Tag Archive | sandwich

Breaded Tofu Cutlet Sandwich

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So, I thought long and hard about what my comeback post should be and though I really wanted to do something summery (to come), I felt the need to go back to my roots, comfort food, Italian comfort food. Been craving this and it doesn’t surprise me because this dish always brings me back to my mother’s kitchen.

I have had a lot of time to think these last few months. Life gets hard sometimes and it is interesting to see what gets dropped as a result. And it’s not so much what gets dropped, but more what you don’t have the passion for as energy gets depleted and diverted.

I have spent a lot of time soul searching (my husband laughs because it’s difficult to imagine doing more of this) and for me this has meant:

  • cutting down the number of people I see,
  • spending more time with key people,
  • indulging in what I feel like doing each day and this changes from day to day and even, at times on the same day, which necessarily means not making plans, but going with the flow,
  • yoga, lots of it, and more yoga,
  • exercise (now more and more outside of the gym),
  • bike rides along Ottawa’s rivers and lakes,
  • lots of time sitting by the water,
  • re-entering the world of Charlotte Bronte (if you haven’t read “Shirley” I highly recommend it),
  • less “I shoulds” (you should see the state of my house),
  • lots of walks especially by the water,
  • more time with my mother and grandmother,
  • longer and more frequent visits to my farmers’ market (even though I do less cooking there’s something about a farmers’ market – community, back to basics, the aromas, people, and quiet bustling),
  • catching up on sleep,
  • easing into my mornings,
  • more dessert,
  • playing at work (still working on work / life balance),
  • gentleness,
  • abiding by that inner voice,
  • honouring the grey zones, and
  • letting life ease in.

Essentially, feeding my soul, creating space for the things that I love, making time for things I want, continuing to lead a quiet life, and now simplifying it, manifesting magic…

A lot of this has taken me away from my beloved kitchen, which was ok because it too, in some ways, was becoming oppressive. The conundrum appears when life gets complicated and all of a sudden there’s less time and energy to cook when you most need nourishing on all levels. Walking away from the kitchen helped me make space for some of the other stuff, which eventually brought me back to my kitchen, just not in the same way. I have changed my attitude about cooking. I cook some three meals a week with bigger leftovers to mix and match for lunches and am doing more salads and sandwiches for dinner, good quality, but in a more manageable timeframe.

Dishes like this, breaded tofu cutlet sandwich have been feeding my soul on so many levels. Comfort food! But memories, gratitude for my mother, values-instilled, and my culture. My mom used to make this sandwich with both veal and chicken, but I preferred it with chicken. The cutlets were stomped thin, breaded and fried and then stacked in a classic Italian panino (bun) like the one featured with piles of romaine lettuce and an extremely generous serving of mayonnaise. The breading, savoury, the tofu, I would vouch tastes kinda like chicken, crisp lettuce, creamy and tangy mayo, and soft white crusted Italian bun.  Ohhhhhhh, there’s nothing more to say really – yum.

My version flavours the tofu with garlic, tamari and sriarcha. Employs nutritional yeast in addition to breadcrumbs, and gets baked with pretty much the same effect. When I bit into it, I said to John, tastes just like my mother’s. He laughed, having tasted hers and said, “you’ve been away from chicken too long”. Maybe, but when I bite into it, it takes me home, only now it’s just a little bit healthier.

You can eat the cutlets in a sandwich or on their own. I have also cut the tofu into long cubes to make tofu sticks / fingers and dip them in plum sauce, also very good and a nice protein topping to turn salads into mains for dinner or lunch.

So go ahead, come on home with me.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

 Tofu:
 Tofu, firm  2 pkgs (700 g)
 Garlic, clove, cut in half (to start)
 Tamari  ¼ cup
 Sriarcha  2 tbsp
 Breading:
 Flour  4 tbsp
 Eggs, beaten  2
 Breadcrumbs  3/4 cup
 Nutritional yeast  3/4 cup
 Canola oil
 Assembly:
 Buns  4
 Lettuce
 Mayonnaise

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Drain tofu. Cut tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices. Should end up with 8 tofu cutlets.

