Category Archives: Sandwich Craft

Homemade Herbed Mayonnaise

If there is anything that I could say to convince you to make your own mayonnaise it would be: watch this video.  Although my days of learning to make mayo began long ago in culinary school, after watching Michael Ruhlman’s video I was in the kitchen urgently cracking eggs before it was even half way over.  Not only does he demonstrate how it takes less than 2 minutes to make with ingredients you most likely already have on hand, but he reminds us of the smooth luxurious taste that is incomparable to any type of store-bought kind. 

The video could not have come at a more appropriate time as I had just been informed that my husband was bringing company over in less than an hour.  Because I eat salads frequently I had arugula and cherry tomatoes in the fridge and because bacon is, well bacon, I always have bacon.  I took some leftover baguette from the prior nights dinner, (very) lightly toasted it, covered it with a smooth layer of herbed mayo, and although I secretly wanted to stop there, I topped it with arugula, tomatoes and bacon for a nice little BLT appetizer (and I still had time to snap a few pics!).  

You can use whatever type of herbs you’d like, but I used what I had growing on my window sill.  You can also add a little more lemon and garlic for a tasty dip, serve it with roasted veggies, make deviled eggs, eat it with hot crispy french fries or just pack it in your brown bag for your turkey & cheddar on wheat.  Whatever you decide to do with it, I’m fairly certain you’ll be a homemade mayo fan for life.

Homemade Herbed Mayonnaise

(adapted from Michael Ruhlman)

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • freshly chopped tarragon, chives and parsley

The fastest and easiest way to make mayo is by using a handheld blender (as shown in the video), but if you do not have one you can achieve the same results with a whisk.  Just ensure you are whisking vigorously enough to properly emulsify your ingredients.

In a medium bowl combine the yolk, salt, water and lemon juice.  Ensure your bowl will hold steady on the counter while you are whisking by folding a towel or moist paper towel underneath and begin to whisk ingredients together.

Slowly add the oil, in a wire-thin stream, while whisking vigorously.  Once your emulsion starts to become creamy, you can add the oil a little faster. From the beginning the mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape and look luxuriously creamy. Add the oil too quickly and it will break, that is, it will turn soupy.  When all the oil is incorporated add the chopped herbs and adjust the lemon if needed. 

(If the mayonnaise is too thick, it can be thinned by whisking in a little water or

If it breaks, put a teaspoon of water in a clean bowl and start the process over by drizzling in the broken mayonnaise while whisking.

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Cocktail Reubens

 

I think its safe to say these are what dreams are made of.   I love me a good saucy sandwich and what better way to entertain than to shrink one down into a bite-sized package of classic meets chic, wrapped up with a whole lot of de-de-liciousness.    

Not only do they meet the standards of hearty and tasty for your casual affair – and simple & chic for a sophisticated celebration – but they are such a crowd pleaser and so easy to put together that you can enjoy them for literally any type of occasion in three simple steps:

1. Assemble

  • Butter
  • Rye cocktail bread (can be found in the deli section of your grocery store)
  • Deli sliced corned beef
  • Sauerkraut, drained
  • Thousand Island dressing
  • Swiss cheese

Butter one side of the bread, place on waxed paper and then assemble the remaining ingredients on top.

2. Heat

Heat an oven-proof saute pan to medium and place the Reubens in the pan just until the bread is toasty. 

3. Broil

Place the (oven-proof) saute pan into the oven under the broiler for just a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly or you can hit them quickly with a kitchen torch.

4. Enjoy (quickly, they go fast!)

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Cilantro-Lime Jalapeno Chicken Salad

For anyone who loves a killer chicken salad recipe, the fresh taste of cilantro, ripe avocados, a hint of spice, refreshing summery recipes, or just a really good sandwich, this recipe is for you.  Well, ok that covers just about everyone.  But I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say everyone will love this chicken salad whether it’s enjoyed in the middle of two crispy slices of bread or scooped out of the center of a creamy avocado. 

I posted this recipe last year along with a pasta recipe I wrote about, but I decided it needed a post of its own – a platform to showcase the vibrant green colors that match the beautifully merged flavors that will leave your senses speechless.    It’s literally that good.

