Life’s too short not to over-share

I don’t share a lot. I’ve learned this over the course of my life, and more so with this blog. I’ll write a few lines at best and consider adding more later, but I hardly ever do. Right now though I am compelled otherwise. Warning: read at your own risk. I may be overcompensating for my long silence and a wee bit melodramatic because it comes so naturally. Since I wrote this I’m feeling much better, which can only be good, well, for now. I reserve the right to delete this in ten minutes.

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tote

I was surprised and confused when a goodie box arrived last week (okay, now that’s “last month” — I’ve been slacking) from Sandusky, Ohio. I dug through the avalanche of freebie products — snacks, make-up, and lotions, lotions, lotions — expecting to find a note or survey, but nothing!

Only after I sat down and Googled performed a Google search did I discover my luck: I’d somehow scored an Oprah tote. At that moment, my attitude shifted from puzzled suspicion to beaming gratitude. Yes, because it’s Oprah.

My oh my, that benevolent corporate monarch knows what she’s doing! Though I don’t watch Oprah or read her magazine, I’m already predisposed to like the products. I’m puzzling out the psychology of that: does Oprah serve, even to the uninitiated, as a transcendent avatar of all things good? (Or all things free?) Or am I swayed by the arrival of all these goodies in one big, unexpected spree? Or is it the combination of the two?

I don’t even remember entering the tote giveaway sweepstakes, but I suppose I must have. (Though, as The Fella points out, if you’ve ever had a Pap smear or handled a $5 bill, Oprah has your profile in her databank.)
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happy Swiss day

DSC_2385
To celebrate this, the pinnacle of Swiss holidays, JM made us one of the national potato dishes, rösti, and although they’re very non-swiss, I baked some chocolate chip cookies (but look, I photographed them on a white plate with a red background for that helvetic effect). We also searched for a Swiss restaurant or at least some fondue, both with no success. I did, however, find a bottle of Trocomare salt, so all is not lost when I make our veggies tonight.

ice cream chocolate chip son-of-a-&!%*#wich

ice cream sandwich
curse-inspiring cookies
Once in a great while, you have a bite of food that so transports you, that so delights your tastebuds, that (not to put too fine a point on it) tastes so #^@%ing good you just have to swear. When faced with perfection, the imperfect human resorts instinctively to rage.

These cookies may trigger that atavistic urge to rage. They have no business tasting this good, and I’m both angered and thrilled that they do.

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Sandwich Party 2: This time, it’s personal

Sandwiches
Elli’s tuna sandwich, at Flickr
Welcome to Sandwich Party 2: Sandwich Party Harder. Jagosaurus and I will be collecting entries all weekend long, so enjoy that sandwich!
Post about your sandwich on your own blog, on Flickr, or somewhere else online, then drop us a comment here or here, or here or here. Be sure to include a link back to your own entry!
No blog and no Flickr account? Just leave your Sandwich Party entry in the comments, and we’ll include it in the round-up. It’s a Sandwich Party, people — the more, the Marmite-er!
Once again, Simon is the first out of the gate! He reminisces about the foccacina, a sandwich that’s tied to a particular time and place — and that time and place is August in Liguria:

Why do I need to go to Italy to take a photo of a sandwich? […] One of the inspirations behind this entry was a growing interest in regionality and cultural specificity. In other words, sometimes in order to find the good stuff, you have to go to the source.

Tom serves a childhood classic, as rich in simple Southern tradition as a handful of Spanish peanuts in an R.C. Cola:

my sandwich is very simple (and Southern) :
slice of pineapple
lettuce
mayonnaise
2 slices of bread.
I remember eating this as a child and my brother who lives in Alabama said that he has seen some of his employees bring this sandwich to work for lunch.

For me, this sandwich was all about the title:

I knew immediately what belonged in the Black Velvet Elvis, what was dark and rich and luxurious enough to earn that name.

