Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Elusive Leftover Sandwich

Okay. As much as I love the holidays and the food and the eating, it can get a bit stressful at times. So many people invade your home, all needing to sit somewhere and drink something and eat everything. Don't get me wrong; it's not like I help a lot or make myself useful or anything. Usually during the Christmas, I'm laying on the couch or skulking around on the second level of whatever house the party is in, pretending to be in the bathroom or entertaining children so that I can get out of washing dishes. Yes, it's a tough job, this laziness, but you gotta work at it. At not working. Hmm...let me think that one over.

In the meantime, you can think this one over: The Elusive Leftovers Sandwich. This is, without a doubt, my favorite part of the holidays. Well, it's at least comparable to receiving a gift basket filled with food and booze. Apparently in Ireland, this is called a hamper. That's what the Irishwoman looking over my shoulder tells me. Who knew?! Anyhow, due to the aforementioned stress of the holidays, I really tend to hold out for the day after Christmas. You sleep late, you stay in your pajamas all day, and maybe you even watch some sports. Look, I said maybe. Don't judge; the football game is sometimes entertaining. Anyhow, you do all of these things, and all of a sudden the most amazing thing happens. You get hungry. You look in the fridge, Your eyes begin to survey the tupperware containers full of leftovers, and very slowly, your brain starts to put things together. You imagine layers in certain orders, different textures, colors, tastes...Your mouth waters and you cut the crap and you get to work. That's how it goes. I am no-nonsense when it comes to The Leftovers Sandwich, and you had better be too. Jerks

So, you're going to need some leftovers. And a toaster over. And a non-stupid brain, because if you know what's good for you, you're going to want this sandwich. I don't have pictures of the first couple of steps (because I was too excited and eager to make this sandwich, duh), but I'm sure you can figure it out. Get some bread - this is a nice sourdough - and slice it into some slices. Then layer your leftover turkey on the bread, and top it with a healthy (read: gigantic) serving of bread stuffing. Now you have an important choice to make: cheese or no cheese? I'll be honest; if you say no cheese, I'll be judging you immediately. Use cheese, guys. I chose some havarti, leftover from the salami and cheese tray we had yesterday. Put this half of the sandwich in the toaster oven for a few minutes. The two on the left have followed my directions; the one on the right used gouda cheese. I'm not complaining.

Allow the cheese to melt without getting too melty. You know, somewhere in between. Look, if you don't understand me now, you probably never will.

Here's where the magic happens: places one or two layers of crunchy potato chips on top of the melted cheese. Krunchers work the best, but really, any chip will do. I tend to stick with regular, unflavored chips for The Leftovers Sandwich, only because there are so many other flavors in the damn sandwich. But if you're adding a potato chip layer to any other sandwich, you can really do amazing things with flavored chips. My favorite is sour cream and onion on a cold turkey sandwich, preferably with provolone, guacamole, lettuce, and tomatoes. It is ridiculous. Seriously, put potato chips in your sandwich once in awhile. You'll thank me later. Hopefully with a chip-filled sandwich.

Now hopefully while the sandwiches were in the toaster oven, you remembered to put a bowl of gravy in the microwave to warm up. Yeah, I know I didn't tell you to do that yet. But I can't do everything for you, man! You've got to figure out some things on your own once in awhile. One thing I will do for you at this moment: show you some gravy-pouring action shots. Holy crap, look at that gravy pour!

Okay, put that half of the sandwich aside and get out your other piece of bread. Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on this side. I say thin because I'm not a huge fan of cranberry sauce, but it adds a good flavor. Plus, it's fruit, and that means health, and you could probably use some of that, the way you eat. Ya hoss.

You could probably guess the next step, but here it is anyhow: put that one piece of bread on top of the rest of the sandwich to make the final package. Push down on it so the gravy oozes out.

Cut it in half so you can enjoy it without being overwhelmed. The goodness of this sandwich is a lot, I know.

