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Posts from the ‘Sandwiches’ Category

Bread To Celebrate The Harvest And A Grilled Cheese Sandwich


First of all, my post yesterday was supposed to publish today, I must have done something wrong when I scheduled the post, I decided not to pull it and didn’t mention it hoping no one noticed the discrepancy. It is actually one year ago today that my Nando passed.  Thank you all for your kind words and support!

August 1 is the day that the harvest is celebrated, it is nearing the end of the summer and fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready for harvest. We are also inching closer to the Fall (my favorite season) looking forward to cooler temperatures, apples, pumpkins, sweaters, leaves turning a beautiful color, Halloween. Well, I guess you can tell how much I love the Autumn. To celebrate a plentiful and abundant harvest I made some bread. This bread has been posted on this blog numerous times, it’s a recipe I use over and over each time with stellar results. The recipe is from my friend Cynthia @The Solitary Cook. She is a professional chef, baker, caterer, restauranteur, she is amazing. The bread always turns out good. The recipe makes a lot of bread. I made a large boule, 8 rolls and still have bread dough resting in the fridge that I will make tomorrow, it gets even better with a good long rest to develop. The grilled cheese sandwich was inspired by my dear friend Cheryl (cheffie cooks Wiser, aka super woman who successfully runs 9 blogs, I have mentioned her before. She made this wonderful grilled cheese sandwich and although I cannot find it on her site, I wanted to give a shout out to Cheryl who inspires me all the time.

I made the bread yesterday and it was dinner with a salad made from tomatoes from my garden and from the farmers market and some tomato balsamic jam and olive oil to dip that bread in.


This is an abbreviated version of the bread recipe without the wonderful tutorial from Cynthia, follow the link to her blog for expert directions.

Rustic Italian Bread

Makes 3 loaves, or 2 loaves and 8 rolls (You decide)


12 ounces warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast or 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used 1 tsp instant yeast)

2 cups bread flour

Mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until double in bulk. Then refrigerate overnight.

The Bread Dough

16 oz warm water

2 tsp active dry yeast or 1 tsp instant yeast ( I used 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast)

1/4 cup warm milk

approx 1 heaping tbs of honey

The preferment

2 tsp salt

4 cups bread flour

2 cups all purpose flour

Note: If using active dry yeast add the water and yeast and whisk to combine. If using instant you don’t have to do that you can add everything together.

Add all ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until it is completely combined there should be no streaks of flour. Turn off the mixer, you will let the dough rest it’s called autolyse. Cover the bowl with plastic and let sit for 20-30 minutes. When you see the dough after you have let it rest it will come together nicely when kneaded. Turn the mixer on and knead for at least 5 minutes, if the dough is too wet add a little more bread flour so it’s cohesive. You will know when the dough is ready by doing the windowpane test, grab a walnut size piece of dough and stretch gently with your fingers, if it doesn’t break it’s read, if it does break knead a little longer to develop the gluten.

Oil a very large bowl or 2 large bowls, plop the dough in, turn over so it’s oiled on top. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until doubled. Once it’s risen you can take as much of the dough as you want and make some bread, put the other dough in the refrigerator to rest for up to 2 days.

Once risen, form your bread onto a parchment lined baking sheet, dust with flour and cover with a tea towel and let it rise for about an hour. To know if it’s ready it should have almost doubled in bulk and when you gently press your finger onto the dough the indent should stay not pop back.

While your bread is rising pre heat the oven to 450 degree’s. Slash the top of the bread approximately 1/2 inch deep, dust with flour and place in the oven, throw in some ice cubes and reduce the heat to 425 degree’s. Turn the pan around after 15 minutes and bake approximately 35-40 minutes depending on the size of the loaf or rolls. The bread should sound hollow when tapped and be a nice golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.


