into pieces and all of the ingredients are well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To assemble sandwiches, cut off the crusts of a loaf of whole wheat bread. Spoon egg salad onto one piece of bread and top. Cut into squares, and then cut the squares into triangles. One loaf of bread will yield about 48 finger sandwiches.
I have a love/hate relationship with leftovers. On days when I don’t have time to cook, open the fridge as I am famished after a long day of class or work, and find forgotten leftovers from a few days ago, I am totally in love with them. However, I am not such a fan when I totally forget about them and then food goes to waste, or when I have so many that I feel guilty cooking a new meal. My biggest problem, especially when cooking for one, is that I get bored with eating the same thing day-in and day-out. Therefore, being creative with my leftovers has been key for my leftover enjoyment!
Take, for example, the frittata I had made earlier in the week. The frittata, cut in 8 pieces, could have served anywhere from 4-8 pieces depending on what you serve it with and how hungry everyone is. Because of the bigger earlier meal and the veggies on the side, my family only managed to make it through half of it. Therefore, we had a few frittata pieces left in the fridge this week. For two breakfasts, I reheated the frittata with a slice of cheese on top – eggs for breakfast isn’t too creative, but then I wouldn’t have the same dinner two times in a row this way. For the last piece of frittata, I broke it into pieces and threw it on a sandwich thin with some leftover caramelized onions that I had made for the pizza and some black bean hummus. That made a fantastic picnic lunch at the beach yesterday. Protein packed to keep me full, and easy to eat without any seagull attacks. Three ways, and three meals, to eat a frittata!
Another trick I have found is using leftovers to make my own freezer meals. Especially during exam times at school, I barely have enough time for all of my work let alone grocery shopping and cooking as well. (Don’t even talk to me about laundry during these weeks!) However, I don’t want to sacrifice healthy eating, so I love being able to reach into my freezer and pull out my own homemade frozen meals. When doing this, it is important to freeze away single servings, or else you have to thaw the entire portion and eat it within the same few days. (It is not advisable to continue to thaw and re-freeze food). Some recipes are more amenable to this than others, but experiment with some of your favorite family-sized meals to see which ones are best when saved for later.
Question: How do you use up leftovers? Do you repurpose them, or eat the meal as you originally serve it?