Tuesday, May 3, 2016

3 tasty, easy, and photogenic sandwiches

There's nothing better than making tasty food except for tasty BEAUTIFUL food that you can show off on Instagram, am I right or am I right? Just kidding but I'm sure it's one of the top 5 best things in the world (trying to make a reference to the season premiere of Game of Thrones season 5 which just came out last Sunday and oh man I could go on and on about it). Anyways, here are some of my favorite sandwiches of the moment to make that are all so simple and easy to whip up that you'll spend more time taking photos of these than you will spend making and eating them combined. These are perfect for a morning brunch, afternoon tea party, or special lunch party!

1. Cream Cheese with Dill and Smoked Salmon and/or Cucumber
This has got to be one of the best sandwiches out there. You can make these open faced or not (well I suppose any sandwich you can choose to cover or leave uncovered) but they definitely are easy to dress up with a sprig of dill resting on top. I say and/or regarding the smoked salmon and cucumber because both of them go SO well with cream cheese mixed with dill and together they're pretty bomb as well. I know cucumber butter sandwiches are like a thing but those just don't taste good in my opinion. Dill has a nice slightly spicy (but not actually) sharp flavor that really enhances the fresh cream cheese and the saltiness of the smoked salmon or the crisp watery taste of cucumber (make sure to have thin cucumber slices though or else it'll be too overpowering) - all of this comes together to make one of the best sandwiches ever. Honestly everyone gobbles these up when my sister and I make them.
To make this sandwich: I don't actually follow any specific recipe (though there are plenty out there online so feel free to Google if if you're a very exact precise measurement type of person) and just eyeball it. However, if I were to measure it, I'd say it's 1 tablespoon chopped dill to 4 oz (half a pack) of cream cheese. Of course this can be adjusted to your liking but I personally like more dill than less. You can mix these with a fork or a blender (I generally use a fork because less clean-up and since I don't usually work in large batches, a fork does the job just as quickly). Stir it all up, spread it on your bread (this can be a little difficult if the cream cheese is thick/cold/firm but it doesn't have to be an even layer - a nice sort of chunk looks just as nice like in the photo above), and top with smoked salmon or thinly sliced cucumber or both! I generally don't toast my bread for this sandwich but you totally can if you like; I just think a nice soft textured bread works well with the flavors of the sandwich fillings. I like to cut my bread for these type of sandwiches into small squares (usually about 4 squares per one slice of bread) so you get a small tear of smoked salmon and/or a half or quarter slice of cucumber (if your bread squares are large enough or you're making a full sandwich, you can obviously keep your cucumber slices whole and layer them). For open faced sandwiches, it looks nice if you take a small leaf/sprinkle of dill and place it on top as I did in the photo above. The photo right below (from my previous post actually), I didn't have dill so used thyme but I wanted to include this photo so you could get some idea on how to arrange cucumber and smoked salmon on your sandwich. The second photo down shows salmon with dill and cream cheese. I used two different types of smoked salmon in the sandwiches below (if you're wondering why the color difference).

2. Hummus, Pesto, and Tomato 
This is one of my newer sandwich tries and oh my, I'm so sad I didn't try this out earlier. This combination is AMAZING. I initially was thinking just hummus and tomato topped with a basil leaf (saw it on Pinterest) but then I had pesto spread in our refrigerator so thought I'd try it out and golly me, it was heavenly. I would highly recommend toasting your bread for this sandwich because the crunch of the bread helps balance out the soft texture of the hummus and pesto, as well as the moistness of the tomato. Plus, this sandwich looks good with the crust left on so less work for you right?

To make this sandwich: Toast bread (I think wheat or some other non-white bread would go best with the fillings but I used white and it tastes just as good). Allow to cool somewhat before spreading on an even layer of hummus (so it doesn't melt or get weird and soft) and then spread on a less even layer of pesto. Thickness is up to you but I'd say don't be too shy! Top with slice(s) of tomato(es) depending on the size of your tomato and bread. If you're feeling fancy, add a basil leaf on top for some extra photo points (I forgot to but it still looks bomb right?)

3. Melted Smoked Gouda with Turkey Breast, Fruit Jam, and Toppings
The title for this sandwich is kind of all over the place but really there's no specific name for it since I add whatever I have at hand. The basics are cheese (I love smoked gouda but it's not one of the most "melty" cheeses so provolone any other cheese that melts well would work fine), deli meat (I go for turkey breast since it's generally the healthiest and doesn't have too strong of a flavor), and fruit jam (the two photos below, I used strawberry jam but any jam would work fine, you just want that sweet concentrated flavor to contrast the savory cheese and meat). From there, I like to play around with what I have. Usually having something that gives the sandwich a "crunch" is nice like an apple slice, candied nut, dried fruit (try even the freeze dried kinds), or crunchy veggies like romaine lettuce. Having another sweet bite such as a fruit like a blueberry, strawberry, apple, pear, etc also adds to the sandwich.
To make this sandwich: Layer cheese over bread and toast until cheese has melted. Let cool for 1 minute before cutting into desired size/pieces and adding layer of deli meat. Add thin layer of toppings of choice including sliced fruit, fresh vegetables, and crunchy nuts. Drizzle fruit jam over (if thin enough) or spread over cheese and deli meat before placing all toppings if too thick. Make sure it's visible because it adds a nice touch to the overall sandwich.

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