Fire in The Triad, Battle Poulet Rouge

G’evening eaters!

I’ve got a pretty lengthy post for you tonight so I’m going to skip to chit chat. Believe me, you’re not missing anything.

So yesterday was Leon and my 3rd anniversary. We’ve never celebrated an anniversary before, so we wanted to do something special. Luckily, we found just the thing.

There’s currently an Iron Chef-type competition series going on in NC. I think it started off in the Wilmington area as an extension of the Got To Be NC campaign to promote locally produced goods and businesses. Well, it spread all throughout the state and last night we were lucky enough to snag two tickets to the last preliminary competition of Fire in the Triad.

The way the competition works is that each night two chefs from the area compete against each other. They find out the secret ingredient — which is a locally produced food — at noon and, together with the two sous chefs they each get to pick, they use whatever they find on a fridge/pantry truck to cook three courses each, highlighting the secret ingredient. Then everyone in attendance gets to blindly taste all 6 courses and vote.

Doesn’t that sound freaking awesome?

Oh it was!

Last night the two chefs competing where Chef Kristina Fuller from the Bistro at Addams Farm and Chef Chris Russell from B. Christopher’s. And the secret ingredient was Poulet Rouge, a heritage breed of chicken from Ashley Farms, the place where every restaurant in town gets its chicken.

(Oddly enough, Chef Kristina worked for Chef Chris when she was in high school and for years after.)

First course:

Sweet onion & crawfish cornbread crouton, poulet rouge confit, applewood smoked heirloom tomato chutney, sweet & spicy chipotle Dijon cream sauce.

I didn’t taste a hint of crawfish, but the sauce was delicious and the chicken was cooked well.

Second course:

Duck fat infused poulet rouge leg arancini di riso, dried fruit compote, roasted fig demi-glaze.

This left a lot to be desired. The arancini was fine, though a little bland and there wasn’t much chicken. But the compote and demi-glaze were such a bad pairing. Both of them tasted like something that should have been served on ice cream, not something savory and fried.

Third course:

Fried poulet rouge, brown sugar sweet potato soufflé, savory collard greens, fig & currant barbecue sauce.

I loved this! The breading on the chicken was ah-maze-ing, as was the sauce. I actually ate the collards, which is saving something. My only qualm was how heavy and almost flavorless the sweet potatoes were. They damped the other flavors and really coated your mouth a bit too much.

Fourth course:

Slow smoked poulet rouge wellington, andouille mushroom duxelle, goat cheese mashed potatoes, lobster chow chow.

This was everyone’s favorite dish of the night. The goat cheese really made the mashed potatoes and added a much needed dimension of flavor. The wellington was done wonderfully. I would have taken the lobster out of the chow chow. The chow chow was good, but the lobster didn’t fit. Also, what was supposed to be a chicken gravy turned out to be just reduced chicken broth.

Fifth course:

Apple basil ice cream, spiced candied pinenutes, five spiced poulet rouge chicharrons with basil ginger sauce.

I was not expecting dessert. Even more so, I was not expecting to love dessert with chicken. The ice cream was wonderful. The basil sauce really kicked it up a notch. And the chicken chicharrons — fried chicken skin — was subtle, but definitely added something.

Sixth course:

Sweet jalapeno cornbread muffin, honey maple pulled poulet rouge confit, meyer lemon mousse, and sweet guava browned butter sauce.

The only thing that worked on this was the sauce and the mousse.

After we were done stuffing our faces and casting our ballots, each chef came out for a brief chat. We also found out who made which course.

Chef Kristina made courses 1, 3, and 5. Chef Chris made courses 2, 4, and 6.

After finding that out I knew exactly whom I wanted to win. And luckily, after only another minute or two of suspense we found out that….

Chef Kristina won!

I was so thrilled for her. Not only was her food phenomenal, but she was the first female chef to win in the Piedmont Triad tournament. (Whoop whoop, lady power!)

