Peach Prosciutto Arugula Sandwiches

Growing up, peaches were my favorite fruit. Not fresh peaches, mind you. The canned ones. Yeah, I was such a processed foods fan. Green beans? The fresh ones made me gag, but I loved the mushy, waxy flavor of the canned ones. Thank goodness taste buds evolve as you grow up.

Among the many reasons to love summer is the abundance of fresh peaches. I love their bright yellow-orange flesh, the sweet juice that you have to act quickly to slurp up with each bite, the combination of sweet and tart. So when I saw peaches at the produce stand, I jumped on buying some even though I knew it was a little early in the season. I was just so eager for peaches.

I wanted a creative way to use them though. I thought about melon and prosciutto salads, but I’m not a melon fan (yeah, those taste buds never evolved) so peaches seemed like a good swap. And since we were having soup that night, I thought why do salad when you can have a sandwich? Grilled, buttery sourdough, a layer of gooey mozzarella cheese, some crisp and peppery arugula, tender slices of salty prosciutto, and last but not least– those sweet and juicy peaches. Summer in a sandwich. Try it or you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

For 4 sandwiches:

  • Half a loaf of your favorite sourdough bread, cut on a bias into eight 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 oz prosciutto slices
  • 1 cup baby arugula leaves, rinsed and spun dry
  • 2 medium-sized, ripe peaches, pitted and sliced 1/4 inch thick

Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each slice of bread. Reduce heat to medium low, then place 4 slices of bread, butter side down on the griddle. Top each slice with 2 pieces of cheese, a small handful of the arugula leaves, 1 to 2 pieces of prosciutto, and 4 slices of peach. Top with another piece of cheese and another slice of bread. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. Carefully flip sandwiches over and grill on the other side until golden, another 5-6 minutes. Slice sandwiches in half and serve immediately.


Tuscan Chicken Burgers

It may not seem like it, depending on the weather where you are, but grill season is allegedly here. I for one have been itchy to fire up our grill, seizing the opportunity when it’s remotely sunny and warm, only to find that by the time we actually light the coals, the wind has picked up, the grey clouds have amassed, and a drizzle starts to fall. But such is Seattle– if a little rain deterred us from spending time outside, then there’d be a massive outbreak of cabin fever.

If you’re getting into grill season, here’s an idea to add some variety to your burger grilling menu. I took ground chicken, mixed in cannellini beans, capers, and rosemary, then topped off my burgers with an oven roasted tomato relish and some sautéed greens.

The burgers were juicy with a tang of acid from the capers which went nicely with the sweet tomato relish. The greens added a dash of heat, thanks to being cooked in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. In fact, I’d say that these burgers are a great solution to rainy or cold day cookouts: they cook quickly then channel the sun with their bright flavors. Here’s hoping the sun comes out soon for a long and happy grill season for all!

Chicken Burgers

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon small capers
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning

Tomato Relish

  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated into a paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • sugar to taste

Burger Toppings

  • 1 large bunch kale or broccoli rabe, leaves separated from stems, stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns

Start by roasting the tomatoes for the relish. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. On a foil lined baking sheet, mix the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, ground coriander, and fennel seeds. Cook for 2.5-3 hours or until tomatoes are wrinkled around the edges and kind of jammy looking. Remove from oven and allow to cool. While tomatoes roast, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter to a medium skillet and melt over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, cannellini beans, capers, garlic and rosemary. Mix with your hands, being careful not to over mix then shape into 4 equal patties. Season both sides of each patty with the steak seasoning mix. Cook on a well oiled and cleaned grill over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Let rest, tented with foil on a plate for at least 5 minutes before serving.

While burgers cook, make the tomato relish and the sautéed greens topping. For the relish, combine the roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and basil in a food processor bowl, fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until tomatoes and onions are finely chopped. Adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper to taste. For the greens, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, letting the garlic perfume the oil, toasting the smashed cloves until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Discard garlic then add chopped greens and saute until wilted, about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble: place chicken patty on bun, top with tomato relish and a small pile of sautéed greens before topping with other bun half and serve.

