Broodjie Kroket

Oh my, are you ready for your second meat slurry sandwich in as many weeks?!???!!! OHHHH YEAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.  

The Broodjie Kroket is a Dutch sandwich, traditionally served as street food.  And I will tell you, this is a sandwich that should be eaten (and made) while drunk.  Because you have to overcome all of your instincts NOT to eat this sandwich, but, oh friends, it will be worth it.  

I am just kidding about making this sandwich drunk because it had approximately ONE BILLION steps, the most critical of which involves a deep fryer.  Ok, let’s get into it:

First, purchase your ingredients. Some nice soft rolls, roast beef, spicy mustard, mushrooms and onions, soy sauce, thyme, and stuff to make bechamel.  I followed this recipe. I will tell you now (SPOILERS) that our krokets looked absolutely nothing like the picture in this recipe and this woman must be some kind of wizard.  

Second, blend all of your ingredients in a food processor, save the rolls and mustard.  This includes the bechamel that you have lovingly stirred on the stove.  Note: in retrospect, I think I used too much bechamel sauce.  The recipe is in UK standard measurements and I would just urge you to be judicious in your bechamel use.  This will create a meat slurry.  Pop that bad boy in the fridge for several hours.

You would think that the fridge chilling would solidify your meat slurry, but in our case, it sure did not! Friends, I am going to be crude here for a second: these meat slurry “logs” that you form straight up look like doo-doo.  

Take your meat slurry logs, which are not easy to pick up and will definitely make you gag, dip them in flour (flour covered turd logs), then in egg, which in our case was, uh, unnecessary, then in bread crumbs. 

Then, deep fry for 5 minutes.  I believe it is also possible to fry on a stovetop if you are not like me and have not purchased a countertop deep fryer on Craigslist.  A deep fryer hides a multitude of sins.  Those sins are virtually unrecognizable when put in a nice soft roll and slathered with mustard.  They were actually pretty dang tasty.  

A couple of tweaks: the Vicomtesse had the brilliant idea to carve out some of the bread, a trick we learned from our Bauru days.  It helped.  The Vicomtesse also added some pickles to her sandwich number 2 (haha, get it?!), which she contends brought to sandwich to epic levels of deliciousness.  

So, final question: Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

Vicomtesse: I did want another, so I made another one, con pickles. The pickles changed it from a pretty good sandwich, to an incredible one.  Though not strictly traditional, I stand behind my decision. 

Her Eminence: While the sandwich exceeded my admittedly very low expectations, I was so traumatized by the process of making them, that I did not immediately want another one.  I feel, however, with the lessons learned from this first go-round, that I would perhaps try to make it again.  Even if only to conquer the turd beasts and show them who is truly the master.  

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

British Rail/Bruschetta

We have another two-fer today.  You’d think this would be to make up for all the neglect in the last few months (we thought we could finish the Bs by the end of last year and now it is May), however, today we do a strategic two-fer as one of these sandwiches is delicious and one of these sandwiches is terrible.  Try to guess which one is which!

We start today with the “British Rail,” which I put in quotes on purpose.  A British Rail sandwich is tied to a particular place and a particular era.  A British Rail sandwich is a crummy sandwich you could get on the nationalized railroad of Great Britain.  It is a national joke. I strongly encourage you to check out the Wikipedia page for the British Rail, as it is hilarious and informative, but I offer you now this brief yet telling snippet: “Historian Keith Lovegrove wrote that it was ‘a sandwich of contradictions; it could be cold and soggy, or stale and hard, and the corners of the isosceles triangle-shaped bread would often curl up like the pages of a well-thumbed paperback'” ISN’T THAT JUST DELIGHTFUL?!

Listen, I know we here are dedicated to the task of eating and rating the world’s most notable sandwiches.  And, of course, if allowed to decide between a “grass-fed slow braised beef with coddled onions and massaged greens and artisanal cheese on double-artisanal bread” and a 7-11 “sadness sandwich” as defined by our Vicomtesse, we all know we’re going for the fancier sandwich.  But there are so many times in life when the fancy sandwich, or even the “good” sandwich is not available to us.  But you know what? Whether by virtue of desperation, boredom, drunkeness, or other circumstance, those “bad” sandwiches become good. You know they do.  You know that 6 hours into your 12 hour Amtrak trip (that was supposed to be 8 hours), you love that crummy train sandwich, because that sandwich is the only thing breaking the monotony and melancholy of solo travel.  And you relish every bite of that cold, hardened bread, “turkey” lush with sodium, three packets of condiment that you glom on to the wizened lettuce and tasteless, but somehow still substantial, cheese.  And in that moment, that sandwich is your everything. That sandwich saves your life.

No? Just me? Well, okay then. So onto the sandwich.

Not being in Great Britain, and not being on a train, we were at a bit of a loss as to how to effectively recreate the sad travel sandwich experience.  My partner in this adventure was to handle the Bruschetta that we shall be discussing later, so it was my task to make a shitty sandwich.  I LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.  I went to the non-fancy supermarket, just to look for some standard bread and cheese, but then, then I stumbled upon these:

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Look at how that ham sweats.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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Oh these will do quite nicely.

Friends, these sandwiches were terrible.  Just terrible.  This is not an example of when the situation transforms a bad sandwich into a good sandwich. The bread stuck persistently to the roof of your mouth and the lettuce was sad and old.  The ham was just salt and the cheese tasted like nothing. The vicomtesse couldn’t even finish hers. But I did. For Science.

The bruschetta was, of course, much better. The V and I are fortunate enough to live in an area of the US where we have access to abundant, delicious produce, and as we all know, a bruschetta is only as good as the tomatoes.

I will confess that I am not especially a fan of tomatoes (something about the texture and the seeds) but I do like bruschtta. The vicomtesse’s hubby specializes in bruschetta so we let him direct the process. He heated the chopped tomatoes, which has never been my method but was delicious. We spooned the cooled heated (what?) tomatoes over some nice crostini that we heated in the oven for a bit, after brushing with olive oil and garlic, and added some fresh mozzerella because fresh mozzerella never, ever makes anything worse.

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In summary:

British Rail = bad, notoriously bad. Nobody wants more of this.

Bruschetta = good, very good. A tasty treat that is easy as pie to make.

Breakfast Sandwich/Breakfast Roll

Today, all of our friends, all friends, is a two-fer.  Today we did both the Breakfast Sandwich (and how!) and the Breakfast Roll. As these are remarkably similar ‘wiches (you heard it here first, y’all), we opted to combine the two into one utter delight.

The breakfast roll is a convenience food in the UK, a gentle sausage, cheddar and egg sandwich on a soft roll, though we used an english muffin because we are but the American-est of rubes. We threw together (ok, poured over the sandwiches, separately) ketchup and some Lea & Perrins worcestershire to sub for the HP sauce. Ok, ok, ok, I know we’re getting off track here, authenticity-wise, but YOU AIN’T PAYIN

ok I’ll try to bring it down, sorry I keep getting so combative

MOVING ON, the reason that we are only middlingly authentic is because, again, we literally combined the two sandwiches into one. So we fried up some sausage (hooray!) and a few over-mediums, and shredded some of the world’s yummiest (and most accessible!) sharp cheddar, the Tillamook vintage blah-blah cheddar on top. Wow, dudes. DUDES. instead of a dang ol’ pleeb slice of cheese, shred it.

I swear to god, somehow it makes it 9824579375987.9 times tastier. We may have covered this before.

Impressions:
The Vicomtesse of the Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato: Quite pleased! Not the finest of all sandwiches, I wanted the sausage patty to be a little more intensely meaty-spicy (ew, why am I always so gross) but the eggy-cheesy-english-muffin-y portion was fabulous, and as always, the worcestershire & ketchup combo is the tops. For, in the most traditional of Ameritravesties (that probably doesn’t work), the combining of the two sandwiches made one that, for me, was just a little better than ok!

Her Eminence of the Italian Deli Sandwich:
It seems like Her Most Emanant of Eminences liked it, and NOW IN HER OWN WORDS:
Delicious. Breakfast + sandwich = magic. I liked the sautéed mushrooms very much and I was pleasantly reminded of how delicious ketchup is on breakfast foods. Two thumbs up!

thank you one and all

see you next time

Bocadillo

Today we cover the stalwart Bocadillo, native to beautiful España (Spain) and is one of the most versatile sandwiches in our repertoire.  The Bocadillo is traditionally made with many different fillings, including Jamón (which is Spanish for “more delicious Ham” (as if such a thing is possible (it is))), omelet, squid, pork, and the list goes on and on.  However, what Bocadillos traditionally do not have are condiments.  Instead, you rub the bread with a cut tomato or drizzle it with olive oil, or both.  The lack of drippy and perishable condiments makes the Bocadillo the ideal travel sandwich.  Just stuff one in your bag and go!

Sandwiches! Is there anything they can’t do?!

Predictions:

We both thought these would be pretty delicious.  We decided to make two kinds, a squid bocadillo and a jamón and manchego bocadillo.  I was into the squid idea as there is literally no seafood on Earth that I will not enthusiastically consume.  I was also into the jamón and manchego idea because DUH.

