A Decadent Sandwich (and Sourdough Brioche)

A few months ago, my mom shared her new diet theory with me.  It goes like this, if you want to eat something unhealthy, you have to make it yourself.  You want french fries?  Fine, go buy yourself some russet potatoes, cut them up, fry them, season them, and enjoy.  While I’m not sure I’m totally on board with this idea (I could see myself getting into some major trouble, especially during weeks when I’m not too busy with work) I can see the sense of it.  It allows for indulgences, but not for fast or processed food.  It also allows for more quality-control on ingredients.

I decided to put my mom’s theory to the test when I decided to make Saveur’s incredible-looking Ham, Cheese, Egg and Lemon Sandwiches this week.  And, yes, I wanted to use brioche like the recipe called for.  So instead of heading to a local bakery, I headed to the pantry and ended up with one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in my new home.  Here’s how to do it in yours.

First, make the brioche.  I’ve been playing around with my sourdough starter recently and I decided I’d try using that instead of yeast.  I found this recipe online and it worked like a charm.  I had to start the day before in order to have time to reactivate my starter and for the dough to have a nice, slow rise in the refrigerator.  The next morning, I formed the rolls, let them rise again, and baked them in the afternoon.

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The buns were impossibly soft with a moist, airy crumb.  Yes, there is a lot of butter in there.  But I used pastured butter instead of conventional, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and Vitamins A and K2 among other things.  I resisted the urge to try and add whole wheat flour to the dough because I didn’t want to risk making them too dense.  I’ve had recent sourdough baking experiments fall flat (pun intended).

Before moving forward with my grand sandwich plans, I had to make a cinnamon roll detour.

IMG_0288You see, I realized that I had enough dough for about a dozen brioche rolls.  Waaay more than I needed (or wanted) to consume.  I repurposed about 2/3 of the dough into cinnamon rolls figuring I would have no trouble getting Jeremy, his friends, or my coworkers to eat them.  Yes, I know it’s evil to foist one’s unwanted sweets on the workplace breakroom, but I haven’t had any complaints so far 🙂

With the bread situation handled, it was time to move on to the lemon curd.  I only made about 1/4 the recipe, a choice I may regret since this stuff is so darn tasty.

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Phew!  Ok, now it’s time for the next step.  For me it was going to the gym.  And when I got home, it was sandwich-time.

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Every bite.  So good.

Our neighbors’ chicken was very intrigued.

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Please share your favorite homemade indulgences!

Last year: Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies

Ham, Cheese, Egg, and Lemon Sandwiches

For each sandwich, you’ll need:
– 1 brioche bun, cut lengthwise
– 1 tsp butter
– 2 tsp lemon curd (see recipe below)
– 1 oz goat cheese
– 1 pastured egg
– 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
– salt and pepper
– 2 slices ham
– small handful salad greens

Melt butter on a skillet over medium heat.  Toast brioche, inner surfaces down until golden and crispy.  Transfer to plate; spread goat cheese on bottom half and lemon curd on top half.

In a bowl, whisk the egg.  Add to heated skillet and cook like an omelette with thyme, salt, and pepper inside.  Fold the omelette into quarters and place on top of goat cheese.

Place ham in skillet and cook just until nice and warm.  Place on top of the egg, followed by salad greens.  Place the second half of brioche bun on top.
Lemon Curd
makes about 1/4 cup

– 1 pastured egg yolk
– 3 Tbs sugar
– 3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
– zest and juice of 1 small lemon

Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan until smooth.  Place over medium-low heat and cook, whisking frequently until curd starts to resemble pudding, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to an airtight jar and chill for a couple hours before using.

 

 

Egg Salad

I recently got my hands on a copy of River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

It’s a beautiful cookbook; just about every other page boasts some jealousy-inducing photo with a mouthwatering recipe to accompany it.  For some reason, it took me a few days to decide to make something from it.  It could be the beginning of the school semester and the mountain of work that is slowly piling on.  This will be my first time with a clinical placement in a hospital where I will be working with real, live patients.  I’m excited but have the novice nurse jitters about it.

Another thing that kept me away from this cookbook at first was the fact that most of the recipes seem extremely rich.  I’ve been craving somewhat light, healthy fare this week and, while you can certainly find that in this book, it is not the focus.  As I flipped through it this morning, the egg tartare recipe caught my eye and I noticed that I had almost all the ingredients on hand.  It sounded like it might be a good, protein-filled lunch to keep me satisfied during a 4-hour computer training I have tomorrow afternoon.

Of course I am incapable of actually following a recipe to the letter.  I made some substitutions based on what was in my herb garden and also because I don’t like mayonnaise.  You could definitely substitute the oil, sour cream, and yogurt for 1-2 Tbs of mayonnaise if you wanted to.

Egg Salad
serves 3-4

Ingredients:
– 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped (click here for my favorite HB egg instructions)
– 1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
– 1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
– 2 Tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
– 3 sweet baby pickles, finely chopped
– 1 Tbs capers, rinsed
– 2 Tbs sour cream
– 2 Tbs plain greek yogurt
– 1 Tbs olive oil
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix together all ingredients except the eggs until well combined.

2. Add eggs and stir until evenly coated.

3. Serve on bread for a sandwich or as a topping for your favorite salad greens.

I surprised myself by actually enjoying the taste of the sweet pickles in this recipe.  I have always had something against sweet pickles since I was a kid, when I chomped on a bread and butter pickle that I had assumed was a dill.  I thought it was disgusting at the time, but I decided to give these another chance since I seem to have also gotten over my hatred of olives this year.

Do you have any foods that you wouldn’t eat as a child but have recently begun to enjoy?