The Black Velvet Elvis (whose name quickly evolved ’round these parts to, variously, the Velvet Costello, the Costello Nutella, and the ElvStello) was breakfast. Here’s lunch:

The Iron Maiden was born from the collision of several needs. I needed a sandwich for the Sandwich Party. I needed a meal rich in iron. And I needed — needed — chicken livers.

Bella describes sandwiches made of equal parts avocado, bacon, and the giddiness of youth:

It is a sandwich I still keep dreaming about. Partly because the sandwich itself was just so good, and partly because the adventure of making it was so much fun.

Macbebekin’s own Elli made a simple but handsome sandwich from the pantry:

Inspired by the desire to get rid of the canned goods we carried with us on our many travels across the country, I made a tuna sandwich.

JM treats us to Minimalistic Sandwich with Ambience over at Flickr. Mmm, ambience:

Tuna with tandoori red onion and garlic on seaweed rice cracker. baby lettuce leaf garnished with tomato and cucumber splits, finished with finely ground parmesan.

Erik R. gives us the voice of a pork sandwich:

My sandwich entry for the July 2008 Sandwich Party is more or less a recreation of the sandwich I order almost every Thursday night when the missus and I go out dancing. Pork fillets, onions, peppers, melted cheese, and mustard. Delicious.

Ogre prescribes a lasagne sandwich with mayonnaise:

Like revenge, lasagna is a dish best served cold.

Frédérique offers a mouthwatering cheatburger:

Burgers are a kind of sandwich, right? I think so too. And such a burger, with kiwi bacon (meatier than the North American streaky bacon), aioli mayonaise, pickled red onions and pickled carrots, and a few leaves of fancy lettuce, on a slightly grilled almost-foccacia-like bun, certainly deserves an entry in the Sandwich Party.

Just as I was wondering whether any partygoers would challenge the nature of the sandwich format and forego bread, my lovely co-hostess Jagosaurus shows off her farmers’ market surprise:

My contribution seems more like an art project than a sandwich. Tasty though.

Sgazzetti, my beloved expatriate brother, reconstructs a canonical picnic-outing-and-beachday sandwich from our childhood hometown:

One of the first features of the new city to imprint itself upon my mind was the Italian. Noun, not adjective. The Italian is of the family of sandwiches known variously as the sub, hoagie, grinder, etc, but in Portland, Maine, it is simply the Italian.

At the risk of being maudlin, I want to tell you about my father’s last BLT:

It seemed clear that he would die soon, without ever regaining his grin, his humor, his appetite for jokes and stories and family and food, without ever coming back to us.
Until the night of the BLT.

The Queen points us toward her recipe for the grilled chocolate sandwich. Not all our partygoers are equipped to make this sandwich:

Because I keep my promises, here is the recipe for the Grilled Chocolate Sandwich.
One: Menstruate.
Two: Melt butter, split croissants and fry.
Three: Flip croissants and add chocolate, in this case Russell Stover. And be sure to take a bite to test the quality.
Four: Let chocolate melt.
Five: Salt lightly and serve.
Don’t skip step one, because otherwise this is just gross..

Maven tossed together a locavore gourmand’s delight:

It’s a beet sandwich. The bread is green olive batard, which is just what I happened to have. Add blue cheese made locally, arugula grown by your mom’s cousin, and sliced roasted beets also grown by your mom’s cousin but roasted by you. Top with more blue cheese and walnuts.

You want a side with that sandwich, hon’? Elli made oven fries!

Final verdict: Super! Will definitely make them again.

And Bill D. brought the chips!

And face it, you can’t have a party of any kind – especially not a sandwich party – without a big bowl of chips!

Is it time for dessert? I made ice cream chocolate chip son-of-a-&!%*#wiches:

A salty cookie doesn’t have to mean salty language. In deference to the delicate sensibilities of our readers, I’ve expurgated the foulness of my filthy, filthy mouth.

