It’s that time again. Seeding is in full swing and farm work becomes more active so is the busy-ness in the kitchen. Sometimes it is okay just to throw something together for lunch. This sandwich buffet uses bits and pieces of food that alone are not enough to feed a crew. It is an excellent way to use a single pork tenderloin, a couple of chicken breasts or a partial package of bacon. Then present a decadent dessert as the finale.
The components of a sandwich buffet include the protein, the crunch, the breads, butters and mayonnaise.
Proteins are essential for muscle growth and repair. It takes the body longer to digest protein so a person feels full longer. Offer several choices of pre-sliced meats, poached fish, pates, cheeses and eggs.
Generously rub pork tenderloin or skin-on chicken breast with a seasoning mix like Creole or lemon pepper. Preheat a cast iron pan with a little canola oil and add the meat. Brown on all sides then slip it into a 350 F (180 C) oven to complete cooking, about 15 minutes. Cool and slice thinly.
Crispy comes from sliced raw vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and crisp, torn lettuces. Torn lettuce can be prepared in advance because it browns more slowly than cut lettuce. Wash and shake lettuce dry and tear into serving size pieces. Then wrap it in a clean tea towel and refrigerate until serving time. Pickles, sauerkraut and a simple shredded coleslaw add flavour and crunch.
Offer a selection of breads and buns. Baguettes make a nice chewy sandwich. Slice them horizontally for a hearty serving. Whip up some biscuits. Focaccia is simple to make in large batches. It is a flatbread and is sliced horizontally to make sandwiches.
Moisten the sandwich and also prevent juices from soaking the bread with mayonnaise, butter and mustards. Dig through the fridge for condiments like cranberry sauce, salsas and chutneys and put them on the table.
1 medium baking potato, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast 7 mL
3 1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour 875 mL
1 c. warm water 250 mL
1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for the pan 60 mL
1 1/2 tsp. salt 7 mL
Boil potato until tender. Drain and cool. Put it through a ricer and use about 1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed potato.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, flour and 1 cup (250 mL) warm water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Add remaining dough ingredients, including reserved potato. Mix with paddle attachment on low speed until the dough comes together. Switch to dough hook attachment and increase speed to medium. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat with oil and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm, draft-free place until dough is doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Cut dough in half and flatten each piece into an 8-inch disk on a large, generously oiled baking sheet. Cover dough with clean tea towel and rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). With 2 or 3 fingers, dimple the dough at regular intervals. Make about 2 dozen dimples. They should almost poke through the bottom of the bread. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake about 25 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Serve warm. This recipe can easily be doubled. (Cooks Illustrated)
1 large poblano pepper, halved and seeds removed
1 bunch scallions
2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
2 tbsp. fresh mint, roughly chopped 30 mL
1 tsp. lemon juice 5 mL
1/2 tsp. cane sugar 2 mL
1/2 tsp. chili flakes 2 mL
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
Place poblano halves and scallions on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and roast until softened, about 15-18 minutes.
Remove from oven, cool slightly, then chop coarsely.
Add to a bowl with remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Bon Appetit)
Caramel Brownies in a Jar
There is no brownie better than a cocoa brownie. Serve these in a 1 cup (250 mL) wide-mouth canning jar or other dessert dish. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce.
10 tbsp. unsalted butter 155 mL
1 1/4 c. sugar 315 mL
3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 175 mL + 30 mL
1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla 2 mL
2 cold large eggs
1/2 c. all purpose flour 125 mL
2/3 c. walnut or pecan pieces (optional) 150 mL
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C). Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from skillet and set aside until mixture is only warm, not hot.
Stir in vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add flour and stir until fully mixed in, then beat vigorously for 2 or 3 minutes the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. (Bon Appetit)