Uncommonly Good

Sirloin Panini

I haunt the markdown sections of the grocery store and take advantage of good cuts of meat when they are marked down. Ribs, steaks, pork loin, brisket, all sorts of meats are frequently available after a heavily promoted sale. I pick up packages of sirloin steak when I come across them.

If I’m not going to use it within a day or two I’ll cut the steak in very thin slices and pack separate handfuls in Press n Seal storage wrap and freeze it. Then when I’m in the mood for steak I’ll take a portion out and defrost it in the microwave for a few minutes and then make my sandwich or salad.

Here’s how I made this one.

  • Sirloin steak in a marinade of balsamic vinegar and herb blend
  • Sliced red peppers and purple onion
  • Provolone cheese
  • Artisan Bread from Target

First cut the bread in half and toast it in a puddle of olive oil on a hot iron griddle.

Next saute the peppers and onions on the same griddle until softened. Move them to the side and put the steak on the griddle with the marinade. Place the toasted bread face down on the pile of meat and vegetables to steam and keep warm.

After a few minutes, it won’t take long, build the sandwich by covering each slice of bread with provolone cheese. Add a generous pile of meat and vegetables and place the sandwich back on the griddle. Use a bacon press or an iron skillet to press the sandwich to flatten. Turn after a few minutes to brown on both sides.
Cut the sandwich into quarters while still on the grill and serve with balsamic vinegar for dipping.

October 18, 2009 Posted by | Sandwich | , | Leave a comment

Updated Mad Men 60s Style Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches were a staple of lunches and light dinners in the 60s. They are fast and easy. It’s something kids will eat—most of the time. Bread and cheese were almost always in the pantry, so it was a great go-to item in a pinch.

The recipe Mad Men’s Betty Draper, or her “girl” Carla might have served Sally and Bobby was likely made with Rainbow bread, Miracle Whip, American cheese and Oleo. Not bad, but not enough flavor for me these days.
So tonight I was in the mood for a grilled cheese, with a twist. Oh, my gosh! I had no idea this sandwich would be soooo tasty!

Here’s how I made it.
100% Whole Wheat Bread
Cranberry Honey Mustard
Provolone Cheese
Olive Oil

I bought the Cranberry Honey Mustard a few months ago for making homemade salad dressings. This was the first time I put it on a sandwich and it added the perfect zing to this simple grilled cheese sandwich. I will be using this a lot in the future.

First I put my old trusty iron griddle on the burner and turned the heat to medium. This old iron griddle—I think I got it at an estate sale—is about a foot square with shallow sides, ideal for turning sandwiches.

I started with a very generous layer of Cranberry Honey Mustard on two slices of bread. Then a double layer of sliced provolone. I slapped the sandwich together and sprayed the top piece of bread with olive oil and splashed the griddle with olive oil. I put the oiled side of the sandwich on the griddle and sprayed the top of the sandwich with more olive oil.

A few minutes later I cut it into eight little triangles and had eight little bites of creamy cheesy goodness with the sweet tart surprise of cranberry mustard.

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Sandwich | , | Leave a comment

Janz Catalina Mayo Turkey Sandwich

This blog has been dormant for a while, but it’s time to restart.
I’ve been eating fast food for lunch way too often the past few months so my plan is to refocus on homemade food and save money while avoiding unnecessary calories.

Even though turkey is a fairly plain lunch meat, I dress up this sandwich with veggies and flavors that give it a lot of texture and zest.

Here it is.

  • 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread, in a zipper bag
  • Romaine lettuce, just enough for one sandwich, in a fold-top sandwich bag
  • Small plastic container layered with the following:
  • Deli sliced turkey
  • Bread & butter pickles
  • Very thin slivers of onions
  • A few rounds of banana peppers
  • Half a dozen grape tomatoes (it’s all I had)
  • Small jar of Janz Catalina Mayo
  • I usually make turkey sandwiches with mayo on the bread and a drizzle of Catalina Dressing on top of the tomatoes, but when I assembled this last night I decided to combine the Catalina and mayo to make the prep easier when I got to work. I put about a tablespoon of mayo in a small jar (I think it was a 4 ounce deli mustard jar) and stirred in Catalina dressing until it tasted just right. It’s about equal parts of each.

    Viola! Janz Catalina Mayo. I don’t know why I never thought of this before. Added bonus: I don’t have to put a diaper on my sandwich to keep the Catalina from dripping down my shirt, in my lap… or (Nooooo!) on my keyboard! 🙂

    I put everything—except the bread—in the fridge when I got to work. When I got a chance to eat (I think it was about 2:30) I smeared the bread with Janz Catalina Mayo, topped it with turkey, pickles, banana peppers, onions and lettuce. Usually tomato slices go on top of the pickles and peppers, but grape tomatoes don’t make very big slices, so I popped them in my mouth while I put the sandwich together.

    Presto! Crunchy sweet, hot, and tangy all add up to a great tasting sandwich.

    Now that I think about it…

    • Jalapeno slices
    • A splash of Tabasco in Janz Catalina Mayo

    What do you think? Anything else sound good on this?

    August 18, 2009 Posted by | Brown Bag, Sandwich | , | Leave a comment

    Balsamic Ham and Salami Panino

    According to Wikipedia: A panino is a sandwich made from a small loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta (an Italian white bread). The bread is cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, meat, cheese or other food and sometimes served hot. A grilled panino is buttered on the outside and grilled in a press.

    Even though I used French bread, I’m calling this a Balsamic Ham and Salami Panino.

    • Turn the heat to medium high and put the bread face-down on the grill to warm while you slice red peppers and part of a purple onion.
    • When the grill is hot, saute the veggies in extra virgin olive oil. When the veggies are tender, move them to the side and throw on the salami and ham.
    • As the meat warms I sprinkle it all with Janz and toss it together with tongs to mix the flavors. Add a splatter of Balsamic Vinegar just before you put the sandwich together.

    To build the sandwich:

    1. Start with slices of Provolone on both halves of the warm bread
    2. Put strips of pepper and onion on top of the cheese
    3. Add layers of salami and ham
    4. Splatter the grill with a little more olive oil if needed and put the sandwich together on hot grill
    5. Press with a sandwich press* if you have one. If you don’t have a press, use the bottom of another iron skillet.
    6. When bottom of sandwich is brown, turn and press the other side. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese starts to drip down and sizzle on the grill.
    7. Serve with additional Balsamic Vinegar for dipping.


    *My “sandwich press” is actually a bacon press. I bought it new a few years ago. I think it just cost $3-4 at the time.

    June 7, 2008 Posted by | Sandwich | , , , | Leave a comment

    Sort of a Reuben—but not really

    The only thing like a Reuben about this is the sauerkraut.
    And it’s grilled.
    And it’s good.

    Turn the burner to the high end of medium before you start and the grill, or skillet, will be hot and ready when you are.

    Here’s what I had on hand:

    • Dark 100% whole wheat bread
    • Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
    • Provolone Cheese
    • Deli Sliced Pastrami
    • Sauerkraut, squeeze out all the liquid before adding it to the top
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil sprayed on the bread and on the grill

    The press is optional, but it will smoosh all the layers together and melt the cheese into the pastrami on the bottom and the sauerkraut on top.


    PS. The next day I wanted another one of these but was out of pastrami and provolone. I substituted Mozzarella cheese and deli ham and it was just as good but in a different way.

    June 7, 2008 Posted by | Sandwich | | Leave a comment

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