Category Archives: Sandwiches and Burgers

E.A.T Sandwiches with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli


E.A.T Sandwiches at (1 of 1)-6

E.A.T–Egg, avocado, tomato…  Three things I haven’t been able to enjoy for a while now.  I’m at the tail end of a month-long break from a chemo drug that made me lose a crazy amount of weight, and decreased my appetite and tolerance for many of the foods I love–you can imagine how hard this has been based on my clear obsession with food.  Right now, food tastes absolutely magical.  Every time I eat, I feel like I’m in some sort of kaleidoscopic hippie dream.  Whoa man, these flavors are for real!  A month ago, I got down to my lowest weight ever (not a good thing), and I keep a chipper face, because whatever the “normal” of the hour happens to be, I’m going to make it the best damn normal I can.  I’m nervous to be off the medication that has helped me so much, but all I can really worry about is right now; and right now my job is to eat, be, and enjoy the technicolor tastes of all my long lost food friends.

E.A.T Sandwiches at (1 of 1)

E.A.T Sandwiches at (1 of 1)

I eat like Van Gogh painted; crazed and unapologetic, making up for lost time.  I’m eating for my life and my health, to add some extra strength and pounds.  My soft-coated wheaten terrier has felt the inconvenience of my increased food intolerances.  She looked on eagerly as I prepared her favorite food, which she hadn’t eaten in a very long time.  Luca, today is a special day, I told her as I fried up the egg with some cracked pepper and fresh thyme.  I found some positively juicy heirloom tomatoes, and layered it all up on toast slathered with sundried tomato aioli, with buttery sliced avocado, fresh arugula, salt, pepper, the egg of course, and a drizzle of tuscan olive oil given to me for my birthday.  

E.A.T Sandwiches at (3 of 19)

E.A.T Sandwiches at (1 of 1)-4

I crunched through the bread, and when the combination of tomato juices, peppery olive oil, and egg yolk hit my mouth,  it got audible.  Hunched over my counter top, I mumbled expletives between bites, messily devouring in my exploded kitchen (maniacs don’t have time to clean as they go). Luca looked up at the spectacle, waiting expectantly for me to sprinkle a few bits of egg on top of the uneaten food in her dog bowl.  We both ate voraciously, and gratefully.  I don’t know what will happen when I go on my new medication.  I don’t have to care about that right now.  Right now, food is my hot crush and psychedelic escapade, and I’m going on an unapologetic magic carpet ride.

E.A.T Sandwiches at (1 of 1)
You can swap ingredients to fit your dietary needs of the moment–use gluten-free bread, or just serve it right on top of the greens like a salad.  You want some cheese?  Slap on some white cheddar, vegan cheese, or whatever will give you your technicolor egg sandwich experience.  You may customize to your heart’s desire, but promise me this: You will eat this E.A.T sandwich voraciously and unapologetically, as if rediscovering something you’ve gone years without.  Knowing that will make my day!  

E.A.T Sandwiches at (17 of 19)

E.A.T Sandwiches at (1 of 1)

E.A.T Sandwiches with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

This recipe can be customized as you wish, and easily scaled up.  The aioli is easier to blend when made in a larger quantity, and will keep for about a week in the fridge.  It can be used for sandwiches and wraps, or my favorite, on this rosemary tortilla española.  If you’d like to make less,  chop and smash the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and salt into a paste and mix it by hand into the mayonnaise.  It will not be as smooth or deeply colored, but will still taste delicious!

