Build a better sandwich

 

There is so much more to making a sandwich than slapping all sorts of ingredients between two slices of bread.  This week, we will take the sandwich and elevate this portable package to new heights.  Is there an art and a formula to making a great sandwich?  We sure think so.

With attention to detail, carefully sourced ingredients, and a little extra time, you can make an unbeatable sandwich.  First, it all starts with the bread… should it be crusty, crispy or chewy?  The bread is the blank slate, the perfect landscape, think about your ingredients, are they right for your bread, you don’t want a soggy vessel.  Look for hearty, healthy, local artisanal bread with texture.  Next, choose high quality protein and fresh, local produce.   Add vegetables such as cucumbers for an extra crispness then try apples or pears for added sweetness and crunch.  Finally don’t forget to spread on the house made condiments, which are easy to make and you control what goes in your spreadable.  Great bread, great ingredients, well-thought out flavors, textures and combinations equal a great sandwich.

Argentinian Steak Sandwich

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri by Modern Day Forager


The steak sandwich has taken many forms over the years, in different parts of the country and all over the world.  It has also spawned many other tremendous sandwiches like the cheesesteak, the French dip, my personal favorite the Italian beef and so many more.  The basis for them all is a good piece of meat (or a well marinated and/or seasoned one) and great bread.  It only figures that a country like Argentina that loves its steak would also be home to one of the most flavor packed steak sandwiches in the world here is our take:

Ingredients:
• Skirt Steak
• Chimichurri–MDF Chimichurri Recipe
French bread loaf of roll

Directions:
1.  Rub skirt steak with Chimichuri and marinate for at least 2 hours. (we do ours overnight in a zip lock bag)
2.  Grill to desired doneness. (no more than med-rare)
3.  Slice on bias against the grain about 1/2 inch thick.
4.  Shingle on bread and top with more chimichurri.
5.  Serve with more chimichurri as a dip.

Variations:
• Add grilled red pepper
• Serve with mayo, lettuce and tomato
• Serve with sautéed onions

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri by Modern Day Forager

Note:
For a great side dish toss chimichurri sauce on potato wedges and roast in 400°F oven until just tender, about 40 minutes.

Grilled Salumi and Cheese with Mustarda

sandwich5


By all accounts the good ‘ol American style grilled cheese sandwich has been around since the 1920s and there are versions of this standard in just about every culture around the world.  We love a good grilled sandwich as much as anyone so this is our fusion of a grilled cheese, a Croque-monsieur and a Panini. The key, to the perfect grilled sandwich is that the flavors and textures all compliment each other and we think this one does just that…

sandwich6

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. On one piece of bread, spread the mustarda in an even layer.
  2. Fan the salumi slices over mustarda.
  3. Lay the cheese on top of the salumi.
  4. Top with another slice of bread.
  5. Spread 1/2 teaspoon butter on the top slice of bread.

*Repeat this for the remaining three sandwiches.

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining butter to the pan.  Once the butter is foaming, place the non-butter side of the sandwich in the pan. (we used our Panini maker)

Heat for 5-6 minutes until golden brown and the cheese begins to melt.  Using a spatula, flip the sandwich to the other side for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and the cheese is completely melted.

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

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Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan

Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan


Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Looking for something to do with family or friends this weekend?  Check out Scottsdale’s Food Truck Caravan on the northwest corner of 5th and Goldwater every Saturday 7:30pm to 11:30 pm.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

MDF stopped by a couple weeks ago (week 6 of the caravan) and enjoyed every minute of our visit.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

The first thing you notice is there is ample parking (for car or bike) and the event is set-up with your comfort in mind, from the large candle lit communal tables, concierge tent and a mister system, (heaters in the winter) not to mention weekly entertainment.  The week we attended acoustic guitar player Michael Signorelli played and the next week a local blues act.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

