Sunday, December 27, 2015

Homemade Tim Hortons Breakfast Sandwich

Being the good Canadians we are, my husband Mike and I suffer from the occasional bout of Tim Hortons withdrawal.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with the institution that is Tim Hortons, allow me to educate you: Tim Hortons is the largest fast-food chain in Canada and it specializes in doughnuts, coffee and sandwiches. It was founded by Canadian NHL hockey player Tim Horton in the 1960s and there is a Tim Hortons in virtually every Canadian city, post-secondary campus, airport, community sports complex and corner gas station.  It’s known as Tims, Timmie’s, or Timmy Ho’s, in various communities. Their ‘Rrrroll up the Rrrrim to Win!’, ‘Camp Day’, Double-Doubles, Timbits doughnuts and the Timbits hockey teams (both of my nephews have started their hockey careers as Timbits, as well as NHL superstar Sidney Crosby), and their many other marketing tie-ins are extremely popular throughout my home and native land.

My Grandpa goes to the Tim Hortons in Olds, AB almost every day to visit with whoever’s there. My father-in-law makes daily runs into the Stettler, AB Tims for his large, black coffee. When we visit them, he often brings me back a small pack of Timbits, which I have to hide from the dogs. The chocolate ones are my favorite. Friends of mine swear the ultimate hangover cure is a large order of Tim Hortons chicken noodle soup and Mike has a soft spot for their iced-cappuccinos, no matter the outdoor temperature. I’ve often picked up coffee and snacks for my friends and coworkers as fuel during report card time, and almost every staff meeting or potluck lunch includes a box of Tim Hortons doughnuts.

So you can see how we would miss it occasionally.

In the winter, Mike and I would often pick up two sausage breakfast sandwiches, hashbrowns and orange juices on our way out to the cross country ski trails. Admittedly, not the most healthy pre-skiing breakfast, but it always hit the spot and gave us motivation to ski harder to burn it off.

The snow is scarce here in Le Plessis-Robinson, France and so are the fast-food places, which is actually a really good thing. But not when you’re missing a taste of home.

So we created our own, Homemade Tim Hortons Breakfast Sandwich and now you can too.



Ingredients:

-Half a pack of ground pork
-1/2 teaspoon each of paprika and cayenne pepper
-Cheddar cheese slices
-Eggs (1 per sandwich)
-Homemade dinner biscuits, which I made using butter instead of shortening, from this good recipe

Prep:

1-Mix the paprika and cayenne pepper in with ground pork.

2-Shape the pork into small patties and grill on a hot skillet. 

3-Make the biscuit dough and cook them for 13-15 minutes, as per the recipe. For a convection oven, set the initial time for 10 minutes and check them periodically to avoid burning. Allow them to cool a few minutes before assembling the sandwiches.

4-Whisk the eggs individually and pour each egg into a small, greased, microwave safe dish. 

5-Microwave the egg on a low setting, and check/pause it regularly to prevent mess and overcooking. Or cook them in the pork grease, if that’s what you fancy.

6-Slice the cooled biscuits in half and assemble the sandwich. Our order was egg, cheese, meat, top.

7-Pour yourself a Double-Double or a glass of orange juice and enjoy.

The result for us was a welcome taste of Canada on a balmy, French winter day. 

I’ll leave you to your sandwich making now, along with one of my favorite Tim Hortons commercials, featuring Sid the Kid himself and a nation of hockey-crazed Canadian folks.


Enjoy!



Friday, November 6, 2015

Leftover Turkey Dinner Sandwiches

Gobble, gobble! 'Tis the season to celebrate big dinners and lots of leftovers!

It’s the time of year when turkey dinners make themselves at home in our kitchens, dining rooms and after all is said and eaten, in our fridges in leftover form. You could enjoy piling up plate after plate of leftovers for the next few lunches and dinners – and there’s nothing wrong with doing just that. Who doesn’t love another meal of mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce?

