“It’s a Sham” Salad Sandwich!

Even as a meat eater, I was not fond of ham. In fact, I was a bacon devotee more than anything. However, occasionally my mother would make ham salad or potted meat sandwiches from those tiny cans. I would take a bite here and there, but I never asked for a sandwich of my own.

A few winters ago, I got an immense craving for a ham salad sandwich. This is how the “It’s a Sham” salad sandwich was born.

“It’s a Sham” salad sandwich

1 package of
vegetarian ham

¾ cup of
vegan mayo

1 and ½ half teaspoons of Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon of prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons of sweet relish
to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika

First I chop up the veggie ham into chunks. Since the veggie ham is sliced, be sure you separate the cubes into individual slices. Next, mix the mayo, Dijon mustard, horseradish, sweet relish, and spices together, folding in the pieces of ham.

Now this is where it gets tricky. I take the whole mixture and blend it in my blender. I do not have a small food processor, so I use the blender. If you would like a chunkier salad, you can skip this step. As for me, I think I am going to break down and buy a small counter top food processor this week.

The bread I used is rye from a local
farmer’s market
. I also topped the sandwich with some baby spinach and sliced red onions. So darn good! On the side of course, is a Kool-Aid pickle!

Have a great day and keep cooking!

The Loneliness of the Lone Kool-Aid Pickle

First off, if you can guess what song I am referencing, I will just be flat out tickled.

Okay, so Kool-Aid pickles. I know I have been teasing you all for about a week regarding these darn things, but believe me the wait was worth it.

I used this recipe to make them, but I tweaked it a little bit. I used:
-Cheap store brand dill pickle spears (24 oz. jar)
-One package of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid mix
-¾ cup of Sugar in the Raw
-Enough water to fill the jar without it spilling over, but enough to cover all of the pickles

I also shook the jar several times during the days they were pickling.

These babies sat in the fridge for thirteen days. I think that’s what made them so tasty. I also think the flavor of Kool-Aid makes a difference. Tropical Punch has always been my favorite.

Now, let’s move on to the taste test. The aroma is delightful. The smell brought me back to a time of scraped knees and Kool-Aid moustaches. Considering how “creatively” I ate as a child, had I known about these over twenty years ago, I would have made them.

I used the cheaper pickles in case they turned out gross. I didn’t want to waste my expensive organic ones. I think the cheap pickles make a difference. Usually cheap pickles are a soggy, tasteless disappointment, but when you pickle them with Kool-Aid, the flavor is out of this world!

For the record, I pretty much hate sweet pickles. However, these have a taste that is not too sweet and has just enough of a dill tang to be satisfying. Crisp and delicious, these pickles are juicy and full of flavor. They are not high fructose syrup-y like most other sweet pickles.

I would recommend making these to anyone. I encourage you to follow my tweaking if you don’t like super sugary foods. This is the perfect ratio for a sweet, yet tangy treat!

I am bringing them to work today for my co-workers to sample. I am an AM radio disc jockey and I have mentioned these pickles on the air. Since doing so, I have had listeners stop by the station or stop me in public to ask how they turned out. Today they will get their answer.

Speaking of work, I am back to working full time for the next few months. I have been quite busy, which explains the lack of updates. But, when I return later this week, I promise I will show you all how to make my “It’s a Sham!” salad sandwiches, a treat for all of you who miss eating ham salad sandwiches.

Have a great day and keep cooking!

Tempeh Reubens!

I love tempeh Reuben sandwiches. This is my take on a traditional Reuben, complete with homemade Russian dressing and spicy coleslaw replacing sauerkraut.

I find that marinated tempeh gives the sandwich more flavor. I marinated triangles of tempeh in my special marinade for a few hours. I also use this marinade for portobello mushrooms.

Mandy’s Special Marinade

3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acid
2 tablespoons Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 teaspoons Pickapeppa sauce
2 generous shakes of Colgin liquid smoke

After the tempeh has marinated for a bit, put the tempeh and the marinade in a frying pan and cook the tempeh on medium heat, just long enough to warm the tempeh and cook the marinade into the tempeh.

Now it is time to toast the bread. I use pumpernickel bread, but you could use whatever kind you like. I also use real butter, but if you choose to veganize this, you can use your choice of vegetable spread.

I melt a little butter in the pan and toast the bread. I think this makes the bread have a better taste and the bread isn’t too soggy from butter.

Place the tempeh on one slice of the toasted bread and cover the tempeh with Swiss cheese (or your soy alternative). This won’t make the cheese all melt-y like you want it, so I pop the sandwich in the oven for a bit to melt the cheese. I suppose you could also microwave it, but I don’t have a microwave and I don’t plan on buying one anytime soon. However, if Mark gets his way we will have one.

When the cheese is nice and melted, place some sliced tomatoes and spicy coleslaw on top. What is spicy coleslaw, you say?

Spicy Coleslaw (Vegan)

2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
3 tablespoons vegan mayo
2 teaspoons spicy Chinese mustard
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
A pinch of wasabi powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours

Now it is time to spread that other slice of bread with the Russian dressing. I don’t really measure when I make this, but I do use the following ingredients:

-vegan mayo
-organic ketchup
-salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika

I served these delights up with a side order of steak fries and an organic dill pickle, both from Hannaford’s supermarket. I highly recommend their pickles. Unfortunately, I didn’t use them to make the Kool-Aid pickles, which should be ready for review on Saturday.

Hurrah for tempeh Reubens! I hope you all have a great day and keep cooking!

Mexican pizza and string bean salad

I present to you, Mexican pizzas and Mexican string bean salad!

The pizzas are pretty self-explanatory, but I will give you some info about the tortillas.

I heated about a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the bottom of a cast iron frying pan (the only type of pan I use). When the oil was nice and hot, I put the tortilla in the pan, letting it fry for about 20-25 seconds, popping any bubbles that formed with a fork. When they were done frying, I placed them on a paper towel to absorb any excess grease.

The refried beans were jazzed up with some garlic sautéed down in some olive oil, a little juice from the homemade salsa and a generous sprinkling of this.

As for toppings, I used a combination of cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, red leaf lettuce, homemade salsa, black olives, and sour cream. You could use some meat analogs or different veggies, depending on your taste.

Here is the recipe for the string bean salad:

Mexican String Bean Salad

4 cups fresh string beans, boiled with a vegetarian bouillon cube
2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
¼ cup of jarred jalapenos
1 green onion, chopped

The following spices are to taste:
chili powder
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper

As for directions, it is pretty simple. Mix all of the ingredients together well and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Tonight, we are going out for dinner, but I will be back tomorrow, possibly with some tempeh Rubens for you to view. I am still letting the pickles do their thing and I hope to open them on Saturday.

Have a great day and keep cooking!