As you stroll through the trucks reading the menus and making your decisions, or while you are dining at the long comfortable tables you glance around and notice neighbors and friends, young families and senior citizens what an awesome hodge podge of community.  We were struck by the notion that this is the reason for the incredible growth of the food truck movement around the country over the last several years, this is what has been missing in our faster and faster paced lives, a chance to take a stroll and have a meal with others, sharing a brief respite of time in the company of like-minded people.   All roads (worth taking) lead to food.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

The week we visited there was a nice diverse selection of trucks on hand and they change weekly:

Riteway Cateringhttp://www.ritewaycatering.com/truck.html

Satay Hut: http://www.satayhutaz.com

Sweet Magnolia Smoke House: https://www.facebook.com/sweetmagnoliasmokehouse

Sandra Dee’s Catering: (always our favorite, “we love you Sandra!) http://www.sandradeescatering.com

Grilled Cheese Truck: https://www.facebook.com/TheGrilledCheeseTruckPhoenix

Smitty’s Kitchen: https://www.facebook.com/SmittysKitchen/app_190322544333196

Super Farm Super Truck: https://www.facebook.com/SuperFarmSuperTruck

Torched Goodness: http://www.torchedgoodness.com/schedule.htmlLiberty Biscuits: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Libertys-Biscuits/299579633491167

Udder Delights: http://www.udderdelightsaz.com

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Every week is going to be a different themed event all based around “Ate on 5th” a special dish prepared by each truck.  The theme while we were there was a competition for best dish, week 7 was BBQ.

The competition was judged by Chef Becky Wendells of The Herb Box at SouthBridge, Jeff Caswell of EVO Scottsdale and Joanie Simon of Restaurant Live AZ.  The prize was a guest spot on Restaurant Live AZ with Joanie Simon.  The online show airs from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at http://www.doublewidenetwork.com.  The winner was Smitty’s Kitchen with their  Goat and Curry Stew.  Congratulations!

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Hope to see you there next time!

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Open Faced Grilled Cheese with Creamy Tomato Soup

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

One of my most cherished memories of eating an open faced grilled cheese sandwich,  a steamy bowl of creamy tomato soup and a cold glass of milk, is when I was a little girl and my GG , would lovingly prepare me this meal for me whenever I was sick, stayed home from school, or needed some extra TLC.  There is just nothing better than having your Grandma take care of you and her making your favorite comfort foods.  I could always count on her to do that for me and make me feel special.   As a I grew older, the tables had turned , and I was the one lovingly preparing this recipe for my GG to comfort her when she was ill.  I will always be very grateful for the time I got to spend with her.

Ingredients:

For the creamy tomato soup:

  •             4 lbs. ripe heirloom tomatoes
  •             2 T olive oil
  •             1 T unsalted butter
  •             2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  •             1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  •             1/2 cup chicken stock, or as needed
  •             1 t fresh basil, chiffonade, extra for garnish
  •             1/2 t sugar
  •             1/2 cup heavy cream
  •              salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

For the grilled cheese: 

  • 3/4 lb. mild cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices whole grain bread
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:  To make the soup, preheat an oven to 400°F.  Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and brush with olive oil.  Roast until the tomatoes look somewhat shriveled, about 45-50 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Transfer the tomatoes and any juices to a food processor, pulse until chopped, then put the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill placed over a bowl.  You should have about 3 1/2 cups tomato purée.  Discard the contents and tomatoes skins from the food mill.
 
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
 
Stir in the tomato purée, 1/2 cup stock, and the basil and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the sugar. In 3 or 4 batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth.  Transfer to a clean saucepan; add the cream and heat until piping hot but not boiling.  If the soup seems too thick, thin with more stock.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve warm.  To make the open face grilled cheese sandwiches; heat a griddle or 2 large frying pans over medium heat until hot.  For each sandwich, place one-fourth of the cheese on top of bread slice and top cream cheese, then layer with fresh tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and garnish with extra basil.  Place on the griddle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 3–4 minutes.  Ladle the soup into warmed bowls.  Serve and enjoy!!!
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager