Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Romancing The Sandwich

Okay, so the title is a little misleading, you're not going to romance a sandwich, it's just a play on the movie title Romancing The Stone (and 80's Action/Adventure flick starring Michael Douglas) and today's blog entry is about sandwiches, delicious, yummy sandwiches, and making them a romantic idea. We could have written it last week then some of you lady readers (and even the men) could have used our sandwich tips for a romantic post-coital Valentine's feast, like we did.

It's no secret men love sandwiches, but women do too. And sandwiches can be romantic. (at the bottom of this entry we posted pictures of our strange Valentine's Day sandwich feast...)
The way to a man's heart could very well be through a sandwich perfected.
We figured today we could suggest to you what you could do for that someone special in your life, any day of the week - or even just yourself.

First, a little history and context...
Sandwiche, a word first coined by the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, in Sandwich England, in 1762, but whose tradition goes back further than the Middle Ages, has a variety of forms.

Despite what Wikipedia might tell you, a sandwich being two or more pieces of bread with fillings, we'll take our bets with the definition provided in culinary school both by our instructors and our textbook. There are several categories of sandwiches as a matter of fact, other than the traditional two bread slice version; hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, sealed sandwiches, pocket, open face cold, open faced hot.

There is debate about pizza being an open face sandwich, "A pizza is a pizza" they say, but by that token you can say "a hamburger is a hamburger"...but it's still a sandwich (as per our culinary school textbook). Our definition of a sandwich would be an assembled food which contains any sort of bread product either as a base or means of delivery. Makes sense, right?

The construction...
The main component of a sandwich is a bread product and the addition of an assortment of meat, cheese, veggies, and spreads. We decided we're going to help you by providing lists of yummy ingredients, links and an easy formula (just for silliness sake).

Make a Sandwich!
Main components of a sandwich include a bread product and an assortment of meat, cheese, veggies, and spreads. We decided we're going to help you by providing delicious suggestions to wet your creative appetite.

 Sliced Bread:
- White, Whole Wheat, Multi-Grain, Dark Rye, Light Rye, Sourdough, Potato
- Ciabatta, White, Hamburger, Hotdog, Kaiser, Hoagie, French, Bap
Other Varieties:
- Flatbread, Croissant, Tortilla , Baguette, English Muffin, Bagel, Focaccia/Fugassa,

Without getting into too much more, the list of breads in the world is extensive if you're interested in more visit this list from a bakery in New Hampshire: Breads of the World. Breads come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be a flavoured with a wide range of things such herbs and spices, cheeses, fruits (sundried tomatoes and olive for example), nuts…

You can even cut sliced bread into shapes, or cut the crusts off...endless.

The point is you can make a sandwich with nearly any bread you want, why stick with sliced?

Chicken, beef, pork, duck, venison (deer, moose, etc.), rabbit, meat/protein alternatives (tofu, eggs, peanut butter, etc), Hot, cold, smoked, grilled, plain; cold cuts, whole, thick sliced, thin, shaved; the variety is endless. Thinking outside the box will guarantee a food adventure.
Here are some idea’s to get your brain working.
  • Pate (also can be used as a spread)
  • Smoked duck
  • Smoked fish
  • Pickled Eggs
  • Venison
  • Peanut butter
  • Marinated and grilled tofu
  • Hamburger
  • Steak
  • Kielbasa
  • Hot dogs
  • Canned meats (tuna, chicken, oysters, etc.)
  • ….the list is exhausting really, any meat can be put into a sandwich, for a decent list from Wikipedia of traditional cold cuts:
Hard, Semi-hard, semi-soft, soft, creamy; fresh, aged; sliced, wedged, spreads, curds; stinky, sweet, mild, nutty, smoky; sharp, cow, sheep, goat…

Who doesn’t love cheese, and there are so many more than mmost people even know, mostly because average grocery stores only carry typical types like cheddar, swiss, processed (American), parmesan, cream cheese, and all the other well known cheeses…

Glossary of popular cheese:
Love cheese even more? Visit for lists of cheeses by texture, country of origin, name and milk type...there are more than you've ever dreamed of...

Go ahead and build your sandwich with veggies, there are so many things you can put in it how can you resist. For example:

  • Grilled/roasted veggies (onions, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, peppers, mushrooms
  • Fresh veggie (tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, avocado)
  • Lettuces & greens (butter lettuec, romaine, ice berg, spring mix, watercress, pea shoots, herbs such as fresh basil and oregano)
  • Pickled vegetables (cucumber, beet, onions, mushrooms, cabbage (sauerkraut) etc.)
  • Artichokes, Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Jalapenos
Horseradish, pesto, marmite (that’s a vile yeast spread from England), grainy mustard, English mustard, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, mayo, flavoured mayo (aioli), chutney, hummus, preserves/fruit spreads, cream cheese spreads, peanut butter, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings the list is also extensive, you get the idea.

When coming up with combinations think about your ingredients. Smokey meats pair well with a creamy soft or semi-soft cheese that's not too strong, otherwise you lose the flavour of the smoked meat.

Think about what part of the sandwich you want the focus to be on, and build around that with delicious additions. You can use as many or as little fillings as you want. What we've provided here are suggestions, just the tip of the ice berg to sandwich creativity.

Remember, romantic doesn't have to be a hot meal, it can be a well thought out platter of an assortment of sandwiches. The way to a man's heart could very well be through a sandwich perfected.

Bread + Meat(s) + Cheese(s) +/- Veggie(s) +/- Spread(s) = Sandwich

Some of our favorite (and strange) ways to eat a sandwich:
  • Grilled cheese on raisin bread using mayo on the outside instead of butter
  • Cheeseburger with french fries inside
  • Cold cut sandwhich with potato chips inside
Our Valentine's Day sandwich platter:

Top left, clockwise:
Turkey & Pastrami on Sourdough with Sauteed Leeks. Sauteed Portobello Mushrooms, Pesto and Mayo; Oak Smoked Ham on Croissant with Sauteed Onion, Havarti, Red Pepper, English Mustard and Mayo; Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on Brioche; Smoked Venison on Baguette with Zucchini, Sauteed Portobello Mushrooms, Red Leicester Cheese and Horseradish sauce; Ox Tongue on Ciabatta with Bri, Watercress and Hot Mango Chutney.

Which was the best? Turkey & Pastrami on Sourdough with Sauteed Leeks. Sauteed Portobello Mushrooms, Pesto and Mayo

Valentine's Day Dessert:
Brioche French Toast with Vanilla Custard,
whipped Cream, Berries and Bananas
History of Sandwich Kent: Origins of the Sandwich, Open Sandwich

Recommended link:
Beer, Cheese and Food Pairing Chart

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