Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lunch Actually: A Collection of My Favorite Sandwiches, Which Were Hard to Narrow Down and We May Have to Do This Again.

(Sorry I'm a little later than usual with this one! The second half of the day yesterday kinda got away from me and I'm playing catch-up this morning -- F. O.)


WHEEEEEEEEE! It's sandwich day, y'all, and I woke up hungry. Which is nothing new. But lemme tell you I am PINING for some pumpernickel bread slathered with butter. And the whole week of thinkin' about sandwiches has led me to eat things I from which I might normally demure, like a diner Ruben sandwich Tuesday after my dental appointment and a homemade muffaletta stacked high with ham, salami, cheese and olives yesterday. I can't wait to see your favorite sandwiches and I'm hoping someone will share some authentic regional specialties like po' boys, muffalettas, Louisville Hot Browns, Philly cheesesteaks and the Chicago staple, the Italian beef. If nobody does that one, I have a recipe I'll share sometime soon.

Now sandwiches aren't really a recipe-box staple around here, because they tend to be very "eyeball it" vs. precision-measurement foodstuffs. So in my (loosely-defined) recipes below, you're likely to need to adjust quantities to suit your own tastes. Me, I like my sandwiches gooey and drippy and messy with stuff falling out and mayonnaise, sauce and juices running down my elbows. That's just who I am and I've grown to accept this in myself. Others tend to prefer a sandwich to be drier and more controllable, and that's okay too. So adjust my recipes as you need to get to the perfect State of Goopiness for you. I can live with that.

Classic Summer Damater (Tomato) Sandwich

This sandwich, y'all. OHMYGRANNY. I put it in the Number One spot because it is truly Numero Uno in my opinion. There is no sandwich better than just a plain ol' tomato sandwich, provided, and this point cannot be overstated! that you've got yourself some REAL tomatoes, fresh out of the garden, not the produce department.

Homegrown, ripe red 'maters, right off the vine and still warm from the sunshine
Hellman's Mayonnaise (or Duke's, if you're in the South)
Fresh, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth white bread

Carefully peel the tomatoes and slice them in about 1/2" thick rounds. Spread a goodly coating of mayo on one side of each slice of bread. Stack plenty of tomato slices on one slice of bread and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Slap on the lid.

Open-Faced Soupy Pizza Sandwich (Toddler Pizza)

1 can tomato soup
1 soup can grated cheddar cheese
White bread, toasted

In a small saucepan, heat soup, undiluted until hot. Stir in grated cheese and mix until melted into soup. Spoon soup and cheese sauce over toasted white bread. Cut into small pieces for tiny toddler fingers. (Big kids, including 40 year old kids, love this one, too. Instant comfort food.)

Cucumber Sandwiches

For every day sammies, just use whole bread like you would any other sandwich. For fancy finger sandwiches, use a pretty cookie cutter to shape the bread in fluted circles or flowers, hearts or diamonds, etc. and then proceed with the spreadin'.)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened (the whipped kind works great, too)
1 Tbsp. Ranch dressing mix
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced very thinly (like see-through thin)
mild flavored wheat bread
dried dill weed (optional)

Mix dressing mix into cream cheese and let stand for an hour or so. Spread a nice layer of the cream cheese on one side both slices of bread. Layer cucumber on top, to about 1/2" thickness. Sprinkle cukes with dill, if desired, and top with lid, cream cheese down. Keep chilled until eating.

Egg Salad Sandwiches

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and grated
Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 tsp. yellow mustard
2-3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish, plus 2 tsp. juice from the relish
fresh prepared horseradish
salt and pepper

Mix mayo, mustard, relish and juice, horseradish and salt/pepper into eggs gently. Start with about 1/4 cup of mayo and add more until salad reaches your desired consistency. Spread on bread. Top with lid.

Pimento Cheese Sandwich

I cheated a little. My Mom's recipe and an entirely-too-comprehensive tutorial, with pictures, here.

Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

My parents used to make these at home when I was a kid. Don't think I really liked them much until I hit my teenybopper years, but now on occasion I just get a total hankerin' for them. So simple, so bad for you, so so soooooooooo good. The trick is to use really good sausage, of course. And load on the mayo. (She said guiltily.)

1 lb. hot Italian sausage (mild would work fine, too) in casings
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
olive oil

Brown sausage in 1 Tbsp. oil until done. Remove from pan and set aside. Cook pepper and onion in pan drippings over med-low heat until tender. Slice baguettes in half and toast lightly in broiler. Spread mayonnaise on each side of sliced baguettes. Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces and return to pan with peppers and onions to reheat. Place sausage, peppers and onions on bottom halves of baguettes and top with baguette tops. Slice and serve.

Summer Veggie Sandwich

My mom made these for us in the summer time, when the garden was going CRAZY and we had too much of everything and needed to use it up however we could.

