I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Sandwich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sandwich. Show all posts

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Smoked Duck and Brie Panini


Thank goodness spring is officially upon us. The weather seems to want to actually cooperate with the calendar day this year, giving us a breath of warm air and blue skies. I even saw spikes of green leaves poking out of the brown earth on my run through the park today. All offering us the promise that the cold will soon be behind us.

As the warmer weather swoops in I find myself wishing for days spent lazily lounging in the park with a book or taking a long stroll around the neighborhood. Yet my calendar fills quickly at this time of year, appointments and responsibilities seeming to shake themselves out of hibernation. As I struggle to fit it all in yet still make the time to enjoy the season I try to make dinner short work while still keeping it exciting.

Panini are an excellent fall-back when crunched for time. They come together in no time flat yet still have an air of elegance that you don't quite get from a regular sandwich. This recipe blends together smoky duck breast with sweet and tart cherry preserves to help the taste buds also remember that spring and summer produce is just around the corner.


Smoked Duck and Brie Panini
1" slices of Italian bread
smoked duck breast, sliced thin*
1/4" slices of brie
arugula
cherry preserves
extra virgin olive oil

*if you are lucky enough to live in NYC you can pick up smoked duck breast at the greenmarket through Hudson Valley Duck farm. Otherwise there are many options out there these days in supermarkets or online. They can be used for everything from sandwiches to soups (ramen!!) to a charcuterie board so I recommend you pick one up to try asap. 

Heat your panini press according to instructions. If you don't have one, don't despair: heat your cast iron skillet nice and hot and use something heavy (such as a foil-wrapped brick) to press your sandwich into shape.

For each panino place a bit of brie on each of two slices of bread (a little cheese on each side will help hold it all together). Add a layer of smoked duck breast, a good smear of cherry preserves, and a pile of arugula on one piece and then top with the second. Drizzle the outside of both sides of the sandwich with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Place the panino in the panini press and cook per the machines directions until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. If using the cast iron skillet place the sandwich in the hot pan, top with the brick, and cook until the bottom is browned and crispy. Flip the panino over and repeat. Serve warm.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Greens and Ricotta Sandwich

I am counting down the minutes until Sunday afternoon, when my little sister will arrive to NYC from Austin. We haven't seen one another in person for a year and a half and haven't spent a holiday together in much longer. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be able to spend a holiday with a family member in tow.

My sister is two years younger than me and so has been by my side as long as I can remember. We were very close in high school, spending a lot of our free time and extracurricular time together (save for a few fights here and there: one especially that involved an amateur haircut that went awry). It still doesn't feel right to spend so much of our time so far apart. I can't wait to show off my home, my friends, and my city to her over the next week as we catch up and spend our days once again side by side. I'm truly thankful for this opportunity to share it all with my little sis.

Greens and Ricotta Sandwich
There's no photo of this since I whipped it up as a simple, quick dinner one night and wasn't considering it for a post. Yet when I took the first bite I knew I had to share this remarkable, easy meal. It is packed with healthy greens, a creamy ricotta, and crunch from store-bought spicy kale chips. If you can't find pre-made kale chips at your store you can easily roast up a batch (although they probably won't be quite as crispy), but make sure to add some chili flakes to your greens to give the sandwich its heat.
Serves 2

very thin focaccia or flatbread (if it is thicker than 3/4", cut in half lengthwise to form the two halves of your sandwich. Basically you want 4 pieces of about 4"x3" bread that is 1/2" thick.)
2 TB olive oil
3 c. kale, chopped
5 c. spinach, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1-2 TB extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
spicy miso kale chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the focaccia onto a large baking sheet.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the kale and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes. At this point, place the focaccia into the oven to warm through (about 4 minutes). Add the garlic and the spinach to the kale and continue to cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.
Take 2 pieces of warmed focaccia and spread half of the ricotta onto each. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Top off with the greens and then finish with the crispy kale chips. Top with the other slice of bread and serve.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Green Garlic Toasts with Soft Scrambled Eggs

Every once in a while I pull off a dish that, as I set it on the table, I think, "I wouldn't be ashamed to serve this in a restaurant." It's that combination of attractive plating and flavors that combine to sing to the taste buds, having that special little something that feels a little fancier than your own home kitchen.