Pesto & Peppered Bacon Breakfast Sandwich

I know that I’ve posted breakfast ideas for pancakes or chocolatey oatmeal in the past, but that might give a false impression. When it comes to breakfast, I usually tend toward the savory rather than the sweet. It might be an attempt to balance the breakfasts of chocolate donuts and orange juice that my father would secretly feed me when he’d drive me to kindergarten. It might be my love for bacon and cheese. It might be the thrill of repurposing leftovers from a week’s worth of dinners to create something entirely new and delicious.

This breakfast sandwich is definitely an example of tasty re-purposing. I woke up on a Saturday confronted with a loaf of beautiful bread that I had asked John to pick up when I panicked about having to stretch a meal to feed 5 when my parents and uncle showed up unexpectedly for dinner. Turns out we didn’t need an extra loaf of bread but this chewy, whole wheat artisan bread was too beautiful to waste. With a freezer well stocked with pesto thanks to our CSA bulk share I knew I had the basics for a delicious breakfast sandwich.

To tell the truth, I’m a little surprised that this is the first breakfast sandwich idea that I’m posting here. Breakfast sandwiches are consumed on a nearly weekly basis in our household. I’m always striving to make one that competes with my favorite restaurant one– grilled sourdough with bacon, eggs, arugula, and tomato aioli. That might be an impossible task though if only because that sandwich can come with sweet potato fries instead of hash browns. Sweet potato fries for breakfast aside, I made this sandwich with softly scrambled eggs, crispy peppered bacon, a handful of arugula and slices of that hearty bread, toasted on the griddle with layers of sweet basil pesto and melted, sharp provolone cheese.  A breakfast sandwich so good, you don’t need to have sweet potato fries. You can still want sweet potato fries, mind you, but you don’t need them to be satisfied with this sandwich.

For two sandwiches:

  • 4 strips peppered bacon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium garlic clove, smashed
  • 4 slices hearty, crusty bread of your choice
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 slices sharp provolone cheese
  • canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula, washed and dried

Cook bacon over medium low heat until crisp and cooked through. Drain on paper towel lined plate and set aside.

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Place butter and garlic clove in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and cook in the microwave for 1 minute on 40 % power or until melted, being careful as the butter can splatter. Brush one side of each of the slices of bread then spread the other side with pesto and a slice of cheese. Toast on the griddle or in the skillet until the cheese is melted and the buttered side is golden brown, about 5-6 minutes on medium low heat. While bread toasts, heat about 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Beat the eggs with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the eggs to the pan and gently stir until eggs reach your desired degree of doneness.

To assemble sandwich: Place one slice of the grilled bread on a plate then add half of the eggs. Top with half of the arugula and the bacon then top with another piece of grilled bread.

CSA Count (It’s been awhile, but it’s off-season): 1


Short Rib Lettuce Cups

Right now, it’s sunny outside, but rain and/or snow along with cold temps are allegedly on their way. When it’s damp and cold, I long for three things in a meal: 1) Comfort, 2) ease, and 3) color. Here’s a meal that meets all three criteria.

This meal couldn’t be easier: slather some seasoned short ribs in a marinade over night, then toss them with chunks of yam into a slow cooker. Let the slow cooker do the work for you while you enjoy the delicious aromas and cuddle under a blanket with a good book (and maybe a cooperating purring cat and dog that enjoys snuggles if you live in my house.)

The color comes from the spring green cucumbers and bright orange carrots which flavor themselves from sitting in a bath of rice vinegar, water, sugar, and a little salt for a couple of hours. They add crunch and a delicious tang of acid to the soft, yet spicy rib meat that falls off the bone.

