Tag Archives: sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cabbage Apple Fennel Slaw

Often when I’ve had the time to prepare a large cut of meat like the recent whole pork shoulder I rubbed with spices and slow roasted in the oven, I do it with ulterior motives.  Like making meatloaf so I can have a sandwich a day later.  Or braising a piece of beef chuck so I can slather mustard on crusty slices of bread to wrap around cold pieces of the simply prepared roast that was a childhood favorite.

I won’t deny that sitting at a table with friends and family to enjoy a meal of roasted, braised, or grilled beast is the best of occasions, but there’s something to be said about that one-of-a-kind sandwich at the other end of it all.  One I can’t have if all the work doesn’t happen first — or worse — yields no leftovers.  Waiting the best of several days for a 10 lb. cut of pork to thaw if it’s been in the freezer, then sit dressed in its dusty spice covering to finally roast over a pan of apple juice for hours is all worthwhile when I know I’ll be able to bite into a pulled pork sandwich.

As much as I can say I’ll take a nicely stacked sandwich any day if the right ingredients are wedged into those layers, I’m fairly new to pulled pork. Most of the pork I ate growing up was in the form of bone-in chops my mother fried in a cast iron skillet with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  I remember enjoying the flavor of those chops, but the texture always seemed dry so they were never a favorite.  Because I ended up being the family cook at an early age, I can tell you the dryness had to do with the length of time I was told they had to cook — sitting in a hot frying pan to brown for 30 long minutes.  I think I began to buck the system around junior high when I decided to use a lid and lowered temperatures to keep them from turning to leather.  I also remember switching to a blade cut which came off the shoulder instead of the loin.  It’s all about that fat.

But there was something I didn’t like about the fat around the chops that crisped as they fried — the crispy fat my mother enjoyed.  I remember her rescuing the pieces I’d cut from my chop, popping them into her mouth while I cringed at the thought of chewing on a solid piece of fat.  In spite of what we’re told about eating saturated fat, at nearly 75, my mother’s blood pressure, heart, and arterial health are considered excellent.  Suffice it to say she didn’t eat pork fat — or any fat with any degree of regularity.

A little pork fat goes a very long way with me — I even like my bacon lean — so a slow roasted pork shoulder where the marbling of fat melts to tenderize the meat is perfect.  Perfect as in a sandwich filled with layers of it nestled underneath a just right slaw.

A little bit of sweet, then tart, a touch of heat, and a whole lot of crunch work quite well with the pork.  It’s far from traditional, but that’s why I like it.

If you’re someone accustomed to pulled pork treated to a dousing of sauce, I’d understand if you cried foul here, but I think this is worth a try.  Sometimes when something is sauced, that’s all I can taste, and then there are those added calories which always seem to include sugar of some kind and lots of salt.

Load the bread with the spiced pulled pork shoulder, load even more of the veggie slaw, and take a big bite.  Or skip the bread all together and make a salad.

But try it.  And then we’ll talk.

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Quick & Easy Hot Deli Style Chicken Sandwich

It’s late afternoon and the day has been more busy than expected.

You glance at the clock realizing you haven’t given dinner much thought and since take out was on the menu last night,  you’re probably going to have to make dinner tonight.  You don’t really want to make dinner because you’re tired, but you’re also hungry and something with all the right flavors would really hit the spot.  A mental scan of the fridge and pantry contents isn’t adding up to much — or is it?

There’s sliced cheese, some deli meat, and a few jars of things like roasted peppers, pepperoncinis, and olives.  You know you always have onions, some salad greens. Maybe even a slice of bacon or two.  Wait.  Isn’t there some left over chicken as well?

A quick stop at the store for some crusty bread and it looks like sandwich night is in order.

No fuss, no muss.

Delicious.

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Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Filling

Dear Nick Malgieri,

I saw your Ginger Sandwich Cookies filled with lemon cream in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine and decided I’d give them a try.  Although gingersnaps have never been and will never be a cookie I find myself craving, the lemon filling did catch my attention and I thought that with the ginger, the flavor could be exceptional.

Although that did not disappoint, the molasses, on the other hand, gave me pause because the last time I made cookies that had molasses in them, the results were less than appealing until I bent them into submission after much trial and error.

Now I know I’m far from perfect on most days, but I have had a modest amount of experience cooking and baking with great success — thankfully more times than not.  I also use excellent equipment and so cannot blame poor result on either of those factors.

What I’m left with is a question, and I’m asking it of you since this is your recipe and the photograph chosen to illustrate the intended results looks far different than mine — especially my first batch.Ginglemoncook

  • When baking cookies with molasses, is there something I just don’t understand?  What causes them to spread so?  I know sugar in general causes that, and when using molasses, a smaller quantity is needed, as in this recipe which calls for only 1/4 cup.  Could it be the brand of molasses?  I use Grandma’s which is just about the only kind I’ve ever used, and the jar I used for this batch was opened recently.
  • Although keeping a very close eye on the Ginger Sandwich cookies during the required bake time, I realized I needed to remove them from the oven only half way through the expected 20-minute baking time, and even then, the cookies were far too done.  Actually, burnt.
  • I prefer to use convection settings for everything except for recipes with a high quantity of egg, so am used to reducing the heat and cooking time to compensate for that choice. However, because of the previous results, I chose not to use convection heat for this recipe.  On the second batch, again, with only 7 minutes of the baking time elapsed, I had to remove the cookies.