This simply prepared spring meal was one of those times. It isn't a fancy, charge $30 for an entree kind of restaurant meal, but one of those that you imagine being served over the lunch hour at a locally driven, homey neighborhood place. The eggs (of course from my local greenmarket) are cooked slowly, possibly in too much butter, but in a way that makes them oh-so-creamy and then mixed with tomatoes to lend a bit of acidity to cut the richness. These get topped with a flavorful cheese and green garlic stems that have also been cooked slowly to a tender perfection. Served on top of toasted country bread the whole shebang becomes a satisfying lunch or light dinner, combining lots of simple flavors into one complex dish.

If you can't find green garlic or it is out of season use small leeks instead, but they may need a bit more cooking time to achieve tenderness.


Green Garlic Toasts with Soft Scrambled Eggs
serves 4
5-6 stalks green garlic (the light green and white stems only--reserve the bulb and the dark green leaves for other uses)
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
5 large eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
5 TB butter
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
3/4 c. grated gruyere or raclette cheese
4 large,thick slices of country bread (or 8 smaller pieces), toasted

Slice the green garlic stems as you would a leek: slice in half lengthwise then chop into half inch semicircles. Place the stems into a fine colander and then place the colander into a large bowl. Fill with water and use your fingers to rub the green garlic to help remove some of the grit. Drain, empty the bowl of water, and then repeat about 3 more times to be sure the garlic is clean. Pat dry.

Heat 2 TB olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the green garlic and stir constantly until it reaches a soft, creamy texture, about 15 or so minutes. If the garlic begins to brown too quickly, lower the heat. Taste and season with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Beat the eggs with the heavy cream in a small bowl. Add about 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Heat 2 TB of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the eggs to the pan and stir constantly with a spatula, scraping the sides often. Slowly add the remaining butter, 1 pat at a time, continuing to stir until the eggs reach a soft-curd consistency, about 10-12 minutes or so. Right at the last minute stir in the tomatoes so they have just a moment to heat through.

Place the toasted country bread onto 4 plates, top with the soft-scrambled eggs, sprinkle with gruyere or raclette cheese and then top with the green garlic to serve.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chicken Ranch Lettuce Wraps

Last Saturday night at work the bass was thumping and the din of conversation from patrons was at a level much louder than a roar. Guests were packed in around the bar, around the host stand, and tables were not turning fast enough to get reservations down on time. It was a night of constant movement, endless trips up and down the stairs to and from the kitchen and never really being caught up. As I came home to my still apartment at 2:30am, my ears still throbbed and my body pulsed from the residual energy of the night. I crawled into bed feeling my feet and joints aching.

Sunday night rolled around and it was a dinner for 4 with the husband and another couple. A trip to the Upper East Side for shabu shabu and multiple carafes of sake. After a couple of hours of good conversation we made our way back onto the subway for the late-night ride home.

Monday was another dinner out with friends, this time Korean barbeque. Dish after dish was brought to the table along with cocktails and wine. The view from the 39th floor in this Koreatown joint was breathtaking. As often happens with this group of friends, our conversations around the table grill lasted hours, meaning yet another late night (though so worth it).

By the time Tuesday rolled around I was ready for nothing more than a simple evening in, with simple food that would be light and healthy. Lettuce wraps seemed just the thing. Brown rice for the base to add a little heft, chicken breast, and lots of veggies. For a sauce a homemade ranch made with yogurt inspired by Not Without Salt. And since I knew the husband had just had a long day at work I added on Honey Buttermilk Biscuits from Saveur as a treat. Though they probably don't fit the "good for you" category, they are one of the best things I've made in recent history (and I've made a lot of great food lately). I devoured the leftovers for breakfasts and lunches because I couldn't get enough. I guarantee you won't be disappointed with them. You should know they make a MASSIVE biscuit when prepared exactly as the recipe calls for, though when paired up with something as light and healthy as these lettuce wraps you won't feel quite so bad about eating a whole one (or two).

Chicken Ranch Lettuce Wraps 
makes about 8 wraps/4 servings

2 large chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) chopped tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes if they are in season)
8 large butter lettuce leaves
ranch dressing (recipe below)

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and then cook the chicken breasts until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly, then shred using 2 forks.

Mix together the shredded chicken, brown rice, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes. Spread onto the lettuce leaves and top with a dollop of ranch dressing. Roll up and serve immediately.

