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Sandwich Saga Part III

1 May

A Sauce for all Seasons

It’s been six days since my last blog post… my longest stretch since creating ‘A Double D way of Life’. The lines of communication have become parched and my flow of ideas have dried up. I’m stranded in a desert that is my mind; good ideas come and go like an onslaught of mirages but they’re nothing but figments of my imagination. I need something tangible something refreshing… NO not water, I NEED a SAUCE!

Yes, here we are again, Sandwich Saga Part 3, we know pressed is best when it comes to the bread, but what lubricates the taste buds? What keeps us coming back for that next bite? What accents every bit of flavour, every bite of protein, every grain of bread, while not invading the palate; like a charming guy vs that stocker that seems to be overwhelmingly everywhere??? Well the truth is, when it comes to sauce, there is no universal answer; rather, a code of guidelines, passed on by the sandwich gods, that indicate a plural nature to the meaning of perfection; yes there are more than one right answer when it comes to the Quest of Best in Sauce.

Back in 2004 till 2006 I worked for a stint at a small Sandwich place, in case you’ve heard of it, it was Subway restaurants. Upon my first shift I needed to memorise all 14 different meat combinations, plus a variety of breads, cheeses, and legumes; all simple I say. What dumbfounded me was the array of possible sauces that all seemed to work with their sandwich counterpart, like a match made in heaven. Subway easily had northward of 12 sauces, and this gave me an understanding and huge appreciation for the art. At the end of my apprenticeship, I had mastered the art of at least the Subway sauces and I had crafted a vegetarian sub that due to its reliance on sauce had no indication that a principle protein was missing; it tasted fantastic despite not all the family being home.

So here are some basics that I can pass on to you. My five finger rules to success but remember sauce can only amount to a guideline and not a way of life; that, you must discover on your own taste time.

  1. With Soft subtle meats, such as poultry, soft subtle sauces work best. Don’t kill a good thing, you want to taste a nice delicate smoked turkey, so use sauces like mayonnaise, a light ranch or a very small amount of pesto / mayo, don’t kill the flavour.
  2. With stronger cured / saltier meats, a more robust flavour can be used, more specifically something with a bit of acid tang. NO not sulphuric acid, I’m talking neutral PH levels. Something like mustard or a beautiful honey Dijon goes a great way with ham, or mortadella, or salami. In fact it’s almost necessary to cut into that saltiness with an acidic sauce.
  3. Play it down when celebrities are in the town… don’t overwhelm the party. When in Italy, they taught me to let a beautiful meat talk for itself. If you’re using a perfectly aged Prosciutto Crudo (it takes one year to age this meat) don’t cram it with too much sauce power. A subtle mustard, or mayo will do. If Brad Pitt comes to your house do you think he wants all the paparazzi and every other fan and star in there too? NO! Keep it simple or a fight will break out!
  4. Veggies crave dressing. If you have a significant amount of lettuce in the house, well break out some oil and vinegar and get this fiesta going. Olive oil and a nice red wine vinegar is a perfect subtle accent to any sandwich, remember don’t overdo it, especially when meat is king!
  5. Lastly, Crazy times call for crazy sauces. Because these are only guidelines, remember to mix it up. My top three favourite sidekick sauces or my entourage is: hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and a nice hummus, believe it or not. The point is, a party isn’t a party without one or two of those wild friends that just seem to make things happen, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try for yourself.

Thus concludes my five finger sauce guideline, always remember that you are the cook and you hold the bottle. A classic sandwich with meat and bread is great, but a nice sauce can compliment every taste flowing through those bites. To sum up, Sauce is to a sandwich what clothes are to a man. The nicer you dress the more you look and act the part, besides everyone can agree the man unclothed has never been the prettiest picture.

Sauce on!

DD

Sandwich Saga Part II

25 Apr

Hard Pressed

A delicious sandwich, Cinzia and I had at a London Cafe.

A delicious sandwich, Cinzia and I had at a London Cafe.

More than twenty days have passed since my entering into this monarch driven, supersized city known as London. If anyone’s ever moved before, or changed locations, it can create a sense of excitement but when the reality of not having a job sinks in, a dreary fear and precaution can also take over. One of the big issues was setting up our new apartment in a foreign city; so Cinzia, my girlfriend, and I had to go through the list of life essentials and decide what items were more essential than the other.

