Category: Sandwich (Page 2 of 4)

A Sandwich Made With Apples Soaked In Maple Syrup

I just learned about the most lovely sandwich made with apples soaked in maple syrup.

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In her memoir The Mud Season, author Ellen Stimson shares her family’s experience selling their St. Louis, MO business and moving to a small town in Vermont because it was pretty. They buy an old country general store and have misadvanture after misadventure with livestock, weather, and quarrels with local residents. In one chapter, Stimson discusses how her banker had to inform her people had stopped shopping at her store because she moved the bread to a different shelf, and, in another, the challenges of adopting orphaned lambs.

Although I can’t relate to running a rural general store in Vermont, I can relate to Stimson trying to fit into a new community. I love this piece of advice a neighbor gave her:

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What captivated my attention the most was her description of a toasted sandwich layered with meat, Vermont cheddar, and maple syrup-soaked apple slices. The book is back at the library now and I can’t quite recall her exact recipe. I do remember Stimson recommending that one should try to soak the apple slices in maple syrup for at least two hours and describing how Vermonters prefer Grade B maple syrup because it has more flavor. I never find grade B maple syrup at the stores, but would love to try some.

This sandwich is so wonderful because of all of the contrasting flavors and textures; the mapley sweetness and crunch of the apples, melted cheddar, and salty ham. It’s like the best grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Here’s how I recreated it at home:

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Ingredients:
Bread
Sharp white cheddar
Apples soaked in maple syrup
Ham
Butter

Instructions:

  1. In a small container, soak thin slices of apple in maple syrup.
  2. To assemble the sandwich, layer sliced ham, apples, and sharp white cheddar.
  3. Toast sandwich in butter until the cheese melts and the bread turns golden brown.
  4. Slice and serve.

Quick Glazed, Baked Ham & Cheese Buns (a.k.a. Funeral Sandwiches)

funeral sandwiches

On our first trip down to St. Louis, I packed little, glazed ham and cheese sandwiches for the road.

I’d never heard of funeral sandwiches or this type of small, glazed sandwich until I saw them appear in my social media feeds this year. When I posted a photo of my second batch, friends and readers commented that they make them often and see them at social gatherings. Jake and I shook our head and wondered how we’d never encountered these sandwiches before. As far as I can gather, the name “funeral sandwiches,” refers to the fact that they are often served at funerals.

Most funeral sandwich recipes consist of Hawaiian buns that are filled with ham and swiss, drizzled with a marinade of butter, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, and onion powder, and baked. Some recipes call for a sprinkle of poppy seeds and many suggest you marinade the sandwiches anywhere from overnight to a few hours before baking. My version is quick. Simply drizzle and bake.

The sandwiches taste best fresh out of the oven, but we don’t mind eating them cold, too. The glaze makes the outside of the sandwiches sticky, so pack some napkins if you take them on a road trip or picnic. 

Little, Glazed Road Trip Sandwiches
I found Hawaiian rolls on sale, but use whatever small bun you’d like. The same goes for your meat and cheese filling. Most recipes call for ham and swiss. I used whatever cheese was already in my fridge. We liked the “Hawaiian” ham I found at Target’s deli counter. Not sure what makes it Hawaiian, except it tastes a little bit sweeter. We also made these sandwiches with sliced chicken. Go nuts!

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Ingredients:
1 pack Hawaiian rolls
Sliced ham
Sliced cheese
1/4 cup butter (or a little less)
2 good squirts of Dijon mustard (ALDI sells a nice, punchy one).
2 good squirts of honey
Worcestershire sauce, several good dashes
1-2 tablespoons grated onion
Ground black pepper
Dash of salt

Instructions:

  1. Slice rolls and fill with sliced ham and cheese.
  2. Place rolls in a lightly greased pan or baking dish or line with foil or parchment.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, mustard, Dijon, honey, Worcestershire, grated onion, black pepper, and salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  4. Drizzle the sauce over the rolls.
  5. Bake at 350°F or until the sauce absorbs into the buns and the tops are golden brown. This should take about 20 minutes.

I Hope There Are 90’s Malls & Food Court Phillys In Heaven

On Thursday I toasted my mom with a Burnsville Center food court Philly.

We grew up roaming the Burnsville Center, long before the advent of online shopping and Amazon Prime.

Mall

The mall wasn’t just a place we shopped. We wandered it in packs of friends as we searched for products that would bring us peer acceptance and spaghetti strap tank tops. Of course, I had to wear my tanks over a white tee-shirt (at least, when my parents weren’t looking)

Things meant more back when I was growing up in the 90’s. I’d blow my babysitting money on a plain white shirt because it said Guess. Now, I’m happiest rotating between my two favorite t-shirts. We 90’s kids smelled like a Country Apples, Cucumber Melons, Freesia or Sweet Peas at any given time. These gateway scents led to Victoria’s Secret, to our parent’s dismay, and eventually Clinique Happy. And we probably always glittered.

