Category Archives: Sandwich

It’s Simple Really

It has been said on this blog tons of times, I love magazines and Real Simple has held an organized, gentle and special place in my heart for years now. Each issue is informative and inspirational and I keep them around for years to revisit say when I need to remind myself of the essential spring cleaning routine or the best way to pack a suitcase; I love their little “aha!” moments don’t you? I also wish I could afford the clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry they feature each month but I digress.

I always loved their food section because they had really simple recipes that never seemed to lack on flavor or originality…until a few years ago. I found myself reading the magazine from front-to-back but would skim the food sections because nothing tickled my fancy. Saddened was I to see that I was never inspired to try any of their recipes, until last month when a grilled cheese with fruit chutney recipe caught my eye. When I tested it, it tasted great. “Humph” I thought to myself “could I be falling in love all over again with Real Simple’s recipes or are they just playing games with my food loving heart?” Well there are no broken hearts here as I tested three new recipes from the January issue and they all gave me the old Real Simple razzle dazzle that I loved so long ago.

Coming back from traveling for the holidays, I was quite happy at my foresight to choose these three recipes that were super easy to execute and they all really rocked in their own way. The Skillet-Poached Huevos Rancheros for a late-lunch was awesome and reminds of the Tex-Mex version of the much loved Italian-style eggs baked in tomato sauce. Next, the Seared Tilapia with Mango and Watercress for dinner was YUM. The dressing on top of the tilapia mixed with the mango, spicy watercress and red onion was so simple but delicious. This will be a healthy, quick recipe I can turn to again and again. Finally, for lunch the next few days I made this Kale and White Bean Soup which was simple, delicious, and healthy and it features Kale. I love Kale. Can I please get a t-shirt or mug that says that?

Thanks Real Simple for the delicious recipes and I can’t wait to see your February issue! I couldn’t find any of the recipes online (sigh) so I posted all three below, who loves you?

The Duke of Windsor Sandwich and Other Tales

Cooking magazines during the holiday season are a double-edged sword for me. While I love all of the holiday recipes, it’s also two months of issues so focused on holiday meals that the everyday meal recipes – aka the ones I use most – get pushed to the back burner. This light everyday meal coverage does give me time to turn to a few of my beloved cookbooks. One is my
Neiman Marcus cookbook and probably the one that I turn to the most. Given to me as a Christmas gift from my best friend since college The Boo, this cookbook is surprisingly filled with easy-to-make salads, soups, sandwiches, entrees and the store’s ever-famous Popovers. Thanks Boo! :)

One recipe that I love from this cookbook is the Duke of Windsor Sandwich. Originally created for a visit to Neiman Marcus by Edward, the Duke of Windsor, this sandwich is one of the strangest combinations for a sandwich I have encountered and one of the most delicious. Get this, it’s turkey, mango chutney, cheddar cheese spread and pineapple on bread. Isn’t that an odd sounding combination but oddly delicious sounding at the same time?

For the Big 12 Championship game last night I wanted something decadent, delicious and comforting that I could enjoy during what I thought was going to be a nice competitive football game, you know we would for sure win but still Nebraska would show up and give us a good game. However, I was not expecting to be questioning my faith and fanhood in the Longhorns or hurling pillows at my TV or offering the football gods my left big toe if we could just win. WHAT WAS THAT LONGHORNS? Sorry, I digress, thank goodness I had this sandwich to help me during what was one of the most stressful Longhorn football games ever. EVER. EVER.

I followed this recipe just like it calls for except, and I know you won’t be surprised, I added two strips of crispy Center Cut Bacon to this sandwich and it was an awesome addition. How could it not be? Seriously, try this sandwich, it is so unique and delicious I really think you are going to like it. And my recommendation to the Longhorns – pull yourself together!

The Duke of Windsor Sandwich
Neiman Marcus Cookbook (2003)
Serves 4

2 cans (8 ounces each) pineapple rings (8 rings), drained
8 slices of egg bread, brioche, sourdough, or your favorite bread (I used whole wheat but I can see this being really good on sourdough too)
½ cup of processed Cheddar cheese spread (such as Wispride brand), softened
4 tablespoons store-bought mango chutney (such as Major Grey’s brand)
1 pound smoked turkey breast, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray (or lightly oil it) and place the pineapple rings on the sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the rings are well dried and beginning to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside to let cool; keep the oven turned on.

Place the slices of bread on a clean work surface. Spread about two tablespoons of the cheese spread on four of the slices and one tablespoon of the chutney on the other four slices. Top the slices with the cheese spread and about 2 ounces of the sliced turkey, and then two roasted pineapple rings, and then another two ounces of turkey (and two slices of cooked bacon if you desire). Take the slices spread with the chutney and “close” the sandwiches, pressing gently to “seal” them.

