All posts by RK

Chicken Salad / Chickpea Salad Sandwich

GOOD EVENING little birds! We’re making chicken salad and its vegan counterpart, chickpea salad sandwiches. The Vicomtesse knew that the “recipe” for a chicken salad sandwich would be trivial, so I glanced at a few and put something together on my own with a heavy dose of flat-leaf parsely & yellow onion.

The star of the show was obviously the chicken. I wasn’t quite sure what chicken to buy, and I’m so so so pleased I ended up choosing boneless skinless chicken thighs from New Seasons. Y’all, I don’t know what love they massage the chickens with when they’re peckin’ around the henyard, but their chicken is so friggin’ delicious that I’m pretty sure they must. I didn’t want to deal with the cooking time of bones nor the discarded fat, but I knew I wanted the flavor of awesome chicken thighs instead of the stupid, overinflated, medically-specious chicken breasts.

At Luc Lac, the Vietnamese restaurant and lunch bar that gets great press around here, they serve a chicken salad that they shred instead of chop, and I thought the texture was terrific, so I did that here too:

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Isn’t that gorgeous?  So, three spatchcocked, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cooked at 375F for 40m, scored, salted & peppered in a glass dish with just a little bit of oil.  Then I shredded it, and added about half a cup of shredded parsely & about the same of preeeetty finely chopped yellow onion, and a little less than a tablespoon of Best Foods mayo (the only mayonnaise, by the way.  the only mayonnaise.  the only mayonnaise.).

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I waffled a bit then on a few things, first, mayo on the sandwich even though it’s in the mix?  Ended up going with a thin layer on either slice which ended up being the right decision.  The other was whether or not to add salad greens & we ended up nixing ’em.  LOOK HOW PRETTY:

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OH HELLO THERE, THE VICOMTESSE LEFT HER KEYBOARD ON CAPS LOCK AND NOW I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT CHICKPEA SALAD.  Sorry but I cannot resist a good capslocktunity.  Shut up, it is too a thing!

For this very tasty chickpea salad, I used [Smitten Kitchen’s recipe](http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/01/smashed-chickpea-salad/)!  We love Smitten Kitchen around these parts.  Buy her book, it is great! In essence the recipe calls for a can of ‘bonzos, some thinly sliced black olives (we used Kalamata, the workhorse of the black olive world), some red onion diced finely, lemon zest and lemon juice, and parsley.  Smush it a little bit and add a couple of “glugs” of olive oil.

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I followed the SK recipe to the letter EXCEPT that I doubled the amount of olives and quadrupled (!!!! [one for each uple!]) the amount of onion.  (The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of onion which is just madness.)

We added some tasty roasted red peppers and a schmear of hummus to trusty Dave’s Killer Bread, and that’s about that!

This sandwich was a VERY GOOD everyday sandwich.

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I spent roughly $16 for all ingredients including the loaf of bread and red peppers, and we made three sandwiches and there is an ample amount left over for more sandwiches.  You easily could get a bunch of weekday lunches out of this.  (And, I know we are a sandwich blog, so shhh…don’t tell anyone I’m telling you this, but…you could also put this on a….salad, like one made out of lettuce.)

WHAT? NO, I WASN’T TALKING ABOUT SALAD.

Anywho, delicious, nutritious, economical – I’m a fan.

Do you immediately want another of th(is/ese) sandwich(es)?

We each had two servings :}

Cheesesteak, Philly

HEY HEY! Today, wholly in the warm clasp of the Cs, we come to the Cheesesteak comma Philly.

The noble Philly Cheesesteak is the introductory sandwich of many lifetime sandwich enthusiasts. Dating back eighty-odd years, the marriage of thin-sliced beef, grilled onions and mushrooms, mayonnaise, sometimes peppers (hot or sweet are both acceptable), AND A (“)CHEESE(“) is both beautiful and impressive. The battle rages on between those who insist on “traditional” provolone, and those who demand recognition for a “steak with ‘whiz,” as in, a cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz, which, honestly, sounds terrible, but I’m willing to try most anything, and how bad could extra-salty cheese-flavored cheese-food product be on a steak sandwich? The bread is evidently Amoroso or Vilotti-Pisanelli, the latter of which sounds like an extremely profitable merger or the overwrought stylings of a couple who couldn’t choose between either complicated last name for their child. Thin and long and soft, I knew no standard hoagie roll nor baguette would suffice, here.

Having not grown up anywhere near Philadelphia nor the east coast of the continental United States, I’ve never had a proper Philly, thus felt utterly unqualified to prepare my own Vicomtesse’s Special Philadelphia-Brand Cheesing Steak. We were off, then, to a purportedly fine (Her Eminence has been singing its praises for years) purveyor of the sandwich here in town, Shut Up and Eat to outsource it, as with the Barbecue and Banh Mi sandwiches.