3. Cut garlic clove in half and use to rub both sides of tofu slices. Every couple of tofu slices, re-cut garlic clove ends off to re-fresh. Brush tofu first with tamari, then with sriarcha on all 6 sides.

3. Place flour and tofu slices in a ziplock back and toss until tofu is well coated. Coat tofu with egg then dredge with coating mixture.

4. Arrange breaded tofu cutlets in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.

5. Spray tofu generously on both sides with canola oil.

6. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once, halfway through.

7. Assembly: Cut bun in half. Spoon some mayonnaise on top and bottom slices of bread. Place generous amounts of lettuce leaves of your choice on bottom layer of bread. Top with one tofu cutlet. Follow with more lettuce leaves. Top with another tofu cutlet. Repeat process with other buns. Enjoy!

 

Grilled Vegetable Wrap

 

Roasted Vegetable Wrap

I know it’s not the season to be barbecuing, but I have been craving a good grilled vegetable sandwich for some time and since the weather was unseasonably warm on boxing day (in the pluses – do you believe it??), we took full advantage. If you aren’t so lucky in your part of the world, you may roast the vegetables in the oven (red pepper whole and eggplant sliced and roasted on a baking sheet).

I have a few simple rules for making sandwiches: always balance the warm with something cold and fresh, always include something marinaded, and always enhance with a condiment, sauce, or spread of some sort.

I love everything about this sandwich, so many robust flavours that stand out, but meld so beautifully together. The black olive tapenade, roasted red pepper, and parmesan cheese are each bold on their own and in their own right, but team up for an explosion of flavours that are tied together by the creaminess of the eggplant and hint of vinegar from the marinated mushrooms. The Romaine lettuce adds a crispness, lightness, and freshness to these wintry, filling, loud flavours.

Roasted/grilled vegetables take any sandwich from ordinary to extraordinary, but what makes this sandwich extra special is the parmesan cheese. Perhaps its the culture, but my husband always marvels at how I can eat chunks of parmesan cheese on their own or for an even more heavenly treat with thick slices of ciabatta. Parmesan is often used grated and as a taste enhancer, almost like a seasoning. It’s there and you can’t miss it, but usually as a helper, not a main attraction. In this sandwich, it shares the starring role with the grilled eggplant and red pepper. The wrap would be good without the parmesan cheese, but the parmesan just takes it over the top.

If you have never celebrated parmesan like this, go ahead. Get rid of your grater because you are in for a treat!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

 Eggplant, medium, sliced diagonally 1/4-inch thick  1
 Pepper, red, large  1
 Pepper, green, hot  2
 Olive oil
 Salt
 Black pepper
 Lettuce, Romaine, pieces  4
 Cheese, Parmesan, slices  4
 Mushrooms (roasted), marinated (in oil, not vinegar)  16
Black Olive Tapenade:  (makes 5 heaping tablespoons or 1/3 cup)
 Olives, black, pits removed  1 cup
 Olive oil  2 tbsp
 Black pepper  1 turn
 Garlic, clove, sliced  1
 Oregano, fresh, sprig, large  1
 Vinegar, red wine  2 tsp
 Chili flakes  Pinch
 Tortilla wraps, whole wheat  2

1. For the grilled vegetables, slice eggplant diagonally 1/4-inch thick. Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper on one side only.

2. Grill eggplant slices 3-4 minutes on each side. Place red and green peppers whole on the bbq and grill until charred on all sides (approximately 3-4 minutes for the green pepper and 8-10 minutes for the red pepper).

3. Place peppers in a small bowl and cover with saran wrap. After they have cooled, remove skins and seeds.

4. For the black olive tapenade, place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and all ingredients are well combined approximately 3-4 minutes.

5. To assemble the wrap, lay the wrap flat onto a plate. Spread 1 tbsp of the olive tapenade on one side of the wrap. Follow with, two layers of eggplant slices (6-8 slices depending on the size of the eggplant), 2 pieces of the red pepper (half the red pepper), one green pepper, two leaves of Romaine lettuce, two slices of parmesan cheese, and 8 marinated mushrooms. Fold half the warp over contents and draw that part of the wrap and its contents towards you. Fold in the ends (both sides) and continue to tightly roll the wrap. Repeat with second wrap.

