Posts Tagged ‘sandwiches


Oooey, gooey and a little chewy

Figs or grilled sandwiches?  Which is it to be today?  How about I just combine the two?  After all, the apple cheese grilled combo was delicious.  I didn’t write about the pear smoked Gouda sandwich, because it fell flat for me.  But I did learn that smoked Gouda is not a melty cheese!   Should I be writing about the failures as well as the successes?  You guys tell me.

The other day, in an effort to use the fresh figs in some way that didn’t involve something too sweet or a baked good, I created a more savory fig concoction.  My taste buds approved this delightful combination.  May I present, the Grilled Cheeses and Fig sandwich…………………………….

 Spread coconut oil** on sourdough bread slices first, then place oiled side down in a cold non-stick pan.  Cover the bread with Havarti cheese slices and top with sliced fresh figs.

Next I topped the figs with some soft goat cheese, nice and tangy!

The figs were not super flavorful nor sweet so I decided to drizzle honey over the goat cheese.  A very wise choice.

I added more Havarti cheese to help hold the sandwich all together, once all of the cheeses start to melt.  Cheese makes a very good sandwich “glue”.

And we pop the other coconut oiled bread slice on top and turn the heat to a very low setting and cover the pan with a lid.  I keep the heat low so the cheese melts as the bread slowly toasts without burning. The lid helps to heat the pan , sort of like a mini oven.

Using a wide spatula, gently turn your beautifully toasted sandwich over and continue to grill until the other side is equally toasted and golden.

 Some of the honey will spill out and that is a good thing.  The edges of the sandwich will get caramelized – OMG, right?

And here is the beautiful end result.  The sourdough bread was a perfect choice for this tasty treat.  It’s chewy texture and slight tang married perfectly with the zing of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the honey drizzled fig.  The heating of the fig brought out more flavor.  Havarti cheese is very mild and agreeable, creating no sharp contrast with the goat cheese, just lovely meltiness and ooziness.

One last parting shot because I really liked the shininess of caramelized bread edges and the melted cheese with that pretty fig poking out.

Get creative with your grilled sandwiches.  Try different bread, cheese and fruit/veggie combinations.   Have fun with your food.  Your taste buds will thank you.

**NOTE:  Coconut oil is usually rock hard.  For this sandwich I gently heated the oil (DO NOT MICROWAVE) in a metal measuring cup over the lowest setting on my cook top and then used a pastry brush to apply the oil to the bread.


whatever, I need a grilled cheese!

With the return of the cooler weather here in the Pacific Northwest, the fall season has begun.  People are busting out their sweaters and umbrellas here in Portland.  Katie is sporting her leg warmers and fingerless gloves and I am craving comfort food.  I have no need for the warm clothing, as I am a hot blooded, menopausal woman.  What I do have a need for is melted cheese.  That’s warming, right?  No, I do not apply it to my body, although it does manage to find it’s way to my thighs, butt and stomach region.  Oh, and probably to my grandmotherly fat arms.  But, like the squirrels in our yard, I need a little extra padding for the winter, or so I tell myself.  Whatever, I need a grilled cheese sandwich.

So, today when I came home from work, I celebrated my Friday with a tasty grilled cheese and apple sandwich.  I figured since people like cheese melted over their apple pie, well some people do, then a sandwich made with cheese and apple might be pretty good.  I was right!  It’s pretty basic really, just bread, cheese and apple.  I used Havarti cheese, an apple from our tree in the back yard, I believe it is called a King apple, Dave’s Killer Bread and coconut oil.

The perfect fall lunch!

Up close and personal

This sandwich would be good with any kind of cheese, apples or bread.  The King apple was super crisp before I grilled the sandwich, but it did not snap when I bit into it.  The Havarti and apple just married perfectly.

Don’t be afraid, or turn up your nose, just try it. It’s not weird, it’s good.


Vegetarian Reuben? Yes, please!