Ranch Dressing
(adapted from Not Without Salt)
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 TB fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 c. milk

Mix together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Add more milk if necessary to make a thinner dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fig and Prosciutto Panini

A couple of years ago my mom sent me a panini press for Christmas. It's one of those bulky kitchen items that takes up a lot of space and has a specialized use that means it's frustrating to find a home for in tiny NYC kitchens. I stowed it away in that little cupboard above the fridge, effectively forgetting about it since then.

Until I started trying to come up with dinner ideas in the past couple of weeks that would allow me to not turn on the oven at all. We're back around at the hot part of the summer where any oven time means the whole apartment turns miserable. Though usually a salad or cold dish can be refreshing, every once in a while you would still like something warm served up. The panini press came down.

I pulled together a bunch of ingredients on a catering shopping trip to Trader Joes: fresh figs (which I hardly ever see anywhere around here!), goat cheese, Italian bread. Then I made a trip over to Bklyn Larder and added some prosciutto and chestnut honey to the mix. Dinner was born.

With the combination of salty and sweet all pressed and melted together by the goat cheese in the panini maker, the meal was a success. Next time around I'll probably throw some arugula into the mix to add a hint of brightness. For a quick, delicious summer meal look no further.

Fig and Prosciutto Panini


fresh figs, sliced
goat cheese, crumbled
chestnut honey
prosciutto, thinly sliced
Italian bread, cut into slices about 3/4" thick

Heat the panini press as you prepare the sandwiches.
Spread a nice layer of goat cheese onto a slice of Italian bread. Top with a layer of sliced figs. Drizzle a light amount of chestnut honey on top. Then top with a good quantity of prosciutto. Place another slice of Italian bread on top. Repeat for as many sandwiches as you would like
Place the sandwich into the panini press when it is hot. Place a sturdy amount of pressure on the handle and cook until the bread is lightly toasted and the sandwich is nice and thin. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tomato and White Bean Tartine

I have been out of school now for almost eight years. Yet somehow, every time May rolls around I start to feel that hopeful zeal of summer approaching. Out in the real world my schedule doesn't change once summer hits, yet I still experience that light, exciting rush as the seasons change. It's the promise of days in the park lounging in the grass, cook-outs, weekend trips, outdoor concerts and movies. The smell of the leaves and that something warm in the air. Especially enticing are the foods that come along with it--the overflowing gardens and farms that will spill their way into the greenmarkets. How well we will eat!

Though tomatoes haven't yet made an appearance, I needed to eat a summer-like meal and it came together in this simply rustic tartine. The ingredients (the freshest you can find!) piled on top of crusty halves of bread and broiled until it all just barely comes together. A summer full of flavors in every bite.

Tomato and White Bean Tartine
serves 2

1/4 c. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. small white beans, like cannelloni, cooked (or from a can, rinsed and drained)
2 TB chopped rosemary
2-6" halves of good quality, crusty bread (an Italian loaf, perhaps)
3/4 c. spinach, chopped
1 c. tomatoes, chopped (perhaps chopped cherry heirloom tomatoes)
extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the broiler.
In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, white beans and rosemary. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Spread the white bean mixture onto the halves of bread. Top off each with half of the spinach and half of the tomatoes. Drizzle each with a bit of extra virgin olive oil (I would probably add a bit of salt and pepper here, too). Sprinkle the gruyere cheese on top. Now place the tartines onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese has melted and the toppings are just barely warmed through, just a minute or so. Allow to cool for another minute or so and then enjoy!

(maybe you serve these alongside some barely blanched asparagus topped with hollandaise and bottarga. I wouldn't fault you for this)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Chinese 5-Spice Slaw

One of the worst parts about not having a backyard or a balcony is not being able to own a grill. I miss the impromptu gatherings that are held centered on the grilling of meats with beers in hand and good friends all around. It is truly a downside to living in New York City.

In Kansas I remember many an evening perfumed by burning charcoal, the char of meat, a warm breeze on the air and the sound of laughter and conversation mingling together. It was never fancy or fussy and often was the result of a last minute phone call as an invite. You would be asked to maybe bring some meat and a side. Often it was as easy as swinging by Dillons to the deli department for some prepared potato salad or baked beans, or for a bag of chips, packet of hot dogs, and beer. As amazing as the grilled burgers and hot dogs tasted, the meal wouldn't be quite the same without the sides: some coleslaw, deviled eggs, etc. They made the event complete.