There is enough tapenade to make 4 sandwiches, so you may choose to double the recipe to serve 4 or freeze the additional 3 tablespoons in individual tablespoons for another time. Yum!

 

Salad Sandwich

Salad Sandwich

My husband’s idea of a sandwich is slapping some lunch meat and cheese between two pieces of white bread, in spite of all the fresh veggies in the house! This is so foreign to me. Growing up, I came from a household that made sandwich making an art. Sandwiches always consisted of a variety of meats, cheeses, breads, and fresh and pickled vegetables. They’d be stacked so high, we were the envy at school and there’d be no room for snacking (which I secretly believe was mom’s main motive).

I hate going into restaurants that offer so called veggie sandwiches consisting of mounds of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and poor quality feta cheese in a wrap. I refuse to spend money at these restaurants, which put little effort and creativity into their token one vegetarian / vegan sandwich option. It used to be that if the vegetarian sandwich option didn’t include at least one or two roasted vegetables, I would not consider ordering the sandwich at all.

I still love roasted vegetable sandwiches. In fact, I look forward to them during the bbq season, but have developed an appreciation for sandwiches consisting mostly of raw vegetables. If you speak with my husband, he’ll tell you that necessarily I have to load up my sandwiches with so many vegetables as a filler. He calls these sandwiches “salads” in disguise, hence the name, and often reminds me condescendingly that, “you don’t make friends with salad”.

I disagree. Just look at this monster stacked a mile high! Every time I take it to work, I’m inundated with positive feedback because it demands attention. The oat bread is thick and hearty and slightly sweet. The veggie pate is creamy and herby. And the vegetables – what an assortment of greens, freshness, juiciness, crunchiness and saltiness – they all work so well together. It’s all tied together with the creamy and vinegary avocado, as they meld into a tangled garden.

This is my go to sandwich, my weeknight back-up sandwich. If I have to work late or just don’t feel like cooking, this is my default. I have most of these ingredients in my kitchen at all times: bread, mustard, salad greens, onions, olives, tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, hot peppers, and pate/cheese. So, each week, I ensure I add a green pepper and sprouts to my grocery list. The sandwich works minus one or two ingredients or with the addition of other fresh vegetables, so don’t get stuck on this formula. This is my preferred version, but experiment and see what you come up with. I prefer it with the avocado vinaigrette, so when I actually plan to make the sandwich, I also make the vinaigrette, but on busy nights, I  use whatever vinaigrette / dressing I have made for the week. There are lots of pre-made vinaigrette options available too. Along with the bread, pate and mounds of fresh vegetables, this sandwich is one of the most filling I make and by far, one of the most interesting, in spite of the fact it consists mainly of raw veggies. Believe it or not, I crave this sandwich.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

 Bread, oat, thick slices (toasted / untoasted)  2
 Mustard
 Pate – veggie / cheese / cashew cheese  50 g of pate / cashew cheese or 2 slices of regular cheese
 Mesclum mix  generous handful
 Sunflower Micro Greens  generous handful
 Onion, red, thinly sliced
 Green pepper, thickly sliced  2 slices
 Olives, green, sliced in half  4
 Tomato, thickly sliced  2 slices
 Salt & black pepper
 Hot peppers, pickled  2
 Mushrooms, marinated  Garnish / on the side
Vinaigrette: (You’ll only need a couple of tsp per sandwich. The rest makes for a very nice salad.)
Avocado ½
Lime, juice, freshly squeezed 2 tbsp
Olive Oil ¼ cup
Honey 1 tsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Black Pepper 1/8 tsp
Garlic, clove, grated 1
Basil, dried 1/8 tsp
Basil, fresh 1 tbsp

1. Using a hand held blender, in a small bowl, thoroughly combine all vinaigrette ingredients.

2. To assemble the sandwich, layer the ingredients in the following order: bottom slice of bread, mustard, mesclum mix, sunflower micro greens, red onion, green pepper, olives, tomato, salt and black pepper, hot peppers, and top slice of bread, inside brushed with 2 tsp of avocado vinaigrette.

3. Cut in half and serve with marinated, roasted mushrooms.