Sides are a really good idea. I chose macaroni and cheese and brussel sprouts. I know, a vegetable - surprising, right? Well, I like most foods that cause gas, so you can all eat it. Literally.

Speaking of health, here's an acceptable alternative to The Leftover Sandwich: The Open-Faced Leftover Sandwich With Sides of Salad-Based Foods. You get a little less carbs and more vegetables. I know, it's hard not to judge, but do your best. There is still a side of macaroni and cheese on that plate. All is not lost.
And there you have it! The Leftovers Sandwich. It's useful, resourceful, non-wasteful, and delicious. And usually I'm only one of those things. Must be a Christmas miracle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving With Foreigners: The Leftovers

You know who knows how to eat? I mean, really knows how to eat. Foreigners. Man, I spent Thanksgiving with a bunch of these guys this year, and it was a doozy. Not only are there the regular Thanksgiving staples, but there are tons of extras here and there. Like, you'll be surveying the table and your eyes will scan across the bowl of mashed potatoes, the giant pile of stuffing, and finally land on...biryani. Or then, you'll reach for a couple of helpings of turkey, but also pick up some bourek on your way. "What are all these things?!" you're probably exclaiming right now. "What are these strange words that I'm not used to? We're in America. I don't try new things! I'm boring and unadventurous! I wear the same sweatsuit every day. All I talk about is sports and Nickelback." Well. Look at you. Being a jerk, as usual. Man, sometimes you have to TRY. I know it's hard, but occasionally it's worth it! Just trust me. Try.

Anyhow, I digress in my lectures to you. One of the best parts about sharing Thanksgiving with foreigners is that they are damn pushy about eating. Oh, so you're on a diet? No problem - eat more. Had dinner already at your girlfriend's family's house? That's okay, here's Dinner Two. Already had 4 helpings, did you? Get ready for 5, 6, and 7. These foreigners are no nonsense. And! Check this out: they'll give you leftovers! I mean, not exactly "give;" more so "force upon you." They'll pack them up into old plastic yogurt containers and various sized ziploc bags and before you know it, you'll be driving back home with a trunk full of smells and bags and food for the next week.

Here's the bourek I was talking about. It's basically a pastry filled with meat and fried. These ones had chicken inside. They'll leave your hands greasy, so use plenty of napkins. Or, just say screw it and lay a giant towel across your lap. It'll come in handy later.

Potato chop. In a plastic bag, which is how it was handed to me. Potato chop is meat stuffed inside potatoes and, you guessed it, fried.
Here it is cut open.

Some kebabs neatly organized on top of a pile of rice. If you leave the meat on the rice for long enough, a bunch of meat flavor and juices soak into the rice and the rice is probably the most amazing tasting rice you'll ever have.

White beans. In red sauce. That's all I know about this one. This is the other thing about foreigners: sometimes you receive a tupperware full of a stew-like thing and you just have to eat it. Probably on top of rice.

This is the biryani! This one has rice, chicken, other meat, peas, hard boiled eggs, and delicious spices. The flavors of this - oh lord, the flavors!

Here's another lookie. Now that's a tall drink of...biryani. Hmm.

This is stuffed cabbage. Probably one of the more unappetizing looking dishes. However! It is also one of the best tasting! The meat inside is a combination of pork, beef, and something else, and there were little slices of ham laying on top of the cabbage to give it extra flavor. Ridiculous.

Sometimes foreigners like to turn leftover meat into gyros or shawerma the next day. Why leave meat as is? Why not challenge yourself and make meat into other meat that tastes even better? Thusly, homemade shawerma:

Here is my entire leftovers dinner from last night. Notice all the fried stuff? I was also provided with ample pita bread and baba ganoush to balance out the meal. And to make me more gassy. I mean, seriously, who can even go to work or have a social life after eating like this? Not me.
So, with that in mind, I'll be here in my apartment for the next 4 days, eating and not talking to anybody face-to-face. Because man, this food is doing a number on me. But really when you think about it, I guess this the only way to follow up Thanksgiving awesomely. More eating. More digestive issues. More everything.