Still no sandwich from you? Jagosaurus and I will be updating at intervals all weekend, so you have some time to get your entry in! It’s a party, and you’re invited!
Oh, and don’t forget your button, courtesy of Macbebekin’s own Elli!
This Sandwich Party entry originated Friday, July 25th, at 8:40 a.m. and will be updated through the weekend.

Sandwich Party 2: The Black Velvet Elvis

black velvet elvis prep
The name came first: The Black Velvet Elvis.
I saw it in a flash: it would be a riff on the concoction — peanut butter, banana, and bacon (with or without mayonnaise, with or without honey) on white bread grilled in butter — reputed to be Elvis Presley’s favorite. That sandwich itself is a riff on the Fool’s Gold Loaf, the grand sandwich that remains Elvis’ most famous midnight snack.
I knew immediately what belonged in the Black Velvet Elvis, what was dark and rich and luxurious enough to earn that name.
For a day or two, I reveled in my cleverness, before I learned that I’ve been beaten to the pun: I never knew until today that many, many people know the original sandwich as as a Velvet Elvis. Many.
Well, hell, little lady, it’s still a great sandwich!
Thank you! Thank you very much!
Spread two slices of firm bread (I’m using a dark multi-grain from a local bakery) thickly with Nutella. On a whim, I added a light sprinkling of coarse salt. (You can see a too-fuzzy photo of that, and the whole black velvet Elvis photo set, by clicking through the above photo to my Flickr stream.) Cover one with a layer of sliced banana and top with the second slice of bread.
Heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat just until the foam subsides, and lay the sandwich gently down and cook until golden brown. Now gently flip it — careful, that hot Nutella is slippery! — and brown the other side.
Remove to a plate and slice. Let it cool a moment while you prepare your accompaniments; in my case, that’s an iced Americano and a dish of pineapple chunks.
The Black Velvet Elvis is a sensation: rich, gooey filling under a crispy crust, and the dusting of salt zings against the creamy chocolate. The salt, that afterthought ingredient, is essential; it pulls the whole mess together and gives it an almost sophisticated edge.
Doggone it. That’s a sandwich that’s fit for the King. And I wouldn’t blush serving it to Elvis Costello, either.

parties

The Fella and I have been trying to socialize more, a resolution that butts up against our natural inclination to hole up alone together in our dollhouse-sized apartment and make fun of movies. The more we go out, and the more we have people over to our dollhouse-sized apartment, the more I daydream about parties I’d like to have:
– an easy brunch. Nothing too fancy, and no on-the-spot cooking: I’ll bake sweet rolls and let people help themselves to homemade granola, macerated fruit, yogurt, and slices of cold frittata. Mostly, this is a chance to catch up with friends who work weekday jobs, to show off the espresso maker The Fella gave me for Christmas, to break open the “extra” bottle of champagne my mom casually palmed off on me during a recent visit. (Which tells you something about my mother: she’s the kind of person who gives away champagne. Thanks, Mom!)
– a Star Wars viewing party. Okay, this one belongs to The Fella. I mentioned wanting to watch the trilogy all together some night, and he perked up. “We’ll have people over!” ….yyyyyes, okay, let’s! I’ll bake swirly cinnamon rolls, so we can hold ’em up to our heads Leia-style. He can take charge of everything else.
– a birthday party. Can you imagine a better birthday cake than this? Pistachio cake, marzipan, apricot preserves (or maybe I’d use bitter marmalade, mmmmm), and dark chocolate ganache. Swoon. Do you suppose making actual petit fours would make it any simpler? No, perhaps not.
– a proper tea party. I want to unpack the box of porcelain teacups that Mom gave me, make some dainty little sandwiches and tiny pastries, and sit in the garden with friends, all wearing sunhats and sipping tea with our pinkies prinked out from the handle. I foresee only two possible obstacles: I have no teapot and no garden.
What party would you give? What party would you attend?