massaman curry grilled chicken sandwiches

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Massaman Curry Grilled Chicken Sandwiches–I forgot the cilantro!

This recipe was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe for grilled chicken baguettes. I used a store-bought massaman curry paste by Blue Elephant, a famous traditional Thai restaurant in Bangkok. Massaman curry is a Thai Muslim dish;  a rich brick-red curry sauce spiced with cardamom and star anise. Though I used chicken thighs, this recipe can also be made using chicken breasts but I happened to have two chicken thighs on hand. It makes for a quick lunch or light supper for two.

Massaman Curry Grilled Chicken Sandwiches (inspired by Martha Stewart)
Makes 2 sandwiches

1 tablespoon Massaman Curry paste, e.g. Blue Elephant
Seasoning salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup cucumbers sliced on the diagonal
Zest and juice of one small lime
1 tablespoon red onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons salted peanuts, crushed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3-6 sprigs cilantro
Cooking spray
1/2 a baguette

Pat dry the chicken thighs. Season the chicken thighs with seasoning salt then spread the curry paste into both sides of the chicken, pressing it into the meat. Set aside for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

Put the sliced cucumbers and onions into a small bowl. Add the lime juice and toss. Set aside. In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise and the lime zest and mix well. Set aside.

Heat the grill pan over medium high flame. When the pan is hot, remove it from the flame and spray it with cooking spray. Return it to the flame and add the chicken thighs. Cook on one side 3-4 minutes or until grill marks appear on the chicken. Flip and cook for 3 minutes more on the second side. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and slice into 1/4 inch slivers. Set aside. Don’t wash the grill pan.

Split the baguette in two and toast the sliced sides in the grill pan until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and generously spread the lime zest-mayonnaise mixture on both toasted sides. Spread the chicken on top of the mayonnaise. Top with cucumber and onion, some cilantro sprigs, and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.

cubanos (cuban sandwiches) just like in the Chef movie

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I’ve long been wanting to make these sandwiches ever since I saw this foodie movie. I finally found a recipe (Nagi|RecipeTin Eats)  that claims it is a recreation of the cubanos featured in the movie! It is delicious. I usually follow a recipe exactly and afterward tweak it, but this time I ignored that. And I recommend cooking the pork by the pound than by a block of time, as pork has a tendency to dry out during roasting.

This recipe has been adapted for a little over 1 pound of pork (646g), enough for two people, maybe four. I added the tamarind paste and the honey because tamarind is piquant as well as sour. The honey adds a balance of flavor: salty, sweet, sour, and savory.

Everything is made from scratch, including the pork roast, so this is a 2 day effort. One day to marinate the pork, and another day to roast it and assemble the sandwiches.

Cuban Mojo Roast Pork
Prep time: 25 minutes
Marinating time: 12-24 hours
Roasting time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Marinade
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro
Zest of one small orange
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (2 small oranges)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (2 small limes)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons mint leaves
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano (1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste

Pork
About 650 grams boneless and skinless pork shoulder

Mojo Sauce
Reserved marinade
Pan drippings
2 tablespoons lime juice, optional
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, optional
Honey, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinate the pork. One day before roasting, combine marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until the herbs and garlic are finely chopped. Taste the marinade. I like it salty, sour, and with a hint of sweet.

Place the pork with the marinade poured over in a large zipper lock bag in a bowl, to catch any drips. Place in the fridge overnight. If you are concerned about plastic use, you can place the pork with the marinade in a 1 quart bowl with a glass lid. Turn the pork several times, or whenever you remember on opening the fridge.

Bake the pork in a slow oven. Take the pork out of the fridge and let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 150˚C/300˚F. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan. Spray pan with cooking oil for easy clean up. If you don’t have a rack, slice a couple of onions and put the pork on top of that. Roast, uncovered, 40 minutes per pound, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 180˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Remove dish from oven and place the pork on a baking tray lined with foil. Reserve the pan juices. Let the pork rest 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 475˚F/245˚C. Roast the pork 13-17 minutes, uncovered, for the meat to get brown and the fat to get crunchy. Carve and serve.

Make the mojo sauce. While the pork is resting or browning, combine the reserved marinade and the reserved roasting pan drippings into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then taste. The sauce should be salty tart and sweet. If you wish, you may want to add additional lime juice, orange juice, or even a touch of honey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down and simmer 1 minute, then remove from the stove and set aside.