Grilled Cheese Sandwich – No recipe required

Grilled zucchini

arugula (optional)

sauteed shallot or onion

tomato or tomato jam

cheese (I used taleggio)


olive oil



Grill the zucchini and saute the shallot until nicely browned season with a little salt. Put it all together and grill in olive oil and butter until crispy golden brown and cheese is melty and gooey.


A Trio Of Bruschetta


I participate in a cooks collective headed up by Sonal from simplyvegetarian777, you all know Sonal. She will ask those that participate in this Facebook event to come up with a recipe and link it to the Facebook page. This time, since the Superbowl is around the corner she asked us to prepare super bowl appetizers or snacks. This was right up my alley since lately I have wanted food that is simple to make, takes very little time to cook, is snack size and delicious. I have made multiple loaves of this Rustic Italian Bread, I wrap it and freeze it and it is just as good as the day I bake it after some time in the oven to crisp and thaw.

There is really no recipe here, I am sure you have all had bruschetta, so simple to make and you can have an endless variety of toppings.. I made three different types all taking almost no time at all to prepare. They are wonderful as a starter or even a meal. You can make the tomatoes and squash and pesto ahead of time and refrigerate, I like to do that because putting these together will be quick and simple. There is really no recipe for this you can make them as you like and to suite your taste. The Super Bowl challenge must be vegetarian or vegan, this is a meat free zone. I love the idea of bruschetta with varied ingredients and flavors.

The Bruschetta

Ricotta, roasted tomato and basil

Parsley,basil,garlic and pine nut pesto with tomato, shaved parmigiana drizzled with balsamic vinegar

Oven roasted butternut sqush with sage and ricotta drizzled with honey..

You will need the following:

Start with a loaf of good rustic, peasant bread

Garlic 2 cloves – 1 for the pesto and the other to rub on the bread

olive oil

sea salt and pepper

Tomatoes – enough for oven roasted and sliced on top of the pesto

herbs, I like basil and parsley and dried sage for the squash


Cheese, romano and parmigiana

butternut squash cut into bite size pieces.


pine nuts-toasted

Pre heat oven to 375. Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, sprinkle with dried sage and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. You can roast the tomatoes at the same time. Cut in half and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper takes approximately 30 minutes in the oven.

Make your pesto: In the food processor add a handful of Italian flat leaf parsley a couple of basil leaves, a clove of garlic, toasted pine nuts and grated cheese. Process until it’s chopped and then add 1/4 cup olive oil while the processor is running.

rustic italian bread

rustic italian bread

Slice your bread in approximately 1/2 inch thick slices diagonally.  For the ricotta and roasted tomato and pesto bruschetta rub the bread lightly with a clove of garlic, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with the tinest amount of salt and place in the broiler just until it starts to toast, don’t let it get dark. Spoon some ricotta on a slice, arrange some roasted tomato, sprinkle some grated cheese and return to the broiler for a minute or so, just to heat it, it will get a little browned on top. Before serving drizzle with olive oil and place some basil leaves on to garnish.

Spread the pesto on the bread, add some sliced tomato and shaved parmigiana, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For the Butternut Squash bruschetta, spread some ricotta on a slice of bread, place some of the roasted squash on top and place in the oven on broil for about a minute just to heat it and get slightly browned. To serve drizzle with some honey and sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt and some ground pepper.

More Bruschetta ideas

More Bruschetta ideas





Classic Nicoise-An American/French Pairing For #Wine PW


We are in the throes of summer and July is the month that at least for me is the quintessential summer month, it’s also the month that America celebrates it’s Independance on July 4th and the French celebrate Bastille day on July 14th. What better way to mark both holidays than with an American/ French food and wine pairing.  Michelle@Rockin Red Blog invited me to participate,  I was thrilled but a little scared, I’ve done plenty of posts utilizing the expertise of the wine experts but have never actually done this myself. There can be any number of combinations, American food French wine, American food and wine etc…..  I chose a classic French dish that is light and IMHO perfect summer fare, Salade Nicoise, and I thought it would be fun to pair with both an American and French wine.