 

  Cilantro-Lime Jalapeno Chicken Salad

  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • poaching liquid (chicken stock, water, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns)
  • 1 jalapeño diced (with seeds scraped out)
  • 4 Tbs cilantro coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 red onion diced fine
  • 1/3 cup mayo (plus a little more if needed)
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados (or for a sandwich good French or Italian bread)

Season chicken with salt and pepper and *poach. Remove chicken from liquid and shred with a fork. 

Once chicken has cooled add mayo, Dijon, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper and incorporate.  Add more mayo and lime if necessary.  Mix in red onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Cool in fridge for several hours to let flavors merge and serve with avocado or for a sandwich on French bread with a slice of provolone.

*To Poach – In a medium pot add chicken breasts to the poaching liquid.  The chicken should be completely immersed.  Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce heat and partially cover.  Reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes (be sure to just simmer and not boil….and no longer than 10 minutes since you don’t want the chicken to turn “rubbery”).  Remove from heat and let chicken remain in the liquid for about 15 minutes.   Reserve the liquid for future use.

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Fran’s Pimento Cheese BLT

This year so far has been quite the whirlwind for me, as you’ve probably noticed by the sparse postings.  But, I’m going to try to redeem myself with this next little number.  This is the kind of thing that will make you stop in your tracks and forget about any other sandwich you’ve ever eaten — especially for a four-month along pregnant woman!

This sandwich came from my dear friend Francesca who I met during my days of living in Charleston.  We hit it off immediately after we discovered our common love for food.  She loves to cook; I love to eat.  She is from the South; I love fried chicken and biscuits.  She provides me with delicious recipes; I immediately drop everything I’m doing – can’t stop -won’t stop – got-to-have-this-sandwich, stat!   We’re a match made in heaven.

So here it is folks.  I guarantee you it’s knock-your-socks-off delicious:

Lightly toasted sourdough with a heaping spoonful of homemade pimento cheese, smokey crisp bacon, fresh arugula and thick sliced tomatoes.  Three words: Oh. my. goooosh!

Fran’s Pimento Cheese

  • Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 8 oz block
  • 2 slices American Cheese
  • 1 small jar diced Pimentos
  • 2 tbsp Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • ground red pepper, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Roughly cut the cheddar cheese into small cubes and place in food processor with American cheese.  Pulse until crumbled.

Add mayo and sour cream, seasoning and half the jar of pimentos (with a couple of splashes of the juice).

Pulse until combined (ensuring not to overdo it – you do not want a pasty consistency).

Remove from chopper and pour into a storage container-stir in the rest of the pimentos (juice if it is too thick).  Check seasoning.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to merge flavors and thicken.

Fran’s Pimento Cheese BLT

  • two slices thick sourdough, slightly toasted
  • heaping spoonful pimento cheese
  • Applewood smoked bacon
  • 2-3 tomato slices
  • Arugula

Assemble sandwich by spreading pimento cheese on the bottom slice, add arugula, tomatoes and bacon.

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For the love of butter!

My relationship with butter began circa de 6 years old after my friend Emily introduced me the art of melted butter sandwiches.  We would sneak into the kitchen, grab a stick of pure salted cream, set the microwave to a perfect 30 seconds and then split the goods evenly.  The warm golden liquid would seep into the pores of soft white bread, just prior to blissfully indulging in the best, gooiest sandwich fit for any second grader.  I have no idea where our parents were during these butter fests, but if they would have known — I’m sure they would have been right there joining us!

Every now and again I reminisce about the simple, yet divine taste of a melted butter sandwich.  And so that’s how the  Buttered Garlic Bread, Pesto Shrimp BLT was born! 

Pesto Shrimp BLT on Crispy Buttered Garlic Bread

 

(serves 4)

  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 french loaf
  • 12 slices of apple-wood smoked bacon
  • 1 large tomato (or two small tomatoes)
  • romaine lettuce
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp prepared pesto
  • mayo
  • olive oil

Heat olive oil in saute pan and season shrimp with salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon juice.  Saute on medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes on each side.  When shrimp just begin to turn light pink remove from heat and add pesto to the pan. Toss shrimp to coat.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare garlic bread by first melting butter and garlic together in microwave or saucepan.  Add a spoonful of olive oil and brush garlic butter mixture generously on each slice of french bread.  Bake for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until golden brown.

Assembly sandwiches by spreading thin layer of mayo, adding lettuce, tomato, bacon, and shrimp.

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