Serve pork with mojo sauce and rice and peas (Jamaican rice and beans) or coconut rice. Or slice the pork to make Cubanos. Save the mojo sauce and onions as dipping sauce for the Cubanos. This isn’t traditional, but it is delicious.

Cubanos for two
Cuban Mojo Roast Pork, sliced
French bread sliced into six inch buns
4 slices of ham
2-4 slices of Swiss cheese
Pickles*
Dijon mustard
Butter
*I’m not fond of pickles, so I sliced some fresh cucumbers and let them sit in white vinegar for a few minutes.

Split the French bread horizontally but leave a hinge. Butter both cut slices and toast the buttered sides on the grill. Lightly grill the ham slices. Spread mustard on one of the toasted sides. Layer pork generously on the other toasted side. Top pork with grilled ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles. Be generous with the fillings!

Butter the outside of both the top and bottom buns. Grill sandwich in a pannini press. If you haven’t got a pannini press, you can improvise with a griddle. Spread a sheet of parchment on top of the bread and press down on top with another heavy pan. Put a couple large unopened cans of food to weight down the pan. It’s quite safe and the pan will never get hot enough to build pressure inside the cans. If it concerns you, you can fill a small kettle of water halfway and use that instead. After 3 minutes, flip the sandwich over and grill 3 minutes on the second side. Of course, with a pannini press you won’t need to flip. The cheese should be melty and the bread golden and crispy.

meatball banh mi sandwich

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This is one of the best sandwiches I ever ate. It’s fresh and filling, a complete meal between two pieces of bread.

Meatball Banh Mi Sandwich (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Servings: Makes 4 sandwiches

Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot Sriracha sauce (more or less)

Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Meatballs:
1 pound lean ground pork or ground chicken or lean ground turkey
1/2-1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil or chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce (Tiparos is recommended)
1 tablespoon hot sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using a moistened 1 1/2 inch scoop, pick up a packed and level scoop of meat. Arrange meatballs on prepared baking sheet. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bake meatballs at 350˚F for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer pink. One pound of meat will make about 10-12 3 inch meatballs.

Vegetable Pickle:
2 cups carrot sticks
1 cup cucumber slices
1 cup sweet bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Toss carrots, celery, sweet pepper, vinegar, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Sandwiches
4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles (optional)
16 large fresh cilantro sprigs
4 stalks scallion, trimmed

Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell.

Arrange jalapeños, if using, then cilantro and scallion in bottom halves. Fill each with 3-4 meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

grilled apple, brie, and christmas ham with turkey giblet dressing

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After Christmas we always enjoy the leftovers, and I try to find creative and delicious ways to use them up. I boiled the turkey carcass to extract a broth which I made into Jamaican Black Bean Soup. So I adapted this panini sandwich recipe from Better Homes and Gardens to use up some turkey dinner leftovers: ham and spicy giblet dressing. This sandwich was salty, sweet, tangy, and spicy. All my favorite combinations!

Grilled Apple, Brie, and Christmas Ham with Turkey Giblet Dressing
Makes 3 sandwiches

2 slices ham cut into 1″x 3″pieces
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced into wedges then sliced thinly
Half small round of Brie
6 slices sourdough bread
1/3 cup turkey giblet dressing
Butter

On three slices of bread, spoon the dressing evenly. Top with ham pieces, about 5 per sandwich. Add the brie slices about 2-3 per sandwich, then about 4 of the apple slices. Cover with the remaining 3 slices of bread.

Cook’s Note: In the original recipe cranberry sauce was used instead of the giblet dressing.

Butter the outside of each sandwich and place on a hot griddle or panini press. Grill until golden brown on the outside, the cheese is melted, and the dressing is hot. Slice in half and serve at once.

Serving Suggestion: serve with a hearty soup such as a lentil soup or the Jamaican black bean soup.

avocado spread on toast with ham and poached egg

With a little salt and the juice of  half a lime–to keep it from turning brown–that’s all it takes to make an avocado spread. Add a dash of Sriracha sauce to keep it interesting. Slivers of raw red onion add a bit of color and contrast. And also its sharpness lends flavor!

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A slice of ham and a poached egg on top! Et voilà–breakfast!

 

 

chicken, avocado, and bacon sandwich

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My sister-in-law gave me five whole wheat buns. That was the inspiration and the basis for this recipe. I grilled breaded chicken tenders which were just the right length for these small buns, then topped them with a little chicken gravy, avocado slices, romaine lettuce and crisp bacon. It was the perfect light supper.