Category Archives: Sandwich

Boy? Girl? Let’s Find Out!

284967_395016050552859_1805443785_nOK, I’m going to admit that I completely dorked out over the gender reveal party for our baby. Massive, massive dorkage.  Maybe it’s because I was so tired in my first trimester and wanted to get my food groove back on or I’ve been fatigued and haven’t been able to spend as much time with friends as I’m used to, whatever it was, I was pumped pandas. Never mind the fact that we were about to start calling “it” her or him instead! David and I got to see baby Kealey that Friday on a sonogram (such a cutie) and then proceeded to give the sealed card to Tyler, my niece’s super gentle chef boyfriend. Alex, my niece, created a blueberry and a strawberry pie filling, the super cute cutouts and then gave Tyler directions on how to make the pie once he opened the card. We got back from lunch and Tyler had done such an awesome job with the pie…look at that, he SHUT IT DOWN. I kept swearing up and down the color looked blue underneath and David thought so too. Not until tomorrow would we know!

So down to the food geeking out part. I wanted to make foods that represented our very different backgrounds including something that embraced my East Texas/Southern roots and his Canadian/Northeast ones. Obviously, my Mama’s chicken fried steak and creamy gravy was on the menu and as was poutine –  the national dish of Canada. David requested tomato soup and grilled cheese since he loved that as a kid and fried mac ‘n’ cheese because it’s “just so awesome” in his words. I also served a kale salad for those trying to eat healthy (weird, but it does happen here sometimes) plus Devils on Horseback because bacon, dates and cheese are never wrong, a cheese plate and crackers. I thought earlier in the day that I had bitten off way more than I could chew, but actually, it wasn’t that bad making all this food!

Continue reading Boy? Girl? Let’s Find Out!

Knock Your Socks Off Meatloaf


With a slathering of hoisin sauce and other Asian-inspired flavors such as ginger, Chinese five-spice powder, and rice vinegar stuffed inside, this was one of the most unique and flavorful meatloaf dishes I’ve ever made, and definitely my new favorite. In recent years, I’ve been attached to a meatloaf recipe from my beloved Neiman Marcus cookbook but I believe this Hoisin-Glazed Meatloaf Sandwiches from Bon Appetit has officially taken the top spot.

Each time I took a bite of this I’d go “mmmmmm! MMMMMMMM! Can you believe how good this is?” We loved the perfect crispy crust on the outside, the moist and flavorful interior and the fresh and crisp salad of radishes, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro on top (I’m telling you, don’t skip this part!). It actually reminded us of the Bahn Mi sandwiches we had at Elizabeth Street Cafe a few weeks ago. Even though meatloaf can feel a little heavy, I think this one is light enough with the salad on top that it can be enjoyed year round and is going on rotation in our house fo sho.

Awesome Grilled Cheese

I do like grilled cheese with bacon. I do like grilled cheese with tomato. I do like grilled cheese with tomato and bacon. Grilled cheese with sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade? You betcha.

Sorry, I was reading to two very cute kiddos today and I’m channeling my inner Seuss. I got back late from the kitchen last night and after a brief wedding catch-up with David, it was time to start cooking. I’m using the term “cooking” loosely since this took two seconds to make. As David took our dog Cricket on a walk, I had these d.o.n.e. done. This felt so super indulgent but actually, the tapenade and the tomato filled the sandwich so much you got just enough cheese to feel satisfied. Plus, what a fun and different twist on a grilled cheese! If you are mouthbreathing like a champ and want something slightly decadent but actually a little good for you – tomatoes, olives, whole wheat bread – keep this recipe on hand.

Grilled Gruyere and Olive Tapenade Sandwiches (Photo by John Autry)

Pulled Pork Italiano

I’ve had my eye on Saveur magazine’s The Sandwich Issue since it hit the stands. I mean look at this, it’s like sandwich porn.


Although I would like to make every sandwich in this issue, I chose their  Torta Ahogada (Drowned Sandwich) since I had an authentic version in Mexico a few years back. I made this for my friends the other night and it was good,  but the one I made last night was even better. I used the pork leftover from the Torta to make this Pulled Pork Italiano so as you can tell I didn’t go through the 85 steps to get the pork in it’s right place for the recipe. For this shortcut I simply threw all the herbs, wine, onions, garlic and broth in with the pork and let is simmer until heated through and reduced down a bit. After that, I followed the recipe as it calls for and threw the delicious, tender pork on the roll  with the provolone, broccoli rabe and roasted peppers (thanks to our friend Kari for the homegrown delicious peppers!). This was packed full of flavor lambs. David mentioned is seemed like an unlikely combination at first sight, but he ended up loving it just as much as I did.

