Smørrebrød

I discovered the Danish bakery Ole & Steen February 2019. They just opened their first store location in Union Square January of that same year. Upon a friend’s recommendation (who is Danish by the way) I bought their traditional Carrot Rye Bread. She said it’s best eaten just with good quality butter and no need to toast it.
I followed her advise but I also looked for other ways to serve it. This is where I learned about the Danish open faced sandwich, Smørrebrød.

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Believe it or not I love bread more than rice which is unusual me being Asian. I am really into bread may it be sweet or savory. I am used to eating sandwiches for lunch back home, and I remember people would always comment on my choice and preference. So I was fascinated when I saw pictures of the Dane’s contribution to the world of gastronomy. They are too pretty to eat and almost look like an art form. This got my creative juices working overtime and this flavor combination is what I came up with. It may not be as authentic because I read that there are rules and ways to make it.

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I made three kinds: the first is good quality butter and quartered hard boiled egg with thinly sliced radishes sprinkled with micro greens.

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The second is cream cheese with bottled Spanish sardines topped with arugula. The last is slices of avocado and smoke salmon garnished with radish and creme fraiche.

Don’t be deceived by the size and portion of the sandwich, it’s very filling that one is more than enough for me.

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Jack Skellington Halloween Bento

I miss creating bento lunches. I used to make it for my girls before they went to college. I make themed ones during holidays and special occasions. It’s during Halloween that I get really creative.

This year I decided to make Jack Skellington onigiri because it has just the right amount of scary and cute.

It’s fairly simple to make. Just prepare onigiri by making rice balls using a plastic wrap. Then cut out the facial features using some nori (seaweed). If you have a nori punch, it makes it a lot easier and faster to create those details. For the pumpkin onigiri, I wrapped the rice balls with a sheet of egg crepe before adding decorations. Again I used plastic wrap to mold the egg on the rice and create a perfectly smooth surface.

For this bento, I added hot dogs cut at a bias, some coconut shrimp, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and some greens for color.

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Grilled Cheese Pimiento Sandwich

So I made a batch of gouda and sharp cheddar cheese pimiento spread a couple of days ago. I usually just use sharp cheddar but after trying Sam’s club version of this spread I know I needed to add gouda this time. Using sharp kind of cheese would also give you a deeper and more complex flavor.

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You can only have so much of pimiento on crackers and after making a big batch, I needed to find creative ways to use it. As it turns out making grilled cheese is just one of the endless possibilities.

To make, spread your cheese pimiento on some whole wheat bread or whatever kind you prefer, layer a couple of turkey bacon slices that has been browned then top with the other piece of bread. Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and add a pat of butter, when it melts place your sandwich and let it brown. Then turn over and add another pat of butter. Cook until golden brown and cheese has melted.

Serve immediately.

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Chicken Salad with Avocado and Cranberries

I love how Paris Baguette make chicken salad sandwiches. It’s light and not overly dressed with mayonnaise. I took inspiration from them and added avocado to take it up a notch. I had leftover poached chicken from the soup I made last time so I used it to make this recipe.

First, dice your poached chicken breast and place in a bowl. To it add a stalk of celery finely diced, 1/2 of finely minced white onion, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise (kewpie brand), 1 small avocado diced, salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together. Toast some crusty bread in my case I used farmer’s bread from our local market. Serve between slices of your bread with some greens. Some thinly sliced cucumbers would be a nice addition to the greens for some crunch. You can also serve this on a bed of lettuce or arugula.

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Shrimp and Avocado Sandwich

This is another easy and fuss free lunch idea specially in the Summer months.

For the shrimp, I used frozen Boom Boom shrimp (fully cooked) I got from Whole Foods and I just quickly heated this in the oven toaster until warm and a bit crisp.

Peel and dice an avocado and combine this with the shrimp. Add a couple of tablespoons of Japanese Mayo and mix to combine. I also added some dill to the mixture for flavor.

I then toasted a couple of slices of country bread I got from our town’s farmers market that morning and arranged some greens on top. Then placed a heaping spoonful of the shrimp and avocado. Lunch is ready !

