300 Half-Eaten Sandwiches
So the food world is all atwitter about 300 Sandwiches. If you’ve been living under a rock, or don’t check your food blog links 5 times a day, here’s the gist: New York Post reporter Stephanie Smith was befuddled by her boyfriend’s obsession with sandwiches, especially after she made him a particularly tasty one and he replied “Honey, you’re 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring.” Calling his bluff, Smith started a blog chronicling her quest to make 300 perfect sandwiches, and she is damn well expecting a ring once the list is finished. Feminist bloggers were unsurprisingly appalled. Personally, my reaction was the same as pretty much any other guy’s, saying to my girlfriend, H: “honey, we should do this!!!” To which I received an epic eyeroll along with a response I perhaps should have seen coming: “If you like sandwiches so much why don’t you make me 300 sandwiches?”
She had a point. I do like to cook, and I am constantly perplexed at the gf’s inability to understand my intense love for the magnificence of meals between bread. “I’ll do it!” I said. I’ll make her all 300 sandwiches, and by the end she will have to understand why I love these beauties so much. It will bring the gf and I closer together and help us land, if not a wedding date, at least a blog-to-book deal.
I set to work.
Re-creation #1: 300 Sandwiches’ gorgeous mozzarella and homemade pesto BLT:
I’m usually a mess in the kitchen, but this time I followed Smith’s instructions to a T — frying up crispy bacon and layering it on a baguette with pesto, arugula, tomato and fresh mozz. I resisted my urge to get creative and made just one game-time decision: frying the baguette in leftover bacon grease instead of toasting it. I mean, come on. Obviously.
I have to admit I set out wanting to make fun of Smith, but gotta give credit where credit is due: this sandwich is not only pretty, it’s delicious. Definitely one of the best I’ve had in a while.
Um, maybe too delicious though. By the time H made it in to the kitchen, the BLT’s photogenic appearance had evaporated, along with 60% of the sandwich.
Oops! No worries. Still 299 attempts left to solidify this love between myself, my girl and my lunch.
Re-creation #2: Spring Cleaning Goat Cheese and Basil Grilled Cheese:
Ooh-ee! Now there’s a shot that puts melted Kraft singles to shame. Smith’s baguette and goat cheese s’wich is laced with fig butter and truffle butter. Clearly, I don’t have time for all that jazz, so I just put some more bread back in bacon grease, got it toasty and piggy-flavored, and set to grillin’.
I don’t happen to have one of those fancy panini presses either, so I resorted to a patented method my family developed for making grilled cheese in a pan: crushing it down with a pot so that the cheese melts quickly, before the toast burns.
H hates when I do this. Something about coming home to a kitchen full of greasy pot bottoms. Anyway, it worked fantastically, if I do say so myself:
Only problem: H was in the shower at the moment the sandwich came out of the pan.
I really had intended on saving this one just for her, but who wants a 10-minute-old grilled cheese?
This is what it looked like by the time her hair was dry:
UGH! Just can’t control myself. But you saw that sandwich — you understand, right?
Maybe I’d have better luck at breakfast, where Smith’s claim to marriage material is the fact that she makes this “Damn you Johnnie” sausage egg and cheese biscuit for her man whenever he’s had one too many whiskeys the night before.
H and I did in fact have a few drinks after the failed sandwich experiments last night, so I snuck out of bed early and pulled together these mini-masterpieces:
But then she kept sleeping. (Who can sleep through the smell of sausage?!?)
That Jameson was staring me in the eye and I figured a little hair of the dog might not be a bad idea. Then I poured another…Yeah, you know what’s coming: these bad boys didn’t stand a chance.
Alright, time to go basic. I moved on and chose Smith’s simplest recipe yet: “Quickie Before Dinner” mini pretzel ice cream sandwiches:
Smith makes this sound like the easiest thing in the world:
“Take pretzel. Scoop enough ice cream onto pretzel to cover it. Top with another pretzel. Eat, in one bite if possible.”
Yeah, easier said than done. It is NOT so simple to get that ice cream to stick in between those little pretzels! Especially when you’re working with big manhands here.
H muttered something about knowing this experiment would lead to her cleaning up a messy kitchen.
Undeterred, I retreated back to the laptop in search of a sandwich recipe I could successfully replicate—and preserve for my girl.
This is the one! I mean, does Sunday morning get any more perfect than Nutella, peanut butter and banana sandwiches?
I have to say I aced this sandwich — toasting the wheat bread perfectly, cutting just the right size banana wedges, and pressing it all together while the bread was still warm enough to create that ooey, gooey amazingness.
Having consumed roughly 7,000 sandwich calories in the past 12 hours, I even managed to get this one to H in one piece — finally!
BS: I know, it’s GREAT, right? You finally understand my love?
H: Um…I’m allergic to hazelnuts. You know that.
BS: What?? But…but…even in goo form?
295 sandwiches to go until I get my ring. Or I’m banned from the kitchen. Whichever comes first.