Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's in the Fridge

“What’s in the fridge?” I ask myself as I’m trying to think of something to make for dinner after a long day.

We just had another Bountiful Basket delivery made to West Yellowstone this past Saturday evening, so I made a mental list of the vegetables and fruits in my fridge as I drove home from work this afternoon.

I remembered I had a head of cabbage waiting to be used for … something. The rest of a cucumber needed to be used up pretty soon, the radishes were sitting on the bottom shelf waiting for their turn on the dinner plate and I was saving a small chunk of Follow Your Heart brand vegan gourmet mozzarella to use for something special. I’ve tried to make a few vegan cheese alternatives in the past using agar agar powder, coconut milk, turmeric and even liquid smoke for a cheddar style once. But, I rarely buy cheese alternatives like Daiya, Wayfare’s We Can’t Say It’s Cheese and Follow Your Heart anymore. When I do, I like to use it for something special or a new recipe, like a big pan of lasagna, a fully loaded pizza, or perhaps a sandwich. I haven’t had Tofutti cream cheese or sour cream alternatives in months. I admit I miss them at times, but I decided that there are many more nutritious whole foods out there than fake cream cheese and a bagel everyday and the small packages of cheesy goodness can be expensive. I was surprised to find the Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella on sale for $2.99 while grocery shopping in Bozeman last month.

Getting back to the question of what’s in the fridge, however, has a little bit of its own story. I was checking NPR’s website on Monday morning – I like to catch up on arts and entertainment and music and NPR always has a few good newsy reads throughout the week. That’s when I stumbled upon this week’s Sandwich Monday on the blog, The Salt.

I read about a crazy-sounding latke sandwich creation around Hanukkah, and over the summer I remember a large carnivorous number being featured, but Monday’s sammie was special. This week’s Sandwich Monday review featured the Grilled Cheese With Mac N' Cheese. A humungous cheese-loaded guy, going by the name of “The Mac” is available at a place called Cheesie’s in Chicago, according to the write up on The Salt. A heaping pile of mac n’ cheese is hugged by gooey layers of even more melty cheese, which are being caressed by two toasted pieces of bread. Well, that crazy cheesy number got my food wheels turning and I haven’t stopped thinking about a grilled cheese sandwich ever since, more so how easy it would be to create a vegan version. That kitchen creation may show up on the blog at a future date. I have been trying really hard lately to use up some of the stuff in my kitchen that has been around for a while and I'm also watching my budget closely. Hence that long thought list of what's in the fridge.

View "The Mac" for yourself.

For now, I thought, I had enough vegan mozzarella and veggies to come up with something good.

Welcome to Sammie Wednesday. I present you with the “What’s in the Fridge” Sammie!

Melty vegan mozzarella, thick slices of tomato and avocado, thinly sliced onions, pickles and raw cabbage leaves come together on two pieces of toasted wheat bread. I threw on some salt and pepper and garlic & herb seasoning for good measure. The avocado also makes for a great, healthier mayo substitute too. Plus this green goddess is packed with good-for-you mono-unsaturated fat.

Melty, toasted goodness!

“What’s in the Fridge” Sammie:
(serves 1, vegan, dairy-free)

• 2 slices of wheat bread
• 6 to 8 thinly sliced pieces of Follow Your Heart vegan gourmet mozzarella, or vegan cheese alternative of your choice
• 3 slices of tomato
• about 3 or 4 large leaves of raw cabbage
• 2 dill pickle slices
• 1/4 of an avocado, thinly sliced
• salt and pepper to taste
• garlic & herb seasoning to taste
• non-dairy butter substitute, to butter the outer sides of each piece of bread – I used Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread and it worked really well.
• non-stick cooking spray for your pan

- Butter each outer side of the bread slices and then flip them over and start to assemble your sammie. Remember to only butter one side of the slice of bread. Place the mozzarella slices on each piece of bread, go with about 3 or 4 slices on each slice of bread. Next, layer on the tomato slices on one of the bread slices, with the onions to follow. On the other slice of bread, layer on the avocado slices on top of your mozzarella, then layer on the pickles and cabbage leaves. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and garlic & herb seasoning.

-Spray your skillet with non-stick cooking spray and let it heat up for a minute or two. I used a grill pan and it left nice marks on the outside of the sandwich, but any skillet will do. Once the skillet heats up, carefully place your sandwich in the skillet and press down on the top of the sandwich with a spatula to flatten everything out a little. Wait until one side  of your sammie is toasted, carefully flip the sandwich over and wait for the other side to toast. This could take a few minutes and don’t turn your burner up too high or your sandwich could burn.

- Once everything is nice and toasted and the cheese has melted, remove the sandwich from the skillet, cut it in half and celebrate Sammie Wednesday with your "What's in the Fridge" Sammie.

I enjoyed my sammie with a few sides consisting of a quick salad of radish and cucumber slices and threw in a handful of yellow corn tortilla chips to round out the meal.

On the side

This sammie is quick, easy, nutritious and imaginative. It kind of smelled like a rueben while it was cooking in the skillet with the fresh cabbage and onions as part of the ingredients. Sandwiches are a great option for dinner or lunch when you’re in a hurry. Throw together a French toast number you’re scrambling for breakfast or enjoy a peanut butter and banana treat as a midnight snack. These guys are innovative!

Something usually tastes better when it’s between two pieces of bread or rolled up tight in a wrap.

No comments:

Post a Comment