Thin sliced yellow squash
Thin sliced zucchini
Thin sliced onion
Peeled, sliced tomato
baguettes or other hard sandwich rolls
ground oregano
salt & pepper
Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, sliced or grated

Turn on broiler. Layer bottom half of sliced baguettes or sandwich rolls with mayonnaise then fresh veggies and onion. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and oregano. Cover top halves with cheese and leave separate. Place tops and bottoms of sandwiches on oven safe pan and place under broiler until cheese melts and is gooey and golden. Remove from broiler and marry tops to bottoms. Slice and serve. (This is also good with a simple vinaigrette or bottled Italian dressing drizzled over the veggies before broiling.)

Hot Ham & Cheese Roll Sandwich

This one's from the Garden Club Cookbook from my home town, circa 1986, which was illustrated by my long lost Junior High art teacher Ms. Jeanes. Oh how I LURV this cookbook. I'd say it's among my 5 favorites!

2 pkgs. Pepperidge Farms Dinner Rolls (These were originally made on the little tea-rolls by Pepperidge Farms, but my friendly local Pepperidge Farms rep, whom I hassled unmercifully at the supermarket last year around Superbowl Time, says they stopped making those years ago and where have I been? So just get some GOOD dinner rolls that are in a rectangle shape and still all connected together. You'll see why in a minute. Just hold your horses, Gertie.)

8 oz. sliced Swiss cheese
8 oz. thin-sliced deli-ham
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 Tbs. grated fresh onion

Do not break the rolls apart. Instead, slice them ALL in half together through the center, separating the tops from the bottoms. One huge dinner roll, sliced open. Got me?

Okay now, mix the butter and the next four ingredients together til they're all smooth and saucy. Kinda drizzle about 1/4 of that mixture over the bottom half of your giant roll and spread it around with a knife or a spreader or your clean finger if nobody's looking, then layer on the ham and cheese evenly over the whole thing.

Next, put another 1/4 of the sauce on the inside of the giant top and spread. Plop the giant top atop the ham/cheese on the giant bottom and then pour the remaining sauce over the tops of all the rolls. Wrap in foil, sealing edges. Refridgerate overnight. Prior to serving, bake, still wrapped in foil, for 15 minutes at 350°. Remove from oven, unwrap and slice into individual rolls and serve warm.

The next two recipes are a couple of my favorites from The Coach Factory Cafe, a beautiful little restaurant on the site of The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. I got a job doing the desktop publishing and marketing for the Peace Center just out of college at Furman, and on top of rubbin' elbows with famous entertainers on a daily basis, one of the best perks of the job was the occasional lunch in this beautiful old restored three-story brick building where, yes, stage coaches had been built back in the 1800s (if memory serves). I also loved being able to get to know "Chef" and the staff at the restaurant, and watch them create and serve the culinary delights for the Center's patrons and the downtown lunch crowd. If being raised in the South wasn't enough to make me a die-hard foodie, that gig at the Peace Center and those afternoons at the Coach Factory served well to push me right over the edge. The original cafe has long since closed and recreated itself several times, and the three-story building and kitchen now (well, at least the last time I was there) serve as a catering outlet and banquet/party space for Center functions. I'm glad I was there to experience that little cafe - it remains a favorite, even if just in my memories.

Monte Cristo Peanut Butter Strawberry Sandwich

Thick sliced white bread
Peanut butter
sliced fresh strawberries

2 eggs
1 Tbsp. cream or half and half
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

powdered sugar

Spread each slice of bread with a layer of peanut butter. Layer sliced strawberries over the peanut butter on one slice, then top with another peanut-buttered slice. In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs, cream, cinnamon and vanilla together until eggs are well-beaten. Heat butter in a skillet until melted and bubbling. Carefully dip sandwich in egg mixture on both sides and around edges, then drain off excess egg. Place sandwich in skillet and brown on each side as you would French toast. Remove sandwich from skillet and place on serving plate, sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar, slice and serve warm, with gooey peanut butter and strawberry juice oozing out onto plate.

Smoked Turkey Salad Sandwich

1/2 lb. delicatessen smoked turkey, in 1/4" slices
1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini
1/2 cup grated fresh carrot
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp honey
Good quality curry powder (yellow)
garlic powder
hard sandwich roll, pumpernickel or dark wheat bread

Cut turkey slices into julienne strips and then cut strips in one-inch segments. Mix mayo, honey, curry powder, a dash of garlic powder and salt/pepper together. Place turkey, zucchini, carrot and onion in a mixing bowl and pour dressing over. Mix well. Chill. Serve on sandwich rolls or dark bread. I loved alfalfa sprouts on mine. Also makes a nice chilled salad plate, over mixed greens with vinaigrette on the side. Oh, and if you are feeling really adventurous, throw in a handful of raisins - they add sweetness and variety, as well.

Alright, it's your turn! Make me a sandwich, y'all. I'm starved.