Using a griddle, large sauté pan, or skillet, heat two tablespoons of the melted butter. Carefully place two of the sandwiches onto the griddle or into the pan and cook over medium heat for about three minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer the sandwiches to an ungreased baking sheet and repeat for the remaining sandwiches. Bake in the oven for about four minutes, until the cheese is melted and the turkey and pineapple are warmed through. Cut the sandwiches and transfer to serving plates.

Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam

So after a HUGE and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving meal courtesy of Mama Ingle (thanks Mom!) I really wanted to do something light and healthy, therefore I chose a sandwich jam-packed with Gruyere cheese, grilled onions, jalapenos, prosciutto, pickles, shredded pork and a homemade tomato jam. Yeah, light and healthy just like I said. this Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam recipe from Food and Wine magazine after eating everything in sight the past few days, but alas I did and I’m quite happy about my choice thank you very much.

I don’t know what the heck compelled me to try

This recipe looks more labor-intensive than it really is. It’s actually more “set it and forget it” than lots of steps that make you want to pull your hair out. You let the pork roast for four hours and make the homemade tomato jam that sits for about an hour at a low temperature. After the jam and pork were done, everything else assembled pretty quickly and then you simply grill the foil-wrapped sandwich which made the cheese melty and the bread nice and crispy. This sucker throws a flavor uppercut so prepare to be floored by how yummy everything is once it is grilled. I loved all of these flavors together and honestly was a little surprised that it all worked out as amazingly as it did.


Try making this on a lazy, football Sunday (ha I just came across this video when looking for fitting “Lazy Sunday” images) and you will have a tasty and unique sandwich for the Sunday night game. I served baked chips and fresh mango on the side. Also, I reserved the leftover tomato jam (since it’s just me) for a later use and the remaining pork I will use for lunch to place inside some corn tortillas with some light sour cream and fresh avocado. Love it!

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Split Sandwiches

This simple twist on a traditional peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich from Cooking Light makes it “ice cream split” style by adding chocolate chips, strawberries and pineapple jam. Please go back and read that sentence again. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

How delicious does that sound!?

I can happily report that this scrumptious and easy to assemble sandwich lives up to its yummy sounding name. I mean how can you go wrong with this combo? It is very sweet so if you don’t have a sweet tooth then this may not be for you, however since I’m like a five-year old kid I loved it. Is it bad that I was wondering how this would taste with bacon on it?
I loved how everything melted together once you grilled the sandwich so it got all gooey and melty. Two switch outs were I used whole wheat bread and instead of butter I used Smart Balance spread to cut it down a smidge. This was a little messy when you tried to assemble but who cares it’s cooking!
Now this is a wee bit of an indulgence but hey I was watching the Horns beat the Baylor Bears so that’s better than traditional football fare eh? Please for the love of sandwiches make this one right away.

The Hot Dog of Guadalajara

So, as you know, I was just in Mexico and Tucson for the last week and while 99.999% of my time was work, work, work, there was one small respite before I got on a plane from Mexico to Arizona…a tortas ahogados. Known as the hot dog of Guadalajara, it’s kismet that I posted a link to this Gourmet story on the city’s food before I left, as I had read about these signature sandwiches last year and read it again before I departed just in case any opportunity arose for me to taste the local food.

After a few long days there was a little bit of time for the team to stop and eat before we got to the Guadalajara airport. Maybe because I had been talking so much about these sandwiches we stopped to shut me up. Check. It. Out.

A tortas ahogados is translated as “drowned sandwich” and drowned it was amigos. These come out in plates covered in plastic, so they can just remove the plastic and reuse the plate….ewwww but what are you going to do? I chose the pork sandwich and they served it with some pickled red onions, a tomato sauce (the drowned part) and a SPICY tomato/red onion sauce. Now I like to think I can handle spicy dishes and this proved me so wrong. Made with Chile de Arbol Peppers, my mouth was on fire but yet I kept drenching the sandwich in more spicy sauce! I’m such a glutton for spicy punishment. At the end of the day, I have to say this was a great local food experience and I really enjoyed the sandwich. It’s so different and delicious and I’m happy I got to have this brief food moment during all the craziness.

More kismetness (yes that’s a word) ensued. While I was waiting on plane after plane this week, I got to menu plan for the next few weeks and I came across Mexican Tortas with Black Beans and Chorizo recipe from the chef I grew up watching on PBS, Rick Bayless. I decided to continue my tortas kick and I’m glad I did. With the goat cheese, avocado, black beans and chorizo this was a stunning little sandwich. It was a little mushy so I did add corn chips to it for crunch.

