Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sandwich Board ~ Roast Beef with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Let's face it... There are nights, especially during the "dog days" of summer, where a sandwich is just about all I have the energy to make or eat. But, that doesn't mean that it has to be boring or humdrum. As simple as a sandwich can be, each ingredient is important. Everything from the bread you choose to the way you cut your masterpiece (or not) can make the difference between a simple weeknight supper or the centerpiece of an elegant afternoon tea. Even a little "doctoring" of the basic condiments you might normally use can make a big difference. There's more to building a great sandwich than just slapping two pieces of bread around a filling.

Our local grocery store has a great on-site bakery department and the ciabatta rolls are amazingly good!
To start building the perfect sandwich, you'll need bread. Or a hard roll, or wrap, or croissant, bagel, biscuit, etc. Choose carefully though. If your filling happens to be subtle in flavor, (say, maybe cream cheese with a tiny bit of snipped chive) a heavier bread or one that has added flavors (like olives or garlic) can easily overpower that delicate filling. Now, should you add veggies or maybe a slice or two of cheese? Are you looking for the savory flavor or added moisture of a sauce or spread? To butter, or not to butter? Phew! It's a lot to think about, no?

Hubs and I are both pretty fussy when it comes to cold cuts. Especially, roast beef. It's probably the one deli item that we'll cross right off of the shopping list, if what's available in the case doesn't live up to our expectations. 1) it must be lean, with just the right amount of added seasoning. 2) it should be sliced quite thin, but not so thin that you can't pull it apart from the rest of the slices and 3) {this is a big one for us, folks} it has to be just this side of mooing. OK, OK... for those of you who just thought Eeeeewwww! it's really just a personal taste thing. By all means, go right ahead and choose the deli brand with the doneness that best suits your taste.

The "meat" of the sandwich... Literally!
OK, So we've covered the bread and meat for this sandwich. The next decision to be made, is what to use by way of condiments and/or "fixin's".

We enjoy all types of sandwiches, but when it comes to roast beef, we usually prefer the more highly seasoned versions, (like Italian style) that are generally bolder, with a blend of zesty herbs and spices. That kind of flavor can stand up to a serious sauce or spread and in our house, that translates to creamy horseradish sauce.

It's super simple to make at home and is delicious with a sprinkling of crumbled bacon as a topping for baked potatoes, or as a zippy little dip for crispy homemade french fries or crunchy fresh veggies.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbls Prepared Horseradish (mild or hot)
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
(***if you want a little added heat/flavor, you can add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce)

Next, just throw in a handful of leafy greens and pile it all on your bread of choice, or a savory whole grain wrap, or a thick slice of crusty Italian bread and that's all you need for a delicious and satisfying summer supper. Oh, and make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand. A few crunchy potato chips and a crisp kosher dill pickle never hurt, either.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm Still Here... With Explainations and Apologies

Hello, everyone...

I'm so sorry that I've been MIA for so much of the summer. I've been trying to check in here and there when I can, through facebook or the blogosphere and I truly had every intention of getting back to more regular posting a couple of weeks ago. But you know how life goes.... Just when you think things are finally settling down, something else happens and the world goes spinning out of control, all over again.

There have been some very sad events for our family over the past few months. In mid-July, my husband's 65 year old uncle, (who has early onset Alzheimer's Disease) went missing, several hours away from his home in Maryland. From the look of things, his car ran out of gas on a very rural, desolate stretch of highway, in Pennsylvania. According to the state police, it's an area where the nearest store, gas station or residential area is miles and miles away, in any direction. The area surrounding the highway is densely wooded, which has made the ground and air searches they've performed, quite difficult. To date, we've had absolutely no leads... no clues whatsoever, as to where he is or what has happened to him. Unfortunately, the more time passes, the less hope we have of a positive outcome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Julia!

Today would have been the 100th birthday of the iconic woman and incredible chef, who inspired my love of cooking and all things "food".  On Saturday or Sunday mornings, I sat in front of our old black and white TV and watched, wide-eyed and eager to soak up all that I could, as she created everything from the most basic dishes to the most spectacular culinary works of art I could have imagined. And she did this with an incredible passion and an almost child-like enthusiasm. She had a way of making us believe we could cook the way she did with her common sense and realism and taught us that one should never apologize for a fallen souffle or a cracked flourless torte.

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