Or you could compress all that goodness between two thick slices of bread instead.
And from the Tupperware and Pyrex containers of leftovers rises the Leftover Turkey Dinner Sandwich.

I’m not going to pretend the idea for this sandwich creation is uniquely mine because I know for a fact that many people have been enjoying this sandwich for countless post-turkey dinners. It’s probably not as iconic as Grilled Cheese, but it’s up there. At least, it is for me.

It’s hard to describe the sheer pleasure I got a few weeks ago, from pulling out the leftovers from our big Canadian Ex-Pat Thanksgiving Dinner and heaping them together in a huge, delicious mouthful of a sandwich. So tasty, so filling. After your next turkey dinner, I encourage you to do the same.

This was only part of the feast. Potluck dinners are amazing.
You will need:

Sandwich bread, thickly sliced, or a small baguette, ciabatta or sub-style loaf cut lengthwise
Whatever leftovers you have from Turkey Dinner: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, etc.
Mustard and/or mayo, if you so choose
A hearty appetite
Stretchy pants or a belt you can loosen after eating are nice to have too

Stuffing, mustard, cranberries, turkey and bread.
Prep:

1-Spread your chosen condiment(s) on the bread or loaf.

2-Pile on your turkey dinner fixings in any order you choose. My personal favorite is turkey (dark meat, if possible), then stuffing, then topped with cranberries. We almost never have mashed potato leftovers, so I haven’t tried them on the sandwich. Hopefully I will someday.

Ready for stacking and snacking upon.

3-Stack the sandwich closed. This part is a bit messy but worth it.

4-Enjoy with a Cranberry Ginger Ale. If you’re lucky enough to find the real Canada Day stuff, good for you! If not, top up your half-full glass of ginger ale with cranberry juice.

Stacked to perfection.

My sandwich was good and thick and biting into it brought back many memories of Thanksgiving Dinners past: at home with my family in Canada and here in France with seven other families that make up one big combined, extended family. Always great times with great people on both sides of the Atlantic.

A question I’d like to put out there in the blogosphere – to heat or not to heat?

I didn’t heat mine and it tasted just fine, but when my husband made his, he pre-heated the leftovers before assembling his sandwich. It comes down to personal preferences and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My husband's version, baguette style.

I hope this post gets you inspired with something fun to try after your next turkey dinner. For those of you who aren’t hosting and therefore don’t necessarily get leftovers, I hope your host sends you home with a care-package so the holiday gluttony can last for a few more days. Whether you eat your leftovers heaped on a plate or piled high in a sandwich, the end result should be the same: the satisfied silence of a turkey-dinner coma, complete with a full belly and a loosened belt.


Gobble, gobble, Sandwich Lovers. Eat up!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sandwiches of Denmark

Denmark is a delightful country to visit: its capital Copenhagen has a relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, brightly coloured architecture, a rich history, and – my marker of anywhere worth visiting - delicious food and drinks.

We discovered some of the excellent food, specifically sandwiches, on our recent visit to this beautiful Scandinavian country. We tried out as many different dining experiences as we could, from the take-out sandwich place on a busy street, the cozy sit-down lunch restaurant, to a bustling street-food market. With this much variety, each experience was unique and enjoyable and gave me lots of fun material to blog about.

The iconic and colourful Nyhan, which means 'new harbour'. 
Blue House:
After an epic trek up the 400+ steps of the Church of Our Saviour, we’d worked up quite an appetite and needed something quick and filling.  

The Church of Our Saviour: who wouldn't work up an appetite climbing that spire? 

So we decided to check out the nearby Blue House. The giant sandwich outside this tiny take-out restaurant on Market Street caught my eye – how could it not? 

Blue House: the giant sandwich is excellent marketing for hungry passers-by

The menu was written in Danish but since Danish is a cousin of English, we could pick out some key words, like roast beef, remoulade sauce and tomatoes. So that’s what we ordered. While we waited, we watched their high-lite promo video and learned more about their interesting sandwich-making process. First, they panini-grill the dough in individual sandwich-sized loaves, then they cut it lengthwise and assemble the sandwich directly inside the freshly grilled loaf. Finally, they re-grill the whole thing and serve it immediately. The result is a very fresh, very warm and toasty sandwich that we ate on a bench overlooking the canal.

