Tag Archives: Italian

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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Linguine “Alfredo” and Fruit Grunt

Today I decided to try out some recipes from the Vegan Yum Yum blog. I love her photos and I’ve looked through the cookbook as well. I hadn’t tried any of her recipes yet, but today I changed that. I decided to make rice linguine with “alfredo” sauce and a blueberry/raspberry grunt.

First, what in the world is a grunt and why would my fruit be grunting? What would I have to be on for my fruit to be grunting? Okay, enough with the lameness. A grunt is a kind of cobbler:

Grunts, Pandowdy, and Slumps are a New England variety of cobbler, typically cooked on the stove-top or cooker in an iron skillet or pan with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings—they reportedly take their name from the grunting sound they make while cooking. -Wikipedia Article on Cobble

In other words, delicious! Berries were luckily on sale today at Scotts Valley Market. I got raspberries and blueberries. I wanted a mixture of berries as opposed to just doing blueberries. The raspberries were absolutely perfect and delicious. The blueberries were also very good. I did not make my grunt on the stove-top, instead I cooked in a soup crock in the oven.

How do you make something heavily based on dairy vegan? Well, there are many recipes for vegan cheese sauces out there. These mostly rely upon nutritional yeast powder and cashews. This is one of those recipes and I have to say, I did not dig the consistency, but the flavor was good. The alfredo was runny and not creamy as I would expect an alfredo sauce to be.  The taste was a little heavy on the soy sauce, so next time I would reduce the soy sauce. I think I would also to pureed white beans instead of cashews.

Linguine  with “Hurry Up Alfredo” Sauce and Asparagus

Recipe adapted from VeganYumYum

Hurry Up Alfredo
Makes 2-3 Servings

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 Tbs Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Vegan Margarine
  • 1 Tbs Tahini
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz. brown rice linguine
  • 3 spears of asparagus

1. Add all sauce ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy. It never actually gets creamy, but until it is processed.

2. Cut two large and one small spears of asparagus. Remember to snap off the woody stems. I’m saving mine for a vegetable stock later this week. Boil a pot of water. Once boiling add rice linguine and boil until cooked. Add the cut asparagus now. Drain and rinse pasta and asparagus in the sink. Add the sauce and enjoy.

Blueberry and Raspberry Grunt

Adapted from VeganYumYum

I have to say this was an amazingly easy dessert. It does take some time, but its relatively simple. I adapted this recipe to make two portions of grunt filling and one portion of biscuit. I’m goint to use the leftover filling in my oatmeal tomorrow morning, yum! At first, I thought the biscuit was going to overwhelm the filling, but it was well proportioned.

Blueberry Filling

  • 2 Cups Fresh Blueberries (or frozen)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Simple Biscuits

  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1Tbs vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

1. In a large, heavy bottomed silk, add filling ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmmer for fifteen minutes until raspberries come apart and the liquid has turned a dark purple.

2. Mix together biscuit ingredients, working the margarine into the flour before adding the almond milk.

3. Add half the filling to an individual grautin dish or individual soup crock. Then spoon biscuit dough on top of the filling. Bake in 400º oven for twenty minutes.




Turkey Parmesan

I was thoroughly exhausted yesterday. After very little sleep last night, I worked from eight in the morning until six thirty tonight. I had a break around 2:30 where I went grocery shopping. I bought seventy dollars worth of groceries. Man! I went in with a plan and a list. This week I am making adaptations of recipes from the Martha Stewart Great Food Fast cook book. These recipes are from the spring section. I was going to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts but they were expensive, so I bought skinless turkey breast cutlets. I am supplementing them in recipes that use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The flavor profile is definitely different. Turkey has a much more distinct flavor than chicken; earthier, heartier, better in my humble opinion. I’m not sure if it takes on certain flavors as well as chicken does, which I found to be the case tonight with my turkey parmesan.

Ingredients

1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs (I added parsley and black pepper to mine)
two turkey breast cutlets
1 small can of reduced sodium tomato sauce (smaller than 8 oz.)
1 egg, beaten
canola spray
1 tsp. chopped garlic
Two small slices of reduced-fat mozzarella

Procedure

Heat skillet with canola spray on medium-high heat. Dredge turkey breasts in egg then breadcrumbs. Add turkey breasts into the skillet. Brown on one side. Then add tomato sauce and chopped garlic. Cook for about five minutes on medium high heat. Add mozzarella slices to each turkey breast cutlet. Cover with a lid to melt the cheese or put under the broiler for about four minutes. I served mine over a green salad with Italian bread.

I don’t think I would make this recipe again. I wanted to try it out and I found that I don’t really like it much. I’m not the biggest fan of tomato sauce and I don’t think the turkey went well with it. Tomorrow will be either turkey breast cutlets cashew chicken style; stuffed with goat cheese and dried apricots; or turkey breast cutlets in mustard sauce with steamed asparagus. We’ll see how much I feel like doing after work tomorrow.

Seafood Lasagne

While this is not something I cooked it definitely looks and tastes delicious. My boyfriend and I went to Stagnaro’s Seafood Grill last night on the wharf. They specialize in Italian seafood dishes. I got the seafood lasagne.

It had spinach, shrimp, and white fish with a red sauce and an alfredo sauce. I don’t like cooked greens, so the spinach was a little hard for me to eat, but I managed.