Mr. Malgieri, I know that often, baking is an adventure, and I accept that most of the time.  Because I’m used to reading recipes, I can usually spot one that I think could be problematic, and with this recipe, the cooking time did get my attention.  Cookies rarely bake that long.  Nevertheless, I proceeded like the trusting home cook I am.

I will say your ginger cookies are lovely tasting with a nice bite — chewy, with a pleasant tartness from the lemon cream which blends well with the overall sweetness.  Very, very nice.  I just wish I’d done them justice.  So I’m curious and would enjoy trying these again, but detest wasting food so need some direction.

Did Food & Wine misprint the recipe?  Or am I just someone who should step away from the molasses?

With the utmost respect,
Kelly

p.s.  They stack very well, though!

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Sugar Cream Wafers

Last night, the hunkster and I were tired after a long week: it’s his busy season.  I, on the other hand, am lucky to only work four part time days, with Friday being one of my off days, so don’t have a thing to complain about.  I must, however, take on some of his exhaustion at times.  Regardless, we ended up with Asian takeout last night and the proverbial, concluding fortune cookie that admonished, “Do not rush through life, pause and enjoy it.”

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Oh how I try…

Hence, the part time job.  I’ve most likely mentioned this before, but a year ago decided to end a career I’d invested twenty years in, working my way to a managing position.  It had gotten to the point that much of what I enjoyed about life — time to relax, time to imagine possibilities, and time to create — was no longer possible.  Each day ended with a deflated freefall into bed, five to six hours of sleep, and then three to four days a week, exercise at 4:30 am to compensate for the damage stress was wreaking on my body.  I know there are many, many people who do this daily.  Perhaps they even thrive on it.  I couldn’t.  Not any longer.

About six years before I had gotten to this point, I began to dream of having my own shop.  The essence of the shop was effectively captured in the fortune above.  It was to be all things calm and soothing — a place where those interested could step in and spend time away from their own hectic lives.  Food was involved, of course.

But the timing was not right, and being the cautious people we have always been, sadly, it never came to fruition.

In the little more than a year since I’ve abandoned my career and with it a lucrative retirement, I’ve welcomed back glimmers of what I once used to enjoy.  Although some of it has changed somewhat, I still recognize the spark of inspiration and a tentative willingness to hope once more about what could be — if and when I set my mind to it.

This recipe reminds me of those possibilities and a pace less hurried.  Even in a busy day, time taken to stop long enough to breathe, relax your mind, and imagine can improve one’s frame of mind.

I’ve risked quite a bit to learn this lesson and haven’t regretted it once.

Orange & Vanilla Sugar Cream Wafers  Img_6354

For the cookies:

1 c. butter
1/3 heavy cream
2 c. all purpose flour
granulated pure cane sugar

For the filling:

1/2 c. soft butter
1-1/2 c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
optional:  paste coloring

Measure flour by the dipping method and in the bowl of a mixer, thoroughly combine flour, butter, and cream.  You will still be able to see streaks of butter in the dough.  Scrape dough from the bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap, smoothing into two separate well-formed disks. Wrap each tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour.

While the dough is chilling, make the filling by blending the soft butter and confectioners’ sugar, then divide in half.  Mix vanilla into one, and orange extract into the other.  Color either mixture as desired.  Leave at room temperature if your kitchen is cool, otherwise refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll dough very thin (1/8″) using a piece of plastic both over and underneath the dough working as quickly as possible.  The dough is easiest to work with when very cold.  Using a 1-1/2″ round cutter, cut as many rounds as possible before combining scraps to chill again, and then return to cut more.

Pour a good quantity of the granulated pure cane sugar onto a large plate or flat surface.  As you cut the rounds of dough, place them in the granulated sugar and tap lightly, flipping to coat both sides with sugar.

Place sugared rounds onto a cold baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.  Prick each round with a fork four times.  Place baking sheet in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes depending on how long it takes you to complete the cutting, sugaring, and piercing.  You want the dough to go into the oven cold.

Bake rounds for 7-9 minutes, watching them carefully as they bake.  You will notice that they puff, bubble, then stop.  Do not let them brown.  If you notice the centers to be a bit dense in the center, leave them in a bit longer.  The rounds were probably a bit thicker than necessary.

Transfer rounds immediately to a cooling rack.

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When cookies are completely cool, spread on either flavor of filling on a round, then top with another.

Enjoy with a nice cup of Assam and a good book for at least 30 minutes of R & R.