The roast beef was quite rare, which tasted good but was a bit chewy and caused some messiness but overall, it was satisfying lunch on our first day in the city.

Roast beef from Blue House. A solid introductory Danish sandwich.
Spiseriet:
We took a day trip to Helsingør, where we spent the better part of an afternoon exploring Kronborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It was a slightly windy and chilly day, which only added to the atmosphere of our tour, led by Horatio himself. Afterwards, as we were wandering the streets in search of a lunch place, we found Spiseriet, a little restaurant tucked away at the end of a cobblestoned alley. 

Spiseriet, in the town of Helsingnor

Its lunch specialty was smørrebrød, the Danish word for an open-faced sandwich. Denmark has a long tradition, dating back to the Middle Ages, of serving smørrebrød as a light meal and who were we to argue with tradition? When in Denmark, do as the Danes do.

I enjoyed two smørrebrød: first the Roast Pork and then the Potato. The Roast Pork consisted of thin slices of rye bread, topped with two thick pieces of roast pork, pickled red cabbage and cucumber. The meat was warm and the cabbage was similar to a nice, non-mayo based coleslaw. Since the portions were small and the first round was so good, we each ordered another: the Potato for me and Mike, and the Mustard-Herring, topped with watercress and fried capers for my uncle. My auntie ordered apple crumble for dessert.

The Roast Pork
The Mustard Herring


The Potato
The Potato smørrebrød was two thin slices of rye bread with warm, thick slices of potato, sprinkled with crisp bacon, fresh dill, red and green onion, and topped with a dollop of smoky cream cheese/sour cream. Divine! It was my favorite – a warm, fresh, dill-pickle potato chip sandwich.

For more information about smørrebrød, check out this excellent blog I found on the subject: 


I know I’ll be searching it for new recipes and sandwich-spiration.

Copenhagen Street Food:
This bustling street food market was a super fun experience on our last day in Copenhagen. Located across the harbour from the Opera House, near Nyhan (the beautiful harbour of colourful buildings and boats) and Christianshavn in an old paper-manufacturing warehouse, the Copenhagen Street Food market is home to over 30 unique food trucks and stalls. You can try everything from traditional Danish sandwiches and burgers, to butter chicken, fancy spring rolls and Brazilian BBQ. There are even a few different bars to try, if you want to get your wine/beer/cocktail on. The food is well-priced and decently portioned so you don’t have to spend all your Kroner at one place – and nor should you!


It was hard to narrow down all our options but we managed somehow and trust me, that’s the #firstworldproblem you don’t mind having on vacation. After a quick initial pass through the warehouse, we decided on DUCK IT, the burger place near the front, for a completely satisfying pulled-duck burger served hot off the grill, stuffed with red onions and salad greens. 

Pulled Duck Burger from DUCK IT

To keep our duck-trend going, we paired our burgers with paper cones stuffed to overflowing with Belgian frites double-fried in duck fat from Copper and Wheat. There was greasy-ducky gloriousness in every bite, enjoyed at one of the indoor picnic tables under the twirling cow-shaped disco ball.

Belgian frites double-fried in duck fat from Copper and Wheat

Groovy Disco-Cow
Visiting Copenhagen was definitely one of the highlights of my summer and I hope that wherever you traveled, you were met with similar positive experiences: friendly people, interesting sights and as always, unique and delicious food.

Cheers to you, Copenhagen, and to your beautiful sandwiches! Skål!


Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer BBQ Chicken Burgers

‘Tis the season for getting together with friends, sharing cold drinks, laughing and enjoying the beautiful weather - there’s hardly a better way to celebrate summer than to bust out the BBQ.

BBQ chicken burgers are a favorite of mine, especially when they’re tender and juicy, all grilled to perfection, and topped with crisp veggies. They make a delicious, filling dinner on their own but when paired with a fresh pasta salad and a cold glass of lemonade, they go from dinner to summer feast.

