Fresh from someone else’s Garden: First Class Eggplant Parm on a garlic loaf

So after eating some sandwiches at weddings, making some meat balls with my mom, and having my fill of dunkin donuts iced coffee, Emily and I were finally back in Colorado, but little did my roommates know that I had brought them a couple of surprises….

I smuggled a couple of garden fresh eggplants from my parents garden… well not really smuggled, since there was nothing illegal about it, and they were given to me because my folks had way too many eggplants to know what to do with. The other surprise was a little bit more along the lines of a body in a bag….
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Mom’s Meatballs: Put them in my mouth!

My mom is great, plain and simple. She may not be the best cook around, but she does make some really good meatballs…. They were what I would ask for her to make me for special ocassions, like my birthday, and when I would stop by for a rare visit home from college. She uses a pretty simple recipe, which I will get up a little bit later, but the key to the good meatballs is the egg to meat ratio, which is 3 to 4 eggs per lb.

Well, I came home for a friends wedding, which was close to my parents house, and sure enough when my mom asked me what I wanted for dinner, my response was “MEATBALLS!!!” So she went to work making them….

Then Emily joined in, because she likes to help… I did eventually join in, even though I hate getting my hands dirty. I don’t mind doing the work and cooking, having meat and stuff stuck in between my fingers gives me the heebie-jeebies…

Emily is pretty good at making a good meat ball…

I made some garlic bread… with some good italian rolls, sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil, butter, garlic, oregano, basil, and a little bit of paprika, salt and pepper…. put it in the oven for 4 or 5 minutes on broil, and you are good to go…

Soon it was ready to eat… (i turned it into art)

mmmm. sandwich art…

I was a very happy person…. I was so excited, my hair was standing straight up!

Overall Rating: A-
Reason: Too much olive oil on the bread. it was a little messy. The meatballs were really tasty, but I would have made them bigger ( i tried, but I got scolded for goofing off…. silly mom)

Mothers and Sandwiches, part deux (Eggplant Parm & other sandwiches)

How do you figure out where a good place to get a sandwich is? Do you google it? Do you look for places that have lots of cars in the parking lots? do you look for places that are familiar to you from another location (aka chains)? Do you look for places that have pictures of sandwiches on the windows, the signs, or in their names? Do you ask your mother?

I prefer a little bit of everything. As i was back home for the holiday I was looking at the little town of Clinton, CT through a new set of eyes…. wide open sandwich hunting eyes. When i thought about sandwiches in the town I spent every summer in, my mind immediately jumped to a place called saldamarco’s. Saldamarco’s has been in Clinton for as long as i can remember. I always used to ride my bike by it on the way to the marina, and then hope it would still be open on my way back from cleaning the boat. They used to have very strange hours, and it seemed like they were never open when I wanted a sandwich. it would seem like they would close at 4 or 6. But the sandwiches were so good that even when you weren’t hungry and you saw that they were open, you would stop and get one for later.

Well, now the hours are a little bit different, they rearranged the counter, but the shop is still basically the same. It looks a little run-down, and the interesting italian sodas are still in the fridge. They still offer the same types of chips, and the smells are still intoxicating when you walk in there. Here is a picture of the outside:

They do not have a huge selection of fresh veggies, but they do have a pretty good selection of good meats. They make their own roast beef and some other meats, and they have stuff that every good italian deli should have. They have pastrami, salami, ham, turkey, eggplant, chicken parm, fresh mozzarella, Capicola, and so much more. They use really good sub rolls that have just enough substance but aren’t too crunchy. They get a little soggy if you go with something with the tomato based sauce and it sits there too long, but the sandwiches smell so good that you never really want to leave them that long.

I walked in and was thinking about getting the eggplant parm, but it was so hot out that day, that I wanted something cold. That and my mom was getting the eggplant parm. My stepfather got the Sinatra, which is one of their “specialties”. my mom got the eggplant parm, and i got a roast beef and pastrami with lettuce, tomato, peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, spicy mustard and vinegar.

I was pretty happy with my sandwich. The quality meats and bread made for good hearty flavorful bites, even though the pastrami was a little on the tough side. There was a healthy slathering of mustard, and the red pepper flakes were sort of like the fireworks from the night before, popping and bursting occasionally among the bites of pastrami, roast beef, and lettuce. The soft bread soaked up just the right amount of olive oil and mustard, and compressed enough with a squeeze so you could get it in your mouth.

Here was my sandwich, before I ate it….

Now on to my mom’s sandwich. Hers was about 3 good sized pieces of breaded eggplant, with provolone and shredded mozzeralla. It was nice and warm, so the cheese got all melty. It was finally starting to cool off as we were sitting by the pool. The sauce was starting to seep into the bread just a little bit. My mom was glad I decided to go on a mission to go get Saldamarco’s Sandwiches, because she really does like sandwiches as well… She also really likes making funny faces while eating sandwiches.

All in all, my mom and I both give a total of 4 thumbs and 2 smiles for the saldamarco’s sandwiches.

Today was a great day for sandwich eaters…

Any day you get to eat a sandwich is a great day. I walked down to my local sandwich shop D’Deli and they were super busy. I waited in line, ran into a few people, and finally with much anticipation went up to the counter. The owner, who has seen me order sandwiches without bread all week, looked at me hopefully.

“Give me a sandwich Al”
“Alright…. ” He said “What will it be?”
“Big one on Wheat”

and that is where it started to get good. We took a variation of the dirty hippy that my boss down at Bent Gate has been getting, and I made some changes. I thought about making my first post-pesach sandwich a jewzer, but i wanted something a little different. Here it is…

1. Wheat bread
2. Honey
3. Roasted Garlic
4. Cranberries
5. Fried Onions
6. Smoked Gouda
7. Carrots
8. Spring Mix
9. Cilantro
10. Sprouts
11. Corn and Beans
12. Fresh Tomatoes
13. Love

The sandwich was a great way back into the world of bread after not eating it all week… i think for dinner, i may make another sandwich… or maybe just eat some good bread with olive oil, rosemary, and balsamic.

The Dirty Hippy Sandwich

So this is called the dirty hippy because it is a vegetarian sandwich…. it is at my favorite local sandwich shop D’Deli and it is downright fantastic now that they have crispy onions.

it is a sandwich with a variety of tastes, but as always, neatly balanced in layers.

• Start out with the bread. (at D’Deli they use Italian loaf, at home I use a multi-grain, a sourdough, or an Oat bread, unless I have italian loaf or something like that… garlic bread could work as well too, but only if it is not too strong) then put honey and teriyaki sauce directly on the bread
• then put down the cheeses. Smoked gouda, Pepper Jack, and Munster (sweeter cheeses… if using a cheddar, don’t go too sharp)
• Next is a layer of guacamole, on top of the cheese… spread thin, but not too thin
• then throw down some of the crispy onions and cilantro
• then some corn and bean mix (like a salsa, but no tomatoes… but if you have diced tomatoes, a couple would be good)
• then some spinach (fresh of course)
• then some red peppers
• then a very very very very very light touch of the teriyaki sauce (because most of the other stuff soaks into the bread…. you want a little of that zest to remain untouched)
• cut in half and eat…

the dirty hippy sandwich from D'Deli