We prowled for boys at the mall and met them for movies back when a theater was inside the mall. We asked each other out through friends and broke up by handwritten notes. “Going out” meant going wherever our parents were willing to drop us off and pick us up. It involved making a show of awkwardly hugging each other in the school hallways and pairing up for the square dance unit in gym class. And God forbid, if you mixed up a meeting time or place, you had to call your friend’s home phone from a mall pay phone.

90’s kids also liked froyo, but we didn’t have fancy, self-serve yogurt bars like Cherryberry. We got ours from Dayton’s, long before it became Marshall Fields and before it became a Macy’s.

Strolling through the Burnsville Mall brought back memories of my family: Mother-daughter shopping trips, back to school shopping and Christmas and birthday present shopping. We used to pick up my grandma up from Ebeneezer Ridges and stroll around the mall, always treating ourselves to soft pretzels. When my mom was in the last stages of hospice, we were known to spontaneously forgo a casserole and eat together in the food court.

Mom always chose a cheesesteak from that place near the corner. I was tickled to find that it’s still there last week when I stopped for lunch on the way to an appointment. The Philly Steak Grill’s name and ownership may have changed since 2008, but the sandwich tasted the same and it’s still called a “Philly Bomb.”

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The bread’s a little squishy and I wouldn’t know how it compares to a real Philly cheesesteak. Nevertheless, it sure tasted like I remembered, which is not to say “authentic’ or “perfect.” That’s not what I was looking for, anyway.

These days, the Burnsville Center seems a little quieter. Kay Bee Toys is long gone, along with Mervyn’s California and the Chinese buffet. I’m not longer interested in collecting cheap jewelry in a mesh basket at Claire’s and there isn’t anyone to lecture me about avoiding the back aisles of Spencer’s Gifts anymore.

It’s funny how places and food can awaken so many memories. I enjoyed a quiet moment of reflection with my cheesesteak in the mall’s food court. For my mom’s sake, I hope there are mall cheesesteaks in heaven.

Clara Cannucciari’s Asparagus Sandwiches

Last year, I became fascinated with Clara Cannucciari (August 28, 1915-November 29, 2013) after reading Clara’s Kitchen, a book she co-authored about growing up during the Great Depression. The cover of her book states she is, “Everybody’s favorite YouTube Grandmother,” as she also hosted online cooking segments through age 96. 

She’s certainly mine, as none of my grandmothers ever appeared on YouTube, not even our incredible adopted Grandma Burrell. 

Clara describes growing up during a time when food was scarce and jobs, scarcer. She shares the recipes that sustained her family and the necessary adjustments they made to reduce food wastage and save money. Her recipes are simple. Some, remarkably so, yet I often found myself wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Her family was rarely able to afford meat and relied on sustainable and local food systems such as raising their own chickens for eggs, planting a vibrant garden, canning excess produce, and foraging for wild edibles.  For example, Clara describes how to prepare dandelion greens and burdock stalks, plants that are still available in our own backyards or parkways.

Did you know that you can place anything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich? My significant other and I have eaten many recipes from Clara’s book, including many of these sandwiches. One evening, we made “Salad Sandwiches” from leftover rainbow chard quickly blanched in hot water, shocked in ice water, and sautéed with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. We also feasted on eggplant burgers, replacing ground beef with a fried slice of eggplant, plus the usual burger accoutrements. 

Our favorite of all was this asparagus sandwich and we’ve made it many times, since.

Asparagus Sandwich EditedClara’s Asparagus Sandwich

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Sliced bread
Butter
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Lemon or lime wedges

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉.
  2. Wash the asparagus. Remove the woody ends (I like to snap off the ends).
  3. On a sheet pan, drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the stalks in a single layer and roast for a few minutes. Flip the asparagus, and roast for a few more minutes or until tender.
  4. Toast your slices of bread and butter them. Place the asparagus between the buttered bread, sprinkle with freshly grated cheese, and spritz with a squirt of lemon or lime.

A Few Tastes: Los Paisanos Taqueria, Sun Street Breads & A Sysco Food Show

This past weekend, Jake and I headed to the Twin Cities for the wedding reception we never had. We had said our vows in October at a small ceremony and were finally able to extend the celebration to family and friends.

