Archive for the 'Sandwich' Category

Kaya Toast

Kaya Toast | Coconut Jam

I cannot stand to throw away food. Whether it’s a half bunch of parsley or or a half-eaten slice of pizza, having perfectly good food tossed in the trash pains me in a very real way. I attribute this compulsion to my mother and grandmother, who forced me to eat every last grain of rice while growing up.

After making a warm coconut rice pudding the other week, I was left with a half can of coconut milk that seemed to stare at me every time I opened the fridge, threatening to go bad at any minute. I could’ve made a Thai curry or soup, but a few measly ounces was not enough, and I wanted to avoid opening up another can of worms, if you know what I mean.

After racking my brain and the Internet for ideas, I found the solution to my coconut milk predicament: Kaya Toast.

Kaya Toast is a popular snack in Singapore and Malaysia comprised of coconut jam sandwiches served with sunny eggs drizzled with soy sauce. I’ve eaten this fabulous sweet and savory creation at a number of restaurants including Susan Feniger’s Street, The Spice Table, and Jitlada, but never considered making it at home until I found this super-easy coconut jam recipe from my friend Sarah.

Sarah’s original recipe calls for a full can of coconut milk, but I scaled down the proportions using simple ratios. After the jam came together, I toasted up some buttered bread, spread on a thick layer of sweetness, and sandwiched everything up nicely. A fried egg with a dash of white pepper and a slick of soy sauce was all that was needed to complete the package.

When life gives you a half can of coconut milk, make Kaya Toast.

  • 13.5 ounces coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Turbinado, granulated, or brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Good quality white bread
  • Eggs
  • White pepper
  • Soy sauce

Prepare coconut jam

Kaya Toast | Coconut Jam

Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a large saucepan. The jam will bubble and boil intensely as it cooks, so make sure to choose a vessel that is much larger than its contents.

Boil the mixture over medium to medium-high heat until the jam reduces by about half and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.

Kaya Toast | Coconut Jam

Transfer the jam to a bowl and set aside to cool. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.

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Bison Burgers with Cheddar and Onions

Bison Burgers with Cheddar and Onions

I am generally quite fearless in the kitchen, but have always shied away from grilling. In spite of my liberal leanings, I long held onto the silly notion that cooking over an open flame was dude territory. As a result, all of the grilling in our household was assigned to The Astronomer and his little Smokey Joe. I was content with baking and sauteeing—you know, chick stuff.

Our longstanding division of kitchen duties came to a halt two months ago when I received a fantastically fun photography assignment that required me to grill like I’d never grilled before. From loins to shoulders to burgers, I did it all, and in the process, I discovered a great appreciation for the sport. I love how grilling makes me feel like a culinary badass and how it requires me to trust my instincts. I also like how cleaning up entails scrubbing a metal brush back and forth and little else.

For my first non-work-related grilling session, I decided to prepare bison burgers. Bison meat is often lauded for its nutritional prowess, but doesn’t have the greatest reputation for moistness due to its lower fat content.  However, this recipe for Bison Burgers with Cheddar and Onions from Cooking the Cowboy Way by Grady Spears makes an extremely flavorful, juicy, and satisfying specimen. And as an awesome bonus, it’s actually good for you. Grill on!

  • 2 pounds ground bison or chuck beef
  • 3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 12 English muffins or hamburger buns

Bison Burgers with Cheddar and Onions

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, grated cheese, onion, salt, and pepper thoroughly with your hands.

Bison Burgers with Cheddar and Onions

Divide the mixture into 12 small patties, making sure they are compacted and firm. Place the patties on the hot grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until they register an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

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Tarragon Egg Salad

For the past two weeks, our little apartment has been burning up. The Astronomer and I have been taking turns sitting in front of the Vornado to cool down because air conditioning is a luxury our home was built without. When the weather is this unforgiving, the stove should be left firmly off.

I found this delightful recipe for egg salad while searching Epicurious for tarragon uses. It requires minimal stove time, and the results really hit the ‘I want something light, but substantial’ spot. Drawing inspiration from my favorite egg salad sandwich at Pasadena’s Euro Pane Bakery, I kept the yolks slightly runny and the whites just under firm. The egg salad tasted fabulous mounded atop a nest of baby spinach and a thick slice La Brea Bakery bread. File this one under: Deliciously easy things to cook when your house feels like an oven.

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Thick slices of crusty bread
  • Greens (i.e. baby spinach, mesclun, pea shoots, etc.)

Cover eggs with cold water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the stove as soon as the water begins to boil and leave the eggs undisturbed for three minutes. Place a lid on the saucepan and leave the eggs for an additional two minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice cold water and let stand for five minutes to cool. Peel eggs and finely chop.

Stir together eggs and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Egg salad can be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. To assemble, spread some mayonnaise or mustard (if using) on bread, then add the greens, and lastly the egg salad. Eating an open-face egg salad sandwich in a lady-like manner is nearly impossible, so please, just dig on in.

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Adapted from Gourmet, April 2003

Black Bean Burgers

  • 2 cups well-cooked white, black or red beans, or chickpeas or lentils, or 1 14-ounce can, drained
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup rolled oats (preferably not instant)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or the spice mix of your choice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Bean-cooking liquid, stock or other liquid (wine, cream, milk, water or ketchup) if necessary
  • Extra virgin olive oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn.

1. Combine all ingredients except liquid and oil in food processor and pulse until chunky but not puréed. If necessary, add a little liquid for a mixture that is moist but not wet. Let mixture rest for a few minutes.

2. With wet hands, shape into patties and let rest again for a few minutes. (Burger mixture or shaped burgers can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to a day. Bring back to room temperature before cooking.) Film bottom of a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet with oil and turn heat to medium. When hot, add patties. Cook undisturbed until browned, about 5 minutes; turn carefully with spatula and cook 3 or 4 minutes until firm and browned.

3. Serve on buns with mustard, ketchup, chutney or other toppings.

Yield: 4 servings.

Substitutions: I’ve made these black bean burgers a number of times and have never needed to use any additional cooking liquid. I skip the spices because I like to drench my burger in organic ketchup. Also, I find the mixture to be difficult to handle so I don’t form patties before cooking them. I like to spoon the mixture into the hot frying pan and shape a patty using a spoon. These burgers can be eaten with or without buns. When I use buns, I like to buy Trader Joe’s whole wheat hamburger buns.

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