Category Archives: Taste This

Pastrami and Prosciutto Melt on Rye with Pepperoni Mustard

I’m a sandwich addict.  I just can’t help myself.  If you have followed my work, you would know that I’m continually thinking about food.  The flexibility of the sandwich is what attracts me to this culinary medium.  One creation that was especially tasty was my Monstrous Meatloaf on Ciabatta.  Another traditional favorite is my take on the grilled cheese.  Or, there’s always the egg salad sandwich.  If you have the time, you can make Scintillating Chicken Salad Sliders on Arepas, or you can go all out and make my favorite one–the Scotch Egg Sandwich on a Pretzel Roll with Horseradish Mustard.  That took some work, but if you like bratwurst like I do, you’ll be sated.

I’ve been wanting to make pepperoni mustard for a couple of weeks now.  Originally, I thought it would go well with corned beef, but I just couldn’t pass up the pastrami.  Besides, the whole family likes pastrami.  Corned beef?  Not so much.

The pepperoni mustard only takes about fifteen minutes with the aid of a ninja-like food processor.  I don’t even own a food processor.  I had to borrow one to try this creation out.  The sandwich is also easy.  Just stack meat to the sky.

Stack 6 slices of pastrami in preheated iron skillet.  Place two slices prosciutto and top with swiss cheese.  Cover and let heat for two minutes.
Stack 6 slices of pastrami in preheated iron skillet. Place two slices prosciutto and top with swiss cheese. Cover and let heat for two minutes.

Ingredients

6-8 slices pastrami

2 slices prosciutto

3 slices Swiss cheese

2 slices rye bread

4 thinly sliced red onion rings

2 tablespoons jalapenos

1 tablespoon pepperoni mustard

Pepperoni mustard spread on a pastrami and prosciutto melt on rye.
Pepperoni mustard spread on a pastrami and prosciutto melt on rye.

Method

Preheat an iron skillet over medium heat.  I got a paper towel with some vegetable oil and rubbed it over the hot skillet to keep the meat from sticking.

Stack pastrami, prosciutto, and cheese in skillet and cover for two minutes so the cheese melts.  Carefully remove stack with a large spatula and place on a slice of rye bread.  Top with onions and jalapenos.  Spread pepperoni mustard on second slice of bread.  Top sandwich with second slice of bread.  Enjoy.

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Pepperoni Mustard

Yeah, I know it sounds kinda strange.  I just have so much pepperoni at the house.  It’s definitely a problem I don’t mind having, but I have to use up the pepperoni so I can purchase…more pepperoni.

This spread will go nicely on sandwiches and it’s simple to make.

Ingredients

1 cup sliced pepperoni, packed (like you would do brown sugar)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon Mezzetta sun-ripened tomatoes in olive oil

2 tablespoons Maille whole grain mustard

Method

Using a food processor, chop pepperoni and olive oil into a slurry.  Slurry just doesn’t evoke feelings of deliciousness, but trust me.  Add all other ingredients except the whole grain mustard and blend in the food processor.  Stir in the whole grain mustard by hand so that the texture is maintained.

Spread on your favorite sandwich and enjoy.

I’m A Dashionista–Roasted Potatoes and Smoked Sausage

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I just received a check in the mail today from Mrs. Dash.  Yep, I sent in a variation of this recipe and I guess they thought it was good enough to eat.  I think I need a vanity plate that says “DSHINSTA.”  I updated this recipe so that you can enjoy it as it was submitted.  

My only wish is that I could have gotten a tiara.

Ingredients:

4 medium russet potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup mirepoix (I’m feeling puny today so I used some of the frozen variety)
1/2 pound Down Home sausage, split lengthwise, then split again and chopped
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 tomato, chopped
Olive oil
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine first five ingredients.

Drizzle olive oil and toss to coat.

Season with Mrs. Dash.

Roast uncovered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

Scotch Egg Sandwich on Pretzel Roll With Horseradish Mustard

I woke up this morning in a funk.  I’ve been fighting my autoimmune aches and pains and really thought I was going to camp out on the couch and watch House reruns on Netflix.  I would have if I wasn’t tasked with taking my fourteen year old daughter to the bank to open a savings account.

Boiled eggs encased in bratwurst.
Boiled eggs encased in bratwurst.

By the time we got to the bank I began thinking about sandwiches.  My kids think I should be famous for my pepperoni grilled cheese sandwiches and they always welcome new sandwich additions to my repertoire.  One night we had chimichangas for supper.  Chimichangas stuffed with banana, peanut butter, marshmallow spread, and Hershey bars.  Though not technically a sandwich, they were perfectly happy to eat a crusty and gooey conglomeration of delights.