Pulled Pork Italiano (Photo by Todd Coleman)

I had leftover broccoli rabe and rolls this morning so I grilled the bread in butter and combined the rabe with garlic, leftover crushed tomatoes and salt. After simmering the rabe, I added two eggs and fried until the whites were set but yolk was still runny – the only way to eat an egg in my opinion. Talk about an excellent way to end your night and start your day!

I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

Last night we had a BIG Oscar party in our house and I was a little nervous since it was the first big shindig in our casa, well that and I chose to make a flotilla of food. I simply adore our gentle friends and one thing I know about our group is we love to eat. With that in mind I was going to make darn sure everyone had enough to nibble on during the three hour show. 

The Obligatory Picture of Colin Firth

Epicurious assembled menu plans based on the Best Picture nominees and the one that stood out to us was the Inception option. It’s very French inspired since part of the movie takes place in Paris – the scene with the city folding on top of itself is still incredible every time I see it.  Although I liked the recipes they suggested, I decided to stick wtih French fare but do it my way. And the award goes to…. 

 To get real nerdy about it I made an “Execution Plan” to ensure everything was done by 6:00 p.m. so we could watch arrivals and snarkily judge away. 

  • 2:00 p.m. Prep and mis en place
  • 3:00 p.m. Make compote for Brie, while compote cooks, make pots de creme, refrigerate
  • 3:30 p.m. Make soup
  • 4:00 p.m.  Make green beans, assemble and bake Brie rounds
  • 5:00 p.m. Make sandwiches
  • 5:40 p.m. Fire steaks, let rest and slice, make fries
  • 6:00 p.m. Guests arrive

Everything pretty much went according to plan and let me tell you, the soup, green beans, sandwiches and brie rounds with that stellar compote were delicious. For the steak frites I kept it very simple. David (the super poodle) ran to the store and bought a Weber charcoal grill so he could grill them properly. Little salt and pepper on the steaks, grill and you are done.  I took  frozen fries and mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme leaves and baked until crispy. Thanks to my lovely and talented niece Alex who is a bomb chef for coming up with that tasty concoction.  

I’m giggling at the thought of the Pots de Creme because the flavor was amazing but I didn’t have enough glasses to properly make individual servings, so I decided to place the whole shebang in a large ramekin. Yeah, don’t do that. We had to put it in the freezer so it would set up, but a few minutes on the table and it was like ice cream. Of course, no one cared and it was gone by the end of the night but I highly suggest not being an idiot like moi and scratch the idea if you can’t do it individually. 

The Oscars were OK this year, a little zzzzzzzzzz at times and it wasn’t as exciting as in years past but I am so happy for The King’s Speech! It’s an excellent, heart warming story and if you haven’t seen it yet, GO. 

Here’s our spread and more posts to come this week…I hope. :) 

Grilled Cheese If You Please

I think Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup might be one of my favorite comfort food combos of all time. My reigning favorite still has to be Luna Park’s in Los Angeles Cheeselitz and Tomato Soup, but a homemade version with Kale? Sign me up! I chose this Grilled Cheese-and-Kale Sandwiches with Tomato Soup from Everyday with Rachael Rayfor a fun kid’s night at Casa Kealey. To be honest, I don’t have too much to say except this was simple, fast and easy to make, and absolutely delicious. The havarti cheese was super melty. You know the kind of grilled cheese that you pull away from the sandwich and strings of gooey cheese come out? Yeah, that kind and here’s your drool cup. Also, the soup was creamy and a perfect complement to the sandwich. I actually kept dunking my sandwich into the soup. Finally, there was kale. I’ve professed my undying love for kale again and again so I won’t bore you with the love poems or sonnets I have for it. This was a fun, delicious and quick meal that’s perfect for all ages.

Now about this artic chill. There are icicles on our porch. Icicles…ACK! I do hope it snows though so I can go outside and make snow angels!

Grilled Cheese-and-Kale Sandwiches with Tomato Soup (Photo by Dan Roberts)

Put a Little Pep in Your Parm!

For their January issue, Food and Wine focused on the top food trends for 2011 with complementary recipes per month such as gourmet ice-pops in July and and DIY sodas in August. One trend is the General Store Redux which is a good old fashioned general store with a locavore focus. A recipe featured from one of these new types of stores, Seattle’s Take 5 Urban Market, was the Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni.  I followed this to a “T” and I said to David after we were done eating that it’s the easiest and best chicken parm crust I can recall making in quite some time. The crust is PERFECT and the chicken was still moist and delicious. We loved the sauce, pepperoni and cheese on top and I served this with their superfast salad idea which is simply mixing roasted bell peppers (I used jarred) with fresh basil and toasted pinenuts and then dressed with red wine or we used white balsamic (David’s idea!) vinegar and olive oil, plus a little salt and pepper.