Happy Thanksgiving, fools.

xoxo, Delicious Food

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Delicious Food vs. Some Doctor, or A Very Special Thanksgiving

Man, why do people have to mess with stuff that is just fine the way it is?! I ask you! The Huffington Post recently published an article by Michael Roizen, M.D. about staying fit between Thanksgiving and New Year's. What the hell, man? What's everybody's problem? It's Thanksgiving, the best holiday of the year! The entire day is dedicated to eating; what could be better? Plus, this is the exact time of year I want to eat everything in sight whilst laying on the couch. It's cold out here in the Midwest, and I'm all confused from the days getting shorter, and there's good television on...why the hell shouldn't I sit around eating delicious, and possibly unhealthy, foods, maybe while falling asleep every few minutes, crumbs on my collar? Jeez.

So, to the doctor who compiled these "helpful tips," if you can even call them that, I present to you my own altered version. Now these are some real tips...BEEF tips! Wait, no, these are actual good tips on how to enjoy a wonderful and important holiday and not act like a jackass all the time.

Dr. R. says: Keep your hands occupied. Never leave your hands free at a party. Having a glass of water in one hand is a great idea.
DF says: Another great way to occupy your hands is the following: giant turkey leg in right hand and left hand unbuckling your belt to make room for more. Option 2: Serving spoon of mashed potatoes in the right hand, left hand high five-ing the other people at the table. Option 3: A sandwich so large that it takes both hands to hold it.

Dr. R. says: Hang out near the veggie table.
DF says: Near the what?! Please. Hang out near the bar, the trays of appetizers, the dinner table, the dessert counter. Anywhere but the veggie table. In fact, if there even is a veggie table at your Thanksgiving Day event, leave. Immediately. Go somewhere better.

Dr. R. Says: Buy a dessert. If you must bring a desert, buy, don't bake it. You'll be less likely to sample it before the party.
DF says: Why not do both? Make one at home, sample as much of it as you like, then buy one for a nice little car snack on your way to Thanksgiving. Why pick and choose, Dr. R? One of each, am I right??

Dr. R. says: Choose protein-rich fillers. Eat 6 walnut halves, 20 peanuts or 12 almonds (all about 70 calories of fat) 30 minutes before you go to any party or meal. They will help fill you up.
DF says: I think he means meat. Meat is protein-rich. Go make yourself a steak, fill up on that before dinner, and then enjoy the actual Thanksgiving feast 30 minutes later. You'll do fine. Don't worry, babies.

Dr. R. says: Watch what you drink.
DF says: Yep. You should watch what I drink! You'll be impressed. I'll start with a flute of champagne, then move on to a few vodka cocktails, have a glass of wine or 4 with dinner, and at the end of the night enjoy that very special creamy after-dinner drink. Like a white russian or a tequila rose or a Bailey's on ice. Yes, watch what I drink. You'll love me even more than usual.

Dr. R. says: Eye your pie before you try. Check out the entire spread before serving yourself and go through the line only once. Best choice -- pure pumpkin (has alpha-carotene, now shown to make your RealAge younger) -- and skip the crust.
DF says: Dr. R. must be confused. I think he means "Eye the pies, give 'em all a try." And by "try," I assume he is implying two to three hefty slices. Do not skip the crust. Add more crust if possible. Choose any pie that has whipped cream on it. If the pie does not have whipped cream on it, add some. Or better yet, add ice cream. Or both. Make a pie sandwich by stacking pie slices on top of one another. Have a pie eating contest. Pie, guys! PIE!!!

Dr. R says: Splurge a little at parties. It's OK to splurge a little when you're out and about. The rest of the time, eat like your normal, healthy self.
DF says: Replace "a little" with "frequently," and "parties" with "work," "home," "midnight," "the pool," "your leisure," or "parties." That's right, just be your normal, healthy self.