Salade Nicoise is a delicious combination of assorted vegetables, olives,  hard boiled eggs and tuna or anchovies, the salad is dressed with a vinaigrette and I will serve with a fresh baguette and wine of course.  Really no recipe is needed but I will give you the breakdown of what my salad consists of:
Salad Nicoise

3 thick tuna steaks

1/2 lb haricot vert with only the stem end removed

4 hard boiled eggs

2 beets roasted

1/2 lb small new potatoes cleaned and roasted

cherry tomatoes

olives- nicoise olives preferably or kalamaata works also

young french radishes


Coat the potatoes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. At the same time roast the beets, clean well, drizzle with olive oil add a sprig of thyme and wrap in foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes. Clean and trim the haricot vert, place a saucepan filled with water on high heat to boil, add a tbs of salt to the water. When it comes to a rolling boil add the green beans and boil for 8 minutes. Immediately drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and the beans will retain their lovely green color. Make the hard boiled eggs. Clean the radishes and tomatoes. Prepare the tuna last, mind you all of this can be done ahead of time and assembled the day you are going to serve the salad.


1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dijon mustard

scant tsp of honey

Place everything in a lidded jar and shake to combine.


Heat fry pan with a little olive oil on Medium high heat (make sure it’s sizzling hot). Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper (be generous with the pepper) Sear the tuna 3-4 minutes on each side (depending on thickness mine were about 1 1/2 inches thick) and immediately remove from the fry pan. Let sit 10 minutes and slice.

Arrange the vegetables and egg artistially on a platter, add the tuna slices and serve the vinaigrette on the side.

The wine:



American Wine- Finger Lakes region of New York State

Dr Konstantin Frank – 2013 Dry Reisling,

Rose champagne

Rose champagne

French Wine- NV Montaudon Grande Rosé Champagne – Reims, France

50% Chardonnay, 35% pinot noir, 15% pinot noir (red)


Why I chose these wines:

I love wine and enjoy with my food but I am not a professional at wine pairings. I thought about what I was serving and what I would like to have with it, both the dry Reisling and Rosé Champagne came to mind. I did a little research and found that my instincts were pretty good. I thought the Reisling, especially this particular one from upstate New York is clean, crisp, and it would be a great match with the tuna.

When considering the Rosé Champagne one usually thinks in terms of desserts or something sweet but Rosé and specifically Rosé Champagne is excellent with many and varied savory dishes from  grilled meats to a Nicoise Salade. The Champagne also has a lively acidity and I felt that would be important when considering what to pair with this dish.


The Pairing

Both wines were amazing and they were the perfect compliment to the salad. I first tasted the Reisling which is nicely dry, just the slightest hint of sweetness almost undetectable. It is a very distinct wine that was delicious with the meal. It’s very well balanced in both acidity and mineral content.

The Rosé Champagne is I think one of the best I have had. It’s a delicate champagne, a gorgeous deep pink, effervescant, crisp, fruity, slightly sweet and beautifully balanced. It went so well with the salad. I served ice cold.  This Champagne would be fantastic with anything including dessert.

If I had to pick one that was my favorite (and thats a tough one) I would have to say the Rosé Champagne wins my vote. I already ordered 2 more bottles.

It was an honor to be invited to participate in this with so many great bloggers most of whom are experts and really know their stuff when it comes to the intricacies of wine. Please check out their posts by clicking on the links below:

