Bacon, Egg, Pear, Parm Sandwich with Caramelized Onions & Apricot Cabbage Slaw

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I don’t know what got into me today, but I was about to make a roast pork and slaw sandwich and I thought about all the pears I need to eat and ended up making the most delicious sandwich ever.  It began with the Apricot Cabbage Slaw I was going to make for the sandwich.

I got ambitious and decided to make slow caramelized onions. To do that, I thinly sliced 1/2 an onion on a mandoline. I heated a cast iron skillet to medium high (7 of 10), added 1 TBSP of saved bacon drippings (but you could use olive oil or butter) and melted it. I added the onions and cooked quickly, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until browned, then I lowered the heat to medium-low (3 of 10) and let cook slowly while I prepared the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Be patient, the longer the onions cook, the more tender sweet they are, almost like a jam.

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Turn the broiler on before the onions are done to heat up.

When the onions were done, I removed them and set them in a small bowl. Any leftover onions can be used in a sauce or another sandwich.

I then cooked two slices of bacon in the same pan, rendering the fat and saving it for another day. I removed the bacon and set it aside.

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While the bacon was cooking I broiled 2 slices of bread on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes. Just to get some strength from drying, it did not get toasted. Between broiling on one side and then on the other, it was time to cook the egg.

I wiped the fry pan clean of any bacon, and put a dab of butter in the middle of medium hot pan and cooked one sunnyside up egg, adding some salt and pepper.

While the egg was cooking, I broiled the other side of the bread.  On one piece, I shaved parmesan cheese. On the other piece, I layered thin slices of pear to caramelize sightly. I put them back under the broiler for a few more minutes until the parm was melted.

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Assembly

On the side with the melted part, I stack the two slices of bacon, cut into 4 pieces. I added the sunny side up egg. On the side with the pears, I stacked caramelized onions, and the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Then I put the two pieces together with a bit of hard push to break the egg yolk so it spread through the sandwich and sliced it in half.
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Believe me, this is worth spending 40 minutes to make. The pear and caramelized onions are dream. And of course, bacon, eggs, and parmesan are delicious. A good sweet/sour slaw is a perfect balance to the sweetness and the creamy egg marries everything together. This is the most delicious sandwich I have ever concocted. This made one sandwich, but I have some caramelized onions and slaw left over. I had thought to make a vinaigrette with the onions, but now I think I will be making this sandwich for supper.

Apricot Pear Sandwich Slaw

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Chop about 1 cup of red cabbage and lightly salt, setting it aside while you make the dressing.

Chop up 5 dried apricots into small pieces. Heat a clean, empty saucepan (no oil, no butter) to med. Add about 5 anise seeds and warm until aromatic. Toss in the dried apricots and an equal amount of water, about 1/4 cup. Cook until the apricots fall apart and are tender, adding more water if necessary. When the water is all soaked into the apricots, add 2 TBSPs of rice vinegar and stir quickly. Toss into cabbage, season with salt and pepper to taste.

With just four ingredients, this achieves a subtle and complex flavor, blending the aromatic pungency of the anise with the sweet tartness of apricots, the bite of the vinegar and the fresh crunch of cabbage. It’s delightful on its own but I made it as a sandwich slaw to use with slice pork roast on bread.

However, before I started to make this, I got a wild idea to make a different kind of sandwich and ended up using it in an amazing sandwich made with Bacon, Eggs, Onions, Pears and Parm. This is plenty for 4 to 6 sandwiches, or a couple small side salads.

Rocket & Chickpea Salad with Cantaloupe Dressing

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I made the salad dressing earlier and let it refrigerate so the flavors were mellowed and blended. I used a Magic Bullet™ but a blender or food processor would work even better.  My inspiration was a Linguini al Melone I had several years back at Martinelli’s, a wonderful local deli that closed last year. The linguine has a melon cream sauce. It was as delicious as it was weird, so every taste, I was thinking this is so weird, it tastes so good.

I thought melon might be just sweet and creamy enough to pair very well with rocket – which I have a lot of thanks to the Oregon Food Bank Harvest Share. Rocket is peppery and its bold flavor takes some thought to balance.

Melon Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup of melon
  • 1/4 small yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add everything together and pulse until smooth. You may adjust ingredients to your taste, but remember it is a dressing so you want the flavor more intense than what you would eat plain. It should be tart and sweet. Honey might be a good substitute for sugar, but I don’t have any except buckwheat honey and that is too smokey a flavor for this.