Summer BBQ Chicken Burger

BBQ Chicken Burgers:
-four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-buns or a thick Artisan loaf cut into bun-sizes
-mayo
-fresh cilantro, freshly chopped
-olive oil, ground black pepper, dried basil and chilli powder for the rub
-burger toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, red peppers, etc.

Burger Prep:
-Mix the ingredients for the rub and apply to the chicken breasts before placing them on a hot grill
-Turn each side until grill marks appear and both sides are cooked
-Check for doneness by cutting through one of the breasts at its thickest part: the meat should be white, not pink and the juices should run clear
-Mix the mayo and cilantro together and spread it on the buns or loaves
-Top with burger veggies and serve with a side of pasta salad and a glass of lemonade

Fresh Pasta Salad

Fresh Pasta Salad:
-2 cups of bowtie pasta
-1 cup each of chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red/yellow pepper
-2/3 cup feta cheese, cubed
-1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano for the dressing
Prep:
-Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and run under cold water to cool.
-Combine with the veggies and feta cheese.
-Mix the dressing and toss with the salad.
-Chill in the fridge until the burgers are ready to serve.

Homemade Lemonade

Homemade Lemonade:
-Combine 2 cups of boiled water with ½ cup white sugar, mix until dissolved and chill.
-Juice 4-5 lemons (more or less, depending on your tastes) and combine with the sugar water. Adding a bit of pulp is a nice touch.
-Add 5-6 cups of cold water and mix.
-Chill until ready to serve.

This is a tasty, tasty summer meal. The spices in the burger rub provide some nice, complimentary flavors, which can be altered to suit your specific tastes. This burger/salad/lemonade combo is best enjoyed on a patio or a backyard picnic table with friends, music playing in the background and a lovely view to admire. Enjoy!

Our Summer View!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Baked Potato Grilled Cheese

In my constant search for sandwich-inspiration, thank goodness for the Internet!

I recently found an epic list of different grilled cheese incarnations, henceforth to be referred to as The List, and after I wiped the drool off my chin, I faced the difficult decision of which one to make. The Baked Potato Grilled Cheese won out and I’m super excited to share my vision of it with you.



To create this sandwich edition of a baked potato with all the fixin’s, you will need:

-2 Large Baking Potatoes (Russets are good)
-Bacon
-Sharp cheddar cheese
-Sturdy sandwich bread
-Green onion
-Sour cream or crème fraîche


Prep :
1-Fry the bacon until crispy, then cut it into small bits.
2-Shred the potatoes and fry them up like hash browns (in the bacon grease, if that’s how you roll).
3-Slice the onion and grate the cheese.
4-Assemble the sandwich and insert some toothpicks to hold everything together.


Cooking:
I tried to grill them in the skillet like a regular grilled cheese, but the abundance of ingredients made it difficult for the sandwich to melt together and flipping it was basically impossible. So I did what one does when making stuffed baked potatoes: I baked them in the oven! They only needed 15 minutes total, but I rotated the pan at halftime so make sure they cooked evenly.

I served them immediately with a side of sour cream. So good! The onions were the unexpected star of this sandwich, as they added a nice spicy flavour and heat, while complimenting the bacon and the potatoes. This is a super-filling sandwich on its own, but I recommend adding a side salad to balance out the hot-mess of melted cheese and bacon grease.




It doesn’t have to be Grilled Cheese Month to enjoy this type of sandwich. If you’re feeling adventurous and creative, consult The List - and the blog! - for some excellent sandwich-spiration. 



Happy Grilling and Sandwich Eating!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crunchy Croque Monsieur

A Croque Monsieur is an inside-out grilled cheese!

I've been chowing down on this famous French sandwich since we moved here and I'm so pumped to share it during Grilled Cheese Month 2015.

Viola Le Croque Monsieur: an inside-out grilled cheese!