Preparation
We didn’t make ’em! We just paid for them (called Broad Street Bombers at SUAE) and took our beers and a seat, eyeing each others’ meaty upper arms a bit dangerously. I am sad to report they had no Cheez Whiz, but apparently they get asked that semi-regularly! Finally, they arrived. They certainly looked perfect:

Impressions
The beef, the onions, the peppers, even the mayo and provolone were perfect. The beef tore apart perfectly, the cheap cut made perfect, the slight amount of gristle adding texture and interest rather than chewy uselessness. The draped, melted cheese bound the onions to the peppers to the beef, and the bite was good, and chewy, but the bread was WRONG. Here in Portland we just keep dressing up sandwiches that are already perfect. Look, the elk burger with baby shallots and baby salmonella sprouts and baby avocadian spears is really good, but so is just a damn ordinary burger. The bread on the Bomber was a fine some-kind-of-sourdough with a hearty crumb, great flavor, and a long chew – really good bread! But we’re not looking for really good bread – you want a cheap, white, long roll, softened with preservatives and dough conditioners, perfected with salt and probably sugar, maybe even an artificial fat of some kind, margarine or whatever.

Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?
Her Eminence and Her Eminence’s Boyfriend appeared to greatly enjoy theirs, though H.E.B. got a chicken Bomber instead, reporting it delicious and quickly eliminated. Her Eminence disagreed a skosh with me on the wrongness of the bread, which I understand – it was pretty good bread, after all, and a great sandwich on its own merits.

The Vicomtesse: Look, guys. The sandwich was great! Really, it was fabulous. But she just weren’t no Philly – the bread is VERY IMPORTANT – and I’ll have to wait til I visit a friend who moved there recently to eat a real one.

that said there aren’t a lot of sandwiches out there that I don’t immediately want another of – it was good, and yes, my friends, my heart, always

Chacarero

HOORAY, SECOND SANDWICH OF THE CS! We’re actually doing this, friends. Riding home from work today (for the Vicomtesse is gainfully employed, yes!), I couldn’t help but think what a fabulous service we are doing unto the world. YOU ARE WELCOME, all two of you! *cough* pardon me sorry excuse me sorry

These beautiful Chilean sandwiches took us both by surprise, contained as they were of skirt steak, avocado, tomato, and green beans (?!). What’s beautiful about this club is that we put many things on many breads, MANY things, that we never would have considered to be husbandsandwich material. So let’s get back to the ingredients. Her Eminence picked them up, and thank goodness we went to New Seasons (sidenote: as it’s probably fairly evident that we are based in Portland, Oregon, I shall further refrain from obfuscation of ingredienteries, unless it is a place we have found distasteful/unseasonably expensive). They have the very very very finest meat of any grocery I’ve ever been to, and the skirt steak that Her Eminence picked up there was not only – like $10 for more than a pound, which for very good beef, is damned economical (if “buying steak” were on the list of things that are economical). I regret, my darlings, not getting a photo of the steak before we seared it – its grain was beautiful and its flesh RED, that harlot (note to self quit anthropomorphizing steak).

The green beans, jalapeño, and avocado were all of terrific quality, but alas, the December tomato is not what you might want. We cut it up and it was in such a sorry state that we made the Official Decree and it was stricken from the sandwich, as it would have palely and sandily detracted from the composition.

As we’ve done in many of our roll-based sandwiches, we hollowed out the bread and took a good fourth of it out. Please do not get us wrong, comrades, we are bread fanatics here at the CSSC, but it must be said! A giant chunk of white roll with no sandwich containment is a sad, sad state of affairs, so more often than not, we forego it.

The steak took no more than about two minutes on each side on high heat with the (lovely, trustworthy) cast-iron, while we charred the green beans in a bit of butter and salt and pepper, a method I picked up in a little place called FRANCE, EVER HEARD OF IT??

sorry

moving on

After we thin-sliced the jalapeño and cut up our perfect, perfect avocado, we took one look at the tomato & threw it out. Hollowing out the french rolls (not completely) made lovely little pockets for us to put the pieces of this interesting sandwich together, and then I put a good amount of the adobo sauce (left-over from the last sandwich – that tells you how recently we did this, AND HOW AMAZING WE ARE ahem sorry again) on it once assembled.