A Day in the Life on the Farm: “An American Feast for #WinePW”
Confessions of a Culinary Diva: “Provence Style Pan Roasted Chicken with Rose”
Cooking Chat: “Gruyere Cheeseburgers with a Bordeaux”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Tapenade-Topped Sablefish + Cave de Saint-Roch-les-Vignes Côtes de Provence Rosé”
Curious Cuisiniere: “Cherry Clafoutis paired with a Cremant Rosé”
Dracaena Wines: “Discovering the Truth About Bastille Day with #WinePW”
ENOFYLZ Wine Blog: “Independence Day at Ridge Vineyards Zins and Blends #winePW”
Food Wine Click: “All American Menu: Farmer & Winery Friends”
Grape Experiences: “Wine and Dine: Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc Cotes du Roussillon and Salade Niçoise”
Pull That Cork: “Domaine de Bila-Haut and Cobb Salad for #winePW”
Rockin Red Blog: “Celebrating America & France with July #WinePW”
Tasting Pour: “Steak with Mushroom Cognac Sauce, Patriotic Potatoes, and Bell Wine Cellars Cab Sauv #winepw”
Vino Travels: The Alchemy of Hunt Country Vineyards Paired with Braised Beef Short Ribs
Please join us this morning at 10 am CST on Twitter for a fun and lively discussion on our American and French food and wine pairings at #WinePW. Also, join us Saturday, August 15 as we explore Portugal, a land of delicious food and outstanding wines!

Vegetarian Bahn Mi – A Challenge And I’m Bringing To Fiesta Friday #63


The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas teamed up with famous vegan chef Tal Ronnen to create exquisite menus of vegan and vegetarian cuisine for every restaurant at the Wynn. 

The challenge was to pick an item off the the amazing menu and make it my own, in other words I could pick any item and change it, putting our own spin on the dish. I am always up for a challenge and looking at the menu it was hard to decide from all the amazing dishes that Chef Ronnen created for Wynn.



I chose the Gardein “Vegan” Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Creamy Polenta.  So you wonder what Bahn Mi has to do with this right, well I took creative license and took the meatballs and created an entirely new dish, Vietnamese not Italian.  I appreciate and love vegetarian food but am not vegetarian, I have never cooked with a “meat substitute” before, therein lies the challenge. I wanted to make meatballs and to stay somewhat true to the dish I found Gardein “Meatless” meat. I was happy to see that Gardein is non GMO and has very few ingredients, I can pronounce all of them. My dish is Vegetarian not Vegan, I needed egg to hold the patties together and wanted to use Mayonaise on the sandwich. This could easily be veganized I am sure by using flax seed egg substitute and a vegan mayo.

I’m bringing a bunch of these Vegetarian sandwiches with me to the party today. Our host, Angie@The Novice Gardener is making good use of our new digs throwing a great party with our wonderful co hosts, you can party with Julianna @Foodie On Board and Hilda @Along The Grapevine.


I thought I could take this product and form it into meatballs, it didn’t work very well. I added some corn starch and egg along with some ginger, soy sauce and chili paste. They would not form a ball so I made a patty and fried them. Honestly, they were very tasty.

Gardein Patties

Gardein Patties

I pickled some vegetables, whats Bahn Mi without pickled veggies. I used cucumber, carrot, and watermelon radish which I made into thin strips by using my vegetable peeler, then you simply mix rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and salt and pepper together and pour it onto the vegetables. Let it sit for a little while, about 30 minutes.

Pickled vegetables

Pickled vegetables

Next you clean your cilantro, make spicy mayo. I used garlic chili paste and mayo, cut a piece of a baguette approximately 6 inches long, slice it in half and hollow out the middle. Slather with the spicy mayo, place some cilantro, then the patties and top with the pickled vegetables, drizzle some of the vinegar onto the top inside half of the bread and put your sandwich together.

Vegetarian Bahn Mi

Makes 4-6 sandwiches

The patties

2 cups meatless meat (I used Gardein brand)

2 eggs lightly beaten

2 tbs corn starch

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

2 spring onion the light colored part chopped finely

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs chili paste

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and let sit for about 15 minutes. Heat skillet with some oil, place a spoonful of the mixture into the hot pan, flatten a little with your spoon and fry until nicely browned. Flip over and fry the other side. Set aside.