Last, but most importantly, comes the comfort from a mix of textures: you’ve got tender, tasty meat cupped in a crunchy bowl of butter leaf lettuce, bright with flavors of mixed cilantro and mint. Additional comfort comes from the sweet, warm, five spice spiked yams. And if those reasons aren’t enough, then make these short ribs for the sole reason that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot.

  • 1.6 lbs short ribs
  • 1/4 cup low sodium tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian Five Spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 inch peeled ginger, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning


  • Butter leaf lettuce leaves
  • Chopped mint and cilantro, about 1 tablespoon each
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced on a bias, about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • water

Combine short ribs with marinade ingredients (tamari soy sauce through ginger) in a large plastic bag and let sit for at least 8 hours or over night. Remove short ribs and sprinkle both sides with steak seasoning. Place ribs, marinade, and yam in slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

While ribs cook in slow cooker, combine rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Add the carrot and cucumber and add enough water to cover vegetables completely. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

To serve, shred meat off of bone. Place shredded meat in lettuce leaf and top with pickled vegetables and minced cilantro and mint. Serve yam on the side, on a bed of warm rice if you wish.

Makes 6-8 lettuce cups.

CSA Count: 4

Butter leaf lettuce, carrot, cilantro, cucumber




Smorrebrod! I just like saying it– smorrebrod! And if you’re John, you’ll reply, “Gesundheit.”

The challenge destination from My Kitchen, My World this month is Denmark. I admit to having to do an internet search of Danish food to get some ideas of what I might do. I could have taken the easy way out and written a post about a danish (as in your coffee and) inspired apple tart that I have in the hopper, but that seemed, well, like copping out.

Instead, I decided on doing smorrebrod, or Danish open-faced sandwiches. Smorrebrod is traditionally a slice of dark rye bread, spread with bits and pieces of things you might have had in your dinner the night before such as liverwurst or smoked fish. It’s economical since you not only used up leftovers but the bread was your plate which you could eat instead of cleaning. Smorrebrod has greatly evolved as the list of acceptable ingredients– poached lobster, seafood cakes, crisp vegetables– has grown, and now it seems to be just as much about color and plating as it is about taste. I decided that this would be a fun and challenging post topic, an excuse to play with my food and work on my plating skills.

That was before I learned that smorrebrod is serious business. Traditional ones are complicated with a long list of rules governing everything from what ingredients are to be paired together to the order in which you eat them. Well, no offense to the Danes, but I decided to cast tradition aside, putting together my sandwiches with what I had on hand and what sounded good to me.

I decided to make two different kinds of smorrebrod: a roasted vegetable on a lemon zest and dill cream cheese spread and tender pieces of steak on a bed of watercress paired with a stone ground mustard, butter, and truffle salt spread. Both were served on dark rye as I was not crazy enough to buy two different kinds of bread.

If you’re a traditionalist though, you can find so many delicious sounding recipes here. Really, I say put together whatever you want on your smorrebrod and follow tradition by following my simplified rules: 1) it tastes good, 2) it’s texturally interesting, and 3) it looks pretty. Oh, and add a 4th rule: drink some aquavit being sure to say, “Skol!” first.

Note: To make the beef smorrebrod a little more authentic, add some horseradish to the spread. These recipes make 4 smorrebrod each. They of course make great regular sandwiches– I had the best lunch yesterday combining my leftovers into a beef, watercress, roasted fennel and roasted tomato sandwich.

Roasted Vegetable Smorrebrod

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed of stems and tough outer pieces, then cut into wedges
  • 6 large cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices dark rye bread, trimmed of crusts
  • 3 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Hold the zucchini next to a slice of bread and cut the zucchini to the same length. Then slice the zucchini lengthwise into quarter-inch thick slices, about 1 inch wide. Do the same with the eggplant.

On a foil lined baking sheet, spread out the zucchini and eggplant slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. On a second foil lined baking sheet, spread out the cherry tomatoes and fennel bulbs. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place both sheets in the oven on racks placed in the center of the oven and roast for 20-24 minutes or until zucchini and eggplant are tender and lightly browned and tomatoes are wrinkled and juicy. Set aside to cool.