This was a really good sandwich. Speaking as The Vicomtesse of the Bacon Lettuce & Tomato, it didn’t blow me away. I loved the interesting crunch of the green beans and the richness of the (very rare [in France the word for rare translates to “bloody,” isn’t that beautiful]) steak, but I put a bit too much of the adobo on, and honestly, I think the sandwich deserved a bit of mayo over the red sauce! I know this is a pretty ugly American POV that I’m expressing here, but god I love mayonnaise, and a little goes a long way toward tying a sandwich together. Mayo is the salt of the sandwich world (or, um, maybe salt is the salt of the sandwich world) and I feel that it melds the spicy, the umami, the rich and the sour together in a way that brings out the flavors of each. But it WAS good, and Her Eminence liked it I think a good deal more than I did, and I would absolutely make it again with a few tweaks of my own – adobo, yes, but a bit less of it, and a little swipe of the Hellmann’s. For about $20, we had enough for three sandwiches, so again, somehow not cheaper than getting a sandwich out somewhere, but seriously quite good for a terrific steak sandwich, the ingredients of which were purchased at a Fancy market.

SUCCESS FRIENDS

Butterbrot

For the noble butterbrot (buttered bread), um, well, wow. Wow… wow. We do love butter, yes, and bread, of course, and while we have had the combination of these two more times than I can even admit (I admit to >1000x), it’s something that makes us incredibly happy.

This time, we started with Grand Central Bakery’s sour rye, earthy but still tangy with a great crumb. Her Eminence of the Italian Deli Meat Sandwich (a proper lady deserves her proper full name) acquired some stupid-expensive butter from our local mostly-good, mostly-overpriced grocery franchise. This stuff was like $18/lb. YES. YES.

Butterbrot is sometimes just butter on bread, but no matter the topping, always begins with that most essential of sandwich preparation. We also had some dalmation fig spread and some BLACK CAVIAR LUMPFISH. that may be redundant, maybe it’s just “black caviar” or “lumpfish” but what a linguistic presentation with all three!

Listen, friends. I know it’s just butter. I KNOW THAT. This “lightly salted” (whatever that adjective imparts, regulation-wise) $986/lb butter was just, gah, perfect. It’s not something I can buy on a regular basis, it’s not something that you cook with, but when you do drop the six clams on a third of a pound of it, you taste it eternally.

The fig spread was great, yknow, it’s jam, it’s high quality, and it’s fine! Her Eminence also tried a brot with Zhir Gracious Majesty’s Finest Butter Product and some wildflower honey that I bought today at the apple orchard, and she reports excellence on that account.

While Her Eminence is well-versed in preserved salty fish product, the caviar was a first for The Vicomtesse of the Bacon Lettuce Tomato. I was really happy with it, I suppose that’s why it costs upwards of one-tenth of the cost of the Butter Absurd™. NEWSFLASH: CAVIAR IS REALLY GOOD. always glad to be the first to report on the necessities in life!!

until next time, sandwich slayerz™

Bun Kebab

SO. This week’s scheduled sandwich was to be the Brodje Kroket, but being short of time and long of hunger, we opted for the mighty Bun Kebab instead. A traditional Pakistani street food item, this is something that both Her Eminence and myself have never made before, SO WE WENT ALL OUT (I know, I know, we wanted to save time, so instead we SPENT ALL OF THE TIME). I made the ghee two days ago with a number of delightful videos and tutorials, found here and here! (this’s fantastic and charming) and many other places besides.

Her Eminence found a fabulous recipe at some Aussie website which differed a bit from the vision of the Vicomtesse re: the chutney. Because the called-for tamarind chutney was approximately $7,600,492.89 at our local too-posh grocery, we made our own with apples, garlic, onions, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt, & chili pepper. Oh, and of course, the ghee that we made – the ghee went in EVERYTHING, because it tastes like the imagination’s ideal version of Butter that your grandmother brags about eating every morning as a kid.

For the lentils, we DID scrimp a bit on that for time’s sake, and bought the blandest can of low-sodium lentil soup we could, and strained all the water and other mushy veggies off. What little herbs were added to the canned soup delight were of no import, Her Eminence and myself ruled. After skimming those off, we threw some glassy onions cooked in ghee, fresh ginger, jalapeno, cumin, cinnamon, and salt into the food processor along with the cheater lentils. chentils? After mixing those up, then the pound of ground lamb & an egg went in, and it was all ground to a fine, gross looking grayish paste. Sorry friends! It all already smelled amazing, though, so we knew we were onto something.

Per the instructions, we let the hand-formed, mushy, fluffy patties (that all still sounds really gross) cool & gel in the fridge for a while, and after sitting and catching up for a bit, we fried up some shredded ginger (also in the ghee, because DUH) and set that aside with all the other sandwich toppers.

OK. PHEW. THIS WAS ACTUALLY A LOT OF WORK. After an hour of stone chillin’, we took the patties out of the fridge and fried them up. This part, you guys, this part smelled really, really, really good. Ahhhhh. After AT LEAST eight months (perhaps upwards of ten minutes) of waiting and frying, we assembled the bun:

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Oh my god.