A first shot, just to tempt you

I admit it.  I am a food tease.  It gives me great delight to tease and tempt all of you out there in blogville with stories and pictures of the food I create.  No one wishes more than I that there were scratch and sniff computer screens and virtual taste samples.  Then I could really get you going.

Last week I had some super strong cravings for a reuben sandwich.  Vita Cafe, here in Portland, Oregon,  makes a pretty good vegetarian reuben, but I think I whipped up one that could give Vita’s a run for its money.  Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly drive across town and throw  $7.50 down for one of their sandwiches, but I really prefer to cook and eat  here in the comfort of our fabulous home.

Would you like a step by step guide to a yum-tastic vegetarian reuben?  Well, you’ve come to the right blog.  First things first, the list:

Rye Bread – the best you can find

Sauerkraut – also, the best you can get your hands on

Swiss Cheese – I know you know what I’m gonna say here

Vegetarian meat substitute – I used Field Roast Wild Mushroom Slices

The dressing – I’ll tell you my recipe

Reuben Dressing

(enough for four sandwiches)

1/3 cup Vegenaise or mayo

2 tbsp ketchup

3 tsp prepared horseradish

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1 - Butter bread slices

I place a sheet of waxed paper on my work surface or cutting board.  Butter the bread slices on one side and place the buttered side down on the waxed paper.  Place slices on swiss cheese on each slice of bread.  I’m making two sandwiches here, as you can see, each sandwich has cheese on the top and bottom.

Step 2 - "meat" slices

Next, place your veggie “meat ” slices on top of the cheese on one piece of the bread.  I like to fold the slices over, deli style.

Step 3 - mound the sauerkraut

Here’s a fun part.  Place the sauerkraut on a double thickness of paper towel and squeeze a lot of the moisture out over the sink.  This will keep your sandwich from getting soggy.  Then mound the sauerkraut on top of the “meat” slices.

Here's another shot just because I like it

See that jar of sauerkraut?  I love that brand, Bubbies.  I use Bubbies horseradish, too.  I don’t know who she is or was, but her products rock.

Step 4 - The sauce

Spoon or ladle the sauce over the sauerkraut.  Be generous with it, but don’t go overboard or your sandwich may be difficult to flip over.  Place the other cheese topped bread slice on top of the sauce and you’re ready to grill it.

Grill it

Grill in a non stick pan or cast iron skillet, for best results.  Keep the heat pretty low, you want the bread to slowly brown and the cheese to get melty.

The perfect amount of sauce

See that little bit of sauce?  Perfect!  You don’t want it running all over the pan.  It will burn before your sandwich gets a chance to brown.

Golden brown, just the way I like it

See the nice melty cheese?  No sign of sauce running amok.  I did turn these over again and got the top parts a bit more grilled before serving ’em up.

Take a closer look

These look perfect.  I am so hungry right now.  I am actually making these again tonight because all day yesterday, Juice Fast Sunday, I was editing the photos and, well, it was a hard fast day, let me tell you.

Seriously good

OK, I can’t stand it.  Now I’m teasing myself!  I have to go make dinner, right now.  Bon Appetit!

One last parting shot


The Granwich


The Granwich

The Granwich

I like to make sandwiches for people.  It is my belief that you can take the exact same ingredients for a sandwich, give them to more than one person and you will get variations on that sandwich.  For me it’s all about how the sandwich is put together.  The layering, if you will.  My mouth will taste an entirely different flavor and texture if that sandwich is not layered a certain way.  For example, if you put the cheese in the center on the sandwich instead of resting next to the bread, your mouth will know the difference.  Don’t believe me?  Try it.


When I had my business “Naked Baker” my sandwiches were very popular.  Well, truth be told, all of my menu was popular, but people really liked my sandwiches.   I know it was because of the layering process I insisted upon.  I remember making a little diagram of how the sandwich went together.  I didn’t need it, of course, it was for if anyone was helping me make all of those sandwiches.  I don’t have a scanner or I would draw one and show you.  Perhaps in the future I can add one in.  So, without further ado, here is my tried and true layering process for a sandwich.