While vegetables roast, mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and dill in a bowl. When vegetables are cool to touch, spread the cream cheese mixture from edge to edge on each slice of rye bread. Shingle the eggplant and zucchini together so that they look like vertical stripes, I was able to fit 2 slices of each on my bread. Slice the fennel into slivers and place a few slivers in the center of each vegetable smorrebrod, topped off with 2 or 3 tomato halves.

Beef and Watercress Smorrebrod

  • 16 oz bone-in rib eye steak
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided and at room temperature
  • olive oil
  • truffle salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 bunch watercress, leaves removed from stems
  • 4 pieces dark rye bread, crusts removed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with a couple of pinches of truffle salt and about 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. When the fats in the pan ripple and smoke a little, add the steak, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until browned on one side. Flip it over and place skillet in the oven, cooking for 12-15 minutes for medium rare or until an instant read thermometer reads 125 degrees F. Remove to a plate and let rest for 15 minutes.

Mix together the remaining 3 tablespoons of softened butter with the mustard and another pinch of truffle salt. Spread from edge to edge on each piece of rye bread. Place a small handful of watercress leaves on top of each slice. Cut the steak on a bias and against the grain in slices about 1/4 inch thick. Place about 4-5 slices on a diagonal on top of watercress.


Asian Steak Tacos

When I was little, my parents tried to entice me to try new foods by calling it the Chinese version of something familiar. Scallion cakes were “Chinese pizza.” Rice noodles wrapped around pieces of shrimp were “Chinese burritos.”

I remember one time my brother, exasperated with these comparisons, complained that just because the food has the same shape as something familiar doesn’t mean that you’ll like it. After all, a scallion cake might be flat and round, but it doesn’t have the cheese, tomato sauce, or variety of toppings that make pizza delicious. It’s just dough with green onions. True, calling it Chinese pizza didn’t tempt me to eat it. I was tempted to eat it because it was fried dough and onions. My parents could probably have saved themselves a lot of trouble by just telling me that it’s fried, so I’d like it.

In any case, I thought about my brother’s rant while I set out to make this Asian style taco. The idea came to me while looking at bunches of baby bok choy, radishes, cilantro, and a jalapeno from the CSA. Being a fan of pickled radishes on tacos, and remembering how I put bok choy on a burger, I thought why not combine the two ideas? I marinated some skirt steak in oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and Chinese Five Spice powder; made a spicy pico de gallo of sorts with the radishes, cilantro, jalapeno and a touch of rice wine vinegar; I chopped and sautéed the bok choy with some garlic; and for my taco shells– those crispy fried scallion cakes.

These tacos were so delicious– the steak was tender and juicy, the radishes added crunch and spice. The bok choy added a fresh green flavor and the scallion cakes were soft, yet crispy and laced each bite with a light onion flavor. If the picky eaters in your life don’t respond to these Chinese tacos simply because it doesn’t have the refried beans, cheese, and tomato salsa that makes Mexican tacos so tasty… well, just tell them that these are fried.


  • 1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1.5 teaspoons hot mustard
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped

Radish Pico de Gallo

  • 1 bunch, medium pink radishes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • salt and pepper


  • 10 oz skirt steak
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 recipe scallion cakes
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy, chopped with stems separated from leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Put the skirt steak in a large ziplock plastic bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and make sure the marinade covers the steak. Place in the refrigerator, rotating every now and then, and let marinate for at least 4 hours or over night.

Combine the ingredients for the radish pico de gallo and set aside to give the radishes time to soak up the flavors of the lime juice and rice wine vinegar.

Take steak out of the refrigerator to take off some of the chill while you make the scallion cakes according to your chosen recipe. Cook the steak and bok choy while you fry up the pancakes, keeping pancakes warm in a low temperature oven if necessary.

