Sandwiches a la Ampersand

Back to school= back to cool.

Not exactly.  Back to school more so means desperately trying recapture the ability to study effectively… which is what I’m trying to do. Like now. It’s not working out too great.

I’m a senior, cut me some slack. I’m about to have to go face a cold world of repaying student debt and filing my own taxes and trying to find a job that provides dental. Gotta have the dental, I consume a lot of sugar.

So for now, I’m not completely devastated by my recently sagging enthusiasm for book learning. The lack of academic prudence simply shows that I’m doing other things, cooler things… like spending long afternoons/late nights/early morns with my Ampersand crew, and editing their Ampersand writings and writing my own Ampersand writings.

Like the one below, all about what you should pack in your lunch pail/bag/box/basket. You should absolutely go read the rest of the September issue for kicks and giggles. Do it now while it’s still September and relevant. Hurry.

October’s is coming out in less than a week. Whoops. Forever late. Story of my everything.

 

Photo by Lyric Lewin

Lunch time. For the collegiate crowd, limited time and limited funds combined with hectic schedules can lead to carelessly constructed monotony sandwiched between white bread. So often written off as a pseudo-meal eaten hurriedly out of necessity, it’s no wonder the “brown-bag” lunch has acquired a nasty reputation among the vast majority of anyone 12 years and older. But a lunch worth looking forward to can create the brief midday mental oasis necessary for tackling the latter half of the workday with full force. Packing an enjoyable meal need not be a daunting task and, with these rejuvenated renditions of sack sandwich staples (prep time and costs still kept low), it’s high time we take lunch for all it’s worth.

PB&B&B 

*vegan

Inexpensive and filling, peanut butter serves as an unfaltering staple in student pantries across the nation. That said, tired peanut butter and jelly sammies enveloped in soggy Wonderbread are better left back in your 1993 ninja turtles lunch box. In this vegan take on Elvis’s supposed standby, crunchy peanut butter texturally complements tender banana slices. “Frying” the sandwich causes sugar from the banana, nut butter and bread to caramelize into a gooey stack of oh so sweet indulgence. Balanced by the vegan bacon’s saltiness, this slightly more sophisticated outlet for your peanut butter yields a most satisfying solution to any sweet+salty craving.

  • 2 slices cinnamon swirl bread
  • 2 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ a large banana, thinly sliced
  • 2 slices veggie bacon

*note: pork or turkey bacon may be substituted in a non-vegan/vegetarian option

Yield: 1 sandwich

$1.65 per sandwich

Prepare the bacon according to package directions, set aside. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place on stove burner over medium heat.

Spread each slice of bread with one tablespoon peanut butter. Layer the banana slices on one slice of bread. Arrange the bacon slices on top and close the sandwich.

Place sandwich in heated pan and cook until first side is golden brown (3-5 minutes), flip the sandwich and repeat with the remaining side.

Photo by Lyric Lewin

Curried Avocado Egg Salad Pita 

*vegetarian 

The beauty of egg salad in general: there’s a solid chance that, at this very moment, your kitchen is stocked with the basics to whip up a quick batch. Switching mayo for Greek yogurt as your binding agent significantly cuts saturated fat and boosts nutritive benefits while tossing curry powder and avocado into the mix packs in flavor you won’t find in the typical tea sandwich standard and bears a healthy dose vitamins and heart-healthy fat. Simple to prep ahead in bulk, tripling the recipe on Sunday means this week’s lunch is one less thing to worry about. Adapt with different mix-ins to keep things interesting.This isn’t your grandmama’s egg salad.

  • ½ a large pita bread
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp tsp curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 pinch white sugar
  • 3-4 red grapes, quartered
  • ¼  rib celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp cashew pieces
  • ¼ large hass avocado, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Yield: 1 sandwich

$1.08 per sandwich

Place the egg in a small saucepan and fill with cool water, covering the egg by about one inch. Bring to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and allow to sit on the warm stove for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk together the yogurt, curry powder and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Add the grapes, celery, nuts and avocado. After the egg has completed cooking, run under cool water and allow to stand at room temperature for 1-2 minutes. Peel the egg shell, and carefully dice the hard-boiled egg and add to the other ingredients. Gently stir with a rubber spatula until all components are evenly distributed. Add salt and pepper, then adjust other spices to taste.

Spoon egg salad into the halved pita pocket.

*Pro-Tip: To prevent your pita from becoming soggy, package the egg salad in a small tupperware, bring along a spoon and assemble the sandwich whenever you’re ready to chow.

Photo by Lyric Lewin

The Big Deli-cious

Cold cuts have potential far beyond limp sandwich bread and a Kraft American single, and reaching it is no difficult feat. Building a better sandwich boils down to simple balancing act–balancing flavors, textures and of course time and budget. Inspired by elements from the best of NYC deli fare, this sandwich requires next to no time to pull together but yields a big return in taste. Bold components like mustard, red onion and arugula are juxtaposed against a mild nutty cheese and sweet fig butter for a palatable equilibrium. Spring for cold cuts freshly sliced in the grocery store’s deli department if your budget allows. In a mighty meat stack such as this, beef quality counts.

  • 1 pretzel bun, halved
  • 1/2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp fig butter
  • 3 ounces sliced deli pastrami
  • 3 ounces sliced deli roast beef
  • 1 slice muenster cheese
  • arugula
  • thinly sliced red onion

Spread the mustard across the inside of one half of the bun, then spread the fig butter across the other. Layer remaining ingredients in between the top and bottom half of the pretzel bun.

Yield: 1 sandwich

$3.87 per sandwich

Photo by Lyric Lewin

The Spread

A good bit of what separates the “gourmet” sandwiches you purchase in restaurants from those you make at home pare down to the details. Here are a few extremely simple condiments that can take your sandwich above and beyond any quick-hit sub shop.

blackberry ketchup
1 tbsp prepared ketchup + 1 Tbsp blackberry preserves

rosemary mayo
1 Tbsp prepared mayonnaise + ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves + 1 dash garlic powder

feta spread
1 oz crumbled feta cheese + 1 Tbsp Miracle Whip

tarragon honey dijon mustard
1 Tbsp high-quality dijon mustard + 1 tsp local honey + ½ tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves

maple bacon bbq sauce
1 Tbsp bbq sauce + ½ Tbsp grade A maple syrup + ½ Tbsp crisp bacon bits

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