For the aioli:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayo
  • 3 TB finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or sherry vinegar if you have on hand

For the sandwiches:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • leaves from a few sprigs thyme, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced avocado
  • baby arugula/baby spinach mix, or your choice of greens
  • 2 slices sprouted grain bread, or your favorite sandwich bread
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  1. Make the aioli: Blend all aioli ingredients in an immersion blender, blender, or small food processor until smooth.  Adjust salt and pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar to taste.
  2. Cook the egg: Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle a bit of salt, and pepper onto the pan, then crack the egg on top.  Sprinkle the top with the thyme, and a bit more salt and pepper.  Cook for about 4 minutes for over-easy, or 5-6 minutes for over-medium.
  3. While the egg is cooking, toast the bread.  Spread the aioli on the toast, then layer the avocado, tomato on one side, and the  arugula-spinach mix on the other.  Drizzle the olive oil over the greens, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the fried egg on the bread, and serve while hot.




Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Burgers, Sauces, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Vegetarian Sloppy Jens (17 of 17)

When I was a kid, my room was a fire hazard. An obstacle course. A disability claim waiting to happen.  A pig sty, so my parents said.  I was always creating something—well not something, but some things.  Not much has changed.  For better or worse, my brain seems to have been crossed with that of a hummingbird.  Oh look a flower, oh look, another flower!  Another, whee!  Clean your room, they would say.  I would try.  I really would, but then I’d pick up a long lost object that I had been missing for a long time.  Before I knew it, I was elbows deep in a masterpiece.  When mom came up to check on my progress, I’d already be creating my next mess. (3 of 17) (5 of 17) (6 of 17)

This post is dedicated to all the messies out there.  Sure, we’re fully functional adults now, but that doesn’t mean it’s always pretty.  For all you who are shocked and surprised, Oh dear, how dreadful!  We thought her house was as tidy as those pictures she always posts! , I’m sorry to disillusion you.  My house explodes every time I create something.  As I stand back to admire my creation, it takes a few moments before “Holy cow, who made such a mess?!?  enters my brain.  It takes a whole lot of messy to make pretty. (8 of 17) (9 of 17) (10 of 17)

Through the years, my messes have evolved. And so, we arrive at Sloppy Jens. They’re just as messy as the one-note ones you had as a kid, but built from clean, flavorful ingredients.  When I was making these, I was so seduced by the smell of sautéed fennel, onion and garlic that I didn’t notice the ragtag village of ingredients that had taken up residence on the counters.  The perfect kshhh sound of the deglazing vermouth and the aromatic puff of steam that rose from the pan completely distracted me from the mounting tangle of camera equipment, reflector boards and produce scraps.  When I popped open a quart of last summer’s canned garden tomatoes and slow simmered the sauce with fresh oregano from the garden, it was all over.  Mise en place was a cause lost to another recipe, on another day. (7 of 17) (11 of 17) (13 of 17)

Messy counters mean good things to come.  If you stop by my house unannounced, you probably won’t marvel at the unscathed majesty of my abode, but chances are, you’ll leave full and happy!

Vegetarian Sloppy Jens

Serves 6-8

These messy little sandwiches are an Italian, vegetarian spin on a childhood favorite, and most definitely require a fork and knife!   This would make a good hearty meatless sauce over pasta as well. 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped, greens reserved
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • 12 ounces frozen veggie crumbles (I like Quorn brand)
  • 1 12-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (or about 6 cups home canned)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Microgreens, spinach, or arugula for topping
  • Buns (sprouted grain, gluten-free, or your favorite)

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saucepan.  Add the onion, fennel and celery, and sauté until soft but not browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the vermouth, and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Allow most of the liquid to evaporate, about one minute.  Add the veggie crumbles and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Add the rinsed beans, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, salt and crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.  Season to taste with more salt if needed.

Toast the buns in the toaster, or on a baking sheet in an oven under the broiler.  They will toast in about 30 seconds in the broiler, so keep a close eye on them!  If you like both sides toasted, bake them directly on the oven rack in a 350˚ oven for a few minutes.

Generously spoon the filling onto the buns, and top with greens, if desired.