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

I cut the chicken breasts in half and baked off two halves in the oven without any cheese, sauce or pepperoni. For some schuper sandwiches today I brolied the leftover breaded chicken halves, cheese, sauce and pepperoni until the cheese was bubbly and melted on whole wheat rolls.

There was one point of confusion as I made the dish. Check out the recipe picture and then read the instructions for cooking the chicken. Doesn’t it look like they plated it backwards from the instructions? I followed the recipe instead of how the picture looks i.e. chicken, with pepperoni, then sauce then the cheese but hey, if you want it to look like the beauty shot for your guests I think it would still turn out delicious no matter how you stack it! Tonight is the Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken with Green Sauce, I can’t wait to try it lambs. UPDATE I made the Puerto Rican chicken last night and let me tell you, you can pass this one up – meh.

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni

Food and Wine magazine, January 2011


2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), finely crushed in a food processor

Four 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 3/4 inch thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 ounces sliced pepperoni

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a pie plate, beat the eggs with the milk. Spread the flour and panko in 2 separate pie plates. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and dust in the flour. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then in the panko; press to help the crumbs adhere.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Top the chicken with the tomato sauce, Parmigiano, mozzarella and pepperoni.

3. Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Transfer the chicken to plates, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Ratatouille and Goat Cheese Subs with a Side of ACL

I earmarked these subs a while ago in the September issue of Food & Wine because I adore Ratatouille (sans eggplant) and I love the idea of this timeless dish combined with tangy goat cheese all on toasty bread. More on the recipe’s creator Chef Matt Neal in Food & Wine:

Matt Neal had never made ratatouille before he opened Neal’s Deli. He took the recipe from his father, the legendary Southern chef Bill Neal, and used it as the basis for his own version. Neal cooks the key ingredients—eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion—separately. “That way, I can make sure each vegetable cooks exactly how I want it; plus they won’t steam in a big group all together,” he says. “Customers request this sandwich all summer long, but we wait until the ingredients are available at the farmers’ market before we serve it.”

Ratatouille and Goat Cheese Subs (Photo: John Kernick)

I omitted the eggplant because we both think it’s disgusting – yes disgusting and it’s quite nice to have someone share that same disgust with you since so many people love eggplant. Otherwise, I followed the recipe’s instructions to the letter and it went by much, much quicker than I thought given you have to cook all of the vegetables individually.

I really can’t say much more about these except that they were absolutely delicious, full of flavor and as a bonus perfect for a meatless Monday meal. After ACL Festival weekend, this was a great transition dish to move back into a healthy diet.

As a sidenote, ACL? Wow. I had an absolute BLAST. While Muse was mind-blowingly good my choice for best show was definitely Deadmau5. Lambs, he was a super poodle, put on a fantastic show and the crowd was waaaaay into it. I highly recommend checking him out if you haven’t yet. Oh, and The National, one of my all-time favorites, was exactly how I thought they would be…absolutely incredible. Thank goodness I finally got to see them live!

Midnight Tortas – Updated

As one reader pointed out in my previous post this recipe was missing a few key items such as rolls, cilantro, cotija and tomatoes in its ingredient line-up – always read the instructions before heading to the store poodles. Regardless, I had pork belly sliders last weekend at the always-fantastic Odd Duck food trailer here in Austin and was dying to try and make pork belly on my own. Plus, this Midnight Tortas recipe featuring delicous pork belly had been calling my name for sometime anyway.  I mean how can you beat a recipe from the food truck in Los Angeles, Kogi, from Best New Chef Roy Choi? He just looks like a muy badass doesn’t he? The only hitch was I would need to make the gentle belly in the convection oven/microwave that I already have a huge crush on, but was a little hesitant since we are only a few dates into our culinary relationship.

Chef Roy Choi

We stopped by our local HEB off of Oltorf and Congress and I assumed they would have pork belly given they have trotters, feet and cow tongue, but they had just run out of pork belly…sigh. I grabbed short ribs instead as I thought it would make a nice stand-in. Who am I kidding, I love short ribs but nothing replaces pork belly. David then recommended we go to Whole Foods Market to see if they might have the delicious pork product. I was loving David’s commitment to the mission at hand. Whole Foods did have some and then I suggested why not do the sandwich with pork belly and the short ribs – we both started drooling at the same time. Once again, you’ve got to love dating a fellow food lover.

