Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday sammich

Sundays are pretty much my only cooking day.  Unless you count veggie burgers or breakfast burritos (for dinner) as cooking, it's the only day I'm willing to invest any time into a recipe that takes longer than 17 seconds to make.  I spend a ton of time all week looking and recipes online and finding ideas but when it comes down to it, I don't make most of the things I find that look absolutely amazing. Partially due to time, partially because I cannot have cakes and cookies around the house every day. And as much as I love trying new recipes, sometimes I just need an old favorite.  So today I did both - a new sandwich that required a little more work than a deli-meat panini, and my favorite recipe for carrot cake.  I do need some cake!

While I don't typically count making sandwich as a recipe, but this was pretty worthy and was much more labor intensive than ham and cheese on white.  This Peppered Beef Sandwich was pleasing combination of flavors I never would have thought of on my own.  I had thought about REALLY making the whole thing from scratch - the bread and the mayo base - I cheated and it turned out just fine.  Actually I did try to make a mayo but the recipe I found was not good and I wasted a cup of olive oil.  Anyway, for the bread I used a flax seed ciabatta from Trader Joe's.  I think sour dough would have been good too but Rebecca did not agree with me on that one!  The bread was pretty flavorful, and very sturdy.  The beef was thanks to Rebecca, who brought me extra filet from a family party.  I pretty much never ever cook beef, and also very rarely eat it, but I do love a good piece of steak!  And then there was the mayo.  I usually hate mayo.  Mayo is nasty, unhealthy, and texturally displeasing.  It pained me to buy it but somehow the recipe sounded so good to me - even with mayo, red onion, capers, and lemon juice?  These are not things I really love (except lemon juice).  But the flavors complimented each other so well!

Here's the big hunk of beef, doesn't it look huge on my mini iron skillet?  So peppery that the smell of it made me sneeze!

After searing it, I had to chill it for awhile before slicing and then pounding the crap out of it.  That was super fun.  So rare, I love my beef still mooing.

Instead of slicing the ciabatta so there was more crust than bread innards exposed, I cut it on an angle like a loaf of French Bread.  This was Rebecca's idea so that it didn't get TOO crispy in the panini maker.  We assembled bread, the peppered beef, and havarti cheese, and grilled it.

After the cheese was melty and the bread was toasted, we added arugula (aka rocket, I love that word) and caper red onion mayo.  Here's the final product...the beef was just juicy enough to soften the bread but yet it was still crisp.  The tanginess of the mayo matched the peppery beef just perfectly.

And some tots on the side.  It upsets me how good these stupid things are with cream cheese!  Probably not the healthiest meal, which is typically my goal, but Rebecca & I have been doing a crap ton of yoga and we figured this was a fair reward for all of our efforts to perfect Warrior & Triangle poses.

So onto the old favorite.  Carrot cake.  While I prefer most of my baked goods to revolve around chocolate and/or peanut butter, this is a worthy exception.  I adapted the recipe from years ago and it always gets rave reviews.  I actually healthed this up as much as you can without compromising flavor - cutting out some of the sugar and oil in the original recipe.  But since it's a vegetable cake I'm assuming it's as nutritionally beneficial as a bowl of broccoli.

Anyway, my mom really loves carrot cake so I'm assuming that's why I started making this in the first place - at least 3 or 4 years ago.  One time I even baked it here in California, flew back to Michigan for a weekend, and surprised my mom.  I waited to make the frosting until I got to my parent's house but the cake survived the flight quite well!  Here's how to make magic:


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

12 oz package cream cheese - I used 8 oz of regular & 4 oz light
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and 2 9 inch round pans.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in carrots, coconut, walnuts and pineapple.
  3. Pour evenly into each of the round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 - 35 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. To make the frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until creamy.
  5. Eat excess amounts. :)

Next up:  Christmas cookies!  Hopefully I'll get to those the first weekend in December...for Thanksgiving weekend I'll be too busy over indulging in the culinary delights of New York City!


  1. Can't wait for tomorrow...carrot cake for breakfast, and leftover sammy for lunch. delicious food!

  2. Paninis and tots are the perfect Sunday night dinner!! :)