Filed under Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Burgers, Vegetarian and Vegan

Cajun Shrimp Poboys with Remoulade and Vinegar Slaw

Shrimp Po Boy

Don’t you wish you didn’t have to worry about the social acceptability of table manners? You know you want to be the one to scoop up that last bit of hummus with your finger after the pita supply has waned. And furthermore, don’t tell me you’ve never been tempted to lick that fancy plate you’ve been daintily forking and knifing. My 4 year old nephew, Romen, isn’t bound by such arbitrary niceties. After eating hot dog slices swimming in the bowl of ketchup and mustard he politely requested, Romen did what every grown-up wishes he or she could do. He tilted his head back and began to drink the leftover ketchup and mustard, tapping the bottom of the plastic bowl for good measure. Now, for the sake of my argument (just in case ketchup and mustard soup doesn’t appeal to you), just pretend you were sitting in front of a the bowl filled with your favorite sauce. Chocolate fondue, anyone?

Shredded Slaw Ingredients

Vinegar Slaw

At such a young age, Romen already knows that the sauce is the best part of the meal. I can’t wait to show him the wonders of Sriracha, cilantro chutney, and all sorts of other things to drizzle, douse, and dip. I know this is a Po boy recipe, so excuse me for being hyper-focused on the sauce, but I can’t help it. I. Love. Remoulade. What’s not to like about a socially acceptable way to enjoy all sorts of condiments, herbs, pickles, and whatever else you fancy, mixed together into a single sauce. I like to think of it as a decked out, up-scale tartar sauce or aioli. Purists might insist that there’s one way to do a traditional remoulade, but I think that the beauty of it is that it can be endlessly improvised upon according to your tastes, and what you have on hand.

Coating the Shrimp

Crispy Fried Shrimp

Good Po boys can’t rely on remoulade alone, which is why these ones are filled with hot, crunchy cornmeal-crusted shrimp, seasoned with cajun spices and smoked paprika. I like to stuff the shrimp into toasted baguettes filled with crisp vinegar slaw, and of course, a generous slathering of remoulade. Leave your grown-up table manners at the door. This could get messy.

Tasty Shrimp Po Boy

Cajun Shrimp Poboys with Spicy Remoulade and Vinegar Slaw

Makes 4-6 sandwiches, with extra slaw

For the shrimp:

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal 
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound medium shrimp (26-30 count), deveined and peeled, tails removed
  • canola or peanut oil for frying

For the remoulade:

  •  3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • a few dashes hot sauce to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickles
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely grated or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons minced  fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the slaw:

  • 1 small head red or green cabbage (or a mix of both), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned or grated
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

For the sandwiches:

  • Four to six  6 inch baguette portions, from 2 baguettes

1) Make the slaw:  Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, dijon mustard and olive oil in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the vinegar mixture.  Season to taste with additional salt, sugar, and/or vinegar if needed.

2) Make the remoulade:  Stir together all remoulade ingredients in a small bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3) Bread and fry the shrimp:  Heat one inch canola oil in a large cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed pan to 360˚ F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (cornmeal through black pepper).  Working in small batches, lightly coat the shrimp with the egg white mixture, and then press each side of the shrimp  into the cornmeal mixture.  Fry the shrimp in the hot oil until curled and golden brown, about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side.  Place the shrimp on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

4) Cut the baguette pieces in half lengthwise.  Toast the baguette under a broiler.  Spread on the remoulade on the cut sides of the bread, and arrange the shrimp on one side of the bread.  Spread the slaw on top of the shrimp and top with the other piece of baguette.


Filed under Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Burgers, Seafood

Veggie Crunch Wraps with Black Bean Hummus

First of all, thank you for all of the thoughtful and uplifting responses to my last post!  I was afraid to put it out there, but was comforted to be met by such an open-armed audience.  Now, without further ado, back to the food!

It’s time to get personal.  Today, I’d like to talk about a subject that often gets lost in the shuffle of everyday work, errands, chores, and even fun.  Let’s talk about lunch, ba-by.  Let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be…and so on and so forth.  What do you eat for lunch?  If your lunch had a name, what would it be?  Ethel?  Or Lo-la???  Frank?  Or Fran-ci-sco?  Does your lunch say “meh,” or is it more like ooh la la?