Croquer means 'to crunch' and the loud crunch it should make when you bite into it is how it got its name. Like the other great French sandwiches I've enjoyed, it has super simple ingredients: bread, ham, emmental cheese, for the inside, and melted Gruyere cheese on top.  

The tricky part of making this at home was finding the right bread. The beautiful artisan breads I love are also very holey, which isn't ideal for a grilled sandwich. Luckily, bakers are like pharmacists, since there are as many pharmacies here as there are bakeries, and if you go to one with a question, they can help you get what you need. So I went to the new bakery that just opened behind our house for some expert advice. The result was a very small, square loaf of bread, plucked fresh from the shelf. The slices were no bigger than small ceramic tiles in a bathroom, so I knew it would be a multiple Croque Monsieur meal.


Small bread makes a tasty, crunchy Croque Monsieur.
To create your own Croque Monsieur, you will need:

-Non-holey bread
-Ham
-Emmental cheese
-Mustard (optional, but you know how I feel about my spicy mustard!)
-Gruyere cheese for the top

Prep:

  1. Spread mustard on one slice of bread.
  2. Top with ham and slices of emmental.
  3. Assemble the other piece of bread.
  4. Sprinkle a thick layer of grated Gruyere on top.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes/until the top is nicely melted and golden.  

Any kind of grilled cheese, inside and out, is a big favorite of mine but I can't deny that all that melted cheese alone is not super healthy. So I paired my Croque Monsieurs with another crunchy dish, a fresh Broccoli Salad, for a tasty serving of veggies and sweet fruit. 

Equally crunchy Broccoli Salad with apples and dried cranberries.


Prep for the Broccoli Salad:
  1. Rinse the broccoli and chop into bite-sized florerets.
  2. Chop up an apple and toss in a big handful of dried cranberries.
  3. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and toss in a cream dressing (to make a quick one, add some milk, white sugar and ground pepper to a big dollop of mayo and mix until thin.)
Mmm..crunch! What a lovely sound! The spicy mustard really made this Croque Monsieur pop! 

My stack of Croque Monsieurs was a great opportunity to break in my new sandwich tray! I found it in a fun gift shop on a recent trip to Brussels, Belgium. That shop reminded me of one of my favorite shops in Edmonton that closed last year, The Tin Box. I knew as soon as I saw the tray, it needed to come home with me and fulfill its purpose of serving up delicious sandwich meals. 

How awesome is this tray?! 


Happy Sandwich Making! Crunch!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Micky's Deli or The Best Pastrami Sandwich in Paris

You’d think that after living in France for over 7 months, I would have learned by now not to go exploring on an empty stomach.

Alas, I must be a slow learner! Poor me…#firstworldproblems

But with its countless boulangeries, crêperie-carts, and sandwich shops, it’s not hard to find something to eat while out and about in the City of Lights. Plus, being hungry can lead to discovering some pretty fun places that one wouldn’t normally find when already fed and watered.

Micky's Deli, 23 bis Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
Such as Micky’s Deli, a bustling little Kosher deli-restaurant in the Jewish Quarter of Paris in Le Marais, one of my favorite areas in the city because of the amazing, medieval architecture, the windy, uneven cobblestone streets, and its fascinating history. 

It's home to the incredible Centre de Danse du Marais, the Musée Picasso, and countless boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants, like our spontaneous find, Micky's Deli. The first time I went there, it was after exploring the nearby Musée Carnavalet, which is “dedicated to the history of Paris and its inhabitants…from the prehistoric times to the present.” It’s a fascinating place and well-worth your time to explore, especially if you’re feeling a bit ‘gallery-ed out’ by all the other amazing museums Paris has to offer. While looking for a place to eat, I was starting to get a bit impatient…okay, hangry…but I’m glad I hung in there while Mike and I wandered down Rue des Rosiers and stumbled upon this fun place to eat.

One sandwich, two plates. Perfect for sharing!
It was already packed with the late-lunch crowd when our server squeezed us in, but a busy place is often the sign of a good restaurant and we didn’t mind the tight fit one bit. The air was warm and thick with delicious smells, animated conversations and laughter in multiple languages and North American pop-music. We perused the menu and decided to split the pastrami sandwich and fries.