Toasted Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

Open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse thoroughly. Drain so they are dry. You can pat them dry with a paper towel if you are in a hurry. Heat a cast iron pan on the stove a medium high heat, about 7 out of 10 on an electric stove. Add the chickpeas without oil and toast them, shaking the pan frequently so they do not burn. When they first begin to pop in the pan (just a little pop, not like popcorn) shake some salt and paprika on them and keep shaking and roasting until they are browned and slightly toasted. I would normally roast them in the oven but it’s over 90°.

Rocket Salad

Cut a very small yellow onion in half length-wise, cut off the ends and then slice thinly length-wise for small strips of onion. Then chop two stalks of celery on the diagonal for nice thin, but longish pieces. Then add about 4 cups of rocket. You can see that about half the salad volume is rocket.

Toss the chickpeas on top and stir. Add the dressing when you serve so the dressing does not make the chickpeas mushy.

This is a delicious salad. There is the bite of the onion, the earthy celery, the peppery rocket and the smoky, salty paprika of the chickpeas and blended and worked together with the sweet and tangy cantaloupe dressing.

This makes 4 servings, though you could make it in smaller batches and save the toasted chickpeas for something else.

 

Jamaica Jerk Cole Slaw with Pepitas

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So this is going into my regular rotation and will be made again and again and again and again and again. It’s a flavor sensation as they say.

First, I love cabbage. It’s my favorite vegetable and I would eat it ever more often that I do, but I already eat it more than I should as it tends to upset my stomach a bit. If not for that it would be perfect, sharp and peppery in its own self and so ready to blend with other foods, to accept and incorporate seasonings and dressings. Delicious cooked or raw, hot or cold and with all that, it’s inexpensive and keeps well stored in a cool, dark place. So yeah, it’s great stuff. But wow, this makes it even better.

  • 1/2 head of finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP white wine
  • 2 tsp Jamaica Jerk seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

So, I cut up about 1/2 a head of cabbage, about 8 cups of cabbage. I cut the onion in thin slices. I heated a cast iron skillet on a low medium with NO oil. I added the sliced onions and stirred them steadily so they did not get any char. I wanted a light caramelization that sweetened the onions without softening them too much. That’s why no oil and the medium low heat.

In another dry pan, I toasted the pepitas until they began to pop and turn toasty brown.

When the onions and pepitas were cool, I mixed them in with the cabbage.

I mixed the rice vinegar, white wine and the Jamaica Jerk and the bit of sugar. I mixed them together well, poured on the salad, put a lid on the bowl and shook really hard because there’s not a lot of dressing to coat everything.

I stuck it in the fridge for a couple hours so the vinegar “cooked” the cabbage. Every time I happened to walk by I shook it some more because there really is not any extra dressing, so it needs some shaking.

This made 8 servings and you know what? The last serving did not sit in a pool of dressing. This kept the salad nice and crisp, but rich in flavor. Jamaica Jerk is spicy, so adjust to your taste. It leaves a delicious wonderful aftertaste, too.

 

 

Fruit Fusion Gumbo

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I asked friends to suggest names for this one. It’s a delicious fruit salad made with plums and cucumber which are botanically a fruit.

So I cut up a cucumber and 3 plums. There were two different kinds of plums, hence the different colors. I chopped up about 2 TBSP of yellow onion. Dumped them all in a plastic container and then made a dressing.

Dressing: Mix together. Buckwheat honey takes a long time to mix in but keep at it, it will dissolve. You can add more vinegar if you like. There is no olive oil or anything so it’s not a vinaigrette. It just seems to me that the juices in the fruit really do not need oil. Pour the dressing on the fruit. Put the lid on the bowl and shake it up. Refrigerate  for an hour or so and it will be delicious.

  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp of chile powder
  • 2 tsp of mustard
  • 2 tsp of buckwheat honey and
  • rice vinegar, about 1/4 cup

 

This made 6 servings. There are things that get better and better the longer they sit, so making a single serving would be silly.

Zacatecas Cole Slaw

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I was passing the radishes at WinCo and saw how big and beautiful they were, unblemished and at their peak. I could not resist grabbing a bunch. I also got two big heads of cabbage and about a pound of cilantro at the Oregon Food Bank’s Harvest Share so I really needed to figure out something to use them. I remembered how La Sirenita would add slices of radish as a garnish and got this crazy idea of making a Mexican cole slaw. I looked at a few recites for ensalada de repollo, but didn’t find anything that appealed to me.

  • 1/2 head of cabbage sliced thin, salted and rested in a colander for 20 minutes. Squeeze out liquid.

Add

  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin and chopped
  • 4 large radishes sliced horizontal, as thinly as possible
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
  • Zest from 1 lime (get all the zest you can)

Mix well using blender or Magic Bullet.