Pickled Vegetables

1 watermelon radish

1 large carrot

1 cucumber peeled

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

Juice of 1 small lime

handfull of cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed and thinly sliced

Using a vegetable peeler peel off thin slices of the vegetables and place in a bowl, Mix the vinegar, sugar, oil and lime juice and pour over vegetables and let it sit while you prepare the bread and mayo.

Putting the sandwich together.

Hollow out both halves of the baguette, mix some mayo with chili sauce and spread on the bottom half, place some cilantro and jalapeño pepper on the bread, lay seveeral patties on and top with some of the pickled vegetables. Drizzle some of the vinegar from the veggies on the other half of bread and put it together. Enjoy!

Bahn Mi

Bahn Mi






Leftover Corned Beef- Make A Reuben Sandwich



I am sure most of you know what a Reuben Sandwich is, corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, thousand island or Russian dressing on rye bread grilled. It’s a decadently delicious sandwich and a fabulous way to use up corned beef. I didn’t have rye bread but I did have a little less than half a loaf left of my sour dough bread, happened to have sauerkraut, made some thousand island dressing, I did run to the deli and get some swiss cheese. I hadn’t had one of these sandwiches in a very long time and it was a real treat. They are delicious. Here is a bit of Reuben trivia straight from wikipedia:

Reuben Kulakofsky: Omaha, Nebraska

One account holds that Reuben Kulakofsky (sometimes spelled Reubin, or the last name shortened to Kay), a Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, was the inventor perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky’s weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from around 1920 through 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves “the committee”, included the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel. The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone’s lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won a national contest with the recipe.  In Omaha, March 14 was proclaimed as Reuben Sandwich Day.

Reuben’s Delicatessen: New York City

  • Another account holds that the Reuben’s creator was Arnold Reuben, the German owner of the famed yet defunct Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City who according to an interview withCraig Claiborne invented the “Reuben special” around 1914.  The earliest references in print to the sandwich are New York–based but that is not conclusive evidence, though the fact that the earliest, from a 1926 edition of Theatre Magazine, references a “Reuben special”, does seem to take its cue from Arnold Reuben’s menu.
  • A variation of the above account is related by Bernard Sobel in his book, Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent, which claims that the sandwich was an extemporaneous creation forMarjorie Rambeau inaugurated when the famed Broadway actress visited the Reuben’s Delicatessen one night when the cupboards were particularly bare.
  • Some sources name the actress in the above account as Annette Seelos, not Marjorie Rambeau, while noting that the original “Reuben special” sandwich did not contain corned beef or sauerkraut and was not grilled; still other versions give credit to Alfred Scheuing, Reuben’s chef, and say he created the sandwich for Reuben’s son, Arnold Jr., in the 1930s.
The fixings

The fixings

The thousand island dressing was simple”



cornichon minced

2 mustards, dijon and deli (a little of each)

Here is how I make the sandwich. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread some thousand island dressing on each side, now you layer, first swiss cheese, then corned beef, then sauerkraut and then another slice of swiss. Grill one side, flip then grill the other side. I like to press it down a little to flatten kind of like a panini. Serve straight from the grill with some pickles.


A Meatball Hero For Super Bowl Sunday And A Giveaway!!

Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

Meatballs in Uncle Steve’s  Tomato Basil Sauce

The wonderful and very generous people at Uncle Steve’s NY’s have offered to send a lucky reader a trio of sauces (see photo below). This is a terrific gift and you will have the opportunity to try Uncle Steve’s sauce for yourself. To say thank you I am making Steve his favorite meatballs with pine nuts and raisins and I am serving as a meatball hero. My Mom also made these so when Steve mentioned it was his favorite Sunday Supper it reminded me of my Mom also. The meatballs are first fried and then simmered in Uncle Steves Tomato Basil sauce. I am really loving this, I kid you not it tastes like my homemade sauce. I will still make my own but this sauce is a great alternative when you are in a hurry or just don’t feel like cooking.