I think all our lives could stand to have a little more ooh la la in them, so why not start with the forgotten land of lunch?  My kayaking trip got me thinking about lunches.  Each day, our chef and camp moms packed all of us “campers” a wrap, sandwich or pita each day, always with some sort of inventive spread.  One day, we had tortilla wraps with crunchy vegetables with red pepper-bean spread.  Another day, it was baba ghanoush with grilled vegetables.  Simple, but healthy and interesting–a nice change from the usual “leftover” lunches, repeats from the previous night’s dinner.

Here is my version of a smooth and crunchy little lunch wrap inspired by a creation by the chef on my kayaking trip.  In my opinion, every good wrap starts with a good spread.  I began mine with spiced black bean and chickpea hummus.  It really goes without saying that really any kind of fresh vegetables will do here.  I used carrot, kohlrabi, and purple cabbage, tossed in a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, to wake up the flavors.  Last, I tucked in some roasted red pepper and avocado slices to add a smooth contrast in texture and wrapped it all up in a soft whole wheat tortilla.

Ironically, the mister and I noshed on these wraps for dinner, which I then saved for lunch the next day.   Go figure!

Veggie Crunch Wraps with Black Bean Hummus

Serves 4-6

These wraps are perfect for when the blazing summer heat makes cranking up the oven unthinkable–they’re cool and crunchy, perfect for a day by the pool or a low-key dinner.  The black bean hummus also makes a great appetizer or snack served with veggies or pita.  

For the wraps:

  • 4 cups julienned or thinly sliced vegetables, such as carrots, kohlrabi, cabbage, or bell pepper
  • 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
  • salt to taste
  • black bean hummus (see recipe below)
  • large whole wheat tortillas or pita pockets

Combine the julienned vegetables in a medium bowl.  Add lime juice and salt to taste, and toss until coated.  Spread each tortilla with black bean hummus, and layer with julienned vegetables, avocado slices, and roasted red peppers.  Fold the side ends of the tortillas over the filling, and roll it up, burrito-style.

For the Hummus:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup tahini

Using a food processor, pulse together the chickpeas, black beans, garlic, water, olive oil, lemon juice, chile powder, cumin and kosher salt until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.  Add the tahini, and blend for an additional 2 minutes until very smooth.  Taste, and add salt to taste if needed.


Filed under Sandwiches and Burgers

Grilled Brie and Apple Sandwiches with Onion Jam and Maple Dijon

I have developed a condition called City O’ City radar.  Whenever The Mister and I are even mildly close to Capitol Hill in Denver, he doesn’t even have to ask me where I want to eat.  Think upscale but casual vegetarian bar food, everything made from scratch with honest, good ingredients.  I have ordered most things on the menu, from the addictive greek salad with a vinaigrette I’d love to re-create at home, to the freshly baked whole wheat sourdough bread, and the Urban Cowgirl pizza, with its addictive chipotle marinara sauce.  Even though half of the menu is devoted to small-batch spirits, locally made beers, and carefully selected wines, make no mistake–City O’ City is not your typical bar scene.

There is almost always a wait to be seated, but plenty of entertainment to be had while waiting.  One could: gawk at the frosting-crowned cupcakes and latticed blueberry tarts, check out the concert posters taped to the wall, or, people watch.  The clientele wears the most fascinating assortment of hats.  You’ll see hair covering the full gammet of the color palette, with bangs trimmed in every which way.  Don’t worry, though.  You need not fit any specific image to be treated well here.  Earth mommas, artists, young, old, and in-between; cool people that think they’re nerdy, and nerdy people who think they’re cool, and people who just don’t care what other people think of them… All are welcome here.