Take your slices of bread from the bag making sure that they are the slices that are next to one another.  In other words, don’t go rummaging around in the bag and pulling out two slices willy nilly.  Make sure they are the ones touching each other in the bag.  Now open them up like you were opening a book.  Why?  Because they match.  You want your sandwich to have symmetry.


I always use Vegenaise but you can certainly use mayonnaise, just make sure it’s the best, if you get my drift.  Spread one or both pieces of bread with the mayo. Are you going to use mustard as well?  This is important because the mustard always goes on the slice that will become the bottom of the sandwich. You can spread the mustard on top of the mayo if you are using mustard. The mustard goes on the bottom because the cheese is placed on the mustard spread bread.  Mustard compliments the flavor of the cheese, that’s why you want them touching.  Mustard does not compliment the flavor of lettuce and that is why you do not want mustard on the top piece of bread.  Complimenting the lettuce is the mayo’s job.


OK, so now we have the bread, mustard and cheese in place.  Next comes the deli slices.  I use vegetarian slices, you may use whatever you like.  Gently fold the slices not quite in half, the shorter half is on the bottom.  I usually use 4 slices, placing them in a slight overlap so they don’t pop open.  Next I slice the tomatoes, about ¼ inch thick and pat them on a paper towel.  This will help keep your sandwich from getting too soggy or dripping all over your plate and/or clothes.  Place the tomatoes slices on top of the deli slices, usually two slices of tomato is perfect.  The weight of the tomato will keep the deli slices in place.


Are you an onion fan? How about pickles or hot peppers?  Olives perhaps?  Well, step right up if you like any or all of these guys.  Slice your onion (I prefer red onion for most sandwiches) as thin as you can.  A mandolin or slicer comes in handy for thin slicing if you don’t have a good sharp knife.  And, by the way, why don’t you have a good sharp knife?  You really need one to do any kind of cooking, especially sandwich making. Scatter the onions thinly over the top of the tomato.  Next place a few pickles and/or sliced hot peppers for some zip and zing over the onion.  Thinly sliced red, orange or yellow bell peppers are also nice additions at this point.


Avocado anyone?  I love avocado on sandwiches.  I love avocado period.  Now is the time to add the avocado, if you are using one.  Why now?  Why not on top of the tomato?  Well, my friend, the tomato tends to be a bit slippery, even when you pat it somewhat dry.  The onion and pickles will help hold the avocado on top of this ever growing Granwich.  It’s important to slice the avocado about the same thickness of the tomato. It’s also important that the avocado is not too hard or soft.  Hard avocado has no flavor.  To me they always taste like lawn.  And soft avocado has only one good use and that’s called guacamole. Trust me, it’s a texture thing. I also like to sprinkle a little kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper on top of our green fruity friend.  Ok, let’s top this bad boy off with some lettuce (I prefer Romain but green leaf will do in a pinch) and place that bread spread with mayonnaise on top.


You now have a beautiful creation.  I like to cut it on the diagonal and eat it from the cut end.  There is something offensive about biting into the crust first on these Granwiches, but that’s just me.  You enjoy your creation as you see fit.


Let’s review.  Bite.  Taste.  Observe.  Freshness of the bread, creaminess of the mayo, crunch of the lettuce, nutty flavor of the avocado,  tartness of the pickle, searing heat of the hot pepper, sweet heat of the onion,  cooling sweetness of the tomato, savoriness of the deli slice, creamy comfort of the cheese, tang of the mustard, and back to the freshness of the bread.  What a treat!


When you stop to think about it (which I did as I was making one this morning) the Granwich is a complete meal.  The reason I stack or layer it the way I do is twofold.  It is deliberate flavor combinations but it is also a meal.  As you bite down you first get your salad and bread course, next comes a bit of a side/veggie course, then the protein and (some may argue this) your dessert course is the cheese and bread.  Or you can always eat a cookie after!


I never thought I could write almost two pages on how to make a sandwich but here you have it.










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