Soap and shampoo, YAY
Poster for barren walls, Delay
Pots and Pans, YAY
Deepfryer, Delay
Peanut Butter and Jelly, YAY
Thirty seven types of assorted jellies from the Adriatic, Delay

And then we came to a great conundrum….Toaster or sandwich press; no simple resolution was obvious in the search for the best bite. We’d love to have both but sandwiched between the two, hard pressed to make a decision, which would we choose? Alright it was simple, the Sandwich press!

Not only does a sandwich press caramelize the bread to perfection while simultaneously activating water molecules for increased freshness, it presses all those flavours together and creates a single symphony of flavour. I also realized with a good press, you can not only toast bread, or press fajitas, but you can cook chicken breasts perfectly (no flipping), you can create the best quesadillas, and even grill on it if you’re brave enough. The press, simply put, creates deliciousness! It Im-Presses me without a doubt!

But as most people in this world, we think our kitchen’s are judged by our ability to conjure up any miscellaneous appliance possible. Think about it, there’s a good chance between the toaster, microwave, blender, food processor, hand mixer, KitchenAid, emulsion blender, deepfryer, and yes the over hyped and under used, infamous Breadmaker, we may not have space for the sandwich press. Well the fact is you don’t have to be poor like me to make a decision between toaster and press. I recently got my brother a sandwich press while we were still living together, and we basically chucked the toaster, because not only did our sandwich potential triple but this thing can also toast bread, and irregular shaped bread as well!

A delicious pressed Ham sandwich from a London Cafe

A delicious pressed Ham sandwich from a London Cafe

The sandwich press isn’t perfect, at least not yet. For total transparency one shortcoming of the sandwich press is that avoid lettuce in the sandwich at all costs (wilted lettuce has no place at the party in my mouth) and secondly, it’ll keep heating till you say no. Where a toaster will stop, this is the little train that could, and vigilance is needed in avoiding over de-pressed sandwiches!

This is not an ad; simply a food passionate, cooking lover’s opinion… the toaster is toast! Long live the pressed Sandwich, especially in search for the best bite!!! In an ideal world I’d own both but pressed between the two I think you know where my taste buds lie!

DD

Sandwich Saga: Part I

23 Apr

Curse of the Best Bite

The Oxford dictionary defines a sandwich as “an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with a filling between them, eaten as a light meal”. Yet despite this un-inspiring mundane definition we’ve come a long way from this mayo, baloney, wonderbread staple!

A Dominic Durocher Baloney Sandwich logo

A Dominic Durocher Baloney Sandwich logo

One has to wonder whether if the author of this Oxford entry was fed the lonely baloney, or mock chicken synthetic sponge, or the Tuna surprise aka surprise it’s canned, on an everyday basis for the past thirty years. The truth of the matter is the sandwich now has the potential to excite, to warm the hearts, to salivate the mouths, and to be-friend the bellies of many! The irony is the name sandwich has become so convoluted, so mundane, so repeated and stereotyped that we dare not even call it the sandwich anymore, yes that’s right! Instead we call it Panini, BLTs, Subs, Clubs, Pressed Baguettes, or by its cousin’s name aka the Wrap, Shawarma, Falafel, Gyro, Fajita or Pita. But I tell you this, they are all variations of the meat between bread, or a meat between a wheat based product. Yes it’s true…

Sandwiches Walk Among Us!

So inspired by the great sandwich and it’s many Alter Egos, I wanted to break them down via my blog, discuss what makes a great sandwich, the myths and the legends, the DOs and Do NOTs! In what I’m calling the Sandwich Saga! Hopefully debunk this “Bread with a filling” and to discuss some classic subjects, such as:

  • Toasted or pressed
  • Sauce or Au-Natural
  • A collection of condiments
  • Finding the right meat
  • And of course, a discussion on finding the perfect protein vessel

No this is not a joke, but rather a food lover’s passion towards the best and ultimate sandwich! And any of you who DARE utter the words ridiculous, try and think of the last time this carb vessled protein holder made its way into your life… chances are, it just may be your bread and butter!

Please inspire me below and tell me your favourite Sandwich Secrets!

DD

My Next Blog Idea: “Starting articles or speeches with an Oxford Dictionary Quote is Over-rated”

A Fajita made by my brother Aaron, using his Panini press

A Fajita made by my brother Aaron, using his awesome Panini press