All you have to do to win is leave a comment below. The sauce will be sent to you directly from Uncle Steve’s NY and the winner will be chosen through a random drawing via The drawing is only open to those living in the Continental US, I am so sorry my dear friends overseas. The drawing will be on Friday February 6th.

Uncle Steve's Sauce

Uncle Steve’s Sauce

I used my recipe for Meatballs and added pine nuts and raisins, simmered in Uncle Steve’s Tomato Basil sauce and served on a soft roll with lots of melty cheese, now that’s a sandwich!!

Putting it all together

Putting it all together


1 lb ground beef – 80% I like chuck

1 lb ground pork or loose Italian sausage meat, sweet or hot

handful flat leaf parsley chopped

1/2 cup grated cheese – parmigiana or romano or both

2 eggs lightly beaten

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup pine nuts lightly toasted

1/4 cup raisins

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix together, gently, don’t knead the meat or press on it. Form into balls I like them to be about the size of a hand ball. Heat some oil, olive works nicely in a skillet add some meatballs and fry until they are nicely browned on all sides, make sure there is space between each meatball while frying you don’t want to over crowd the pan. When done place in pot of sauce and simmer. Because I used already made sauce I didn’t cook as long if you are cooking the meatballs in homemade sauce I like to simmer for hours, literally hours maybe 3 or 4 hours on medium low heat.

Note: It’s hard to judge the correct seasoning so I add some salt and microwave a small piece to test for seasoning.

I simmered the meatballs in the sauce around 30 minutes. Slice open your bread, pre heat the broiler, brush the bread with olive oil and minced garlic, grate some cheese on both sides of the bread and put in the broiler until just very light brown, remove and add mozzarella to one side and put back in until the mozzarella is melted. Spoon meatballs and a little sauce on one side and close it up. Enjoy the sandwich and the game!! I don’t watch football so I will be enjoying my meatball hero while watching Downton Abbey.

Out of the broiler

Out of the broiler

Exciting Offer From Farmigo And A Sandwich


The good people at Farmigo saw my post and generously offered to you,  my readers $25 off your order use coupon code “Puglife”. I love the concept, the food which is uber fresh, organic and delicious and the fact that it’s all local means a lot to me and I am very picky when it comes to food. Right now they are in 2 parts of the country,  so if you happen to be in  the New York area (this includes parts of New Jersey) or the San Francisco Bay area you’re in luck. Check here to see if there is a pick up location near you. My pick up location is directly across the street, how convenient!!


I am excited for any of you that live in the two area’s to give Farmigo a try and $25 off is a great incentive. Food shopping makes me happy, finding great deals and new avenues to find fresh healthful food makes me really really happy, like you all I love to cook and am always searching out the best sources for the freshest food I can find. I am not being paid or compensated nor was I asked by Farmigo to do this post this is all my idea. This is a CSA like no other, you get to pick what goes into your box, an a la carte CSA if you would, and they really do make it easy with lots of pick up locations. Give it a try, use coupon code  “pug life” and get your discount and you will be giving yourself the gift of fresh farm to table food.

My photo

My photo not so good

Now for the sandwich. I have been meaning to share this sandwich with you for a while now but got caught up with stuff and forgot about it until the nice people at Food52 decided to feature it. I was taken by surprise and very flattered that my sandwich was featured on the site.

It has a rather long name Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Caponata and Pesto Sandwich  if you click on the link you can see the recipe on Food52. I fried thin chicken cutlets in a panko/parmigiano coating, had some good bread, a baguette, some homemade pesto and some homemade caponata. You simply slather the bread with pesto and grill it, pile on caponata and then chicken, close it up and eat. Really pretty simple and really delicious. I thought using both pesto and caponata as condiments would be pretty tasty.