Yup, it was a really great night. Great food. Great conversation with the other people at our table. A great value ($49/person for 6 courses!). And a beyond great anniversary.

What do you think, eaters:

Would you ever go to an Iron Chef-type competition?

What’s a secret ingredient you would hope for? And what would you hope wouldn’t get chosen?

G’night eaters!

Peanut Butter Puppy!

‘Ello eates!

Yesterday I thought I was on such a roll with blogging and work and Crossfit and socializing since posting my Serenity Mantra. But then I had a glass of wine with dinner, fell asleep as soon as I laid down in bed to watch TV, and woke up sometime after 1am to Leon hitting me in his sleep because he was dreaming about protecting us in a post-Apocalyptic city. Thus, I didn’t blog.

But I have found serenity and am moving beyond it.

Breakfast #1:

I forgot to take a picture, but you know what a carrot dipped in pb and half a liter of water look like.

Crossfit:

We did Angie on Monday, so I was expecting something more towards heavy lifting yesterday. Nope, we got Fran.

My first Fran.

I did the thrusters with 50 lbs (RX for women is 65 lbs), and did a pull up that was half jumping, half kipping.

Time: 9:52.

I’ll take it!

Breakfast #2:

My Really Extra Awesome smoothie with spinach instead of kale and pb instead of avocado.

We were in need of groceries in a painful way, so I slurped this down while finalizing my meal plan. It actually held me off longer than the Original. And of course, I let Charlie, the pb-loving puppy, lick the dirty spoon.

Lunch:

Have I mentioned that I love leftovers? Yup, I do.

Leftover beef pho.

(Side note — We don’t have a microwave, which is something I never thought I would have been able to live without. For those of you that are maybe thinking of ditching your microwave, would you be interested in a how-to post?)

Snack:

String cheese and a pluot.

It’s so nice to have food in the house. It’s especially nice when that food was super cheap thanks to sales and coupons.

(The string cheese was originally $4.99 each, but were on sale 2/$7 and then I had a coupon for $3 off 2, so I got 2/$4, which was less than the price of one. Booyah!)

Dinner:

Despite freezing a bunch of squash and zucchini in various forms, we still have a good bit of fresh left to eat through. So I made a small pot of Bolognese sauce and covered some zucchini noodles in it. I would have taken pictures, but spaghetti and sauce isn’t terribly appealing looking.

Thank goodness Leon likes them.

Your turn, eaters:

Do you use coupons?

How often do you use your microwave?

Later eaters!

Lindley Park Filling Station

Hiya eaters!

I’m in an absolutely wonderful mood right now (I’m writin this in the morning, so let’s hope this mood continues throughout the day).

And the main reason I’m in such a great mood is because of Crossfit!

Today we did a benchmark WOD — Angie — that I’d done in June, which meant that I could see if I’ve made progress.

And oh boy, did I ever.

Angie

100 pull ups

100 push ups

100 sit ups

100 squats

In June I scaled the pull ups to 50 ring rows and the push ups to 50. I finished in 22:16.

Today I scaled the pull ups to 75 ring rows and the push ups to 75. I finished in 20:48.

I shaved almost a minute and a half off my original time while still adding 50 reps.

Yup, I’m beyond jazzed!

And to keep the good vibes going, I’m going to tell you all about the lunch that Leon and I had on Thursday.

We both had the morning off work/school, so when lunch time came around we decided to be indulgent and check out another of the restaurants in our neighborhood — Lindley Park Filling Station.

This place is always hopping on the weekends when we’ve walked down to Emma Key’s for burgers or Best Way for beer, so they must be going something right, right?

Well, they’re doing a lot of things right.

We started with a beer each. I went with a favorite of mine — Sweet Water 420 IPA.

Leon went with his “Thursday beer” — Natty Greene’s Buckshot.

They didn’t have a ton of beers on tap, but the ones they did have were good.