Notes: These cookies are very much like pie dough and are better when made with exceptional tasting butter (I used Plugra) and good quality sugar and extracts.  They are small and dainty, and are well received as gifts on special occasions.  The filling can be altered in a number of ways to include cinnamon or cardamom, mascarpone, or even a bit of good raspberry jam.  They are a bit fragile when very thin, but so ever flaky and delicious.  They’re quite easy to make, so have fun with the possibilities!

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Chocolate Decadence — Ice Cream Sandwich Style

 What was I thinking?  I completely know that when I cook with chocolate, neither myself nor the kitchen will quite be the same.  And to stretch the ordeal out over night and well into the next day?  Well, that brings new meaning to "death by chocolate."  Call it "Choc-la-cide."  Regardless, although chocolate is no longer something I can't live without, it is and will always be a favorite.  The darker — the better.

A few months ago, I came across one of those recipes that show up in magazine advertisements.  Once in a while, one will catch my eye and I'll tear it out to save.  Unfortunately, it gets tossed aside and is lost in the jumble of mail and other household paper.  Lo and behold the day when one of these saved recipes resurfaces.  "Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies" was dying to be made.  To boot, I decided that chocolate ice cream would be in order as well — and not just alongside.  I hadn't made ice cream cookie sandwiches before, so why not.  I've seen recipes here and there, and it couldn't possibly be that difficult, right?  Sheesh.  Let me tell you…

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I do have to make a comment about this business of advertisements with recipes.  I almost never use the brand of the product that is being advertised.  I'm not a marketer's curmudgeon — it just turns out that way.  Have you ever noticed whether you actually purchase exactly what the recipe calls for?  Am I the only one?  Anyway, clearly, the cookie recipe calls for Ghirardelli and I had everything but that in my cupboard.  Well, that isn't completely true.  I do have their cocoa so used that in the ice cream.  But I also used Schaffenberger and Nestle's and some kind of large chunk chocolate I'd lost the label to.  I think part of the real problem is that I can rarely get all my ingredients at a single store — especially the one I shop at the most.  I know, complain, complain.  Nevertheless, there's my disclaimer.

And here's the results:

Decadent Double Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Ice Cream Sandwiches   

Cookie Ingredients

1 bag (11.5 oz.) Ghirdelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips  (I used a Scharffenberger bar)
6 T. unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 bag (12 pz.) Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips ( I used Nestle)
1 cup walnuts (I used chopped macadamia nuts)

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Directions

  1. In a double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until blended.  Remove from heat.
  2. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale in color.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. 
  4. Slowly, stir warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture, then add flour mixture.
  5. Stir in semi-sweet chocolate pieces and nuts.  Mixture will thicken as it cools a bit.
  6. Measure out two long pieces of plastic wrap — about12-14 inches.
  7. Pour half of the cookie batter onto each piece of plastic, forming a "log" about 2" wide and 10" long down the center.
  8. Pick up long sides of the plastic wrap to sort of cradle the cookie batter.  Then begin to create a snug roll with ends wrapped securely.  Place both in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.Img_1882

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Unwrap dough and with a sharp knife, but rolls into 3/4" pieces.
  2. Place about 1-1/2" apart on a greased or lined cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 12-14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top, but interior is still soft.
  4. Cool to room temp, then seal in a bag and place in the refrigerator.

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Ice Cream Ingredients

(recipe courtesy of Cuisinart)

1-1/2 c. whole milk
1-1/3 c. heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. Dutch process cocoa (I used Ghirardelli cocoa)
2 eggs
1 lg. egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

 Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the whole mild and heavy cream over medium low heat.  With a sharp knife, split vanilla bean down its length and scrape out the seeds.  Add seeds and pod to the milk and cream.
  2. Simmer mixture over low for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.  Afterwards, remove vanilla bean.
  3. Combine sugar, cocoa, eggs, and yolk in medium bowl.  Beat together on med speed until the consistency is like mayonnaise.
  4. Measure out 1 c. of the hot milk mixture and add in a slow, steady stream to the chocolate mixture while  mixer is running on low speed.
  5. Stir chopped chocolate into the remainder of the hot milk mixture in the saucepan.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  Then stir the egg mixture into the hot milk mixture.
  6. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and begins to resemble a chocolate pudding.  You will begin to feel the resistance on the wooden spoon as it thickens.
  7. Fill sink with a couple of inches of water and add enough ice cubes to create very cold water.
  8. Lower pan into the water, being careful to not get water into the chocolate mixture.  Stir chocolate as needed, and add additional ice cubes if necessary to bring chocolate mixture to a cool state.  (If you prefer, cover with plastic wrap instead and place in the refrigerator to cool.)
  9. Pour cooled custard into ice cream maker and turn the machine on.  Let mix until thickened, about 30 minutes.

*Depending on the consistency of the ice cream, and the temperature of your cookies, you may need to let the ice cream harden in the freezer a bit.

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Otherwise, remove cooled cookies from the refrigerator, scoop ice cream onto the bottom of a cookie and top with a second.  Voila!

Popping these into the freezer to firm them up may be necessary…

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