Neither Jake or I enjoy planning party details such as color schemes and table decorations, so our family turned the reception into a beautiful, food-filled surprise at the Embassy Suites near the airport where Jake’s uncle manages the food services. Bites from the evening included Rustica’s bittersweet chocolate cookies, absinthe cocktails, crab salad served in tiny, edible spoons, and rosy roast beef with my favorite creamy horseradish sauce. I’ll share more as we collect photos from friends. We are continually humbled by the kindness and generosity of our family and friends and extend our gratitude to everyone who planned and participated in the reception.

We stayed with both of our families, who spoiled with home cooked foods. We also managed to grab a few meals out. Here are a few tastes from the past week:

Los Paisanos Taqueria, East St. Paul, MN
Tortas are essentially impossible to purchase in Fargo-Moorhead, so I always find one whenever we stay with my husbands folks in East St. Paul. A while back, I wrote about a torta I ordered from By More Taqueria. Afterwards, a reader recommended Los Paisanos Taqueria, noting that it’s his favorite place to grab a torta in East St. Paul. This was my second visit since he left the comment.

The restaurant is located down the road from the Rainbow Foods on Arcade. It’s painted in bright colors and looks a little worn. Those who are concerned about sanitation might notice the current ServSafe Food Handler certification prominently displayed near the register. My typical order of a small horchata and beef milenesa torta costs about $10.

The sandwich is the size of my face. The bottom bun is spread with re-fried beans while the top covers layers of avocado, cheese, shredded lettuce, mayonnaise, and pickled jalapenos. My favorite part is the thin beef cutlet and its crisp breading that’s heated on the griddle. Don’t hesitate to ask for a small cup of the spicy red salsa to dip the sandwich in if it’s not included in your take-out bag. There are tables for customers who want to dine-in, but I find the restaurant smells strongly of fruity air freshener. Service has always been friendly. 
Sun Street Breads, South Minneapolis, MN
My husband’s found a friend in Sun Street Bread’s breakfast biscuit sandwiches. He remembered enjoying one earlier this winter and wanted to return for our first post-reception meal. You know it’s good when Andrew Zimmern continues to mention Sun Street as one of his favorite bakeries. He even specifically mentioned the egg biscuit sandwich on his list of “personal bests.” 
On this visit, Jake ordered the Southern Fried Biscuit ($7.50) to soak up the beverages from the previous evening. 
A tender, toasted biscuit, runny fried egg, bacon, fried chicken and gravy laden with chunks of sausage. I feel my arteries constrict just looking at this photo. My goodness, it was really good. Especially that peppery country gravy.
I’m not sure this side of fruit ($3.50) offset all of the Southern fried, but it was generously portioned and of high quality. I ordered from Sun Street’s lunch menu and tried the Steak & Swiss ($9.75), their version of a cheese steak. Ironically, I wasn’t crazy about the bread because its texture reminded me of Olive Garden breadsticks (thought it was certainly acceptable), but liked the other components. Especially the flavorful beef, spicy pickled banana peppers, and swiss cheese sauce. 
Each lunch sandwich comes with one’s choice of fries, salad, fruit or soup ($1 upcharge). I was pleasantly surprised by the large size of my accompanying salad and its freshness. A scoop of beans was a welcome gift of randomness. They tasted of smoked paprika. 
Sun Street is very busy during weekend brunches, but during the past few times I’ve dined, there I’ve never had trouble finding a table. 
Sysco Food Show

As culinary students, we’re invited to attend Fargo-Moorhead’s food service shows for free. Last semester, we visited US Food’s sprawling show held in the Fargo Dome and this week, we attended Sysco’s show at Scheel’s Arena. I have a mixed feelings about Sysco. Obviously, they make purchasing convenient for restaurants, but also seem to be making efforts in purchasing meats from distributors who raise their animals humanely, supporting sustainable seafood practices, and increasing partnerships with local distributors. On the other hand, I wish more restaurants would more intentionally seek food from local suppliers and farms and make their own foods from scratch instead of relying on pre-made convenience products. But what kind of fool turns down free food? Albeit, most of the food is frozen, canned, jarred, of a mix, or pre-baked, but it’s fun, nevertheless. 
Most of the food vendors at these shows are gracious to the roaming pack of hungry students and provide engaging interactions. Some are a little less thrilled. On this visit, I tried to restrain myself to a walleye finger, lemonade, iced tea, a few nachos with self-serve cheese sauce, and a dinner mint. One can certainly go overboard sampling from the platters of most any fried food imaginable, cheeses, and desserts.

As the token Korean, I took it upon myself to try a Korean empanada, a new product from one of Sysco’s internationally-themed lines. I found that it tasted surprisingly. . . Korean. Nicely done. My classmates seemed content to end their tours with ice cream cones dispensed by the Blue Bunny cart. 

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