Philly Cheesesteak

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I am a Texan gal, so I have a love for barbeque brisket, burgers, and Tex Mex. But my parents are northeasterners, so I also love seafood, Italian subs, and cheesesteaks. My parents grew up in the Philadelphia area, and besides loving to visit to see family up there, I also love to eat sandwiches. And lots of them.

I am on a constant search for how to create the perfect cheesesteak in my own kitchen. Now there is a lot of contention surrounding the cheesesteaks based on people’s personal preferences. What type of cheese should top your cheesesteak? Provolone, American, or Cheese Whiz? Should there be peppers? Mushrooms?

While I love squirting cheese whiz on Ritz crackers (who else loved to make pretty cheese whiz designs on their crackers or see how tall you can pile it before your cheese tower collapses?), I am not a huge fan of it on my cheesesteaks.

This cheesesteak recipe reflects how I like mine: with provolone, mushrooms, NO peppers (bell peppers are the devil’s handiwork in my mind), and topped with ketchup. Make according to your own preferences following the same method. Just don’t tell me if you use peppers.

PHILLY CHEESESTEAKS
From The Little Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

4 soft hoagie rolls
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces mushrooms
1/2 pounds rib eye steak
Salt and pepper
Provolone cheese
Ketchup, for topping

INGREDIENTS

Preheat oven to 250°F. Slice your hoagie rolls and prepare four pieces of foil.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt one tablespoon of butter and add onions and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Cut the rib eye into thin slices against the grain. Chop the slices into small pieces. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add half of the rib eye, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-4 minutes. Top with cheese. Cover with lid and cook until melted, 1-3 minutes. Stir in half of the mushroom and onion mixture. Divide the filling between two hoagie roolls. Repeat with remaining steak, mushrooms, onions, and cheese. Tighly wrap each sandwich individually with foil. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes. Eat immediately, topping with ketchup if desire.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Crab “Cake” Sandwich with Tartar Sauce

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Living in a landlocked city, I often mourn my lack of access to fresh seafood. I once had a crab cake sandwich in Lubbock and then spent the night laying on the bathroom floor, pondering my regrets about my menu selection.

Well, needless to say my own crab cake creation had much more positive consequences.  No bathroom floor, only a content stomach.

Now, here is a secret about crab cake sandwiches. Even when the cakes fall apart they still taste delicious. And since these are just going between two pieces of bread, you can hardly even tell that I had some patty assembly issues.  I just quickly placed my crab cake pieces on the bun, pushed them together, and then places the top bun on top and voila: a faux crab cake.  I’ve never had any luck getting my crab cakes to stay together and so my version of a crab cake sloppy joe came to be.

Since you’re making this crab mixture to smash between two buns, there is no need to add extra breading to dilute the crab filling just so the patties stay together. This is pure crab taste with tangy tartar sauce. Serve with some salt and vinegar chips and you are good to go.

CRAB CAKE SANDWICHES
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces lump crab meat
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
4 hamburger buns
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tartar sauce, recipe follows
Sliced red onion, for serving
Chopped lettuce, for serving

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl combine crab, mayonnaise, scallions, panko, smoked paprika, celery salt, and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Fold in egg, adding more bread crumbs if mixture is too wet.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Butter the hamburger buns and place butter side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Set aside. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Pour crab mixture in a single layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Divide mixture between buns and top with tartar sauce. Top with red onions and lettuce if desired.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

TARTAR SAUCE
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 sweet pickles, chopped
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sweet pickles, and shallot together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld before using.

Pinto Bean Burger

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It’s that time of month again for secret recipe club!  For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Nayna’s blog, Simply.Food.  I was excited when I saw lots and lots of ethnic recipes on Nayna’s blog, especially lots of Indian recipes.  I haven’t eaten Indian food in a long time- the last time was probably when I was 18 and was making appearances at lots of graduation parties.  Lots of the parties had an Indian buffet, which often left something to be desired (AKA I just ate a lot of naan).

I was tempted to try some Indian recipes for dinner, but one day I had an intense craving for a veggie burger.  Since Nayna’s blog is vegetarian, I figured this was a great place to look for a fix for my veggie burger craving.  And satisfy it it did- this is a great, easy pinto bean burger that will satisfy any hungry stomach.

And I also realized that no matter what you do sometimes, delicious food like veggie burgers is not going to look super pretty.

PINTO BEAN BURGER

Slightly Adapted from Simply.Food

INGREDIENTS

2 cans pinto beans
1 potato, cooked
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon aloppa pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for cooking
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
4-6 scallions, chopped
6-9 burger buns
Ketchup, hummus, tomato, lettuce, and onion for serving

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor combine pinto beans, potato, salt, lemon juice, aloppa pepper, smoked paprika, and olive oil. Fold in chopped parsley and scallions. Form mixture into 6-9 patties.

Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Coat pan with olive oil and fry burgers, about 4-5 minutes each side. Serve on buns with desired toppings such as ketchup, hummus, tomato, lettuce, and onion.

Makes 6-9 veggie burgers.

Mushroom Chili Dogs: Improv Challenge

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Many people say that television has too much of an influence on children.  Perhaps, perhaps not.

Either way, I love television.  Reality shows, movies, HBO (Best ever!), cooking shows, Real Housewives of anywhere, sci-fi, historical- I will take them all.  And television has been an influence on me throughout my life.  Back in childhood, I had my definite favorites.  I love Lamb-Chop and grew seriously attached to my stuffed lamb Linda because of it (she may or may not still have a place in my adult bed…TMI? I apparently need some more human contact).  Anotehr favorite of mine was no doubt Sonic the Hedgehog

I always wished I could be Tails. Being a fox with two tails that could propel me through the sky was an ultimate childhood dream.  And to be friends with Sonic? I could die happy.  I still can’t even talk about that episode when Tails was considering allying with Dr. Robotnik and betraying Sonic.  Can’t.

Well, when this month’s Improv Challenge came along with the task of using mushrooms and sausage in a dish, I got a wicked idea.  I was going to create a chili dog, Sonic and Tail’s favorite food.

When I first ate a chili dog as a child, I hated it.  And I felt guilty to disagree with Sonic, but what was the appeal young hedgehog?! Now I like chili dogs, but I wanted to update it and adapt it to my tastes this time.  Creating a rich mushroom chili on top of sausage.  Delicious.

I’m having a childhood flashback to when my parents used to sing “Dr. Robotnik, he’s my hero” just to spite me.  I need a chili dog.

MUSHROOM CHILI DOGS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

For the Mushroom Chili:
Butter
3-4 cups chopped mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

For the Chili Dogs:
4 Italian sausages
4 hotdog buns
Chopped onions, for serving
Shredded cheese, for serving

DIRECTIONS

For the Mushroom Chili:

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add enough butter to coat pan. Stir in mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper, and cook until browned and tender, about 5-9 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes.

For the Chili Dogs:

Heat grill over medium-high heat. Grill sausages for about 3-5 minutes per side (this will vary based on the type of sausage being used). Place hotdog buns face down on grill to toast. Place sausages in buns. Top with mushroom chili. Garnish with chopped onions or cheese, if desired.

Makes 4 chili dogs.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of the Harried Homemaker for hosting! Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!

Muffaletta

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Shame on me.  I actually made this sandwich about 1 year ago (last spring break in fact), and I am just getting around to sharing it. It’s not that this sandwich isn’t delicious, I just got behind and when a few months had already passed into summer of 2013, I figured why not just wait until next Mardi Gras to share it.

Well, now is the time! Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, and I will probably be celebrating with lots of work (don’t be jealous), but I will be wishing that I was in New Orleans watching women reveal themselves for check plastic beads.  When I was a kid, my family and I used to go to the beach every year and watch the day-time, kid friendly parade in which we still got lots of beads but all layers of clothing remained on our bodies. And those childhood parades were one of the last times I celebrated Mardi Gras.

While I doubt there will be any super crazy shenanigans in our town (at least not for me), I can celebrate with lots of good Cajun food.  Basically, I will be celebrating Fat Tuesday the right way- by eating a lot and packing on some extra fat. Does it defeat the purpose to splurge on Fat Tuesday when I don’t celebrate the rest of Lent those in which I engage in abstaining from something? Nah.

Muffalettas are a sandwich associated with New Orleans and Cajun cuisine: lots of salty savory meats, and salty olive tapenade, and melted cheese.  You can definitely count me in.

Maybe I will make a king cake this year- I love eating plastic babies- and share that Cajun treat next year.

MUFFALETTA
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

For the Olive Tapenade:
2 cups chopped green olives
3 carrots, chopped
1/4 red onion, minced
1 cup chopped cauliflower
3 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil

For the Muffaletta:
Hamburger buns
Hard Salami, thinly sliced
Mortadella, thinly sliced
Capicola, thinly sliced
Provolone cheese, sliced

DIRECTIONS

For the Olive Tapenade:

In a large bowl stir all ingredients together, making sure everything is mixed and well coat.  Cover and store in refrigerator at least overnight, preferably 2-3 days.

For the Muffaletta:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Slice hamburger bun in half.  Spoon tapenade on bottom bun.  Layer on salami, mortadella, and capicola on top.  Top with Provolone and additional tapenade.  Place top bun on top.  Wrap sandwich tightly in foil.  Bake for 7-14 minutes, until warmed through and cheese is melted.