Dredged in egg wash and coated with panko bread crumbs.
Dredged in egg wash and coated with panko bread crumbs.

I have been wanting to try Scotch eggs for some time now.  I decided they would make a great sandwich.  I was right.  I found some pretzel rolls and determined that I needed to use bratwurst for the eggs.  Add a nice mustard sauce and we have a German/Scotch egg.  A Scotch egg by any other name tastes just as sweet, right?  I knew that 400 level Shakespeare I course I took in 2 1/2 weeks one summer was going to be useful someday.

I decided to borrow a horseradish-mustard sauce from Martha Stewart.  I added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to increase the drizzle factor.  It took maybe five minutes to make the sauce.  The rest was pretty straightforward as well.

Fried scotch eggs.
Fried scotch eggs.

Ingredients:

4 eggs, boiled to your desired consistency

2 eggs, beaten (to hold the breading)

5 links bratwurst, casings removed

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 quarts vegetable oil (for frying)

4 pretzel rolls (or whatever bread suits your fancy)

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Method:

Heat oil in cast iron dutch oven to 375 degrees F.  While oil is heating, peel eggs.

Take approximately 1 1/4 bratwurst links without casings and flatten.  Place egg in the center and carefully work sausage around egg to completely encase it.  (At this point, I stuck the eggs in the freezer for about fifteen minutes to firm them up.  It’s not necessary, but if you choose to do this, wait until you remove them to start heating the oil).

Coat meat covered eggs with egg wash and roll in breadcrumbs to coat completely.scotch3When oil is hot, carefully place eggs in oil.  I cooked two at a time so that they had plenty of breathing room.  Fry approximately ten minutes and periodically roll egg balls to make sure it cooks evenly.  (I didn’t have enough oil to completely submerge my eggs).

When cooked, carefully remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate to drain.  Let cool for about ten minutes and slice with a serrated knife.  Place on roll and drizzle with delicious mustard sauce.  Enjoy.

Tangy Orange and Lime Salad Dressing

I have to admit that I don’t eat many fresh fruits and vegetables.  I like fruit and some vegetables, but sometimes it’s easier to grab a candy bar or a tin of sardines.  I’m lazy.  Preparing salad diverts my efforts from other worthwhile endeavors.  Like eating potato chips.

I was surfing recipes while I was at the bank drive thru when I found the perfect salad dressing recipe.  As soon as I completed my transaction I had to go to Kroger for some oranges.  This recipe captured my imagination that I had to get home to make it immediately.  Or something like it.

I have great difficulty following recipes.  I almost never follow a recipe.  I see them as guidelines.  When I saw the recipe for Citrus Shallot Salad Dressing, I was imagining Tangy Orange and Lime Salad Dressing sweetened with watermelon molasses.

dressing

I am very pleased with the results.  The Tabasco lends the tiniest of bit of heat while you taste a faint hint of watermelon.  It is so faint it is almost an afterthought.  If you don’t want to burn up a whole day making watermelon molasses, you can always use a different sweetener.  I think brown sugar would be a nice addition.

Ingredients:

Juice from 2 oranges
Juice from 2 limes
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons watermelon molasses (or you can use honey or another sweetener)
1 large shallot, minced finely
2 dashes Tabasco
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Method:

Combine ingredients in a mason jar and shake until combined.

Scintillating Chicken Salad Sliders on Arepas

When I was around twelve, I loved going to my best friend’s house.  Being ex-military and ex-CIA, his dad was strict, but kind.  He was the type of man who wouldn’t tolerate the sheninagans you see kids pull today.  We always showed respect to adults in his house.  It was always “yes sir” and “yes ma’am.”

His mom was great.  She was from Venezuela, and she was always making treats for us.  I still remember the creaminess of the hot chocolate she made with melted Venezuelan chocolate bars.  What I miss most are the arepas.

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Arepas are similar to hot water cornbread, but you use cooked corn flour, or masa harina.  I’ve only made them twice in my life.  They paled in comparison to the perfectly cooked corn discs of my youth.  Nonetheless, they are tasty and I think with enough practice, I can make these as light and fluffy as I remember.

Here is an excellent arepa recipe. I added garlic powder to mine. I especially like this recipe because there are many descriptive pictures to help you make your own arepas. I also decided to get a little creative with the chicken salad. Cooking the chicken was no sweat. All that’s needed are two boneless-skinless chicken breasts, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to a small pot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper to taste. If I had chicken broth I would have used it instead of water. Then you cook the chicken in the boiling water until it is just done. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Once cooked, shred chicken by hand.

