All sorts of sand­wiches

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD - Mar­garet Prouse

Hav­ing had min­i­mal in­ter­est in cute lit­tle tea sand­wiches ear­lier in my life, I de­cided it was time to learn this sum­mer. I sup­pose that hear­ing about af­ter­noon tea at Dal­vay piqued my in­ter­est. When the call went out for some­one to make rib­bon sand­wiches for an event at my church, I raised my hand. “I’ll do it”, I said.

Not want­ing to send sub­stan­dard treats for the party, I sought en­light­en­ment from a 1973 Agri­cul­ture Canada pub­li­ca­tion, “All About Sand­wiches”, and a Bak­ery Foods Foun­da­tion of Canada book­let, “Any­time is Sand­wich Time”, of about the same vin­tage. Then I did a prac­tice run to see if I could take any short­cuts, and I learned sev­eral things.

First, the chunks of food in the fill­ings must be chopped fine. The ham salad fill­ing I made was too chunky and crum­bled apart when the test sand­wiches were cut into rib­bons.

Sec­ond, al­low enough time to fol­low in­struc­tions. Think­ing I might be able to take a short­cut, I ig­nored the ad­vice in the pub­li­ca­tions about al­low­ing the sand­wiches to chill in the re­frig­er­a­tor for sev­eral hours be­fore cut­ting them. The lay­ers of the hur­ried-up rib­bon sand­wiches tum­bled apart when cut, and sep­a­rated lay­ers could mess up a sand­wich tray in a hurry.

It’s the les­son that I al­ways re­sist, and it seems to ap­ply to ev­ery­thing I want to do: plan ahead and al­low enough time to do the job prop­erly. It takes just as long to make the sand­wiches at the last minute, but the re­sults aren’t as good.

Af­ter my trial run, here’s how I made two loaves of rib­bon sand­wiches, us­ing one un­sliced loaf of white bread and one of

whole wheat.

Us­ing an elec­tric knife, I sliced the crusts from the loaves, trimmed the loaves so that they were ap­prox­i­mately the same size, and cut each loaf, length­wise, into 4 lay­ers. Then I re­assem­bled the lay­ers to make 2 loaves with al­ter­nat­ing bands of white and whole wheat bread.

Each layer was spread with but­ter to pre­vent the bread from get­ting soggy, and then the fill­ings were added. The loaves each had a layer of egg salad, a layer of herb and gar­lic cream cheese and a layer of ham salad.

Af­ter press­ing the lay­ers of the loaves firmly to­gether, wrap­ping in a lightly damp­ened tea towel to keep them moist, plac­ing in a plas­tic bag, and then re­frig­er­at­ing the whole pack­age topped with a light weight (a small tray topped by cans of evap­o­rated milk), I left them to chill overnight.

I wor­ried a lit­tle that the sand­wiches wouldn’t present well, but the next morn­ing, when I un­wrapped and cut them into slices ½ inch thick and half the width of the loaf, the sand­wiches stayed in­tact. Whew!

Now, just to add some bal­ance, I’ll tell you about a sand­wich that I con­sider the op­po­site of fancy tea sand­wiches.

The Reuben sand­wich, made by lay­er­ing corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauer­kraut on sour­dough rye bread, is a clas­sic. When in­quir­ing about some Is­land-made tem­peh (a fer­mented soy prod­uct) at the Farmer’s Mar­ket, I learned about a vegetarian ver­sion of the Reuben sand­wich that I’ve been en­joy­ing since then. I’m told there are hun­dreds of recipes: here’s my ver­sion of the one in my Moose­wood cook­book. Adapted from The Moose­wood Col­lec­tive: “New Recipes from Moose­wood Restau­rant”. Ten Speed Press, Berke­ley, 1987.

25 mL (2 tbsp) vegetable oil 250 mL (1 cup) chopped onion 1 gar­lic clove, minced or pressed

120 g (4 oz) tem­peh, thinly sliced or cubed

5 mL (1 tsp) soy sauce 2 slices bread, prefer­ably rye, toasted

about 50 mL (¼ cup) Rus­sian dress­ing

175 mL (¾ cup) sauer­kraut, warmed

175-250 mL (¾-1 cup) grated Swiss cheese

Sauté the onions and gar­lic in oil for 2 or 3 min­utes un­til the onions be­gin to soften. Add the tem­peh and con­tinue to cook on low heat, stir­ring fre­quently, for about 20 min­utes. When the tem­peh is brown­ing, get the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents ready. When the tem­peh is crisp and lightly browned, add the soy sauce.

Build the sand­wiches on the toast by lay­er­ing the tem­peh mix­ture, Rus­sian dress­ing, sauer­kraut and Swiss cheese.

Broil un­til the cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Makes 2 (open face) sand­wiches

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