• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!


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  • this month’s packed lunch

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    Check out my food journeys at An Appetite for Adventure!
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    Meatball Sub

    After a long day (ok, ok – roller skating and running errands), I just wanted something simple and comforting. Cheese is my biggest weakness, and this sandwich totally hit the spot for me. I used some meatballs and sauce I had already made for pasta, and sandwiched them with some cheese on a leftover baguette. It used up a lot of leftover food, but none of my roommates noticed that as they gobbled it down.

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    This Month’s Packed Lunch

    One of the fabulous suggestions I’ve received for the blog was from my brother’s girlfriend, Brenda. She said she hates taking boring lunches to work but can’t think of new and exciting things to take. Also, she doesn’t want to spend too much time doing it. The solution? A new monthly segment called “This Month’s Packed Lunch”! Each month, I’ll give you new ideas of things to liven up your lunch, whether you take it to work, school, or are planning a picnic and need something tasty.

    The first lunch couldn’t be simpler, but seems sort of out of the ordinary. This sandwich tastes really good cold, making it ideal for just tossing together and taking with you in the morning. It’s made with sausage, which sure beats you average turkey or ham sandwich. The relish I made yesterday is the perfect complement, and I added some pepperoncinis (one of my favorites) to add some acidity and a slight kick. I always say the best sandwiches are simple, and this one has it all: amazing texture from the bread, a great spread (which keeps the bread from becoming overly soggy while it sits), and just a little bit of spice. If you don’t like spicy foods, a good, garlicky pickle would be a good replacement.

    Roasted Portobello Sandwiches with Corn-Tomato Puree and Cilantro

    After making some of my mom’s salsa, I decided to try to use it in some new ways. I generally eat it plain – not even as a garnish. Generally, tortilla chips, cucumbers, and so on are merely delivery vehicles for the salsa. So I figured I’d shake it up a bit. I hollowed out the center of a meaty portobello mushroom and filled it with a smooth mixture of corn and salsa. It was delicious: I loved the way the starches from corn formed an almost creamy spread. It felt decadent while still tasting fresh and healthy.

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    Horseradish Crusted Steak Sandwich with Arugula and Crispy Shallots

    My roommate loves horseradish. I know this, but still haven’t given in to any of her requests to do something about it. But when she suggested a horseradish steak sandwich – my mouth was watering. I love me some steak, and combined with a slightly spicy horseradish crust, some fresh, peppery arugula, and some deliciously fried shallots – I knew I had a recipe the whole house was going to love.

    Steak Banh Mi

    A good sandwich is everything. It has it all – bread, meat, delicious fatty components like cheese, avocado, or mayonnaise, and all sorts of toppings. The best thing about a sandwich is the variety – flavors and textures coming together in one neat handheld package.

    Alright, so perhaps I needn’t wax quite so poetically about this amazing food, but I am not the first to proclaim this particular sandwich as the next big thing. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is all about the banh mi – the most perfect sandwich I have discovered thus far. The components can vary to your tastes – roast pork, meatballs, or, as in this case, steak. But the basic toppings are the same – crisp quick pickles, fresh cilantro, basil, and mint, spicy jalapenos, and creamy aioli – all offset by deliciously crusty French bread. This is street food at it’s best, but in your own kitchen, it’s easy to say it is sandwich making at it’s best.

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    White Bean Panini-Style Sandwich

    I’m on some kind of vegetarian roll recently.  I was inspired to make this sandwich after a recent visit to Pachamama’s in my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas.  I love the feeling of reading a menu and finding an item that instantly jumps out at you.  On this visit, it was the white bean press: a panini-like sandwich filled with white beans, avocado, red onions, and brie.  The sandwich was delicious: the perfect example of a panini, crispy on the outside, warm and smooth on the inside.

    I made a few adjustments to my home version, however.  I simplified the white bean “mash” and added a squirt of lime juice and some tomato slices for acidity.  I used ciabatta bread, which worked well for my solution to not having a panini press in my kitchen.  

    This sandwich is delicious, creamy, and comforting.  It’s also incredibly fast.  It’s a great solution for vegetarians, as the white beans have plenty of good protein in them, and carnivores could very easily slip some prosciutto or grilled chicken in between the slices of bread.  


    White Bean Panini-Style Sandwich

    Served 1
    Leftover Potential: The avocado will begin to oxidize, but a squeeze of lime will keep it fresh.  I kept the components ready in my fridge for a second sandwich the next day.

    White Bean “Mash”
    1 can white beans
    2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1 tsp dried oregano
    juice of 1/2 lime
    salt, to taste
    pepper, to taste

    1. Drain the white beans.  Using a fork, mash the beans to a chunky mash.  Add the garlic, oregano, and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.

    2 slices ciabatta
    1 tbsp oil
    salt, to taste
    pepper, to taste

    white bean “mash”

    brie, thinly sliced
    avocado, thinly sliced
    tomato, thinly sliced
    red onion, thinly sliced

    1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    2.  Heat a medium size saute pan over medium-high heat.  
    3. Brush the ciabatta slices with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put face down in the saute pan.  Use another pan to press the bread down.  Let cook until well toasted.
    4.  Remove the bread from the pan, and place onto a baking sheet.  Spread the white bean mixture on on half of the bread.  Top with tomato and onion slices.
    5.  On the other piece of bread, apply the brie and avocado slices.  
    6.  Toast the open sandwich in the oven for abut 3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
    7.  Press the sandwich together, cut in half, and enjoy warm.

    *** The tomatoes and avocado can also be added after the sandwich has been baked in the oven, if you desire to keep them cold.