Sunday, March 27, 2011
Mosaic Monday ~A Cookbook Review
I was recently asked to review a new cookbook. Two things interested me about this new book. The fact that the author is a blogger was exciting. I love to hear about bloggers making it "big". And the subject of the book was of even bigger interest. Sandwiches! I like them a lot and Randy REALLY loves them. This is the guy that asks for ham and cheese instead of a hot dinner frequently. Or grilled cheese & tomato soup. Or tuna fish and cream of celery. Or Subway...
I have to share just how excited Randy was when this book was delivered to our door. I was at work and he called to tell me a package had arrived and he said if all of the cookbooks I ordered were as good as this one he wouldn't mind me bringing them all home. Normally my growing collection is a sore spot with him, so I couldn't imagine what book that I had ordered he was talking about(especially since I hadn't ordered any!).
Then he started reading the names of the recipes and even reciting the descriptions of some out loud and giving me a list of the ones he wanted me to make. Then the light bulb went off! It was the cookbook that I had been asked to review, The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo of Food Blogga fame. Interestingly she dedicated this book "to all those hungry fellas out there who think they can't cook but can." She must have had Randy in mind :-)
The book is an encyclopedia of Sandwiches, so there are a few things you wouldn't normally expect to see in a cookbook..like peanut butter sandwiches..or ham and cheese :-) But there are also some great regional and original recipes and the descriptions & sandwich histories are inspiring.
Its a cute little chunky book with great pictures, including the jawbreaking Dagwood on the cover. I was pleased to see interpretations of some of my favorites like the Cubano, the Po Boy and my most recent fave, the Vietnamese Banh Mi.
Its alphabetically arranged, which keeps things interesting but does coincidentally put Heroes next to Hoagies! It also has a separate index of sandwiches plus an index of ingredients in the front of the book.
So since receiving this on Tuesday, I've tried three recipes..all under "C". The first was the Classic Club sandwich because Randy showed a high level of enthusiasm around this one. Unfortunately although I stopped at the grocery store on my way home I forgot one ingredient that I consider key, a tomato. But I went ahead and made it anyways. It would have been better with the tomato, but it was still great without. The club is one of those sandwiches that changes from restaurant to restaurant and home to home so I suppose that's okay.
This classic debuted at New York's Saratoga Club in 1894 according the encyclopedia. The best one I ever had was at a small diner called the Double V Cafe in my hometown of Alexandria, Louisiana. I wrote about it HERE. Here's my tomatoeless ( and fancy toothpickless) version.
And a shot of the recipe in the book
Saturday afternoon I decided to try something else. There are two chicken salad sandwiches in the book and I kind of combined them, but with a larger focus on the Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich. I planned on taking the leftovers to work tomorrow, but ended up eating them today instead. So yummy!
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich
2 cups chicken (I used canned chicken with success)
1/4 cup julienned carrots
1 medium apple, chopped (a little more than called for because I lacked mango)
1 mango (I didn't have so omitted)
2 scallions thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped (my addition)
1/4 cup raisins ( I subbed Craisins)
1/4 cup chopped cashews ( I subbed sliced almonds and added a little more)
1/4 cup mayo
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp curry powder (depending on how strong you like it)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt
4 slices toasted bread or buns
Mix first 8 ingredients. In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour dressing over salad & refrigerate before serving. Divide between bread or buns to make two sandwiches.
*Note: I ate it right away and it was still good :-)
Finally, for dinner Saturday night I went with a southern classic, the Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich with cream gravy. Very filling and very good! We enjoyed it.
I learned that Chicken Fried Steak is originally from Texas and was made by German immigrants as a New World version of Weiner Schnitzel.
Chicken Fried Steak
2 tenderized round steaks
4 Tablespoons milk or buttermilk
Several shakes of salt & pepper to taste (I added Tony Chachere's seasoning as well)
1/4 tsp paprika
4 tablespoons flour (I ended up using a little more than this)
4 Tablespoons canola oil
2 T flour
1/2 milk (I added about 1/2 c more)
Salt & pepper to taste
Trim steak of fat & tenderize if not already done. Whisk together the egg, milk, paprika, salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl or plate. heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip meat into egg mixture, then flour, then repeat. Place in hot oil. Fry 3-4 minutes, flip then fry 2-3 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. For gravy scoop 2 Tablespoons of oil from skillet in which meat was cooked and add to a small pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then gradually whisk in milk. Add salt and pepper. Lower heat and continue whisking until thickened. For a thinner sauce add more milk. Place steak on bun and top with gravy if desired. I put mayo and ketchup on bun and served the gravy on the side.
Overall this is a fun cookbook with a lot of appeal. I'd highly recommend! I only got through the C's with the review and I still have one more C sandwich I want to try. An English Chip Buddy. A sandwich of fries..how can you go wrong with that? Check it out when it goes on sale on April 5th at Amazon and I'm sure other fine bookstores.
I'm joining in over at Little Red House today for Mosaic Monday. Check it out HERE.