Monthly Archives: May 2014

Sandwich + Salad Sunday

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Meat and cheese sandwiches are portable comfort food. I’ve never met one I didn’t like. Bread. Check. Meat. Check. Cheese. Check. Tangy condiments. Check. So I ask you, what more could you want?

The warm sandwich I made for lunch yesterday afternoon included Brie, Speck, Dijon, and arugula. I served a golden beet carpaccio salad (you’ve probably guessed by now that I’m obsessed with these earthy orbs) alongside the baguettes filled with a bit of bliss. I purchase beets weekly, roast them in the oven as soon as I get home, peel them, pop them in a Ziploc bag, and store them in the fridge for impromptu uses. They, along with the sandwich, are perfect weekend food when you’re not in the mood for complicated cooking, but you still want something oozing with goodness.

Pre-heat your oven to 400.

Smear some Dijon on one side of your bread. Slice your cold Brie cheese and lay on top of the Dijon.

Smear some Dijon on one side of your bread. Slice your cold Brie cheese and lay on top of the Dijon.

 

Add 1 or 2 slices of Speck. Personal preference rules here.

Add 1 or 2 slices of Speck. Personal preference rules here.

Wrap in aluminum foil.

Wrap in aluminum foil.

Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You could obviously use your toaster oven, too, if you don’t have a lot of sandwiches to warm. You’re trying to achieve a nice melty Brie inside.

While your sandwich is warming up, you can slice your beets carpaccio style (I used 3 medium sized beets here).

 

Sprinkle some Maldon sea salt flakes on the beets.

Sprinkle some Maldon sea salt flakes on the beets.

 

Add some walnuts and micro-greens.

Add some toasted walnuts and micro-greens. Again, personal preference for amounts rule here, too.

I used the leftover orange vinaigrette that I used in the beet and chèvre salad a week or so ago. Look under salad for the recipe.

Once you’ve removed the sandwich from the oven, add the arugula. You don’t want it getting all wilty from the heat.

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Happy customer.

Satifsied customer.

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Eat well!

April

“Beware the hobby that eats.” – Benjamin Franklin

Chilled Basmati Rice Salad

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Last week I was reminded of how much I detest extreme heat. One of the greatest things about living in Laguna Beach is its ideal Mediterranean climate. Not too hot, not too cold. Sure, we may experience pesky things like the occasional earthquake, land slide, severe drought, oh, and let’s not forget our annual “fire season” (who says we don’t have seasons), but in between those apocalyptic events the weather is downright pleasant. The weather makes it all worthwhile, right?

I began to have my doubts last week when our non-air-conditioned house (because who needs AC when you live in an ideal Mediterranean climate. Hahaha) was climbing towards the 100-degree range. For three days straight our main living area was 95 degrees (my car registered 113 in the driveway). On the bright side, there was zip in the realm of humidity so that helped contain the exceptional sweat factor that one experiences on the East Coast when temps hover in this range. It was so dry that I had chapped lips! Needless to say, I was NOT in the mood to eat a warm meal. I had a hankering for something cold, and light. Preferably with an ice-cold brew.

I broke out the rice maker and cooked up some fragrant basmati. Next I rummaged through the fridge and pulled out some veggies. Here’s what you’re going to need:

Cold Basmati Rice Salad 

Serves 3-4 as a main dish on a hot summer night and 5-6 as a side dish. Depends on what kind of appetites you’re dealing with.

  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice. I prepared mine in the rice cooker, but follow the directions on the back of your package if you don’t have one of these.
  • 1 slightly overflowing cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked and chopped asparagus
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/2 medium-sized diced fennel bulb
  • 1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1.5 oz goat cheese
  • Some fennel fronds for garnish
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Finishing salt like Maldon sea salt flakes. My favorite!

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Get your shallot minced.

Get your shallot minced.

I have a burner on my grill so I sautéed the asparagus, fennel with 2 large pinches of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper (to taste or 1/8 tsp.). Add the shallot last once the asparagus and fennel are softened so it doesn't burn.

I have a burner on my grill so I sautéed the asparagus, fennel with 2 large pinches of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper (to taste or 1/8 tsp.). Add the shallot last once the asparagus and fennel are softened so it doesn’t burn. Cook until the shallots are soft.

 

Get your dressing ready. Add the Dijon and sherry vinegar, with a pinch of salt and sugar, to a small bowl. Mix with a fork until integrated. Add the oil and mix with a fork until they are fully emulsified and not separating.

Add the dressing to the rice while it's still warm so it soaks up the flavors.

Add the dressing to the rice while it’s still warm so it soaks up the flavors.

Add all of the other ingredients and pop it into the fridge until chilled.

Add all of the other ingredients and pop it into the fridge until chilled.

Pull of some smaller fronds and use as a garnish.

Pull of some smaller fronds and use as a garnish.

Serve once fully chilled.

Serve once fully chilled.

This would make a great side salad to bring to your Memorial Day BBQ,  too. Just double it up to feed a crowd.

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.” -Franz Kafka