Also good was their outside seating. They had a nice patio area for eating (that they’re getting fans for in a week or two!) and a picnic table area for drinking. There was also space for a live band.

(The inside seating area wasn’t that great looking, so I’m curious to see how they do during the winter.)

After sipping and chatting for a few minutes, we cracked open the menu. Not only was there dozens of options for salads, burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers, but everything was named after a street or area in the Lindley Park neighborhood.

How cool is that?!

I went with the Wright Avenue:

Open faced pulled BBQ pork melt, Swiss cheese, slaw, on Texas toast (which I swapped for wheat bread), with a side of sweet potato chips.

Leon got the Tremont:

Ham or Smoked turkey, honey mustard, Brie, and lettuce on a baguette, with a side of fries.

(FYI — I have no idea where Tremont or Wright Avenue is. I need to explore the neighborhood more.)

Both sandwiches were fantastic! The pork was so good, but I think the BBQ sauce made the sandwich. The honey mustard on Leon’s was super grainy and not overly sweet, which played nicely off the Brie.

And of course, I would have liked a little more salt and pepper on the fries and chips, but honestly, when wouldn’t I?

Both Leon and I agreed that we’ll definitely be back to the Filling Station, probably for dinner and drinks to see what all the buzz is about at night.

Your turn, eaters:

What was the last great sandwich you had?

Do you partake of the occasional midday beer?

G’night eaters!

Serenity Mantra

Hi eaters!

I know I skipped out on you again Thursday. I’m really sorry for this.

I do hate to be so flighty.

And actually, my flightiness and inconsistency lately is what I want to talk about.

This could be a metaphor, right?

Lately, things have been pretty hit or miss in my life. I either make it to Crossfit and work my ass off or I don’t go at all. I either eat balanced, regular meals or I snack and skip and stuff my face with too many animal crackers. I either sleep a solid 7 hours a night or barely get 5. I am either incredibly, “I might cry at any minute” stressed or I blow off everything and lay in bed all day.

And while I certainly don’t see any reason why occasionally going to these extremes is a bad thing, I’d like to live more in the middle.

(Of course I want to live in the middle, that’s balance, which we’re all striving for constantly.)

When I really started to think about the idea of living in the middle the first thing that came to mind was the Serenity Prayer.

(A book I’m reading for class has a story line about alcoholics, which is probably why this little bit popped into my head.)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

I’m not a religious person — I actually like to consider myself passionately indifferent about religion — so it’s a bit odd that I’ve been reciting this little ditty to myself for the last couple of weeks. But when you really think about the words, they’re amazingly fitting.

When striving for this wonderfully healthy, happy, fulfilling life that we all want there will be times — plenty of times! — when things are out of our control. There will be times when we just have to throw our hands up and go with it, despite our best intentions.

There will be times when we have the ability to make the best choices, but not always the desire. This instance occurs every time we really have to think about that morning workout or that cupcake, but also happens on a much larger, more important scale regularly, too.

It takes a lot to be able to tell the difference between when we really can’t help a situation or when it would make us happier in the short term to not help the situation and then to act accordingly.

So yeah, maybe it’s not so weird that I, a person who is passionately indifferent to religion and works in a Christian clothing store, have been muttering those three little lines to myself for weeks now. Though, in my head, I call it the Serenity Mantra and the lines go a little differently:

Let me find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

What do you think, eaters:

What life mantras do you find yourself repeating?

What’s one thing you’re going to work on that will get you closer to that wonderfully happy, healthy, and fulfilling life in the middle?

I’d really love to hear your answers to both. Support and encouragement is always a good thing.

G’night eaters!

WIAW: 16 Hour Day

HI eaters!

Today is going to be another very long, very busy day. So I’m trying to frontload it with coffee.

That’ll work, right?

And since I’m busy and tired and stressed today, I figure it’s only fitting that I show you my eats from another day that I was busy and tired and stressed this week.


5:30 am:

Pluot, sunflower seed butter, and half a liter of water.