Preheat broiler or grill. Take out the skirt steak and discard the extra marinade. Sprinkle both sides of the skirt steak with steak seasoning. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare or grill longer to your desired degree of doneness. Remove skirt steak to a plate and cover with foil, allowing the steak to rest while you make the bok choy topping.

Heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped bok choy stems and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes, then add the chopped boy choy leaves, and continue to cook until the leaves have wilted, about another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thinly slice the skirt steak against the grain and on a bias. To assemble tacos, place 2-3 slices of skirt steak on each scallion cake. Top with a small pile (about 2 tablespoons) of boy choy then finish with a spoonful of radish pico de gallo. Serve with these Sweet Potato Cilantro cakes if you wish.

Serves 4, with 2-3 tacos each.

CSA Count: 4

Radishes, baby bok choy, cilantro, jalapeno

Pretzel Roll Bratwurst Sliders

It’s hard to stop me when I get a craving for something. The worst ones are when I get excited about experimenting with cooking something for the first time, research how to do it, find an ideal recipe, and then for one reason or other, can’t pull the trigger on the project. I’ll obsess about it until I can make it happen.

Thus was the case back in October. I was all psyched to try making homemade soft pretzels for a Octoberfest party then due to multiple scheduling problems, the party never happened and the pretzels never got made. I suppose there’s no real reason why I couldn’t go ahead and try making pretzels without the party, but it somehow seemed like a lot of salt and carb consumption for just 2 instead of 8.

And then it occurred to me– pretzel rolls! All the fun of making pretzels but in a more multi-purpose use form. In this case, I had a head of purple cabbage from the CSA and some bratwurst bought on sale from our grocery delivery service. I thought about how perfect would it would be to sandwich those brats and sautéed cabbage between the sides of a chewy, salty, yeasty, pretzel roll.

I chopped up the cabbage and some onion and sautéed them in a big Dutch oven pot. I set my brats on top of the cabbage mixture and poured in a bottle of beer that we had on hand. That beer? A pumpkin lager which I had bought even though neither John or I are particular fans of pumpkin beers but for some reason, I thought that this brand had been the exception to the rule. Turns out… meh. Still not a fan. I’d read that regular lager or lighter, German wheat beers are ideal, but the pumpkin beer was what I had, and I have to tell you– once I put the lid on and turned up the heat, the smells from the spiced pumpkin beer mixing with the cooking brats was a-maaaaaa-zing! So warm and heady with clove and mace, it was autumn central in our house.

When the brats had cooked through, I added them to a hot pan to brown the sides and tweaked the cabbage with some whole grain mustard, celery seed, and a splash of red wine vinegar. All that was left to do was pile a bit of the cabbage on a split pretzel roll and place the sliced brats on top of that. Served with the leftover cabbage on the side and some extra mustard for drizzling, these were so good, with a balance of spicy mustard, sweet yet acidic cabbage, and salty, chewy bread. Wunderbar!

  • 1 recipe pretzel rolls or you can buy some from a bakery
  • canola oil
  • 1/2 large head of purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 package bratwurst
  • 12 oz bottle pumpkin beer (or lager style or wheat beer of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • salt and pepper

Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the bottom of a large Dutch oven pot and heat over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and garlic and lightly saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables soften and wilt slightly. Top with the bratwurst and add the beer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn heat up to medium high to bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until brats are cooked through.

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the brats to the pan and cook until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. While brats are browning, stir in the mustards, vinegar, butter, and celery seeds into the cabbage then season with salt and pepper to taste.

To plate, cut the bratwurst in half then split them lengthwise. Pile a small layer of purple cabbage onto the bottom half of a split pretzel roll and top with a couple of slices of sausage. Top with the top half of the roll and serve with brown mustard at the table. Place remaining cabbage to eat as a side to the sandwiches.

CSA Count: 3

Purple cabbage, onion, garlic