Dr. R. says: Try this recipe: Whole Wheat Wild Rice Cranberry Walnut Stuffing
DF says: Hell no.

Dr. R. says: Try this recipe: Mushroom Gravy
DF says: Only if I can pour it on top of my regular, meat-based, fatty delicious gravy. Double gravy! Now you're talkin'.

Dr. R. says: Cross stress off your to-do list. Shop online, stick to a budget, and don't be afraid to buy food instead of making it.
DF says: I can get behind this one. But I'd also cross off a few other things on my list, including morning jogs, low-fat anything, and veggie tables.

Dr. R. says: Start some new traditions. Get everybody together -- and away from the table -- to hang decorations, take a winter walk, play board games, belt out holiday songs or experience awe and wonder in your house of worship, at a concert, admiring Mother Nature's work, or in any other way that moves you.
DF says: I got a tradition for you, Dr. R.: Shutting Your Piehole! How about the tradition of Quit Flapping Ya Gums? This guy is a total quack.

Dr. R. says: Create a kitchen safety zone. Keep only the real, good-for-you seasonal treats in easy reach.
DF says: I'll take that and raise you a "put the chips on the couch pillow next to you and the beer in the mini-fridge under your feet and an ice cream sundae directly into your mouth and do this in every room besides the kitchen." That's right, I'm suggesting you make the other rooms in your house Awesome Zones. Bedroom awesome zone, bathroom awesome zone, garage awesome get my drift. Sure, the kitchen can be a Safety Zone (nerd) but at least the rest of the house isn't going to suck. Believe you me.

Dr. R. says: Don't skip exercise.
DF says: Do skip exercise. Some of these are very simple.

Ugh. Listen, everybody. I really hope you take some of these tips seriously. I'm worried that if we don't support this holiday, it won't last! So don't be a Thanksgiving Grinch, and please don't break my heart; eat some Delicious Food for once!

All photos borrowed from

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I feel like I've been waiting for years to do this one. I'm scared and intimidated and nervous and excited and hungry and a little sleepy, but mostly ready. I'm ready. To write a blog about sandwiches.

Ah, the Elusive Sandwich. Well, not elusive, I guess. More so Easy to Find in Most Cities, Pretty Common, Mostly Regular Sandwich. Such a simple idea, yet such unique and eloquent combinations. The possibilities for sandwich recipes seem endless. I would eat sandwiches every day. I would like to have three sandwiches (or more) every day; one at each meal. A tasty egg and breakfast meat sandwich to start off, a nice cold cut with potato chip combo for lunch, and a delicious toasted version with soup or fries for dinner. What a great life.

In an attempt to calm the hell down, I pared down my sandwich pictures to a mere 44 for this entry. It was the best I could do. But before encountering these magnificent pictures, let's real quick talk about what a sandwich is. The relatively new and little-known site Wikipedia describes sandwiches in the following way:

A sandwich is a food item, often consisting of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them, or one slice of bread with a topping or toppings, commonly called an open sandwich. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or picnics to be eaten as part of a packed lunch. They generally contain a combination of salad vegetables, meat, cheese, and a variety of sauces. The bread can be used as it is, or it can be coated with any condiments to enhance flavor and texture. They are widely sold in restaurants and cafes.

Well. This must be why I love sandwiches so much. Look, I love carbs, i.e. bread, I really love cheese (and am totally spoiled living in the Midwest), and I freaking LOVE sauce and condiments. I do really like meat, but I can go without it once in awhile, which is why sandwiches work so well for me. I mean seriously. Carbs and cheese and sauce and sometimes meat. The most perfect combination ever in life.