Good thing we agreed to split it because it’s huge!

It’s least 2.5 inches thick of warm, melt-in-your-mouth slices of pastrami, barely contained by two slices of fresh bread. The fries were great too – just the right balance of crispy and greasy – classic diner fries. I alternated plain bites with bites spread with a layer of spicy, sinus-clearing mustard (the best kind!) and enjoyed, what I believe is, the best pastrami sandwich in Paris.

But sometimes when you’re ridiculously hungry/hangry, things can taste better than they actually are. That’s when I decided I owed it to myself to go back, test it again, and make sure it really is as good as my satiated appetite decided it was. So I returned a few weeks later with a friend and promised her an excellent sandwich experience.

Salmon Bagel and Fries
Micky’s did not disappoint either of us. She ordered the salmon bagel, which even when cut in half was as big as my head, and I got the pastrami sandwich all to myself.

Yup – still huge, still melt-in-your-mouth, bulgingly-thick and super filling. But I should have been hungrier, since then I probably could have finished the whole thing by myself.

Alas, I’m a slow learner when it comes to the correct empty-stomach/fed-and-watered balance. I just have to keep trying to get it right!

#firstworldsandwichproblems 
The Best Pastrami Sandwich in Paris


For more about pastrami sandwiches, check out one of my earliest posts, The Mighty Pastrami.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bridges, Poulet Crudités and Being in the Moment

One day during my ESL Teacher training course in January, I bought a baguette sandwich from the bakery two doors down on Rue Dauphine (right in the heart of the Latin Quarter, such a cool area!) and walked a few blocks north to Pont Neuf and ate my lunch right there on the bridge, overlooking the Seine.

Lunch on Pont Neuf: Poulet Crudité, jus de pomme et pain au chocolat.

Pont Neuf, contrary to its name, is not a ‘new bridge’. It was actually built in 1578 and it has two parts that span the right and left banks of Ile-de-la-Cite. It’s a beautiful place and I was needing a few minutes of calm during a very busy and intensive course. I remember planting myself firmly in the moment, taking a deep, yogic breath, and deliberately acknowledging: “This is my lunch break. I’m eating on Pont Neuf. In Paris. Wow!”

Because life gets busy sometimes. And we often forget to just take a moment and acknowledge where we are and what we’re doing. Sometimes, the scenery of everyday, anywhere, can start to blend together and we can lose track of calm, lovely moments that make life interesting.

So I chose to make that moment count and to enjoy every single bite of my delicious sandwich, there on one of the oldest bridges in Paris.

The sandwich I bought from that bakery was a Poulet Crudité, a chicken sandwich with vegetables and a salad dressing sauce on a crusty baguette. It was tasty and filling and kept me going through the busy afternoons of teaching, observing and planning during my course. Recently, I had some lovely leftover roast chicken and I was inspired to gather the ingredients and make my own version of the Poulet Crudité, right at home. And now, you can too!

Cheese and eggs
You will need:

-one baguette
-Mayo or salad dressing sauce, like ranch
-roast chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces or thin slices
-some cheese of your choice; we used some nice Bleu des Neiges, a combination brie/blue type cheese
-hard boiled eggs, sliced (1 egg per sandwich)
-tomato slices
-lettuce/salad greens

Chicken and Tomatoes



Prep:

1-Slice the baguette in half, lengthwise.

2-Drizzle the mayo/salad dressing on each half of the bread loaf.


4-Layer the bottom half of the bread with cheese, chicken, egg slices, tomato and lettuce.

5-Assemble the top half of the baguette, slice and serve. Makes two big, dinner-sized sandwiches!

Poulet Crudité: Pret a Manger!
This particular sandwich was eaten for dinner in the comfort of my own home, with the company of my husband. It may not be as exciting as a bridge in Paris, but it’s home and I enjoyed every bite of this sandwich just as much as I enjoyed the other one.