Link to your sandwich recipe post below.


  1. Oh my goodness these are some SANDWICHES. I am so glad I ate breakfast otherwise I'd be coming over and putting you to work! I linked to you today, but not sure it's worthy to go in the Linky, so I'll hold off.


  2. Yep, I just knew that your sandwiches would be drool worthy! I made the mistake of reading them before I had breakfast...can you here my belly growlin' from way over yonder? Lookin' back I wish I had done the BBQ sandwich fixed the way the locals like it here (with cole slaw). There's always next time!

    Great idea, Shug!

  3. good grief...I thought WE ate a lot of sandwiches. :) Those are great...thanks for sharing! Mine is up.

  4. Oh my!! Yummy is all I can say. They all sound so good. I never thought to peel the tomatos before the sandwich...must teach hubby that one.

    You are linked up!!

  5. Oh My!! I am with you on the tomato sandwich. I was just thinking about one the other day and wishing our tomatoes would get a move on growin'!

  6. Oh, yummy! I'm so glad to see that you've got some meat-free sammiches for those of us trying to eat less meat...

    Can't wait to try some of these! (And I adore the button)

  7. OH MY GOSH! I am SO HUNGRY now!

  8. These sound yummy fo my tummy

  9. I think that Monte Cristo sounds TO DIE FOR. Yum, woman.

  10. I don't really have any sandwich ideas to share other than my guacamole recipe that is just WONDERFUL on a turkey sandwich. But before I share, I wanted to say that I remember the Open Faced Soupy Pizza sandwich. I remember eating that many times at your house. I think I remember eating it on snowy days and for sleepovers.

    I tried to make it not too long ago, but it just wasn't the same. Probably because I didn't have our potato chip dip to go on the side!

    So anyway, here is the easy peasy guac recipe:

    2 ripe avocados
    salsa, probably 1 1/2 to 2 cups
    lime juice (not lemon!)

    Mash avocados with a fork (leave some chunks!). Add splash of lime juice. Then add salsa (I use a mixture of HOT and MEDIUM for a bit more heat).


  11. MAN those sound goooood!
    I'm all linked up & ready to go.
    Thanks for doing these, I'm getting tons of ideas from it :)

    If I might make a request, I'd love a post on kids snacks...I'm quite unimagineative with the snacks & my kids are starting to revolt!

  12. Oh, yum!

    Several years ago a friend of mine made the hot ham and cheese using parker house rolls with great success. I'm a little shocked that I completely forgot about them.

  13. Thanks for another GREAT recipe exchange! We love the sandwiches in the summertime. And it's easy to get into a rut and make the same old, same old all the time. It's great to find some good'uns to add to the collection!

  14. I wasn't going to do this thing this week, but I got inspired at lunch time. Prenatal hormones made me all crazy in the kitchen with the sandwich-making. I was a sight. And now I share all this with you...

  15. oh my word! You have me drooling. :) I have to try the PB and strawberry one....yummers.

  16. OK. So I don't have a bloggy-blog, but I do have one great samich! It's a mouth-watering medley of roasted vegetables and homemade focaccia bread. (And I apologize in advance for the length!)
    Open-Faced Roasted Veggie Goodness

    Focaccia bread
    * 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1 teaspoon white sugar
    * 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    * fresh minced garlic OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    * 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
    * 1 pinch ground black pepper
    * 1 tablespoon olive oil
    * 1 cup slightly warmed milk (check yeast packet for temp)
    * more olive oil (for brushing purposes)
    * 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
    In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Mix in the olive oil and milk.
    When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 30-ish minutes. (I can't remember how long I let it rise.)
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle and poke indentations with your finger. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
    Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

    Then you need some mayo (real mayo, not that Miracle Whip stuff). Mince some garlic very fine. Stir it into the mayo and place in fridge until you're ready to assemble the samich.

    Preheat oven to 400.
    Get a red bell pepper or two, small zucchini, small yellow squash, and a small red onion. Slice, rather thinly. Brush with olive oil and place on shallow baking pan. Put in oven for 20-ish minutes. DO NOT DUMP OIL OVER VEGGIES. (Causes a petite fire/smoke in oven. Ask me how I know.)

    Cut a slice of focaccia bread. Spread with garlic mayo. Cover with a mix of veggies, cover with 2 slices of provolone, and broil until cheese is melty.

    DELECTABLE. Even my hubby loves this one, and he was initially skeptical.

    ~ AndiK

  17. P.S. Of course, you could always just buy your focaccia. But it really doesn't take that long. Make your mayo, cut your veggies, make the dough, while the dough is rising roast your veggies, bake the bread, slice, spread mayo, put on veggies and cheese, and you're done!
    ~ AK

  18. There are some good looking sandwiches here. Thanks for doing this - I can't wait to see the rest.

  19. Peanut butter and pickles, that's all I'm gonna say ;)