Category Archives: sandwiches

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

I’m back from my accidental hiatus. For good this time. It’s easy to disappear in NYC, and I don’t necessarily mind, but I also missed it here.

I came to this city to consume — experiences, my energy, and, of course, food. I didn’t expect that I, too, would be consumed. Caught up in work (of course), but also in the sensory overload of living in a place so frenetic that I am grateful for my windowless cave of a bedroom, the one space I can enter where the only movement is the flickering of a candle. (And, on occasion, my insanely antsy foster cats.)

That I found myself moving to New York a mere month after returning from Munich I can only attribute to a favorable combination of luck and pluck. That I have managed to survive four months here, well, it’s due to more of the same. I’ve yet to have my first New York City street cry, for example.

So, yes, I’m surviving, to say the least, and thriving, at best. It really depends on the day and the amount of good food I’ve eaten. And I really mean that.

Due to a combination of Restaurant Week and my body’s desire to enter hibernation mode, I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of food recently and show no signs of slowing down. Enter the roasted portobello mushroom sandwich — as close as I’ll get to a detox.

I prefer roasting veggies in winter, but this sandwich would be good on the grill come summertime, if you happen to have the luxury of outdoor living space.

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Sandwich
Serves 2
2 portobello mushrooms
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 red pepper, chopped in strips
1 white onion, chopped in strips
2 sesame rolls
mozzarella cheese, if desired

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems from the portobello mushrooms and place stem-side down on a cookie sheet.
2) Make the mushroom marinade by combining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Brush or spoon onto the mushrooms. Set aside.
3) Set a pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the red peppers and onions. Cook for about 1 minute, then add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Lower heat slightly and cook for 20 minutes.
4) Place the portobello mushrooms in the oven once the peppers and onions have been cooking for 10 minutes. Roast until slightly shrunken, about 10 minutes.
5) Remove the portobello mushrooms from the oven. If adding cheese, place the cheese on the mushrooms and put back in the oven for another 2 minutes.
6) Toast the buns and place the mushrooms on the buns. Top with the red peppers and onions.

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Italian Steak Sandwiches

It’s impossible not to be inspired here, really. I could wax poetic about Italy all day, but I think it’s best to write this post channeling the same simplicity that I have noticed in the food here. Fresh and, often, sublime, yes. But also simple.

Since we’re talking inspiration, this picture depicts my view during lunch today (and every day):

Ha! Totally kidding. My back is actually facing the Mediterranean Sea where I sit at our table, so actually my view looks more like this:

Yes, life is good. And so is this sandwich. And its name is derived from the place it was born, and nothing more. I hope I don’t offend any Italians out there with a culturally inaccurate sandwich.

And for those of you who have been to Italy before, I have to ask: Where are the best places to go in Florence and Rome? And by “go,” I mean “eat.” Obviously.

Italian Steak Sandwiches:
Serves 4
2 medium-sized cuts of flank steak
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 medium sweet onions, cut in 1/2-inch strips
2 medium red peppers, cut in 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 large loaf of bread (I used ciabatta, but I’ll opt for a less dense bread next time)
1 large mozzarella ball, sliced
A few sprigs of basil
Pesto or your favorite sandwich spread

1) Season steak on both sides with salt and pepper while heating a large pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add steak. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Set steak aside on a cutting board.
2) Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add onions and peppers. Cook for 2 minutes, then add balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Cut steak into strips. Slice bread into four sections, then cut each section in half again to make the sandwich. Add steak strips to the base of each sandwich, then layer with onion and pepper mixture, mozzarella, and basil. Spread pesto or other sandwich spread on the top half of the sandwich. Serve warm (I heated ours up on a pan with another pan on top, panini-style) or cold.

Green Lentil “Burgers”

Today felt like spring in Chapel Hill. Fortunately, I had the ideal warmer-weather meal to pair with my day of porch sitting (among more productive pursuits)–a fresh sandwich chock full of veggies and protein and other Healthy Things That Actually Taste Delicious.

To be fair, I actually eat these lentil “burgers” year-round. They’re too tasty to be seasonal. They just seemed particularly relevant today.

The recipe was inspired by my friend Miri Leigh, who has a wonderful food blog and far more food expertise than I. She got the recipe from Mark Bittman, who has some of the best recipes around. Lots of brilliance in that bunch, I tell ya.

Green Lentil “Burgers”:
1/2 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 green onion
1 cup spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 carrot, grated
1 small yellow zucchini, grated
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 egg
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1) Place the lentils in a medium pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until tender. (About 30 minutes.) Drain.
2) Pulse the garlic and scallions in a food processor until well-grated. Add the lentils and all remaining ingredients, except the breadcrumbs, into the food processor. Combine well. (Without a food processor, you just need to mash everything together. It’ll take a bit longer, but it’s worth the effort!)
3) Mix breadcrumbs into the mixture, then refrigerate for 30 minutes. The lentil mixture will be wet, but dries off a bit in the fridge.
4) Heat olive oil in a pan. Form patties with the lentil mixture and place in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (Once I’ve flipped mine, I add mozzarella cheese to the cooked side.) Place onto a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil.

I serve my lentil burgers on toasted whole wheat buns and plate them with salad (when I’m feeling healthy) and sweet potato fries (when I’m feeling American). Oh, and sometimes I top them with curry mayonnaise. (Curry seasoning + mayo).

Dessert can be decadent after such a nutritionally-balanced dinner. But that post is for tomorrow…

Apple Bacon Cheddar (ABC) Sandwich

Is it possible to crave a food you’ve never eaten?

That’s a rhetorical question, really, because I’ve been craving this sandwich for weeks. I mean weeks. And yet I can’t remember ever eating one.

But what’s to understand? I like apples. I love cheese. And I rarely eat bacon, but that might change now.

Yes, you could say that this recipe is as easy as A.B.C.

Apple Bacon Cheddar Sandwich:
Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
cheddar cheese, shredded
bacon (I used maple-smoked)
rustic bread, like ciabatta or French bread
salt & pepper, to taste
mayo (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut bread at preferred width, then split in half. Lay pieces open-faced on a cookie sheet.
2) Sprinkle both sides of the bread with cheese, salt and pepper. Top one half of each sandwich with apple slices.
3) Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and apple slices are softened.
4) Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp.
5) Once bread is removed from oven, top apple-covered bread slice with bacon. Spread on mayo to other side of sandwich as desired. Place slices together.