Tag: sandwich


Grilled Cheese with Butternut Squash, Onions, Balsamic Syrup

May 2nd, 2010 — 3:14pm

Harvest Melt

Los Angeles, great city that it is, has a gourmet grilled cheese truck that announces its location on Twitter each day. My coworker Aaron had been keeping tabs on it, so when it came near the office he drove me and our other coworker Allie to the parking lot where the truck had set up shop. We had to wait in line for 25 minutes, but we weren't disappointed. Aaron got a sandwich filled with mac-and-cheese, Allie had brie and pears on cranberry-walnut bread, and I had the Harvest Melt: Gruyère, roasted butternut squash, leeks and balsamic-agave syrup. Brilliant.

Harvest Melt

Yesterday Allie came over and I tried to recreate the Harvest Melt in all its glory. I'm happy to say it was a success.

The grilled cheese was so good, so satisfying, that I didn't even think about other food until dinner. A rare occurence for me. But the squash, the onions, the balsamic… the cheese… the perfectly grilled toast… Pause for a few moments of reverie.

Even better, I don't need to use Twitter or get in a car to have one.

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7 comments » | Recipes

Baco Flatbread

March 13th, 2010 — 2:30pm


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How could you not want something described as a “gyro-pizza-taco”?

When I read the LA Times piece about the baco last year, I made a mental note and a digital bookmark to come back to it. Since then, the chef who invented the baco, Josef Centeno,  has opened another restaurant in LA, and the baco is back in the press. Though I haven't made it yet to the Lazy Ox Canteen for an official baco, I baked up some of Centeno's signature flatbread and created some sandwiches of my own. (For something fun to do, read the Lazy Ox menu.)

From what I've read, there are two things that make a baco a baco. First is the bread. Like my naan recipe, this flatbread calls for plain yogurt. What's different is the addition of lime juice, ginger, garlic and dried lavender. Second is the mix of sauces and international influences:

  • In addition to the original baco, now made with pork belly and red wine-braised paleron (pot roast), Centeno makes four variations. The vegetarian baco centers on crisp Japanese eggplant; lamb sausage baco has croquettes made from potato and morcilla (a Spanish blood sausage) and caraway-pepper sauce; the el pollo baco features chicken escabeche (marinated chicken) radicchio and zhoug, a spicy chile sauce from Yemen; and the pesco baco is a tasty composition of panko-crusted albacore, pickled onion, and four (count them) different sauces. (From the LA Times)

After I made the bread, we did a Mexican-spiced chicken with fresh tomato-avocado salsa, the ginger-lime-lavender yogurt mixture, and a smoky homemade chili sauce. Another afternoon I filled one with a mixture of chicken, pork and sausage in a sweet Vietnamese sauce, along with lettuce, cucumber and tomato in a Persian yogurt-based dressing, and the spicy chili sauce — basically whatever leftovers I found in the fridge.

So now that you have the flatbread recipe, what will you put in your baco?

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Buenos Aires Street Food Part Dos

December 2nd, 2009 — 3:42am

parilla-buenos-aires

My three months in Buenos Aires are up, sadly. I loved getting to know the city by walking everywhere and sitting in parks peoplewatching. The weekends were my favorite because everyone spent the day outside. I would walk to Puerto Madero's Costanera Sur, where I'd be surrounded by local people and food.

No, Buenos Aires doesn't have as strong of a street food culture as some countries you see Anthony Bourdain travel to, but I found the area along the ecological reserve to be the best place to fill up for a buck or two. Although I've written some about this before, I have a few more street treats to add.

bondiolaBondiola — This grilled pork shoulder can be a little tough, so it wasn't typically my first choice, but it's a common order for others. Porteños tend to keep their food simple. Bondiola al limon (with lemon) is standard. I liked to load up on the vegetables. My sandwiches always looked like a salad bar compared to those of locals. In fact, that's how I decided which parilla to visit, by the topping options.

choripans

The stand where I got these choripans (chorizo sandwiches) had great salads and marinated vegetables to add. Oh yeah, and it still costs a dollar no matter how much you load on top.