Fruit and fat works for getting me through an early Crossfit session, so I’m not planning on changing it anytime soon.

Exercise:

GNC chocolate egg protein and half a liter of water.

Skill work was the balance snatch, which for some reason I had a lot of trouble with. The WOD, though, was tons of fun.

5 rounds:

5 deadlifts

5 hang cleans

5 push presses

5 front squats

It was fast and challenging and each round could be done seamlessly, so it was like a game.

Breakfast:

Eggs scrambled with some leftover rice and beans from a Qdoba burrito bowl and some chips.

Leftovers are awesome. And I have to say, Qboda’s chips are way better than Chipotle’s. (But everything else of Chipotle’s is better.)

Lunch:

Cracked pepper deli meat, a pluot, and sunflower seed butter.

This came after a minor freakout.

Also add in there some cookie dough and a cookie.

Mama Pea's zucchini chocolate chip cookies.

Snack:

I took a carrot and a single serve packet of Justin’s Maple Almond butter with me to work, but I didn’t get a picture of either.

Dinner:

Slow cooked beef with lettuce, homemade babba ganoush, and homemade pita bread.

This was waiting for me — with a beer — when I got home. Having a boyfriend who can cook is ah-maze-ing.

By the time I got home from work I’d been on the move for over 16 hours. Today is looking more like 11 hours, which really is a huge difference.

(Side note — I know there are undoubtedly people out there who work 12 and 16 hour days regularly and you totally get my respect.)

Hopefully, I’ll handle the stress a little better.

Your turn, eaters:

What do you eat on days when you’re crazy busy?

How do you keep your energy up for a long day?

Later eaters!

PS — Thanks to Jenn for hosting this link up party, especially when her husband got home from a 7 month leave and she definitely wants to be spending all her time with him.

Crossfit Shoes!

‘Ello eaters!

Thanks for putting up with my angry/frustrated post last night. Today was a much better day. (Of course it was, I only had one class and no work!)

One thing that made the day pretty darn great was that I finally bought new shoes!

I have wanted to get more Crossfit-specific shoes since I started, but I’m cheap and had perfectly good (running-specific) shoes so I held off. For the last couple of weeks, though, my legs have been feeling more beat up than usual, so I figured it might be time to get new shoes.

I also had a coupon for $15 off a $50 purchase from Dick’s that was about to expire, so it was definitely time to use that.

Before I went a-shopping I did my research, though.

Based on reviews and suggestions from my #Fitfluential peers I had my eyes on New Balance Minimus and Reebok Nanos.

The top middle and the bottom middle.

Luckily, Dick’s had both models in stock so I grabbed a pair of Nanos and two different types of Minimus.

The blue and yellow, but in a different color.

Then I got down to the business of looking like an idiot.

I jumped up and down.

I ran forwards and backwards.

I did box jumps onto the benches. (I’d say it was about a 15” box.)

I did bodyweight cleans.

And then I eliminated the Nanos.

Can you tell how wide the toe box is compared to the rest of the shoe?

Between the extremely large toe box and thick sole, I wasn’t crazy about them.

The large toe box encouraged me to jump more from my toes, which is an issue I already need to correct in my Olympic lifts (where you’re supposed to give a hard jump from the heel). I could see how it would be helpful to encourage more front striking (hitting the ground with your toes/the ball of your feet instead of your heel) in running, but that’s not an issue I have.

And the thick sole felt like it would have the same power-dampening effect in my jumps as my running shoes.

So then it was down to the two Minimus — the 3090 and one that didn’t have a number, but had Vibram soles.

This is where things got tricky.

Both shoes were great, but for different reasons. Both had drawbacks, too.

The 3090s (the green ones) felt snug and secure, but also felt a little squishier than I would have liked. The Vibram Minimus (the pink ones) were very minimal and had a nice hard sole, but the toe box was big and they came up too high on the ankle.

