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There are three things you should know about my friend Jenn P. One; she is pure evil. And licensed to carry a fire arm, so don’t get in her way. Two; she effing loves haloumi. Three; she’s one of the main reasons I finally got this blog up and running. I’ve been holding off on publishing this recipe until Jenn returned to civilization from her annual summer time research trip to the arctic, where she counts sea birds (or something like that), eats caribou, and defends the research camp from polar bear attacks. Seriously. Word is she’s made it back from the Arctic, so here we go.

It went like this: another girlfriend and I treked over to Gabriola Island to spend Easter weekend with Jenn P. and her lovely man Alex, who tolerated the lady invasion with significantly more grace than any of us three demonstrated over the weekend. It was fun. We drank, we ate, we baked. We made delicious gnocci from scratch and served it with a home made pesto cream sauce. We made cheesecake and Jenn made a tasty cranberry sauce to go with, and we put back the better part of a 12 year old bottle of Flor de Cana rum that Jenn had brought me back from a trip to El Salvador.

At one point over the weekend I was flipping through one of their cookbooks and there was some banter about food happening, Jenn said to me, “You know what cookbook I’m waiting for? The Muffin Myth! What’s happening with that?”  I explained that a large part of the hold up was that I didn’t have a decent camera with which to photograph the food I was making, and really, you need to have good food pictures on a food blog. Without hesitating for more than a couple of seconds, Jenn handed me the camera with which I am currently taking all of my food pics. She had acquired a better one, and although still liked and used the smaller one she gave to me, felt that I needed it more than she did. That got the ball rolling. I left Gabriola that weekend with a camera, the hand-crafted-by-Jenn-P. cutting board which is pictured in this and many other posts (the wood is wormed, she pointed out, which only a biologist would think is neat), a jar of home made Gabriola Island blackberry jam, a bag of frozen pumpkin, and a handful of sample sized dental flosses and lip balms. But no tooth brush. Unbelievable.

 

Jenn P. was also our first house guest in Stockholm. She stayed with us for a week on the way to some sea bird conference in Olso, at a time when we still didn’t have any furniture to speak of, and were using magazines that came in the mail as make shift cutting boards. We got her a membership to the Stockholm City Bikes program where she could borrow a little blue bike from a rack anywhere around the city and use it for up to three hours, then return to any rack and borrow another. She tootled around Stockholm doing the museums and taking scads of pictures of wooden boats for her wooden boat building fella, while I sat in the kitchen using the kitchen counter as a sort of desk and tried to get school work done using the neighbour’s wifi (thanks Lars and Erika!). I sent Jenn off to the store one day to sort out lunch while I worked on an assignment, and she came back all in a twitch about the mountain of haloumi she had seen at the grocery store. Yup, the Swedes like their dairy all right, and the cheese selection at the regular grocery store can definitely rival that found at Les Amis du Fromage in Vancouver.  We had some pan fried haloumi as a lunch appetizer one day, and then in a sandwich the next. The sandwich thing was a revelation for Jenn; it had never occurred to her to put haloumi in a sandwich, and she liked it.

This sandwich is a little fancier than the one Jenn and I made originally. It’s definitely a weekend sandwich, and by this I mean two things. First, it would never survive being packed for lunch. It would turn into a hideous mushy mess, and definitely needs to be made to order. Second, it’s a weekend treat. Haloumi is delicious, but for sure needs to be consumed in moderation, as does any cheese. This is a lesson I’m having a hard time sticking to in Stockholm; too much delicious cheese way too available. I made these sandwiches for lunch on a Saturday afternoon, and Paul and I ate them sitting on our sunny balcony in Stockholm on the day that the crown princess of Sweden married her man of the people. We later walked around the city, and saw an amazing number of people dressed up as princesses in wedding dresses. It was a cool day. Eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes are all in season right now, and are abundant. Get yourself some really nice muli-grain bread, and enjoy this sandwich.


Haloumi Sandwich recipe:

 

Haloumi can be pan fried (as I have done here) or grilled or even tossed on the barbeque. It has a high melting point because it has a very low moisture content. Coupled with pan fried eggplant and zucchini, creamy avocado, juicy tomato slices, and baby spinach, it makes a heck of a tasty weekend lunch. I sliced the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise, and then cut the slices to fit the sandwich. You could do rounds as well, but you’d need to do more rounds than the recipe calls for. I pan fried everything, but if you have a bbq or other grill, you could also grill the eggplant, zucchini, and haloumi. This recipe is for two sandwiches.

4 slices multi-grain bread
1 avocado
1 medium tomato
4 lengthwise slices of eggplant, about 1 cm thick
4 lengthwise slices of zucchini, about 1 cm thick
4 slices of haloumi, about 1 cm thick
olive oil, for pan frying
mayonnaise, salt, pepper (optional)


Lightly toast slices of bread, and set aside. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and let sit for about 10 min to draw bitter juices out. Rinse, and pat dry. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add about a tsp of olive oil to the skillet, and place the slices of zucchini and eggplant in an even layer in the skillet. Once the slices are lightly brown on one side, turn over and brown the other side. Remove slices from skillet and set aside. Add slices of haloumi, and pan fry until golden, turn and fry other side. Set aside. Slice tomato and avocado into uniformly thick slices. If mayo is your thing (it’s my thing) then slather the bread with a little mayo. Build your sandwich starting with the haloumi slices, then eggplant, zucchini, avocado, tomato, and finish with the baby spinach. Salt and pepper your sandwich if you like (I S&P’d the tomato slices) and top with your other slice of bread. Slice in half, and eat sitting on your balcony with a napkin very near by. You’re going to need it.
 
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2010

 

 

 

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