Some people might consider a burger a type of sandwich. In fact, one might call it "a hamburger sandwich." You know, if one is an old lady. "I'll have a hamburger sandwich with a small cup of Orange Slice with no ice." Yep. Old lady. Anyhow, I don't really care whether or not you want to consider the burger a sandwich, but look at this:
Carbs, cheese, sauce, meat - it's all there. And it's all ridiculous. Side note: If you go to Five Guys and order a "regular" burger rather than a "small" burger, you'll get one with two giant patties on it. I couldn't finish this one so I wrapped it up and carried it around in my purse while I shopped at Target and had to finish it a couple hours later. True story.

For those of you who don't think a burger is a sandwich, what about a patty melt? It's on bread and grilled like a grilled cheese, only it has a burger inside of it.

Next question: Is this a sandwich? This is how I like to eat cupcakes. They stay neater this way, and you get more even bites of cake and frosting. Sandwich or not? You can decide.

Another very important question: Is a wrap a sandwich? Some people don't think so because they think the wrap is too much of a wiener food to be considered in the same category as the mighty sandwich. Again, I don't really care. The insides are good. The carbs could be better. Call it what you want; just calm down and let me eat, okay?

What I really love is a good make-your-own-sandwich station. These are usually found at people's houses, often at a crashed party. Platters of meats and cheeses and vegetables - you can control how much of everything goes inside the bread. Ugh, my mouth is watering looking at these next two pictures, and they're not even official sandwiches yet!
Olives are a great addition, whether they're inside a sandwich or on the outside. If you're going to put them inside, you'll probably have to cut them up real small, which takes a long time, and you're going to need some patience for that. But the reward will be worth it. Just try. For once in your life, TRY!

Speaking of making your own, I gotta say, I'm pretty damn good at that. I may not be the best cook in the world, and I may be a big lazy jerk, but I can make a delicious sandwich. Here is a breakfast sandwich made with a bagel, chive cream cheese, scrambled eggs, veggie bacon, and sauteed spinach. I bet you're all like "Holy Crap" right now. Well, you're right. It was amazing.

As an aside, I love breakfast sandwiches. Love them. These first two are from the Marigold Kitchen in Madison, WI. A simple sandwich made with a fried egg, cheddar-spiked boursin, applewood smoked bacon, tomato and green onion on toasted ciabatta. I'd say it's my favorite breakfast sandwich.

This one is a funny one because I don't think it looks as appetizing. But it was, fools! This is where I fist experienced the combination of eggs, breakfast meat, and goat cheese. Phenomenal. Don't knock it til you try it. Or I'll knock you. Believe you me, I'm serious when it comes to breakfast sandwiches. Try this.

Back to homemade for a second. Occasionally, I keep it simple with some lightly toasted bread, white american cheese, and sliced tomato. This is almost like an appetizer sandwich, but it does the job.

Here is an open-faced variety: a poppyseed bagel with cream cheese, tomato, avocado, and poppyseed sprinkled on top. You see, the poppyseeds always fall off and I have a compulsion about wasting crumbs, so I scoop them up and dump them on top. Plus, it looks good.

When I'm in a lazier mood, I'll hit up the chain restaurants. There are plenty of good sandwiches out there, and even though there have been recent changes in the size of certain sandwiches (QUIZNO'S), they still taste good. Here's the turkey, bacon, guacamole with no onions and half-eaten.

Turkey sandwich from Potbelly with lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, and cheese. Toasted. Perfectly toasted.

Milio's Californian, which contains turkey, provolone, tomato, lettuce, and guacamole. Not the most photogenic sandwich in the bunch, but really delicious.

Einstein's turkey sandwich. By the way, I enjoy turkey sandwiches. This had sprouts on it, which sort of makes me want to barf, but they do make it look nice.

Um...okay, I'll be honest. This was from Denny's. I can't remember what was in it, but it was toasted and melty and pretty good. Don't judge.

Well, this one was actually one of my few non-successful sandwich experiences. It's a brie and tomato sandwich from Cosi. The bread was cold and hard, and the brie tasted like it was a little old. Also disappointing because I could have made this at home, and way better. It makes me think that Cosi is a bunch of jerks.