The 3090s felt like a more minimal version of what I’m used to. The Vibram Minimus felt very minimal and more like what I think I should use.

Ya see my dilemma?

Then I realized that all the squishiness of the 3090s was in the insole, which could very easily come out.

I've never had pretty sneakers before.

Sold!

I wore them out of the store and haven’t taken them off since. I am so freaking jazzed for Crossfit tomorrow.

I’ll give you all an update in a couple of weeks to let you know how they’re treating me. But for now, I am very happy with my newest gear purchase.

Your turn, eaters:

Do you like sport-specific gear?

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to test out shoes?

G’night eaters!

Angry Zucchini Cookies

Hi eaters!

I’m exhausted to no end.

Over the last two days I’ve gone from living it up like a single lady on summer vacation to trying to balance classes, homework, work, being a girlfriend, working out, all my awesomeness, and the normal things that are necessary to sustain life.

I got 5 hours of sleep last night and have been up for 18 hours without a break.

Can “stressed” even begin to cover it?

Yeah…

So today when I came home for what should have been a three hour break full of a Zone-balanced lunch and baking some Beyond Bitchtastic Brownies only to find that we didn’t have ANY protein or cocoa powder, I threw a bit of a tantrum.

I yelled and slammed cabinets and didn’t cry. (Luckily, no one was there to witness this lovely display of adult-ness.)

Once I was done acting like a spoiled toddler (which was ironic behavior for the first day of my senior year of college), I decided to get proactive.

I hand grated my anger away.

I dirtied a lot of dishes without regards to the fact that I would have to wash them.

This wasn't even all of them.

I ate cookie dough while watching “Workaholics.”

Two spoons means I was double-fisting cookie dough.

I realized that I over worked the flour and forgot the vanilla.

Vanilla is for bitches.

I decided that I really didn’t give a damn anymore.

(Yeah, I’d crossed over the threshold from thinking I could still make the day wonderful and productive to just wanting to make it till the end.)

I ate a bunch of cookies* without regard to Zone blocks or imperfections.

Thank-you, Mama Pea.

These cookies didn’t make the day sunny and wonderful, nor did they magically give me an extra couple of hours of sleep, and they also didn’t get me off work early or out of homework, but Leon did wash the dishes and for once I wasn’t eating the chocolate chips straight out of the bag. So really, things were looking up.

Not to mention that they used an entire zucchini, which is good considering that Leon came home with what looks like a lifetimes supply of zucchini and summer squash.

Get ready for an endless stream of zucchini recipes. (And hopefully far fewer of these “I’m stressed and cranky and bitter” posts.)

Your turn, eaters:

How do you handle stress? I’d love some tips.

What’s a funny 22-minute sitcom on Netflix that I can watch next? I’m done with 30 Rock, the Office, Workaholics, and Scrubs.

G’night eaters!

*FIY — I made these with whole wheat pastry flour, a chia egg (1 T chia seeds + 2 T water), 1/4 c Earth Balance and 1/4 c coconut oil, and ~3 T sugar. And they are AWESOME.

Puppy Toy Treats

Hiya eaters!

It’s been a long day and for some reason I feel like I’ve been sweating the entire day.

That was random and unrelated to tonight’s topic.

Anywhoo, let’s talk about my dog Charlie.

I love him.

First, he’s the most awesome dog in the world. Yesterday he picked up a stick that was twice his length and carried it for several blocks.

Second, he’s very attached to both Leon and I. Anytime Leon and I are standing close to each other, lying in bed, or kissing, Charlie has to get in between us. It’s pretty cute and only mildly annoying sometimes.

So needless to say, Leon’s absence hasn’t been too easy for him, and that’s not just because Leon is better at indoor fetch than me. He spent the majority of the first three days that Leon was gone on his giant beanbag bed like he does when he’s waiting for one of us to come home at night.

Of course I wanted to cheer up my baby puppy, but no amount of walks or cuddling seemed to do the trick.

