Tag Archives: greens

Creamy Italian Sandwich

The first couple bites of this sandwich were absolutely amazing and then as I started eating more if it I started feeling overwhelmed by the richness of it. The idea was a good one, but I think to get to a perfect finished product it definitely needs some tweaking.

Yesterday our class had an end of the year party. Most of the parents brought the typical ham and cheese/turkey and cheese sandwiches, but one mother (who is a champion against school lunches and an amazing artist) brought quesadillas. These quesadillas were bomb (yes, I grew up in the mid-nineties). They were whole wheat tortillas with ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach. I ate two of them. I wanted to go back for more.

I was thinking about the different kinds of things that I could do to quesadillas and sanwiches. I was thinking hmm…I have pizza sauce in the freezer, I have olives, I want greens on it: a pizza salad sandwich. I want something creamy, but ricotta can be expensive…cream cheese!

Here it is folks, The Creamy Italian Sandwich.

Ingredients

  • One Francese Roll (you could use whatever kind of roll you like)
  • 2 tbsp. marinara/pizza sauce (I had some in the freezer, you could use jarred or your homemade kind)
  • 2 tbsp. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp. pesto sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarrella cheese
  • 1 cup or more of mixed salad greens (you could also use spinach)
  • 4 pitted kalamata olives

1. Gut your bread. This means tear out all the soft insides of the bread leaving mostly crust behind. This is to your sandwich isn’t too bready. I know, this may make you sad. I love bread too, but there is a lot of other stuff going on in this sandwich to make up for it.

2. Put cream cheese in a bowl. Add pesto, sliced olives, and black pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Now, after eating the sandwich I think two tablespoons of cream cheese was overkill and the pesto unecessary.  Next time I would reduce it to one tablespoon of cream cheese or go with ricotta.

3. Spray olive oil into pan. Spread one tablespoon of marinara/pizza sauce on bread. Spread half of cream cheese/olive mixture on bread. Place in pan. Sprinkle half of cheese on top. Add all your greens. Spread marinara sauce and cream cheese mixture on the other slice of bread. Sprinkle cheese on top of the greens. Add the other slice of bread. Squish down.

4. Put pan on burner and heat to medium. Place a cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich and press down. I suppose you could do this in a panini press or even a waffle iron, if you’ve got fancy stuff like that. I have a cast iron skillet so that’s what I used. Check every couple minutes to make sure the sandwich isn’t burning. Use this time to clean up. Once you smell toastiness, remove the cast iron skillet and check the bottom of your sandwich. If it’s golden flip it and then replace the skillet for another minute or two until the other side of golden. Then dig in and enjoy.

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Crispy Lentil Balls

Okay almost everything deep fried is delicious. There are a few exceptions to this rule: snickers, oreos, twinkies, cheesecake. But most things deep fried are delicious and this includes vegan food. There are many negatives to deep frying: it can take a long time, its awful for your body, and its messy. I hardly ever deep fry anything because of this. Things that are typically deep fried I prefer to pan fry or bake in the oven. I think its okay to have every once in a while to have as a treat.

Crispy Lentil Balls

Adapted from the Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 slices pepper jack rice cheese
  • 1 cup mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup polenta

1. Place the lentils in a medium pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for ten minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and rinse well under cold water.

2. Combine half the lentils in a food processor with garlic and mixed baby greens. Process for ten seconds or until the mixture is pulpy. Transfer for a large bowl and add the remaining lentils, cumin, breadcrumbs, and cheese.

3. Using your hands, roll level tabslepooons mof mixture into balls and toss lightly in polenta.

4. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Gently lower small batches of the balls into moderately hot oil. Cook for one minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Carefully remove from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and rain on paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining balls.

They turned out crispy and delicious, but I couldn’t too many of them. I loved the mixture of the pureed of lentils with whole lentils.