Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sammy Challenge continues.... Gobble, gobble!

Hi all--- doesn't that look yummy?? Look at those cranberries!! You might be saying, cranberries, in my sandwich? Seriously, do yourself a favor & try this cheese on a sammy. Whole Foods, and many grocery stores with large cheese sections carry SOME version of a cheddar or cow's milk cheese that has cranberries loaded into it. This week for our continued sammy challenge, we added this cow's milk cheese with cranberries to smoked turkey breast, honey mustard (yes, leftover from last week- SCORE!), and another sliced apple for crunch. Add some arugula if you like that pepper-y bite, or maybe even a pear for added sweetness!!!

All in all--- the lunch goods for this weekly sammy cost $25 at Whole Foods--- that's just $5 per day!!! Did I mention that $25 also included some fresh fruits & trail mix & instant oatmeal we got to snack on all week long? $5/day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. How can you go wrong?

Have an idea or an ingredient you'd like to see in our weekly sammy challenge? Shout it out--- !!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sammy Challenge!!!

Well, it’s spring time. The weather, wardrobes, and even recipes are changing! Fresh veggies and fruits are becoming more abundant and it is time to dust off the cobwebs and get a bit more creative with some lunches here at The Gourmet Pantry. I don’t know about you all, but our work week lunches are getting a bit, stale? My usually weekday sandwich is boring, and it needs a fresh makeover.

To go along with this spring time theme, we have decided to take on a Sammy Challenge! Each week, we will explore a new, easy and cheap way to make sandwiches to fulfill you at work all week long. Go to the store, buy the ingredients ahead of time, and leave ‘em in the fridge. No need to remember your lunch at 845 am when you’re scrambling to get out the door. It is already waiting for you at work! Not only is this cheaper, but it will help us all prepare for that beach body season coming up everyone seems to be fearing. Seriously folks, the gym is getting crowded these days. Time to kick it into gear!!

Spring Sammy #1: The Blue Pig

Ingredients to buy at the grocery store:

1 loaf of  Whole wheat bread, (your fave will do just fine)
10 slices (1/4 – ½ lb) Organic Ham, deli sliced
1 medium brick Goat’s Milk blue cheese (so much creamier than the regular gorgonzola!)
1 jar Dijon or Honey Mustard
4-5 Gala or Fuji apples

Assemble the sandwich by layering 2 slices of deli meat, thinly sliced apple wedges, crumbles of the blue cheese, and a spread of the mustard. Slice & enjoy!!!! This sweet, salty, and smokey combo with have your mouth watering for more, and keep you energized for the rest of the day!!! My favorite part? The leftover apple that wasn’t sliced into your sandwich is a yummy side dish! The honey mustard and/or Dijon mustard can be used in future sandwiches and left in the fridge for however long (just label it--- fridge snatchers are notorious!).

Go ahead, take this challenge on yourself!! Send us your favorite weekly Sammy’s for the springtime to ---- let’s share the wealth!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Not Yo' Momma's Meatloaf

What could be a more common dinner in ANY household, than meatloaf? We have all had some version of this, most likely starting with our mom’s kitchen table as a kid, served up to us with a side of mashed potatoes, some frozen veggie covered in cheese, and ketchup on the side for dipping. As you all know, we love to tinker with ingredients here at The Gourmet Pantry…. so this recipe was inspired by the spices in our pantry, along with our heritages! Indian spices, and an Italian twist, make this recipe really & truly Not Yo’ Momma’s Meatloaf! 


1 lb lean ground beef
2 large eggs
½ cup bread crumbs, Italian style
½ cup ketchup
2 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes, more or less to taste & spice level of comfort
½ white onion, finely diced
½ tsp fresh chopped garlic
salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with clean hands. Don’t be afraid to get nice n’ dirty as you mix this in, the better you mix the more evenly the flavors will be distributed! Grease a loaf pan and preheat oven to 400*F. Evenly place the meat in the pan, and cover with a thin layer of ketchup to retain moisture, and that retro feel that mom always gave us! Bake for 45 minutes or until beef is totally browned around the edges and starts cooking away from the pan. Let cool thoroughly, then slice it onto a plate with extra ketchup for dipping, and be thrown back with a new twist on this classic favorite! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Egg-citing New Post!