photo by James Ranson for Food52

photo by James Ranson for Food52


Beef Kebab Kubideh On Flatbread For Fiesta Friday #23


Beef Kebab

Beef Kebab

Kebab Kubideh is minced or ground meat, beef, lamb or even chicken, formed onto a skewer and grilled, the meat is succulent and delicious. It can be served with rice, and on the side Torshi (Iranian pickled vegetables) grilled tomatoes and salad or as shown here on flat bread. I thought that something grilled would be a great addition to the Fiesta Friday dishes. Sprinkle generously with Sumac, if you can’t find it locally order online, Amazon carries as well as many online spice stores, it really adds great flavor to the meat. I want to pass on two recipes for Torshi the first is an eggplant torshi, from Azita from her wonderful blog Fig and Quince, the second is from the incredible Fae of Fae’s Twist and Tango, a mixed vegetable torshi

This weeks Fiesta Friday happens to fall on The 4th of July, a day we celebrate our countries Independence. It’s a day when we all get together with family and friends, eat, drink and remember how lucky we are to have our freedom. So all of us at Angie’s amazing party will do just that, enjoy each others company, eat and drink and have a great time. This weeks party is co hosted by Sylvia@superfoodista and Margy@la petite casserole, I love both of their blogs and am so happy that they are hosting this weeks festivities together.

Makes at least a dozen

  • 2 pounds ground beef (you can also use ground lamb)
  • 1 large onion grated on the largest grate and drained of juices
  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sumac (optional but highly recommended) to sprinkle on meat after cooking)
  • 2 small cucumbers diced
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Grate the onion and drain, I squeezed it in a double paper towel. Put the onion in a bowl, add the beef, egg yolks and some salt and pepper, Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour
  2. If you are using bamboo skewers submerge in water while the meat is resting in the refrigerator. Dice the cucumbers, parsley and tomatoes, add the lemon juice and season with mint, salt and pepper. Form meat onto skewers whatever size you want, heat your grill and place meat skewers onto grill. You want the meat cooked medium done. Let grill 3-4 minutes on each side turning over once. Test for doneness, just poke with your finger it should feel firm but not dry. NOTE: I find it’s best to refrigerate your kebab once formed onto the skewers for about an hour before grilling.
  3. Remove from heat and tent with foil while you prepare your bread. Grill the bread either on the burner or in a pan, brush with olive oil and lay kebab onto bread, sprinkle with a little sumac (optional) and spoon some of the cucumber and tomato on top.
  4. Suggestions for other garnishes: Crumbled feta cheese, plain yogurt mixed with cucumber and mint.
Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday


The Basics – Mayonnaise



We should all have some basic recipes in our repertoire. Whenever I need a classic base recipe I turn to the master, at least in my opinion, Julia Child. I have several of her cookbooks but the one I turn to most often is Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom. I know I’ve mentioned this book before and it’s always worth mentioning again. It’s small but packed full of Julia’s master recipes from stock to bechemel, how to cook fish, shellfish, chicken and beef and vegetables, pastry dough and creme to a classic genoise. Over the next few weeks I will be featuring a base recipe along with a recipe that includes or uses it. There will be guest posts from some wonderful and extremely talented bloggers. I think this will be fun!

I love homemade mayonnaise, truth be told I don’t always or often make it. When I need mayo for a very special dish I will, but for every day use, Hellman’s is fine by me.  That said, everyone (who likes mayonnaise) should know how to make it from scratch. It’s really simple, all you need is egg, oil, vinegar or lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper and a blender, food processor or strong arm and a whisk. I really love customizing with different flavors, meyer lemon and herb are my favorites. You have probably heard of aioli, it’s the same principal but contains garlic and olive oil. When making mayonnaise you usually use a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed or plain vegetable oil. I always use a neutral oil with a tbs of good olive oil, just that little bit gives character to the mayonnaise


From Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

Yields about 1 1/2 –  2 cups

1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks at room temperature

1 tbs lemon juice or white wine vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt (I like to use sea salt)

several grinds of white pepper (I use whatever pepper I have on hand)