Truffled Beef Sandwich: Improv Challenge

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We’re going to get fancy up in here today.  Truffles are about. And sandwiches.

Sandwiches are some of my favorite meals: there are so many possibilities for what we can put between two pieces of bread (if you are another fellow sandwich lover, check out The Sandwich King on Food Network- love it!).  So when this month’s Improv Challenge was bread and butter, I knew that I was going to make a sandwich.

Bread and butter is a great start for a sandwich, so I mulled over a lot of ideas.  There were lots of grilled cheese concotions in my mind, but I wanted something hearty and special.  I made this sandwich during one of my red meat cravings, a time in which I want beef and I want it red and juicy, so I knew I wanted some sandwich in which beef could shine.

This special sandwich comes from the goddess Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten (I swear I do not mean to plug the Food Network today).  The truffle butter really does add something special to the sandwich: the truffle butter has a great savory taste with beef with a little saltiness and little bit of a rich savory taste. And we got Ina’s favorite shards of Parmesan with peppery arugula.

TRUFFLED BEEF SANDWICH
Slightly Adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS

1 pound top sirloin steaks
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
Loaf of ciabatta bread
White truffle butter
Caramelized onions
Parmesan shards
Arugula

DIRECTIONS

Prepare and preheat grill over high heat. Brush steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill sirloin steaks, approximately 2-4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your steak. Let sit for about 4 minutes. Slice against the grain into thin pieces.

Slice ciabatta bread for sandwiches. Spread with truffle butter and place on grill for approximately 3-4 minutes per side, until butter is melted and bread is warm. Spread additional truffle butter on bread.  Top bread with steak, caramelized onions, shards of Parmesan, and arugula.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting!  Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!

Turkey, Apple, Almond Butter Sandwich

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These days have been some great ones recently.

I have forbidden myself from doing any work, so I have gotten in some good relaxation time.  And on top of that, I have been in hog heaven (or turkey heaven?) with all of my Thanksgiving leftovers.  Turkeys need to be roasted more often just for the sake of leftovers.

If you are looking for some ways to use up your leftovers, you have come to the right place.  I have been doing some experimentation with my leftovers, but I always find myself gravitating back toward the sandwich.  There are so many possibilities with sandwiches.

Stuffing? Sandwich.  Cranberry sauce? Sandwich.  Green bean casserole? Sandwich. If you have a question about what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, the answer should always be: put it on a sandwich.  So many choices, yet leftovers always seem to run out before I can get to make all my concoctions.

If you are looking for a sandwich that uses turkey but with a less Thanksgiving twist, here is a great sandwich for you.  You get juicy turkey, crisp apples, melty cheese, and rich almond butter.  It is wonderful.

TURKEY, APPLE, ALMOND BUTTER SANDWICH
Adapted from Bev Cooks

INGREDIENTS

4 slices multigrain bread
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
Turkey
Salt and pepper
Almond butter
Sliced cheddar cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat broiler.

Spread almond butter on all slices of bread. Layer turkey on two pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Top with apple slices and cheddar cheese.  Broil until warmed through and cheese is melted, about 3-6 minutes.

Makes 2 sandwiches.

Turkey Sliders with Mustard Poppy Seed Sauce

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Are you still full?

I hope not because you need to start making room in your stomach for all of those left overs you (hopefully) have.  Having leftovers after Thanksgiving is like having another holiday celebration right after- I love them.

I love the classic turkey sandwich with turkey, maybe a little mayo, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.  I will be definitely having a few of those, but I have so many ideas for leftover recipes that I may need to roast another turkey (just FYI mom).

These turkey sliders are a great way to use up your leftover turkey.  I made these back at my Half Christmas celebration in June- they are also great party food for people.  Take your turkey & gravy, stick it on a slider roll, top with a mustard poppy seed sauce, and bake away.  Delicious.

If in the past few weeks it hasn’t been obvious, I love Thanksgiving.  And Christmas as well, so prepare yourself for the next month.  For anyone who sees me in person, there is a 99% chance I will have some baked good to pass along.

TURKEY SLIDERS WITH MUSTARD POPPY SEED SAUCE
Adapted from Perfecting the Pairing

INGREDIENTS

12 Hawaiian dinner rolls
Shredded turkey
Gravy, optional
Salt and pepper
Provolone cheese, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Slice rolls in half.  Combine turkey and gravy if desired.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide turkey filling between bottom buns.  Top with provolone cheese and transfer to rimmed baking pan.  Place top bun on top.

In a small bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour and brush sauce on top of rolls.  Sprinkle poppy seeds on top.  Bake until cheese is melted and turkey is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Makes 12 sliders.