morcilla-blood-sausage

I also loved the caramelized onions and spicy salsa at the stand where I got this morcilla (blood sausage).

grilled-bread

And if you read my ode to dough, you know how hard it was for me to ever pass up the grilled bread. Some stands only offer plain, but others will slice it and add cheese, ham or other filling in the middle. My favorite stand was a mother-daughter operation in the Puerto Madero park. They would mix spiced ground meat into the dough before cooking. Fantastic results.

churros-donuts

And then, there's dessert. People would make cakes and other sweets to sell in the parks on weekends. I usually went with a churro or an alfajor, which involves two soft cookies surrounding dulce de leche, then rolled in shredded coconut or dipped in chocolate.

alfajoresYep, I'll miss this.

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More about Buenos Aires street food here.

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Prosciutto, Cheese, Apple and Fennel Sandwich

September 16th, 2009 — 11:57pm

sandwich1

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My tastebuds were dancing. They were truly ecstatic after eating this sandwich.

Now, we all know tastebuds enjoy cheap thrills from time to time. They get worked up over the easy highs of fat and sugar. This sandwich isn't a brownie or a french fry. But it's got layers of flavor that remind your tastebuds that despite many seemingly satisfying meals, they are rarely stimulated like this.

With the one-year anniversary of the publication of The Flavor Bible upon us, I thought carefully about arranging this sandwich as such. Cheese and apples are a classic combination. (Cherry Street Artisan in Columbia had a nice brie and apple panini.) The port salut cheese I had in the fridge is slightly milder than brie, but it would do. Prosciutto was a logical addition, providing some salt and that cured flavor I can't describe. Back to the apples, I'd been wanting to make apple fennel slaw with lemon juice as a side dish for a while, but I decided the sweet and sour flavors would be perfect for the sandwich.

sandwich2

Think about this with me for a minute: Fresh French bread with a firm crust and pillowy inside. Warm soft cheese and extra thin slices of salty cured ham. The crisp bite of green apple with a lemon tang that gives way to the faint anise sweetness. And I don't know much of anything about pairing wine with a dish, but I will say that a few sips of chardonnay put this whole thing over the edge for me.

Dancing tastebuds. That's all I can say.

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Spicy Sloppy Joes

July 20th, 2009 — 4:05pm

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Posts have been slow for the past few weeks, I know. Michael is hiking in the Adirondacks and I recently returned from a trip with my dad to Finland and Sweden. I got back last week and started working as a mentor at a journalism workshop for high schoolers. Helping out at the workshop also meant I got free meals for the week, so I went about three weeks without really cooking anything.

I finally found a few minutes the other night to put together a quick homemade meal. I had a little bit of ground chorizo in the freezer, so I made spicy sloppy joes by adding onion, celery, ketchup and a splash of apple cider vinegar. (A little vinegar or citrus does something to a dish so that each bite leaves your mouth watering for the next.) I toasted a whole wheat bun and topped the chorizo mixture with some sour cream to tame the spice.

It was sweet, spicy, saucy…and definitely sloppy. Even better, it only took 15 minutes to make.

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Banh Mi with Marinated Pork

June 23rd, 2009 — 12:41am

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I have finally had a banh mi! I first learned of the Vietnamese sandwich from the LA Times in November. Then it seemed everyone was talking about them. The NY Times, LAist and multiple foodbloggers. My sister said even my high school newspaper had an article about them. I loved the idea of so many flavors coming together, so I couldn't wait to try it.

Since I hadn’t gotten a chance to seek one out when I was last in LA, I had to make my own. When the Mizzou Meat Market had fresh Braunschweiger on sale, I knew it was time. And what better time than National Picnic Day?

If my first banh mi wasn’t going to be from a Vietnamese expert, I wanted to do what I could to make mine as best as possible. The pork tenderloin and braunschweiger were from the university, which raises and butchers meat down the street from me. I bought an egg from the Root Cellar market, which sells products from local farms, and I made my own mayonnaise. I picked up a daikon from the Asian market downtown and pickled it with shredded carrots. I made the bread from scratch. I grew the cilantro in my front yard.

I wasn’t messing around with this sandwich.

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