Enter: the Kong toy.

These little nubs are made of hard rubber, perfect for big chewers like Charlie. And they’re hallow, so you can put a treat in and your dog will go crazy for hours trying to get it out.

And Charlie abso-freaking-lutely LOVES it!

The only problem is the whole treat thing.

This was $1.99.

Sure, they sell treats specifically for Kong toys, but they’re expensive. They also make Cheez-Whiz-type things that you squirt in, but I really don’t love the idea of that stuff getting schmeared all over the house. The schmear-ability is also why I probably won’t ever try out the recipes on the Kong website. And none of the treats we have for Charlie really fit.

So, because I have a lot of free time on my hands, I took matters into my own hands and made him some Kong treats.

Now before you go thinking I’m the greatest dog owner in the world, you should know that I made the treats out of random bits of less than appealing vegetables that were hanging around in the fridge and the pb with sugar and oil.

I used about half a dozen slightly soft carrots, 1/3 of a sweet potato, and some broccoli stalks. You can use whatever fibrous vegetables you have on hand.

It’s okay, though, because I don’t think Charlie is watching his carbs.

(Right now he’s actually licking his butthole, so I highly doubt he’s too picky.)

And don’t feel excluded if you don’t have $12 to spend on a rubber dog toy, because these treats can be enjoyed sans Kong.

Peanut Butter Vegetable (Kong) Toy Treats

~3 c vegetables, slightly steamed

½ c pb

2 T oil/lard/shortening

1/3 c flour

1 c oats

Puree everything in a blender/food processor until smooth. Spoon puree into a pastry bag/plastic bag with the tip cut off with a wide opening. Pipe out a line ~3” long and a little more than ½” wide.

Bake in a 350F oven for 40-45 minutes then let cool completely before feeding to your dog or putting in a Kong.

These little things work great.

They fit nicely in the bottom hole and don’t fall apart. They’re hard enough that Charlie doesn’t get his treat without putting in at least a little time.

Oh, and did I mention that this recipe makes a ton?

Yup, from less than an hour of work you get almost half a gallon bag full of dirt cheap puppy toy treats. And a very content puppy.

The only thing better is someone else picking up puppy poop. But Leon will be home on Saturday to do that, so these are pretty much the tops.

Your turn, eaters:

What kind of toys does your dog like?

How much are you willing to spend on a pet toy?

G’night eaters! 

WIAW: Not Balanced At All

G’day eaters!

So I’m going to be honest — this whole Leon being out of town thing isn’t super awesome.

Sure, I am enjoying the independence and productivity (I never realized how much time I spent hanging out with Leon that could have been spent on thinking about but deciding not to clean), but I would like him to come home.

Does that make me a pansy?

Because Charlie definitely misses Leon, and he may squat when he pees, but he’s no pansy.

Anyway, enough personal talk.


Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, spinach, and salsa, and a peach with sunflower seed butter and nutmeg.

I had every intention of waking up for the 6am Crossfit, but I went out for laundry drinks on Monday night, so Crossfit got canceled for me. And instead, I made a delicious breakfast.

Exercise:

I decided to kill two birds with one stone by taking Charlie to the woods trail on campus with m’friend Peach. We walked and sniffed for 2 slow, hilly miles. And now I really need to find more ways to incorporate exercise and socializing.

Lunch #1:

Reduced sodium Spam, a carrot, a spoonful of pb.

I needed a little something before my haircut, especially since I had big plans to spend some time at the coffee shop across the street trying to make a dent in my summer reading.

Lunch #2:

Snicker cheesecake with extra chocolate and caramel sauce and a small coffee.

Oh yeah, I went there. But I kind of justified it by saying that cheesecake had more fat and protein and fewer carbs than regular cake. So it was almost healthy, right?

Don’t tell me if that logic is wrong. I don’t want to know. (And in my head I said that in a Liz Lemon voice.)

Dinner:

Shock Top's WIPA.