The “salad” portion of this is essentially a remoulade sauce I came across. The original recipe came from serious eats. I added minced sundried tomatoes in olive oil. I almost forgot about the star of the sandwich…bacon. I used thick cut bacon and sliced the strips into thirds before frying. Assembly is the best part. Slice arepas in half. Apply chicken salad. Top with a piece of bacon and add the top part of the arepa. It’s pretty straightforward. And delicious.

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Strawberry-Jalapeno Salsa

It’s been a number of years since I inadvertently discovered the magic of strawberries and jalapenos.  I like eating jalapenos straight from the jar, and I love Mezzetta peppers because they are crisp.  My experience with jalapenos from a jar are oftentimes mushy.  You can enjoy many mushy foods, but jalapenos?  Never.

One summer afternoon I chopped up some strawberries and topped them with some vinegary peppers.  I was hooked.  There is some kind of synergy that takes place where the combination is much more than either of the parts by themselves.

If you really want to punch this up, you can add a nice vinaigrette.  I like enjoying my salsa with a shovel sized spoon, but I’m sure this would make a nice addition to a sandwich as well.  I’ll be testing this on sandwiches soon.

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Ingredients:

1 cup strawberries, diced

1/4 cup Mezzetta diced tamed jalapenos

For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

2 turns fresh ground black pepper

1 basil leaf, finely chopped

1 shake Tabasco sauce

Method:

Combine the strawberries and peppers.

Add all ingredients for vinaigrette in a jar.  Seal and shake until combined.

Add to salsa and toss to coat.

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Chef John’s Decadent Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Volunteering with Mercy Chefs has given me the opportunity to work with many incredible chefs.  One of the things I really like about deploying for disaster relief is the fact that I always learn more chef skills.

It seems that I have trekked all over the Western Hemisphere with Chef John, and God willing, we will embark on many more adventures.  His life is one continuous adventure as he is a full time missionary chef.  

I’m privileged to be able to share one of his cookie recipes:  his Decadent Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.  These are sure to satisfy that sweet tooth.

 

Watermelon Molasses

It has taken twenty-four hours to realize the fruit from my latest culinary adventure. I don’t even have a very clear idea as to what prompted this mission. I just knew I needed cookies. Watermelon cookies.

Anyone can make cookies out of fake syrupy stuff you make cocktails with, but to use real watermelon as a critical ingredient? I drew my inspiration from a couple of sites: cupcake project and Mother Earth News. The former actually drew inspiration from the latter. Watermelon molasses isn’t as popular as you might think.

There is no need to tell you how to make your own. Everything I know came from the aforementioned sites. I do feel compelled to tell you about the smell. That sweet and foul scent that makes you want to scrap the whole project.

I hate trying new things that have an unpleasant process. My stomach churns and and I’m gripped with fear. Fear that I created an abominable nightmare that could escape the confines of my kitchen, and if loosed, will envelop the countryside with a ghastly funk that could menace everyone it encounters.

I was lucky this time. The funk has abated and the cooked watermelon molasses has a very nice flavor. It’s not something you would want to spread on toast, but as a general sweetener, it is delightful.

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One melon yielded 1 pint that I canned. Not much at all. I used watermelon pulp that I strained and 1/4 cup of molasses for cookies. The batter is chilling in the fridge until this evening. It tastes great as-is, so I expect these cookies to be exceptional.

Monstrous Meatloaf on Ciabatta

I’m known for making sandwich monstrosities at home.  I’m not saying that my sandwiches are abominations that should never see the light of day, I’m simply addressing the size of the sandwich.  There was my quintuple-decker SPAM sandwich, the big four-patty cheeseburger, I even made a burrito that could only be eaten on a cookie sheet.  It was probably eighteen inches with a 3 1/2 inch diameter.

There is an easy way to make a meatloaf sandwich better.  You have to make it bigger!  I didn’t measure this ciabatta roll, but I was able to fit half a meatloaf on it.  Sadly, this was an incarnation I could not complete on my own.  I was only able to consume 1/4 of it at the time.  I had plenty to share and I still had a midnight snack with it.  This monstrosity could feed a small army.

Ingredients:

4 thick slices meatloaf

1 large ciabatta roll

4 slices pepper jack cheese

Mezzetta brand cherry peppers

Mezzetta brand sliced peperoncini peppers

Remoulade sauce

Method: