Sunday, January 11, 2009

curse of the club sandwich

My woe to Central Market...the reason my paycheck disintegrates so readily. But truthfully, CM is my savior specifically for its produce and protein freshness. My beloved sandwich bar has been revamped and no longer supplies my favorite bread- the sunflower bread. But, on my most recent adventuresome visit, I went for the Greek hoagie on rosemary bread.

The bread was great- rosemary baked in with a salty crust- then came the good stuff...oven roasted turkey, feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepperocinis, red onion, arugula and a Greek yogurt with dill...the salty, crisp, creamy, savory, juicy deliciousness was overwhelming. Great sandwich.

Although the holy sandwich was the main event, it needed a sidekick. Enter, soup bar. My favorites are the rustic chicken noodle and the asparagus basil. Both were m.i.a. so I went with the vegetarian vegetable and it definitely packed a punch. After reading the extensive ingredient list, I found the robust culprit...Serrano chiles. Who knew?

On a more recent visit, I wandered to find something comforting for a Sunday dinner. What could be better than burgers? My menu was:

Sirloin burgers with shallot, rosemary, lavender and pecorino toscano
Rosemary roasted potatoes

With the ground sirloin, I added olive oil, grated shallot, grated ginger, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper and my new fleur de sel with dried rosemary and lavender. I sauteed them on the grill pan, 2-3 minutes per side, then finished in the oven until medium-well. Right before serving, I melted the grated pecorino toscano on top and piled it high on a whole wheat roll with carmelized onions, pan-fried avocado, a horseradish crema and a gorgeous heirloom tomato slice- delish.

For the potatoes, I tossed halved new potatoes with fresh chopped rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and pepper then roasted it- so simple.

The next night, I made a quick (but yummy) spaghetti and meatballs with the remaining marinated ground sirloin. First, I seared the meatballs to get all the juicy brown bits of deliciousness at the bottom of my Dutch oven. Then, I removed the meatballs, and deglazed the pot with red wine, chopped onion, garlic, fresh rosemary and parsley. I added bottled plain tomato sauce (don't tell), sliced mushrooms and my meatballs back in to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I got my water boiling for my whole wheat angel hair and my girlfriend made a great side- broiled brussel sprouts with Parmesan. It was so easy- even I was amazed. No blanching, no boiling, no ice bath! First, she removed the stalk and sliced the brussel sprouts horizontally. We tossed them on a sheet pan with salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan to broil- they were ready in minutes.

The next evening was my first night back at culinary school! The night concentrated on "garde manger" also referred to as the cold side of the kitchen. Although this has infinite possibilities, our evening concentrated on salads, salad dressing, sandwiches and sides. Seemingly simple, those sandwiches got to me a bit.

In groups, we were required to make a Caesar salad, salad ni├žoise, a traditional club, a Reuben, a monte cristo served madame style with a fried egg and an individual sandwich or salad of our choice.

To be completely honest, I wasn't too excited about this one. I've never made any of these (except the Caesar) nor would I ever order them in a restaurant....just not appealing to me. But, I sucked it up and went for the Caesar, monte cristo and the club. Excuse my bluntness, but the club was complete crap....we will skip that one.

The monte cristo turned out well. I layered white bread with Dijon, muenster, Swiss, ham and a fried egg. Then, I dredged the sandwich with egg (french toast style) and pan fried it. When I've had a monte cristo, It always comes with some sort of raspberry preserve. So, I decided to make a spin on the sweet, tart sauce.

I made a pan sauce with raspberry preserves, red currant jam, horseradish, cayenne and red wine. I wanted the spice from the sauce to complement the richness of the fried sandwich- turned out well.

When it was finally time for me to create my own sandwich, I had run out of time. So, I decided to make a crostini-type appetizer instead. First, I toasted baguette slices in the oven then topped them with a mixture of cream cheese and balsamic. After a spoonful of apricot marmalade, I finished them with toasted sliced almonds and a salted orange segment. The instructors really liked it so I was happy.

Screw the club.


im4bevo said...

I enjoyed reading your blog, Callie; you're quite the foodie. I'll be back to learn more.

Might even catch you @ Central Market. Taylor and I live a few blocks north of Hulen and I-30.

Callie Salls said...

Thank you so much for your comments! I'm glad you enjoy it.

We all should get together for dinner sometime soon- please tell Taylor hello for me!