I want to mention that the first time I ate lunch on Pont Neuf, it was Friday, January 9 2015, the day there was a hostage situation underway in Porte de Vincennes. I didn’t know it was happening at the time and where I was in Paris, it was business as usual. The Paris attacks shocked me and my husband, as it shocked the rest of the world and we were quick to reassure our friends and family that we were safe.

Shocked though we were, we still went to the ballet at Palais Garnier that weekend, because life must continue. And the following week, I made a point to buy my lunch again (a different kind of  sandwich from the same bakery) and eat it on Pont Neuf. Because I refuse to live in fear and I want to keep looking for the good in my life, in the people around me, and in my surroundings.

And I’m happy to report that the view was just as picturesque and my sandwich was just as tasty as it was before! Paris is a beautiful and a tough city, having withstood a lot in her history, and I will continue to look for the good in it and take the time to deliberately acknowledge that I’m lucky and happy to be here.

One of my favorite lunch spots in a beautiful and tough city.

I hope you find the time to be in the moment and appreciate where you are, what you're doing and to find the good in it.

Thanks for your support and Happy Sandwich Making!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ciabatta Goodness

Can you pronounce ciabatta?

It’s a tricky one – the ‘ci’ is actually pronounced like ‘chi’, so to say the name of this lovely bread correctly, try ‘chi-batta’. I actually looked up how to pronounce it – thank you Macmillan Dictionary and your audio clips for pronunciation!

Fresh Ciabatta Goodness!
This sudden attention to the pronunciation of foreign words is a result of the intensive English Teacher training course I recently completed at the International Language Center in Paris. I can now apply for English teaching positions and the world is wide open to me once again!

During my course, I brought my lunch from home as much as possible. This was helpful to save money, since buying lunch everyday can be expensive, and to save time, especially on those afternoons when I was teaching. I often brought homemade sandwiches made with ciabatta bread and stuffed with my favorite sandwich innards: multiple types of meat and cheese, veggies and mustard.

Stacked and Packed!
I can get fresh ciabatta bread  at my local grocery store and one loaf can make multiple sandwiches, depending on the size of my appetite: 3 small or 2 large. Ciabatta is lovely bread, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, with lots of nice little nooks and crannies to hold reserves of mustard. It’s a worthy alternative to the baguette and it makes some pretty amazing sandwiches, both fresh and toasted.

A medley of goodness and ingredients
Possible ingredients for some Ciabatta Goodness include:

Meat: Ham, salami, sausage, roast beef, roast chicken or turkey
Cheese: Emmental, gouda, camembert (so good!)
Veggies: Feuilles de chêne (salad greens), arugula, spinach, avocado, red pepper, tomato, etc.
Condiments: Butter, mustard (multiple kinds in the same sandwich!), mayo

Prep:

1-Cut a fresh ciabatta loaf in half, length wise.
2-Spread butter and/or mustard on the halves, alternating or combining as per your tastes.
3-Pile on your choice(s) of meat(s) and cheese(s).
4-Top with veggies.
5-Assemble the top half of the loaf.
6-Cut to your desired size and number of sandwiches.
7-Serve and enjoy!

One Ciabatta Loaf = Multiple Sandwiches!
To create a tasty toasted ciabatta sandwich, place both halves of the bread (after the meat and cheese are in place, but before adding the veggies) in the oven under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, top with veggies, cut and serve!

Tasty and Toasty Ciabatta Sandwich
This sandwich was a conversation starter among my new classmates during my course and it was extremely filling to eat for lunch. It also works well at sandwich parties or potlucks, where there are lot of fun ingredient combinations to play with. We brought some ciabatta to a recent gathering of sandwich lovers (friends) and they were a big hit there too.

So give it a try with your favorite ingredients and when someone asks you about your sandwich, because they will, tell them it’s all in the ciabatta bread and help them pronounce it correctly.


Just don’t talk with your mouth full!

Upside-down Ciabatta Goodness.