I seasoned the pork belly and short ribs with smoked paprika, pepper and Herbes de Provence to follow along the lines of  this recipe. I placed in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour and then cooked for another two or so at 200 degrees all on the high mix roast setting.

Pork Belly and Short Ribs Prior to Their Trip to the Convection Oven

After letting the short ribs and pork belly rest, I went on to split the bolillo rolls (love the local HEB so, so much for having these) and decided that since I had put my pinky toe outside the cooking lines why not just go all out lambs? I broiled the jalapenos and a hatch chile (’tis the season and nice call by David to add in!), let them cool, peeled and cut into thin strips. I decided instead of just mayonaisse to blend the juice of one lime, a pinch of cumin and mashed one avocado into the mayonnaise and then sprinkled in the cotija cheese – that way the bits of the crumbly cheese would stay on your sandwich and not on your plate. I also decided to keep the spinach fresh to provide a bit more texture to the sandwich and sliced the tomatoes. For the eggs, we don’t have a an application to cook the eggs stove top so I oiled a few ramekins, cracked an egg in each and placed one tablespoon of heavy cream to bake instead.  I baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, which was a bit longer than we wanted but due to the cream in the eggs the whites looked not cooked through yet…they were and the eggs turned out creamy and delicious but the yolks were a little overdone. Key learnings with the new oven!

I shredded the pork belly and short ribs together and placed the jalapeno/hatch chile strips in with the meat. I smeared one half of the roll with the avocado mayonnaise then topped with the meat mixture. Next came the sliced tomato, fresh spinach, creamy eggs, a dollop of my cilantro salsa and then topped with the other half of the roll. Needless to say this sandwich was EPIC folks.

Midnight Tortas - Courtesy of Food & Wine (Anna Williams)

Another key learning from the convection oven, the pork belly turned out a little too crispy because I think I did it for too long, but the short ribs were perfect. Overall, I really liked this sandwich and would like to troubleshoot my mistakes for next time since the flavor combinations were delicious together and I could see this being a perfect tortas recipe to enjoy…well, maybe once in a blue moon given the decadence of it all.

If you have any tips or recommendations let me know and I’ll give this tortas recipe a try again. Oh, I almost forgot! I served this sandwich with this very simple but quite tasty Orange and Red Onion Salad and Red Pepper from Cooking Light. Great little side dish if I so say so myself.

Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper - Courtesy of Cooking Light (Randy Mayor)

The Search for Padan Leaves and Other Tales

Let’s go back a few weeks to a lovely night David and I spent at Susan Feniger’s new-ish restaurant Street. When I lived in Los Angeles I loved visiting Susan and her partner Mary Sue Miliken’s fantastic restaurants Ciudad and Border Grill. Knowing the fantastic food Susan can put out, plus I think she is such a gentle lamb, I was stoked to eat at Street.

As you may recall, Susan left Top Chef Masters because the judges disliked that she made a “sandwich” at such a crucial point in the game. After eating her exact Kaya Toast creation from the show at Street all I have to say is the judges were waaaaaaaaaaay wrong. We ate a lot that night but this was my favorite. So much so, we kept talking about how awesome it was and we bet we could make it too. A little searching later and voila here was the recipe! The only difference in this recipe than the restaurant version is that Feniger served it with a fried egg instead of soft-boiled.Yesterday I had the day off and was determined to make this for us to try. The only hitch? Padan leaves. What are those you ask? I turn to the Thai Food section on to let you do a little light reading. I searched for specialty Asian markets here in Austin and the first one I called said they had them…YAY! I drove to MT Supermarket and walked straight down to aisle five and there they were, frozen Pandan leaves. After dethawing, as I opened the package I let out a big “Oh! That’s it!” What was it? This dear readers was the smell i.e. the flavor that made Susan’s jam just so delicious.

I followed the instructions listed in the recipe and though it’s tedious, dude it is like a custard, it came together pretty quickly. We let the jam sit overnight and then for lunch assembled the dish. People, I SNORTED this, not kidding. It was almost as good as the restaurant and the butter on the jam on the toasted bread was absolutely fantastic. I also served with some fresh arugula, low-sodium soy sauce (hey you’ve got to cut back somewhere right?) and a fried egg. David was quite impressed as well – for the win! I’m quite concerned because I have a vat of the jam in my fridge and it’s calling my name as I type this. Maybe just one more to make sure it’s really that delicious? Please give this a try if you (a) can find Pandan leaves (b) want to commit yourself to devouring a vat of coconut jam for the next week. Here is our completed dish!