I’m testing recipes again this week, including one that might be the new diva in my life, Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Semolina Gnocchi. I’ll let you know how it goes…

My New Relationship…

…with a Cuban Sandwich. It all started so innocently at my local H-E-B. Eyeing me from across the checkout aisle was the new Bon Appetit magazine with some juicy looking ribs on the cover, but it wasn’t the ribs that made me fall in love, no, no, it was a Cuban Sandwich with Zucchini Pickles recipe from their Reader’s Favorite Restaurant Recipes section. I love Cuban Sandwiches and have been dying to try one at home. Reading the recipe I knew that this was going to be a serious committment on both our parts and let’s just say this was an intense relationship from the start. First, you have to make the brine and then “cook” the pork in the brine for two days AND do the zucchini pickles which drain in a sink for two hours and then need time to “pickle” themselves.

As with any start of a relationship, I’ll admit I was a little nervous. With all this waiting and brining and waiting some more, would this be the Cuban sandwich of my dreams? It got down to our official date night last night and you have to roast the pork for 45 minutes and then let it rest an hour, quite the diva isn’t it?
Finally it came time to assemble the sandwich and I really did look at it and say “ok buddy here we go!” how lame am I right? I bit into the sandwich and thought…”yeah it’s pretty good but not as delicious as I had dreamed in my head,” isn’t that how all relationships are? 😉

I can’t find the recipes online (see how demanding this relationship is!?) so have posted both recipes below. If you are willing to make this effort for a sandwich, not a holiday meal a sandwich, then try it. It was good but the best part of it was the Zucchini Pickles, yum!

I’m moving on to a new Cuban sandwich recipe so if you have a favorite for the love people share with me!

Cuban Sandwiches with Zucchini Pickles

From Bon Appetit, Artisan Restaurant in Paso Robles, CA

3 quarts water
1 1/2 cups of apple juice
3/4 cup coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup sugar
4 large thyme sprigs
2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
2 bay leaves
2 whole star anise
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 teaspoon whole allspice
2 large oranges, halved
1 2 1/4-pound boneless pork loin

2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

10 ciabatta rolls, halved horizontally
2 pounds thinly sliced Black Forest ham or honey-maple ham
Zucchini Pickles (recipe below)
1 pound Emmenthal cheese, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Place first 12 ingredients in heavy large pot. Squeeze juice from orange halves into pot, then add orange halves. Bring mixture to boil, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Reduce heat to medium and simmer brine 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Cool, then cover and refrigerate brine overnight.

Add pork to brine; marinate in refrigerator two days, occasionally turning pork.

Whisk mayonnaise and oil in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in all remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.


Preheat over to 350 degrees. Place rack in roasting pan. Remove pork from brine; place in prepared pan. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into pork registers 145 degrees, about 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hours. Slice thinly.

Preheat broiler. Spread 1 rounded tablespoon aioli on cut side of each ciabatta roll half. Heat griddle or heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry ham just until heated through and beginning to brown, turning occasionally about 1 minute. Place roll bottoms on large rimmed baking sheet. Divide among sandwiches; arrange 1/4 cup of Zucchini Pickles over pork on each sandwich. Top each sandwich with cheese, dividing equally. Broil sandwiches until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover each with roll top and serve.

Day Two: Tomato-Pepper Soup with Ham and Arugula Wraps

As I mentioned, I’m taking on the 1 bag, 5 Meals idea proposed in the new Everyday Food magazine and here is day two. Let’s start with the not-so-good shall we? I’ve proclaimed my love for tomatoes before so I was pretty pumped about this soup. It was super simple to make, just cut up a bell pepper and throw it in with some cherry tomatoes under the broiler. Puree roasted ingredients with remaining tomatoes, tomato juice and some olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and there you have it…or not. This soup was too tomato-y even for my taste and felt like an acid or some kind of herb really would have helped round out the flavor a bit more.

Moving on to the wraps, I have to say this simple blend of arugula, ham and goat cheese that has been mixed with lemon zest and a little bit of olive oil was very satisfying and delicious. I couldn’t find lavash bread at the store like the recipe calls for so I used a warm pita pocket instead. Make two at the same time and save one for lunch the next day!

I couldn’t find the recipes online so here you go. Try the soup and let me know if I just wasn’t bringing my soup A-game last night? It’s highly likely.
Tomato-Pepper Soup with Ham and Arugula Wraps
Everyday Food, June 2009
Serves 4
1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed)
3 pints of cherry tomatoes
1 cup of tomato juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 ounces of fresh goat cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 lavash bread wraps
1 pound thinly sliced ham
1 bunch of arugula (7 ounces) thick ends trimmed
(1) Heat broiler, with rack 4 inches from heat. Place red pepper, skin side up, on one end of a large rimmed baking sheet; place half the tomatoes on the other. Broil until pepper is charred, 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel pepper with a paring knife.
(2) In two batches, puree broiled pepper and tomatoes, remaining tomatoes, tomato juice, and 1 tablespoon oul in a blender until very smooth, about three minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
(3) In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, and lemon zest; season with salt and pepper. Spread wraps with goat cheese mciture, then top with ham and arugula. Roll up wraps.