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Overstuffed Egg Salad Sandwich

I love making these overstuffed sandwiches, they are not only filling but also appealing to the eyes.

To make these sandwich, I used pumpkin and sesame bread from Paris Baguette. It provides a nice color and contrast and it also the thick slice kind which works well for making overstuffed sandwiches.

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First, prepare your egg salad by roughly chopping three hard boiled egg and adding about 2-3 T Japanese style mayo. Mix to combine and season to taste. Next cut in half two hard boiled egg and set aside.

To assemble, get a slice of your pumpkin and sesame bread and arrange the hard boiled eggs cut side down. Then generously spread some egg salad on top before placing several pieces of green leaf lettuce. Place the other piece of bread on top while pressing down carefully. Wrap it tightly with some cling wrap. Then cut in half. For presentation you can place the cut sandwich inside a brown paper bag or decorative wax paper.

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Overstuffed Sandwich

It’s Summer and my girls are back home. Lunches during this time of year are usually simple, mostly sandwiches or salad.

I wanted to make something other than an old boring tuna sandwich. I got inspiration from some Japanese vloggers creating sandwiches for bento lunches. One thing that stood out for me was the amount of veggies they use. More than you would see in an ordinary sandwich.

First, prepare your filling by making some hard boiled egg, peel and cut into half. Then drain a can of tuna and add some Japanese mayo, set aside. Grate 2 pieces of carrots, drizzle some olive oil and season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Get a couple of pieces of green leaf or purple leaf lettuce, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.

To assemble, get 2 pieces toasted thick sliced bread. On one side, add several spoons of tuna spread, top with the sliced egg, carefully place several spoons of the carrot salad before topping it off with several green leaf lettuce. Place the other piece of toast on top while carefully pressing down. Tightly wrap your sandwich with some cling wrap and slice in half using a serrated knife.

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Spam Onigiri

A visit to Mitsuwa always turn into a food trip for our family. We love that there is a variety of food to choose from their concessionaires. One of these is Omusubi Gonbei, they offer a mouth watering array of rice balls with various fillings. I was inspired to make this Spam Omusubi after seeing their various omusubi on display.

I have already featured several omusubi a.k.a onigiri recipes in this blog which shows how just how much we love it.

It’s easy to make this specially if you have an onigiri mold.

First, prepare your filling by frying several slices of spam until brown and crisp on the edges. Then cut to size that will fit inside your rice mold.

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Take your onigiri mold and lay it on a plate. Add a couple of tablespoons of steamed white rice inside. Then place your spam filling in the middle. Add more rice on top of your filling and smoothen the top a bit. Place the lid on top and press down hard. Carefully remove your mold before releasing the lid. Sprinkle some furikake on top of your onigiri before wrapping with nori (seaweed).

You can place some pieces of spam bits on top of the rice ball for presentation.

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Pork Adobo Sliders

Just wanted to make something quick and easy for lunch that requires zero cooking. After scanning the fridge, I spotted some leftover pork adobo and rolls and this is how this recipe came about.

I just reheated the adobo and shredded or pulled apart its meat. Then get a slider (you can use dinner rolls) and slice it in half. Add some watercress before piling the adobo on top. You can use lettuce leaf, arugula or whatever greens you have. Serve with chips and gherkins on the side.

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If you need a recipe for adobo just go to my previous blog post here.

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Sopressata and Prosciutto Sandwich

My kids love salami when they were in middle school. When I say salami I mean Genoa Salami. It’s a staple in their lunchbox. Sopresseta is also a kind of salami with a higher fat content and has a more rustic appearance compared to others. In a nutshell Sopressatas are salamis but not all Salamis are Sopressatas.

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The key to making a good sandwich is choosing the right type of bread. For this I used Ciabatta roll which I cut in half. Then lightly toast it just to get it warm and give a bit of a crunch. Then I generously slather both half with some mixed herb pesto which I bought pre-made. On the bottom half layer several slices of prosciutto then more slices of sopressatas. To it add your choice of cheese, I just used some gouda that was leftover from New Year then a heaping handful of argula. Carefully top with your other half of the ciabatta roll and gently press sandwich together. Slice in half and serve.

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