Impressions

These were both light and intense, delicate and heavy-hitting. The fried ginger added a dimensionality to it that neither of us was expecting, and the fresh cucumber, tomato & superthin jalapeno slices were complex and so, so good. The homemade chutney added depth and sweetness, and the fried egg (!) on top, which Her Eminence and I both thought was superfluous, ended up contributing a lot of richness to what was by itself a rather delicate affair. This was up there with the Bauru. It’s hard to use much hyperbole here because it was just a solid, delicious, incredible sandwich.

Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

YES. yes. yes. Planning on eating just one (basically a burger), we instead each ate two. Good gravy, my friends, this was a perfect sandwich. Yes, lots of prep, but just totally incredible, so impressed with how good this was. it was so good! sorry guys!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME, SANDWICH DWEEBS

Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato

Oh lordy, here we are. As the Vicomtesse of the Bacon Lettuce Tomato, and as a frequent partake-er of the Bacon Lettuce Tomato, I cannot tell you the anticipation with which we finally made it to the straight-up BACON portion of the List.

For this sandwich, we returned to Simpler Times of frying a royal s-load of bacon and assembling with high quality sourdough, red leaf lettuce, and a perfectly thick slice of an heirloom tomato (thin-sliced for Her Eminence, but who’s counting [?]).

That was about a third of the bacon that we cooked. I think we all (Her Eminence and myself plus a guest star!) had something like five ecstatic pieces each. You know, like religious ecstasy, but with fatty pork sides.

Her Eminence made a good go at making some mayonnaise, but it was scrapped in favor of the perfectly delightful Best/Hellman’s mayonnaise, for which I admit a terrible foodie-incongruent weakness. Her Eminence toasted her sandwich and I left the bread fresh, and realized my haaarrible mistake only 11/12ths of the way through bacontown, OH WELL!

Impressions:
Her Eminence: MMMMMMM
The Vicomtesse: also MMMMMMM, it’s a BLT, what do you think

But seriously, it was not Quite As Good as some of the BLTs I get out in the real world (on a rather regular basis, it is absolutely a go-to if I am unsure of the menu). I am having a hard time figuring out what to attribute this Not-Quite-As-Good-ness to, and my only guess is an abundance of bacon that perhaps overwhelms the other basic, but totally essential ingredients. I believe the BLT not to be a delicate sandwich, but one of a balance that, like any lovey food, is quite crucial. It should not be a thick sandwich, but a perfect one, if that makes any sense.

All the same, life is awesome and so was eating a bunch of bacon piled high on a delicious sandwich. YEAH

Do we immediately want another? Categorically, my fellow sandwich-adoring friends.

Have some cats in boxes. What a bunch of doofs!

Bauru

BAURUUUUUUUU!

Today, we bring to you an utterly novel thing of beauty – the hollowed out French roll, stuffed of melted mozzarella and roast beef, along with the delightful old flames of tomato and some classic vlasics (kosher dill, DUH).

The Bauru comes to us from Brazil, invented by a Sao Paolan university student, and for all of us who have had the pleasure, thank you, Casemiro Pinto Neto, for your literally world-class contribution to cuisine.

Predictions:

Enough of that horrible abuse of grammatic convention – let us just say that our expectations were rather high. Her Eminence made what we have been calling “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza-cheese,” as when you melt a cup of mozzarella in a butter roux it turns into, god, I don’t know, melted edible DIAMONDS??? It was just obscenely melty.

The roast beef, purchased from the local meatmonger Zupan’s, was really, actually, no-hyperbole-necessary, some of the best roast beef I have ever had. It was all pink, which again is a pretty horrible sounding thing to say. I also feel like the deliciousness was also attributable to the very good, solid and ordinary par-baked french rolls utilized. Nothing special but ideally suited to the task.

Impressions:

Her Eminence of the Italian Deli Meat:

*sobs*
no words
should have sent a poet

The Vicomtesse of the Bacon Lettuce and Tomato:

Oh dear god, it was even better than we thought possible. I am not the Biggest mozzarella fan, but I see its place in fresh Italian foods and the delectable meatball sub, of course, but THIS, oh my, oh my, THIS was incredible. The melted mozzarella (so melty) was just, FULL OF SYNTHESIS with the pickley pickley pickle, if that actually means anything outside my brain. Uhhhhhh this was really, really good. Get on ‘n hollow you out a french roll, EHHNNN??

Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

“Ish too bad we don’t have mre of ese fnch rolls s’we c’make more of’m,” said Her Eminence while chomping through the VERY FIRST BITE of the Bauru, so full of premature regret (Ed. Note: “pregret”) for lack of future sandwich was she.

And now it’s gone and it’s never coming back 😦 what we are saying is this was an extremely good sandwich. YES. YES, YOU COULD SAY WE BOTH IMMEDIATELY WANT ANOTHER OF THIS SANDWICH.