Summertime and the living’s easy

by kalamckala

You need to know that I love sandwiches.

You need to know that I love fruit.

You need to know that I like interesting food combinations.

You need to know about these sandwiches!

I’m about to share two summer sandwich recipes that I’ve come to make consistently. I guess I don’t at all mind the blogosphere knowing that such decadent sandwiches have become my normal hunger quencher. (Yes, I’m going to say that hunger can be quenched.) But they have. And I want you to understand why.

Strawberries are just about exhausted here in the Bay Area and I’m quite over all this strawberry-mania. Their void has been completely filled by the succulent tomatoes who need nothing more than a sprinkling of salt and pepper to be deemed ‘divine’.

Just as I bid these strawberries adieu, I relished their delicious memory in a somewhat unconventional way. Don’t get me wrong, strawberries are more than delicious plainly sliced atop a mountain of chocolate ice cream but I had to let these guys go out with a bang. Put them to rest properly until they re-emerge in another year.

Sandwiches and grilled cheeses with tomatoes. Doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary, does it? What about with strawberries, avocado, and goat cheese? Maybe a little more daring, yes? You’ll have to see for yourself.

{It’s worth it, trust in me! I kid you not – I made these for lunch one day, my mom having a half and myself a whole sandwich. She liked it so much that she asked me to make this same strawberry and avocado grilled cheese for her again for dinner. That very same day. Where she came to her proper senses and ordered a whole sandwich. I love it when she tries not to eat too much. It’s such a silly thing really.}

So as a peace-out to strawberries and a warm welcome to this season’s tomatoes, here are my favorite sammiches of the summer.

Thus far.

The combinations are delightfully interesting. Be open minded. And don’t skip or skimp on the pepper jelly in the first recipe or lemon in the second.

Strawberry and avocado grilled cheese
yield one sandwich

2 slices of bread, one side buttered (I used regular whole wheat sandwich bread)
1 T red pepper jelly
3 T goat cheese
3 large strawberries, sliced
1/2 avocado, mashed
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
handful of arugula
3 large basil leaves (or enough to get a bite of basil every time)

Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Add the toast to the hot griddle, buttered side-down. Let the bread turn to toast. You know your stove top better than I do, but here we want to brown the bread without heating the sandwich ingredients too much. What I usually end up doing – with regular success – is toasting the bread until it is just golden brown over moderately-high heat and then reducing the temperate to low while I compile the rest of the ingredients. That way everything is toasty and melty without the bread getting soggy or burnt to a crisp.

Turn the heat to low. Spread red pepper jelly on one piece of toast and crumble or spread the goat cheese on the other.  Now place as many strawberry slices on the goat cheese side as possible. Top the red pepper jelly side with the mashed avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I prefer one grind of salt to two grinds of pepper, myself.

Lightly press the basil on the strawberry-goat cheese toast and the arugula into the avocado-red pepper jelly toast.  Check the underside of the toast to assure it is at your preferred burnt level. When it is, combine each slice of toast, remove from the heat, slice in half (DIAGONALLY), and enjoy with a side of carrot sticks and a tall glass of milk.  

Quick pickled tomato sandwich with lemon-feta and smashed avocado
adapted from Everybody Loves Sandwiches
yield one sandwich 

1 ripe {heirloom} tomato, thickly sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
2 T red wine vinegar
torn fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Place tomato slices and red onion in a shallow bowl; season with salt, pepper, and basil and drizzle with red wine vinegar. Let sit while you compile the rest of the sandwich. {Alternately, you can allow the tomatoes to marinade in the vinegar for up to 30 minutes – this will yield a tangier tasting sandwich, whereas I like a fresher sandwich.}

2 T feta cheese
zest and juice of half a lemon
splash of olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together the feta, lemon juice and zest, and olive oil. It should form a sort of delicious paste; you may need more olive oil or more lemon juice, depending on your preference.

2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
1/2 avocado
handful of fresh spinach

SANDWICH COMPILATION: lay bread slices on a plate and spread one with the lemony-feta spread and smash the avocado onto the other. Top the avocado side with the tomato and onion slices – and be sure to get some basil in there too – and the feta side with spinach. Close up le sandwich, knife it in half. Devour.

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