Pressed Sandwiches

Last night I sat down with the July issue of Martha Stewart magazine to do something I have never done before: make a recipe from it. We had plans to picnic with friends today and I wanted to make something nice.


I spent 3 hours building these sandwiches, which is obviously way too long to be tenable. Honestly, it was the grilling of the vegetables that got me. I don’t think I’m particularly adept at grilling veggies on a Foreman grill. The sandwiches were, however, scrumptious and impressive.






1 small jar pesto (Martha’s recipe includes making your own pesto. Mine does not.)

1 red bell pepper

1 small eggplant

1 8oz zucchini

1 8oz yellow summer squash

olive oil, for brushing

2 loaves ciabatta, halved horizontally

1 pound mozzarella cut into 1/4 inch slices

1/3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto


1. Slice eggplant, squash, and zucchini, brush lightly with oil, and grill.

2. Roast red pepper by splitting open, lightly brushing with oil, and placing in broiler, skin side up until blackened and blistered (8-10 minutes). Remove from broiler, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Then remove and discard skin.

3. Halve the ciabatta loaves and pull out most of the doughy center. Brush inside of each loaf lightly with oil. Spread pesto over bottom half of each loaf. Top pesto with grilled vegetables, prosciutto, and mozzarella.

4. Press top and bottom of loaf together firmly. Tightly wrap each sandwich in plastic, allowing air to release before sealing. Wrap each in parchment paper and tie with kitchen string. Place sandwiches in refrigerator and weigh down with heavy object overnight. Slice and serve.



Ready for the refrigerator



Tied up and ready to go to the picnic.


Summer Rolls

Unfortunately we forgot to get a photo of the finished product or the dipping sauce, but this action shot gets the basic idea across.





I’ve had a package of rice paper rounds burning a hole in my cupboard for several years. In that time I’ve made probably six or seven summer rolls on three or four occasions. They’ve all been, eh, okay. . . but nothing really great. I assume it’s because I’ve never bothered to use a recipe, nor had I ever looked up a recipe to get a sense of what goes in a spring roll. For the picnic, however, I turned over a new leaf followed a recipe:



3 ½ tbsp fish sauce

3 ½ tbsp fresh lime juice

3 tbsp sugar

1 ½ pounds cabbage, coarsely shredded

2 carrots, coarsely shredded

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

3 tbsp chopped mint

10 round rice paper wrappers

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

¼ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts

small handful of rice noodles

2 tbsp water

1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce

2 small garlic cloves, chopped

18 cooked medium shrimp, halved lengthwise



1. In a large bowl, mix 3 tbsp of the fish sauce with 3 tbsp of the lime juice and the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and mint and toss to combine.

2. In a blender, puree the coconut milk with the peanuts, water, hoisin sauce, garlic, and the remaining ½ tbsp each of fish sauce and lime juice. Transger the dipping sauce to a bowl and season lightly with salt.

3. Set a strainer over a bowl and drain the cabbage salad well. Soak rice paper wrappers. When wrappers are pliant, fill with two shrimp, a few noodles, and cabbage salad.