This is my attempt to recreate one of those summer evenings inside my NYC apartment. The meat isn't grilled, but it is deeply flavored and served on a toasted bun--just the sort of thing you'd crave at a barbecue. And served alongside (or right on top of that pulled pork if you are doing it right) is a crisp, easy coleslaw flavored with the warm notes of Chinese 5-Spice. Paired with a super cold beer and a few friends, and you can almost feel the grass under your toes and hear the locusts buzzing in the trees. Summer on a plate.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
serves 8-10

2.5 lb boneless pork roast
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 TB dried mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. smoke seasoning (smoked sea salt and pepper)
1 t. dried onion flakes
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. salt
1/2 c. olive oil
3-5 c. beef stock
8-10 buns
butter

Mix together the garlic, dried mushrooms, seasoned salt, smoke seasoning, dried onion flakes, pepper, salt and olive oil. Rub all over the pork roast. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
Unwrap the pork roast and place it into a crock pot. Pour in the beef stock until you have enough to come just over halfway up the side of the roast. Turn the crock pot on and cook until the pork is tender enough to shred with a fork (probably about 4-5 hours on high and about 7 hours or so on low. Go ahead and flip the pork roast over about halfway through the cooking process).
Remove the pork from the crock pot and shred all the meat using two forks. It wouldn't hurt to toss a few tablespoons of the braising liquids over top of the meat here for extra flavor.

Butter the inside of the rolls. Toast in a skillet or under the broiler until nice and brown. Top with the pork (and the coleslaw if desired) and serve.

Chinese 5-Spice Coleslaw
3 1/2 c. shredded red cabbage
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
1 t. Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. seasoned salt

Mix together the mayonnaise with the white wine vinegar, 5-spice, salt, pepper and seasoned salt. Mix with the red cabbage. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve on top of the pulled pork sandwiches or as a side.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tomato Soup and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

It is a-snowin' out there. Even though it is coming down fairly hard we have been pretty lucky here in Brooklyn and haven't been hit as bad as many other places along the East Coast lately. Regardless, I still just want to curl up inside the apartment with comforting, warming food. Of which I believe the ultimate is creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

The great thing about this tomato soup recipe is that it uses many things that you probably keep on hand in your pantry/fridge. Which means no unnecessary trips out int the blustery weather for extra ingredients. It is also very easy to substitute or change around the ingredients depending on what you have. As for the grilled cheese, it isn't anything complicated but it is made special with cave aged gruyere (which has a wonderful deep flavor that holds up well to the tomato soup) and crusty, but soft, Pugliese bread. The loaf I bought (from Bklyn Larder, my new favorite specialty food store in my neighborhood) was baked at Grandaisy Bakery. They make damn fine bread, maybe some of my favorite I've had in the city. And this particular loaf becomes perfectly crunchy and flavorful when cooked in a good quantity of butter in a skillet.

As the snow continues to fall whip up a batch of this soup and sandwiches, curl up on the couch with some good wine and good company, and stay warm!

Tomato Soup
5 servings
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. fresh thyme
3 TB olive oil
1 can (28oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable stock
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3 TB butter
1/4 c. cream

Finely chop the carrots, celery, onion and garlic into uniform pieces. Coarsely chop the thyme. In a dutch oven or soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and thyme to the pan. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, cook for another 5 minutes, and then remove the pot from heat. Use an immersion blender to puree all of the tomatoes and vegetables. Once the soup is smooth, return to the stovetop over medium-low heat. Stir in salt and pepper, butter and cream. Taste to check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve once soup is heated through.

Gruyere Grilled Cheese
4 sandwiches
1/3 lb. cave-aged gruyere cheese
8 slices (3/4" thick) of Pugliese Bread or country bread
4 TB butter

Grate the gruyere cheese. Divide the cheese onto 4 slices of the bread and top with remaining 4 slices. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 TB of butter. Once the butter has melted place the sandwiches on the skillet and cook until toasted on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the sandwiches to a plate. Add the remaining 2 TB butter to the skillet and allow to melt. Return the sandwiches to the skillet, non-toasted sides down. Toast this side of the sandwich, again about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and serve immediately.