1 1/2 – 2 cups oil (neutral flavor) Optional + 1 tbs good olive oil

Add the whole egg and yolks to the blender or food processor and blend for 30-45 seconds until it’s thick and light yellow in color. With blender or processor running and through the feeder tube or hole add the lemon juice or vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Now slowly drizzle in the oil with the blender/processor running, after you have slowly added approximately 1/2 cup you can start adding the oil faster until you have added all of it.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, you can add more lemon or vinegar, salt and pepper to suit your taste. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


1. It’s important for everything to be the same temperature

2. Don’t over beat or mix, when I make it I beat or mix the eggs, add the vinegar,mustard salt and pepper and if your oil is not ready to start drizzling I stop the blender. It is possible to over mix, it will liquify rather than emulsify.

3. The recipe calls for 2 cups oil, I never use that much, a cup and a half at the most. I find I don’t really need that much oil.

4. If for some reason your mayonnaise doesn’t come together, don’t despair and throw it out, that has happened to me numerous times. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup, clean out your blender or processor add 2 more egg yolks and a splash of vinegar or lemon juice and start over. Instead of adding oil slowly drizzle in the failed mayo. It will thicken up.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy homemade mayo is on a lobster roll, I didn’t have any lobster so I made my second favorite a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. No recipe needed, you will need the bread of your choice, good bacon, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise. Sometimes I like to add a few slices of avocado.



Fried Red Tomato And Egg Salad Sandwich

Fried Tomato and Egg Salad

A couple of weeks ago I was showing homes to a friend of mine and we decided to have lunch, we found ourselves in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at a trendy and wonderful restaurant called “The Diner”. It’s a very cool spot, their menu changes using only fresh seasonal ingredients. We decided to split a raw kale salad and a fried green tomato and egg sandwich. Both were delicious, fresh and just plain wonderful. The sandwich had breaded fried green tomatoes, a fried sunny side up egg, sweet pickles and mayo on grilled brioche. YUMMY!! It reminded me of a sandwich from my childhood, egg salad, tomatoes, pickles and crushed potato chips on toast.   I took both sandwiches and combined them. I fried tomatoes (there were no green tomatoes to be found) that are breaded with crushed potato chips, made egg salad  and instead of sweet pickles I used dill slices, all this on grilled brioche. This sandwich is not diet food, well, fried tomatoes and mayo laden egg salad but it’s ok to splurge every now and then right? I like my egg salad straight up nothing in it but mayo but you can add whatever you like, herbs, celery or whatever is your favorite way to prepare.

Makes 1 sandwich

1 firm tomato

2 hard boiled eggs

mayo (add as much as you prefer)

1/2 cup crushed potato chips (I used kettle chips with sea salt)

1 tbs flour

dill pickle slices

1 egg or egg white beaten to dip the tomato slices

Fill saucepan with warm water and add some salt. Gently lower the eggs into the water and turn the heat up to high. When the water comes to a boil let it boil for 5 minutes. Turn the flame off and let the eggs sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes. Rinse the eggs until cooled in cold water and peel.

Slice tomato into thickish slices, lightly salt and pat dry with paper towel, crush your chips and add the flour (I used a zip lock bag, dip the tomato slice in egg and then in crushed chips. Set aside on cooling rack while your skillet heats. I used a non stick skillet, heat with some olive oil about 1/4 inch until its good and hot, gently add the tomato slices and fry until lightly browned on each side. I found it took about 2 minutes per side using a medium high heat. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels.

Chop the hard boiled egg then mash with a fork. I like the yolks and whites very fine and kind of smashed together. Add pepper (salt if you wish) now mix in the mayo.

Slice the bread if you are using a unsliced loaf or take two bread slices, brush with melted butter and grill until lightly browned.

Slather some mayo on each slice of bread, lay the fried tomato, now some of the egg salad and finally 2 or 3 pickle slices. Put it together and enjoy.