Okay, this one was a surprise. It was from Arby's! It's the turkey-bacon-ranch on this delicious bread, crisp bacon, nice fresh-tasting turkey. A really pleasant surprise. Totally not healthy, but probably a bit better for you than an effing beef & cheddar, am I right? Am I RIGHT?!

Once in awhile, I'll leave the chains behind and go for the local places. In Madison, WI there's a place called The Old Fashioned that will basically put a fried egg on anything. Here it is on a grilled cheese and bacon. Perfect. For real, perfect. Also, I'm glad I didn't die from Immediate Cholesterol that night.

Oh lord, I love a good reuben. I have no idea where any of these are from, but I know they're all local in one sense or another.

Look at those giant olives on top! Just like in the cartoons.

This is a sandwich from another place in Madison, WI called Mildred's. This sandwich, the Obreros, is roast beef, turkey breast, provolone, swiss, cucumbers and lettuce with mayonnaise and dressing on a whole wheat pita.

Top view - it's a hefty pita.

View of when you get it to go. Look at those sandwich halves, piled on top of each other.

These bagel sandwiches are from Gotham Bagels in Madison - wow, I'm just realizing how much time I spend there. Interesting. Look at how much meat!

This one went to my companion - a "vegetarian." I know, I try not to judge, but it's hard.

Okay, but this vegetarian sandwich is a whole other story. This is the stuffed grilled cheese from Alchemy in Madison, WI. Oh lord, it's good. Tons of veggies and cheese and a creamy pesto spread on thick bread.

That's the innards. When else would you want to eat innards so bad?

French Dip Sandwich! I love a sandwich that comes with a whole bowl of "dip," without which the sandwich would be incomplete. I mean, that's a good recipe right there. Make a sandwich and then dip it in something to make it whole. That's genius.

I think this is the Navajo sandwich from The Cheesecake Factory. I know, I know, but it was so good. Served on fry bread.

A roast beef po' boy from somewhere in New Orleans. Look. At. That. Meat. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

Here we travel back to Madison for a grilled cheese from Lazy Jane's. This is havarti, tomato, avocado, and red onion on sourdough. Delicious! Served with salad, which is kind of annoying, because you don't make friends with salad. But you can totally get soup instead if you want. If you're smart.

The King Club from the Mermaid Cafe, also in Madison. That focaccia bread is so amazing.

The GBLT from Monty's Diner in Madison. I know, right? GBLT. Hehehe...Anyhow, the G is for guacamole and the other letters are what they're usually for.

Chicken salad sammich. A "healthy choice," so I don't do it very often. But this was fine.

My go-to sandwich that works every time: The Club Sandwich. I always get it with american cheese, and it's just ridiculous. It's like every processed food you could ever imagine between some crappy toasted bread. SO GOOD.

These next few are from the place that served me what is probably my all-time favorite sandwich: The Chicago Bagel Authority. Pretty boring name, I know, but listen. Just listen. This sandwich was ridiculous. They steam them, which isn't quite like toasting, or like warming it in the microwave; it's something in between. It's magic.

This is the Dirty Swede: turkey, cream cheese, bacon, colby, smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a giant roll. I know, all that cheese, plus mayo, seems a bit excessive, but um...yeah, there's nothing wrong with excess.

There's a nice side view. Good looking, fantastic tasting...great sandwich all around.

My companion on this trip got the, uh, Hide the Salami. Yeah, for real, that's what he ordered. It's "salami hidden under bacon" (straight from the menu), pepperoni, banana peppers, provolone, lettuce, avocado, and ranch.

Giant sandwich halves. I love giant sandwich halves because there's almost always more.

Well...that's all I got. 44 pictures of sandwiches. Little meanness or judgement. I guess sandwiches bring out the best in me and make me a kinder, gentler, more loving individual.

Wait. This doesn't feel right. It's's not me. I'm freaking out. I gotta go. Jerks.

Ah, there it is.

xoxo, Delicious Food