  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • Salt and pepper

So, the traditional ratio for a vinaigrette is 3:1 oil and acid (vinegar) and this is closer to 1:1 with the lime juice. But that’s how I like it, I am happy with just vinegar, but it really needs the oil to make the vinegar adhere to the veggies and suspend all the spices, so I never do 3:1 even if that is the proper ratio. Cooking is about personal preferences and I will use a Magic Bullet to help these emulsify even though the ratio is out of balance. It is what I like. For a more traditional dressing, 3 TBSP of olive oil to 1 TBSP of vinegar.

This is not a single serving because this salad tastes better the second, third and fourth days. It makes 8 to 10 servings. I love this on a tostada with some broiled carne asada.

Spinach Pear Salad with Hazelnuts

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My best friend came over for dinner last night, so I whipped up a lovely salad. Those pears I got from the Food Bank last week are ripe and I need to be using them up quickly, so I decided on a salad with pears.

First I sliced 1/2 of a yellow onion on the mandolin so I could get super thin slices. Then I cut up 5 of those mini peppers. (A 4 pound package of mini peppers costs less than 3 regular red peppers.) into thin strips, removing the seeds. I also corned and sliced three Bosc Pears. I put all of this in a plastic container with a lid. I added 1/3 cup rice vinegar, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of dry mustard powder.I put the lid on and shook it all as much as I could to mix it together. Then I added about 6 cups of baby spinach. Put the lid back on, shook some more and put it in the fridge for about an hour.

I toasted some hazelnuts (about 1/4 cup) with tajín (a spice mix of lime and chilis) in a dry pan.

To serve, I put the salad mix on the plate, added some hazelnuts and slice some asiago cheese on top.

The flavor is a wonderful blend of sweet, sour and a bit of heat. The hazelnuts are a great crunch and it was one of the best salads I have come up with this year. Service two.

Roasted Grape Vinaigrette

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The Oregon Food Bank is an essential part of my monthly food budget, but except during the summer Harvest Share, it is a better source of canned and dry goods like beans, oatmeal and pasta than fresh foods. Most of the vegetables are at or past their sell-by date and it shows. However, that does not mean they are unusable. I went to the Food Bank yesterday and came home with about two cups of green grapes. They were more brown than green and looked rough around the edges, but I figured I could come up with something. I picked out the few that were actually rotting, only a small handful, and washed the grapes. I tasted one and it was pretty bland, its grape flavor lost, so I decided to roast them, hoping the dry heat would intensify their flavor. I spread them out in a pie pan and put them in the oven at 450° for about 20 minutes. They were starting to brown, but had no charring at all. I tasted another one, it had a rich, deep flavor now. I thought about making a sauce for some roast pork or chicken, but then had the brainstorm to make a vinaigrette – sort of a honey mustard vinaigrette without the honey, letting the roasted grapes provide all the sweetness. I think it was a stroke of genius.

  • 1.5 cups of seedless green grapes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp of mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, cut in a few pieces so it’s easy to chop.
  • 1 clove of garlic

First, clean, dry and roast the grapes at 450° for about 20 minute or so. Set aside and let cool.

In a magic bullet, blender or food processor (I only have the first) put the grapes, olive oil, vinegars and mustard, salt and pepper and puree completely. This whips everything together and the oil and vinegar do not separate later. Add the onion and garlic and pulse a few times so they are chopped up into tiny bits, but not completely liquified. You can tinker a bit, adding more vinegar, salt, pepper, etc to get this to your perfect sweet-tartness.

This is delicious salad dressing. It’s very tart with a bit of the sweetness of a sweet and sour dressing, but not nearly as sweet as a honey mustard. There’s a layered flavor from the roasted grapes that make me think of wine and a bit of smokiness. I will have fun trying it out.

Sweet & Sour Cabbage Slaw with Roast Pork, Dried Apricots and Sesame Seeds

Cabbage, Roast Pork & Apricot Slaw

This is insanely delicious. When I was thinking about this salad, trying to decide what to add, I knew I want to balance sweet and sour. Pork really likes sweet and fruit and cabbage is the kindest, most generous salad ingredient there is. It will work with just about anything. It is the universal donor of the vegetable kingdom.

For this salad, i started with left over Earl Grey Roast Pork. I love this for salad because it adds a rich aromatic flavor – adding a depth to salads that regular roast pork does not have. However, I think a good roast with a flavorful dry rub like for barbecue would work, too.

  • 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz of roast pork, thinly slice
  • 1/4 cup of yellow onions, diced
  • 8 dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBSP of sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan on medium heat.
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP of sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Mix together all the ingredients except vinegar and sugar, mix then separately and then add them to the salad. Add salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and let rest in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

This has a bright tangy sweet and sour flavor, rich and bright. This made two servings.