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.

 

 

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches

What do you get when you put classic nicoise salad ingredients between 2 slices of bread?  You get the perfect picnic takealong.

I was inspired by this sandwich over at Tartelette.  It was just the thing to bring for an afternoon cooling off by the river last weekend.  It was Jeremy’s birthday and we needed a way to beat the heat and get out of our ordinary routine.  We ended up with happy tastebuds and a very happy dog.

Chasing sticks never gets old for him.

I used some lovely homemade focaccia bread and quick-pickled onions in this recipe.  Use whatever bread you prefer, but I really recommend you give the onions a try.  They only take about 5 minutes to put together and they add a zesty tang and crunch.

I hope everyone is staying cool out there.  I’ve stationed myself in front of the fan for the afternoon.

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches
makes 2
adapted from Tartelette

Ingredients
– 2 hard-boiled farm eggs, peeled and chopped
– 1 can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
– 6 olives, halved (I’m obsessed with castelvetrano olives)
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– several large basil leaves, torn into pieces
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tomato, sliced
– several slices quick-pickled onions
 bread of choice

In a large bowl, mix eggs, tuna, olives, garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Spread thickly between slices of bread, topped with tomato and onions.

I added this post to this week’s Melt in Your Mouth Monday.

Lisa’s Grilled Cheese

I’m a week and a half into my 3 week “detox” with no sugar or refined flour.  I’d like to be able to tell you that it’s been easy.  I’d like to be able to tell you that I’m suddenly craving only broccoli and carrots.  But I’d be lying.  The truth is that I can’t wait to bake some cookies and eat them.  Luckily, there’s another blogger out there who has made the same dietary changes I’m now attempting (only she did it permanently!) and she shares her wonderful wisdom and recipes with the rest of us at Thrive Style.  If you haven’t found Lisa’s blog yet, I suggest you check it out.  You’ll find tons of great recipes, nutrition advice, and bits of life.

Recently, she’s been perfecting her grilled cheese, which is made with coconut flour flatbread!  It’s incredibly easy and adaptable, and it’s perfect for satisfying the monster cravings I’ve been dealing with this week.  I’m going to send you her way for the recipe, which I pretty much followed exactly.  The only change I made was omitting the pizza seasoning because I didn’t have any.  For fun, I also added just a bit of fresh basil and arugula.  Thanks, Lisa, for this recipe revelation!

Coconut flour flatbread grilled cheese.

Made with grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese!

On an unrelated note, Jeremy left this morning for a 3 week tour with a band he plays in.  My apartment is already starting to feel empty.  Luckily, I still have this guy to keep me company!

Salmon and Rye Sandwich with Herbed Yogurt

About a week ago, I mentioned my rediscovery of the open-faced sandwich.  I remember my dad often enjoying one for a weekend lunch, although I was never very interested in joining him since he usually topped his with a generous portion of braunschweiger (liverwurst).  I thought it was really gross.

Recently, though, I’ve come back around to this way of sandwich-making.  Maybe it’s in honor of my Danish heritage or maybe it’s just because this a really good idea.  As far as I’m concerned, sandwich bread is simply a vehicle for the toppings.  Here is a super-simple sandwich that I’ve been enjoying recently.  It’s quick to make and filled with satisfying flavors.  The only real time-consuming part of this is the herbed yogurt.  I wanted it to have the same thick consistency as cream cheese so I drained it in cheesecloth overnight.  By morning, I had a super-thick yogurt with the excess liquid (whey) separated out.  You could certainly use cream cheese or goat cheese instead.

Salmon and Rye Sandwich with Herbed Yogurt
serves 1

Ingredients
– 1 slice rye bread
– 2 Tbs Herbed Yogurt (recipe below)
– a slice (or two) of lox

1. Lightly toast the rye bread, not until crispy but until just warmed and softened.

2. Smear generously with herbed yogurt and top with lox.

Herbed Yogurt
makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients
– 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt (or 3/4 cup cream cheese or goat cheese)
–  2 Tbs chives, minced
– 3 Tbs parsley, minced
– 3 Tbs dill, minced

1.  If you are thickening your yogurt, put it in a layer of cheesecloth and leave to drain overnight.  See more detailed instructions here.

2.  Mix yogurt and herbs until well-incorporated.