Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grilled goat cheese sandwich

Following along with my sandwich kick, I decided to take my grilled cheese to another level. This is a play on my Mediterranean grilled cheese.

Grilled goat cheese sandwich

Basil and garlic flavored goat cheese spread
Ready made tahini spread
Half an avocado (the other half is to enjoy), thinly sliced lengthwise
2 slices whole wheat challah, cut about 1-inch thick
Thin slices of seedless cucumber

Spread the goat cheese on one slice of challah and the tahina on the other.

Place the avocado over the goat cheese and the cucumbers on the tahina. Sprinkle some zaatar over the cucumbers.

Heat a cap-full of olive oil in a large frying pan. Bring the sandwich together and place in the pan when the oil is hot - splash a few drops of water and if the oil pops, it's ready. Reduce the heat to medium and let the sandwich sit about 2 minutes. Flip the sandwich and let sit another minute so that the cheese melts and both sides are browned.

Remove the sandwich and let it cool for a minute and then slice in half and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One of the best PB&J sandwiches you'll ever eat

Yesterday I posted about a video of how to make a PB&J sandwich. Today I actually tried it. Man, I totally been eating PB&J the wrong way! The flavors in this were fantastic. Like Chow recommended, I used sriracha sauce and fresh basil, but I also added some sesame seeds. I think a little lime juice might go well with it as well, for an extra tang and a little more of that pad thai flavor. I might have to try that tomorrow.

In case you haven't noticed, I am now on a sandwich kick. I stocked on assorted cheeses at the supermarket last night and will be posting about various experiments for the next few days.  One standby I've been eating for years is a Mediterranean grilled cheese I created, which is basically feta and schug (or harissa) stuffed inside a pita, which is then grilled in olive oil. Zaatar is then sprinkled on the outside of the sandwich as well.

But you're here for PB&J! So here is what I did.

Two slices of challah, cut about 1-inch thick
Chunky peanut butter
Grape jelly
Approximately 7 fresh basil leaves
Sriracha sauce
Sesame seeds

Spread the peanut butter and jelly on opposite sides of the bread.

Lay out the basil leaves on the jelly.

Drizzle the sriracha sauce on the peanut butter and then sprinkle the sesame seeds over it.

Close the sandwich.

In a large frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil (it's OK to use the cheap stuff for this), about half a cap-full.  When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and place the sandwich in the pan.

You don't want to overdo it, you just want the bread to get a nice, golden brown, so keep a close eye on the sandwich. I recommend maybe 30 seconds on each side.

Remove the sandwich using a slotted spatula to drain off excess oil, and set aside for a minute. After the sandwich cools a little, slice it down the middle and enjoy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Making PB&J

I just had to share this video on how to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich from One of the key ingredients, as most people already know, is bread, but imagine my surprise when Chow recommended using challah.

Challah makes great French toast and bread pudding, and tastes great with some chopped liver lathered on top. But PB&J? Hadn't thought about it before, but it makes sense. And I have actually been using challah rolls for all sorts of sandwiches already, including PB&J, but now I will try slicing off that big challah loaf and, as Chow recommends, adding some sriracha and basil, which basically sounds like a Pad Thai sandwich - which sounds delicious. 

On my way to the market now to restock my PB&J supplies, and it looks like I know what I'm making for lunch tomorrow. I will be sure to update you on my progress.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Beat the heat with a pickle

Boy, is it hot outside. What better snack is there than a crisp, cool, refreshing, sour pickle?

With people heading out to barbecues and picnics, I don't think it's coincidence that July is also National Pickle Month. I gave you a great recipe for potato salad last week, and one of the key ingredients in that potato salad is pickles. In a recent article for JTA, I explored the history of the kosher dill and pickle popularity.


Popularized in America by Jews, pickles pack a punch

And after this experience, I think I may just try some home-pickling of my own! Stay tuned for results!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Potato salad

Happy Fourth of July, everybody!

Like many other proud Americans today, I attended a barbecue and I brought with me some of my famous homemade potato salad. This recipe was handed down to me from my mother, who got it from her father. It's a very old-world style potato salad, like you'd find in a good Jewish deli.

I remember I made it for a party a few years ago and one person there said he really liked it and he doesn't typically like potato salad because most use pickles and he hates pickles. Imagine his surprise when I told him the secret ingredient was a couple of sour pickles. Chop them up fine enough and they accentuate the flavors of the salad instead of overpowering.

I also made my coleslaw for the barbecue, which I recommend reviewing. With summer BBQ season officially underway these recipes will be great standbys for you.

Potato salad

5 lbs russet potatoes
4 large sour pickles
5 stalks of celery
2 cups mayonnaise (or more to taste)
Canola oil

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add in the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in their skins until they become fork tender and the skins begin to fall off, about 25 minutes. Boiling the potatoes in their skins makes them much easier to peel afterward.

Drain the potatoes and let them cool a bit, then peel them and cut them into chunks. Place the chunks into a large bowl and coat with a small amount of oil, I used about four cap-fulls. Toss well to coat. 

Finely chop the celery and pickles. I use a food processor fitted with a blade on pulse until just about before the pickles become relish. Add the mixture to the potatoes. 

Add in the mayo and mix well. Salt to taste and then mix it again. Refrigerate overnight in a covered container to allow the flavors to meld and enjoy the next day.