ChatterRecipe of the Month June 2010
© Mira Zaki
Before I get into the recipes for this month, yes, there’s 2 of them, I wanted to ponder for a moment as to how many things we all eat that come as a duo – think about it! Rice & beans, bread & butter, bangers & mash, fish & chips, peanut butter & jelly, cheese & crackers, chips & dip, surf & turf, apple pie & ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries, the list goes on… But if you think about it, what Gemini doesn’t love a good sandwich, eh? And what better idea for a Gemini than to put something, in fact pretty much anything between 2 slices of bread, from a simple fried egg, to a hamburger patty or maybe smoked salmon & cucumber with the crusts cut off?
© Renée Comet
And here’s even more proof that everyone loves sandwiches. Lisa Cherkasky is a food stylist and friend of food photographer Renée Comet. This Turkey Slider image was styled by Lisa and shot by Renée.
© Renée Comet
And Lisa has a really cool blog devoted entirely to the sandwich called, “The Lunch Encounter!” Check it out! http://midnightsnack.wordpress.com
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
The sandwich was supposedly named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (an 18th Century aristocrat) but he certainly did not invent it. All he did was order his valet to bring him some meat “tucked” between 2 pieces of bread, and the next thing you know, everyone was asking for “the same as Sandwich!” But bread has been eaten with meat or vegetables since Neolithic times. The Ancient Jewish sage “Hillel the Elder” was said to have placed meat from the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs between 2 slices of Matzoh (unleavened bread) at Passover, thus giving us the earliest known version of a “Lamb Pita” aka Shawarma (Arabic), Doner kebab (Turkish), or Gyro (Greek). During the Middle Ages, thick slabs of stale bread called “trenchers” substituted as plates and introduced us to the concept of open-faced sandwiches. The discarded food-soaked slices were then fed to dogs or beggars. Initially perceived as food that men shared while gaming & drinking at night, the sandwich slowly gained popularity amongst the upper classes and aristocracy as a late-night snack, while in Spain, sandwiches became a popular form of portable lunches amongst the working class due to the rise of a new industrial society. Wherever you grew up, chances are your culture had you eating sandwiches of one sort or another. So remember, a sandwich is simply comprised of one or more fillings between 2 slices of bread, so the combinations are literally infinite… Here are 2 of my own favorite, tasty but simple sandwiches, one savory and the other one sweet.
My 1st sandwich is Bacon & Mushroom and takes me back to England and my dear friend Stuart. We were living together in a tiny little cottage in a tiny little village called Upper Somborne at the time. Our favorite weekend ritual was to make bacon & mushroom sandwiches along with a big jug of freshly-brewed coffee, followed by a long walk with our dog Maisie in the beautiful Hampshire countryside…. Of course I don’t live there any more, and sadly my friend Stuart is no longer with us, but I do still eat this sandwich!
Bacon & Mushroom Sandwich – Ingredients for 2
4 slices Bread (your choice but a good wholewheat works well for this)
6-8 slices Bacon
Mushrooms (wiped clean & sliced)
Salt & Pepper
Cook the rashers of Bacon slowly in a skillet over not too high a heat. As it cooks, drain the fat into a small bowl and set aside. By draining off the fat, the Bacon will crisp up. When the Bacon is done, put aside onto some paper towel. Put the saved fat back into the skillet and cook the Mushrooms in it, don’t overcook them or they will become rubbery. While the Mushrooms are cooking, lightly toast your Bread, or not if it is really fresh and spread some Mustard on either one or both slices. Layer the slices of Bacon on one slice and then cover with some sautéed Mushrooms. Season with Salt & Pepper to taste before placing the other slice of bread on top, then press down gently before slicing the sandwich in half. Delicious!
My 2nd sandwich is Peanut Butter & Banana and one that I used to eat a lot, as in “a lot” when I was living in Paris. I was a vegetarian at that point and with all of the classes I was taking, my body needed better nutrition. Some of my American friends introduced me to this at first bizarre combination, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the mixture of flavors and get a satisfying and filling snack out of it. Remember, Gemini’s color is yellow, and they do seem to like yellow foods, don’t they?
Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich – Ingredients for 2
4 slices Bread (your choice but I like sourdough or maybe rye?)
2 Bananas (not too ripe, peeled & sliced)
Spread 2 of the slices Bread of with a generous amount of the Peanut Butter
Next layer on some slices of Banana and drizzle on some Honey to taste. Then sprinkle with some Cinnamon before covering with the 2nd slice of bread. Yummy!