Preparation:

So, let’s talk squid for a second, y’all.  It is a leeettle beeeet gross to work with but it is very easy to make.

Simply chop it up:

Then sautee the squid in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  It cooks up very quickly.

The jamon/manchego is pretty self explanatory.  We used a mixture of prosciutto and legit jamon (FROM SPAIN and consequently VERY EXPENSIVE). (Ed. note: : ( )

To prep the bread, cut a tomato in half and rub it all over the bread.  Then drizzle on some olive oil (the higher quality the better).

Impressions:

These were…ahhh…underwhelming.  I think this may be the biggest disparity between our expectations and our actual thoughts about the sandwich.  It was NOT, however, the worst sandwich so far… that honor goes, of course, to the Baked Bean.

Here’s where we think we went wrong.

First, too much bread!  Hollow that sucker out before you get your tomato/olive oil on. (Ed. note: like we did with the Bauru.)  I think I may have also made a poor bread choice when shopping for this sandwich by getting a bigger (hence less crispy) baguette instead of two smaller ones.

Second, squid, though delicious, is not the best sandwich filling.  A bit too slimy.

Third, CONDIMENTS! I know that condiments are not traditional, but man would this sandwich have benefitted from some aioli.  But, as I object very strongly to inserting my cultural expectations into another culture’s traditional sandwich preparation, I think a lot of the need for condiments would be mitigated by less bread.  Or maybe a more ripe tomato?

However, there was one thing we did very, very right:

This wine is the absolute jam.

Do we immediately want to eat another of these sandwiches?

Nah, but perhaps with modification they could be outstanding.

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!

Beef on Weck

Beef on Weck is a regional delicacy hailing from beautiful Buffalo, NY.  Buffalo, NY, is rust-belt town notable for many things: hot-wings, proximity to Niagara Falls (and consequently, Canada), a football team, SUNY Buffalo, and extremely inclement weather.  In fact, the coldest her eminence has ever been was in Buffalo, NY, because she had the incredible wisdom and foresight to visit in Winter.  SO COLD, Y’ALL.  Jeez. 

Yet Buffalo is a place that I hold in high regard despite having only personally been there one time and despite nearly losing my toes as a result.  My parents both attended SUNY Buffalo (where my mom majored in Anthropology and my dad majored in, I don’t know, pot-smoking?).  Anyway, both of her eminence’s parents speak of Buffalo with great affection.  

Beef on Weck is a roast beef sandwich served on a Kummelweck roll (some spell it Kimmelweck, both appear to be acceptable).  A kummelweck is a kaiser roll coated with kosher salt and caraway seeds.  Her eminence has a love/hate relationship with caraway seeds in that I hated them intensely as a child and now sort of love them.  (#sorrynotsorry for the third-person/first-person changes…this is my blog and I will mess with the conventions of grammar if I want to). 

Preparation:

Big ups to the vicomtesse and her hub, the viscount, for making these sandwiches.  She followed this recipe for recreating kummelweck rolls:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/roast-beef-on-weck-recipe/index.html

They came out pretty good!:

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The vicomtesse also roasted a London Broil cut of beef.  She will post her specific preparation instructions in the comments.  Here’s how it looked:

 

Then we took the toasty rolls and the hot beef (ew) and combined them with horseradish sauce.  The vicomtesse, who cares deeply about such things, was concerned that the sauce contained too many food additives.  I cared not as I lovingly and frequently stuff poisons in my body, but I appreciate the vicomtesse’s attention to detail in this regard.  

Voila!:

Predictions/Impressions:

I was pretty excited for this one because upstate New Yorkers do not mess around when it comes to regional delights.  Also, as I had re-discovered last week with the transcendent Bauru, I really, really dig roast beef sandwiches.  The vicomtesse was more reserved, and thought the sandwich would be merely good.  

The vicomtesse was pleasantly surprised and thought the sandwich exceeded her expectations.  It was indeed very tasty.  The hot beef (ew) had a nice flavor despite being a cheaper cut.  The toasty rolls were delightful.  I also now am a big fan of the caraway and salt mixture, which I believe can been incorporated into many things.  I even sprinkled some of the extra we had directly on the meat.  

Horseradish sauce was very necessary as the sandwich tended toward dryness.  We had reserved some of the au jus from the beef and sprinkling some of that over the sandwich also helped.  

All in all, a worthy sandwich that would (and did) make a nice weeknight meal.  

Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

Yes, from all parties.