The Story of the Epic Sandwich

~By the Charming Mr. K

So Elise was recently complaining to me how, while all wonderful, all the good bloggers were women.  I immediately offered to rectify the situation by offering my services through the outlet of a guest blog post. (Her version might differ slightly, and involve me pathetically bragging about a sandwich I made over my Twitter until she felt bad enough to offer me the chance to tell the epic tale.  All lies.)  Given this opportunity, I figured I would talk about an incredible sandwich I made, which has no relation to the curried chicken salad sandwich in Elise’s made up version of events.  Photographs are few and not of high quality, but here we go…

Over the past several months I have started baking my own bread.  I use a recipe i saw about 4 years ago while reading Mark Bittman’s "The Minimalist’ column in the New York times, which we got for free in college.  While doing a crossword puzzle in class, I happened to see a bread recipe claiming to be not only incredibly simple but also the most delicious ever.  since it was not ramen I did not make it then, but once I decided to make the move to baking bread I looked it back up and proceeded to give it a try.  This was my fifth loaf, and each has improved over the last.  I use a big red dutch oven type pot, and lots of wait time to let it rise.  This particular batch was cooked on new years eve, mainly to provide my party with the homey smell of baking bread.  I toasted the last pieces and used as the bookends of epic sandwich.

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I have also been on a stock making kick for the last 6 months, making several batches of vegetable and chicken stock from recipes from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, freezing them, and using them for soups, paellas, casseroles, any dish that could use a kick of homemade deliciousness instead of boring store stock.  Tonight I made chicken broth using a whole roasting chicken and a few other ingredients, and the meat for epic sandwich came from the breasts and thighs of the stock meat.  Not the most flavorful, which is why it makes a good chicken salad.

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I have always been a big fan of curry, and the opportunity to make my own curry powder happened last year while attempting to make an Indian themed dinner for Elise and her friends.  Having some leftover spices from that endeavor, I modified a basic muchi curry powder to give it a bit more spice kick and depth of flavor.

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The last piece that was homemade in this sandwich was the mayonnaise.  I have attempted to make it before with poor results, so was ecstatic when it didn’t break but instead was creamy and delicious.  My arm was quite sore from all the whipping with my woefully inadequate mr egg mini wire whisk, but in the end i was delighted with the results.  Now it is time for some actual recipes.  basically all of this is adapted straight from Mark Bittman, with the mayo making technique seen courtesy of the fabulous show "Avec Eric".
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Chicken Stock: (cooks the chicken for you and now you have delicious stock to use/freeze!)

1) combine ingredients in a stockpot: 1 chopped celery stick, 2 chopped carrots (unpeeled), 1 bay leaf, 1 chopped onion (I used yellow and didn’t bother to peel), 1 parsley cube (these things are pretty awesome!), and 1 whole chicken, butchered.

2) add about 14 cups of water, bring to a boil.

3) drop to a low simmer for about 45 minutes, skimming off foam when needed.

4) squeeze chicken into broth, then strain out into containers for use later. pull meat off bones for use in something else.  the flavor is pretty much gone, so that is why something like a chicken salad is advantageous as you are giving it flavor from elsewhere.

 

Mayonnaise:

1) separate an egg, put yolk in a small mixing bowl. Elise would tell you to do this in a separate dish first, I would say be daring and just go for it.

2) add a medium spoonful of mustard. I used a French Dijon, this is traditional.

3) whisk the hell out of it to get an emulsion. (as a scientist, I sort of geeked out on making this.)

4) start adding a cup of oil, i used 1/2 EVOO and 1/2 corn, but any neutral oil works.  just do drops as first and keep whisking, you don’t want it to break! as you get further on you can add more and more at a time.  this is hard for me as my right hand is pretty worthless at carrying out tasks, even simple ones like pouring, but with a little work I got it to whisk into a nice, firm emulsion.

5) add some salt and pepper to taste, then a tablespoon of some type of acid, I used balsamic vinegar but you can use lemon juice, sherry vinegar, lots of different stuff.

 

Curried Chicken Salad:

1) combine ingredients

chopped apple- I used a little over half of a green apple, cut into roughly cubic centimeter sized cubes and tossed into a delightful old mixing bowl

shredded chicken- used way more than recipe called for, both breasts and most of both thighs from my stock chicken, I had cut these off the body before and just pulled it apart with my fingers and threw in the bowl.

curry powder- again, I like spice so used quite a bit, about 25 mL (thats about 1.5 tbsp for you silly non-metric users) of my modified curry powder. this got tossed into bowl with chicken and apple.

mayonnaise- called for three tbsp, I just tossed in about 3 and a bit spoonfuls, figured i should use a bit more because of the extra chicken.

2) mixed together

I used my hands, feel free to use a spoon or something if that is gross.

3) put on bread and devour.

So I toasted the bread, put the chicken salad in between, and ate.  and thus ends my story of how epic sandwich was made.

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