Leon may be gone, but that doesn’t mean I have to take a break from pizza and beer.

Mehh pizza.

Unfortunately, the flax-almond crust wasn’t too great. It had the same texture (and even kind of the same taste) as when my mother used to accidentally burn banana bread.

Blehhh.

Dessert:

An unpictured spoon of pb.

Yup, that about wraps up a day of weird, not very balanced, sporadic eating. It certainly could have been better. And it probably would have been better had I exercised or had some semblance of structure to my day.

But I’m okay with that.

Your turn, eaters:

How does your eating change when your day is structure-less?

Cheesecake/tortes or regular cake?

Later eaters!

The Brat-Face Beast

Hiya eaters!

I did something special today — I got a haircut!

For some reason I have an issue spending money on things like haircuts and clothes and stuff like that. Sure, it’s part of my life everyday, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose the same way buying food (or flowers!) do.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, I haven’t gotten a haircut since…December, I think. And I was going to put it off a little longer, but when the ratio of split ends to non-split ends in any given lock of hair swayed too far too the split side, I decided enough was enough.

So I got the same haircut I’ve been getting since I was roughly 13. Fun, right?

Please excuse the hipster photo and Dorothy Ham hair blow out. I'm not always like this.

(FYI — My dog just rolled over in his sleep and has the hair equivalent of bed head on his butt. I think that’s a sign that he’s too lazy.)

But enough about my hair (even though it’s ah-maze-ing and soft and styled for the first and last time until I get it cut again), because that’s not the only single lady stuff I’ve been up to.

No, I also made a sandwich.

For as long as I can remember I’ve lusted over the humungous sandwiches that Ashley and Stephen (over at (Never)Home Maker) create. They’re big and juicy and layered with flavors. And I want to eat each and every one of them.

But I’ve always shied away from creating my own big, beautiful sandwiches because 1) Leon wouldn’t really consider it dinner food, and 2) there’s an art to making a quality sandwich.

  • A sandwich should be a complete meal (with MAYBE a side of chips, fries, fruit, or salad, but really, those are entirely optional).
  • It should be constructed in a way that it doesn’t fall apart.
  • All aspects should be made fresh (aside from sauces and spreads) and then assembled immediately before consumption.
  • Fresh bakery bread should almost always be used.
  • There needs to be at least two textures and three flavors (bread included).

Ya see eaters, that’s a lot of work to go into a sandwich, especially if it’s going to be lunch.

But since Leon is away and I get to indulge my every little whim and fancy, I made a sandwich. A damn delicious sandwich.

A sandwich that I have named…

The Brat-Face Beast

Sausages are great. Sausage fests aren't.

And if you can guess from the name, it’s all based around a delicious (local pork) bratwurst.

Step 1: Prep the layers.

Slice 4-5 <1/4” thick slices of sweet potato, lightly coat them in oil and chili powder, and then roast them in a 400F degree oven until crispy around the edges.

Cook the brat, which I did by heating a pan with ~1/4 c water to medium heat, adding a brat, and covering it until the water is gone. Then remove the cover and brown on all sides. Once browned, let the brat rest off the heat for a few minutes before slicing it in half long ways.

Slice a piece of ciabatta off the loaf, wide enough to fit the brat, and then cut it in half.

Slice off enough cheese to fully cover one side of the ciabatta.

Step 2: Assemble.

Step 3: Grill.

Ghetto-tize me captain.

I want a Panini press, but until I get one, this method worked well enough (I guess). Use what you have, as long as the bottom piece of bread gets crusty and the cheese is melted throughout.

Step 4: EAT.

I.Love.You.

This is messy, but it doesn’t fall apart.

There are way more than two layers of texture and three layers of flavor.

And once you eat this big brat-y baby, you won’t have room for any unnecessary and distracting sides.

In other words, this is a damn glorious sandwich.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s your favorite sandwich topping?

Grilled/toasted or cold?

Later eaters!