Just my lame-o attempt to show how versatile an ingredient Eggs can be!! Breakfast for Dinner, anyone? Not to mention a quick fix meal for a week night!

But, here at The Gourmet Pantry, we like to turn even a quick week night meal into a Gourmet Meal! My Eggs-periment (OK, I promise this is the last time!) produced the following Gourmet avatar. I used leftovers from my refrigerator as well as some other staple pantry ingredients to create this go-to comfort Gourmet meal. Hope you enjoy!!

Roasted Veggie Frittata with Hollandaise sauce

Now I know what you are thinking….Hollandaise sauce is Gourmet alright but super difficult to make! You are wrong!! Well…at least about the fact that it’s difficult! Hollandaise sauce is so simple to make and can turn any creation into super sophisticated and rich! At the end of this recipe you will be ready to host your very own Gourmet Brunch party and wow all your friends!!

Ingredients for a Frittata (Serves 4-6)
6 eggs
¼ cup of fresh spinach (julienned)
¼ cup of diced onions
¼ cup of diced red and green peppers
¼ cup of frozen corn
1 -2 potatoes – sliced in ¼ inch thick rounds (I have substituted this with eggplant as well, and it’s delicious!!)
1 Jalapeno – finely diced
2tbsp of Olive Oil
½ tsp of Garlic Powder (You can add 2 cloves of minced garlic if you don’t have garlic powder – or skip this altogether if you don’t like garlic)
Salt and Pepper to taste
* Substitute any of the above vegetables with those you prefer: You can also add mushrooms, green beans and asparagus!

Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (In the absence of lemons you can also use white-wine vinegar)
3 large egg yolks (the whites can be saved and added to your Frittata!)
3 tbsps of hot water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (I added a dash of hot sauce too coz I like it spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
A pot of boiling water and a stainless steel bowl to make the sauce in
For the Frittata
  1. Prepare your ingredients for the Frittata first: Scramble 4-6 eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper * (Note that this is usually more than enough seasoning for the entire frittata - the Garlic Powder adds a slight saltiness too. You want to avoid over salting or else the dish will be inedible!)
  2. In an oven proof skillet, add 1 tbsp Olive Oil and onions and peppers and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Then add the corn, jalapeno and garlic powder and sauté until the mixture browns a little. Remove and keep to the side.
  3. In the heated skillet, add 1 tbsp of Olive Oil. Line the bottom of the skillet with the sliced potatoes (or eggplant), let them cook for a couple of minutes and then turn each slice, still lining the bottom of the pan.
  4. Now add the cooked vegetable mix and spread it around to cover the entire pan. Add the scrambled eggs (DO NOT STIR eggs once added to the skillet).
  5. Top the eggs with julienned spinach and bake the eggs in the oven, at 375 for 20 minutes or until eggs are done.
The sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan will crisp up in the cooking process and offer that perfect amount of crunch to this velvety soft Frittata.

For the Hollandaise Sauce
  1. Melt the butter and keep it warm. Prepare your double boiler. There is absolutely no need to buy fancy and expensive equipment for this. Just use any pot you have at home and heat water in it until it comes to a boil. Lower the flame so water keeps simmering.
  2. Place a stainless steel bowl over the pot of boiling water (not in the water – make sure the bottom of the stainless steel bowl does not touch the water or this will curdle your yolks – You don’t want that to happen!).
  3. Place the egg yolks in the stainless steel bowl and whisk rapidly until it doubles in quantity. You will notice that the yolks will thicken and become a creamy yellow sauce.
  4. Now add 1 tablespoon of the hot water.  Continue to beat the sauce until it begins to thicken. Repeat with the remaining water, one tablespoon at a time, beating constantly.
  5. Now add the lemon juice and remove the double boiler from the heat.  
  6. Continue to beat the sauce briskly and now slowly pour in the melted butter.  Add the salt and cayenne and beat the sauce until it is thick.

Voila! Hollandaise Sauce is ready!

Pour sauce on top of a slice of the Frittata and serve with toasted Olive bread and you will become the designated Brunch host amongst your friends, forever!!

Just have them bring the booze for a lazy afternoon brunch – sounds like a deal to me!!