The service is always friendly, and again, and while you’re waiting for your food, there is plenty more amusement to be had.  You could: read the daily quote on the framed chalkboard above the bar, or, check out the rotating local art displayed on the wall.  So far the most recent and memorable have been the quilted pictures of brightly colored lizards riding bicycles, and just last time, the interestingly-lit curio cabinets with strange objects inside–like something you might find in the movie Coraline.  Look back into the kitchen and you’ll see about ten people doing a sort of bohemian ballet, the guy with the dreadlocks and the bandana arcing a pizza peel into the oven, another sliding an Urban Cowgirl out of the oven.  The waitstaff weaves in and out, plates balanced on either hand.

While the atmosphere at City O’ City contributes to the magnetic force that pulls me into the restaurant, the food is really what keeps me coming back.  The other day, I had a serious craving for “La Petite Amie”; a grilled cheese sandwich like you’ve never experienced before.  I knew that City O’ City was not in the cards for the day, so I decided to re-create the sandwich to quell my hunger until next time.

My version turned out to be a close approximation of the original; bread slices with a sheet of golden crunch on the outside, giving way to melted brie swirled with caramelized onion jam and maple dijon, topped with thinly sliced Granny Smith apples and tempeh bacon.  After the whole mess was perfectly crispy and melty, I added baby arugula, as they do with the original, to add a fresh peppery note.  A couple girl friends and I devoured our fancy grilled cheese with a mixed greens salad tossed in Meyer Lemon vinaigrette, and a mindless dose of The Bachelor; the perfect way to quell my craving…until my radar beeps again.

Grilled Brie and Apple Sandwiches with Onion Jam and Maple Dijon

Inspired by “La Petite Amie” at City O’ City

Makes 4-6 sandwiches

  • 1 loaf of your favorite crusty bread, sliced
  • 1 wedge of brie, a little over a half pound, thinly sliced (the rind is edible and may be left on)
  • 2 granny smith apples, washed, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 1 package tempeh bacon, or 8-10 slices real bacon
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 batch caramelized onion jam (see recipe below)
  • Olive oil for spraying or brushing
  • kosher salt
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula, washed and dried

1. Make the onion jam and set aside.

2.  Whisk the dijon mustard and maple syrup together in a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Heat medium or large frying pan over medium high heat.  Cook the bacon until crisp.  (If using tempeh bacon, heat 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil in the pan first.).  Set aside to drain on a plate covered with paper towels.  Chop the bacon into 1/2 inch long pieces

4.  Wipe out the pan used to cook the bacon with a paper towel, then return to the stove and reduce heat to medium.

5. Assemble the Sandwiches: Spray or lightly brush one side of two pieces of bread with olive oil, and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.  On the sides of the bread not sprayed with olive oil, spread the maple dijon and onion jam, and layer the brie, apples, and tempeh bacon.

6. Close the sandwich, place in the heated pan, and cover.  Cook for about two minutes, or until one side is golden and crispy, and the cheese is beginning to melt.  Flip, and cook for approximately two more minutes, or until the other side is golden, and cheese is gooey and melted.  Remove from the pan, and pull the sandwich open, put a small amount of arugula inside, and close the sandwich up again.  Repeat this process for each sandwich, and serve while hot.

Caramelized Onion Jam

Adapted from The Improvisational Cook, by Sally Schneider

A helpful guide for caramelizing onions can be found here.

  • 2 pounds yellow onions, halved, peeled, trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1. Heat the butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and stir.  Cover and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the onions have released their liquid.

2. Increase the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the onions turn a slight golden color.  Sprinkle with sugar, and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the onions are a deep golden brown, 10-25 minutes more.  Add the apple cider vinegar to the hot pan, stir, and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.  Remove from heat.

3.  Transfer the onions to a cutting board or a food processor and finely chop (but don’t puree).  Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, then season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.

P.S:  Here is a goofy photo of me with a grapefruit margarita at City O’ City last summer.


Filed under Jams, Jellies and Spreads, Sandwiches and Burgers