Slightly less Random Ramblings

January 16, 2010

Sandwich to SAVE THE WORLD!

Filed under: cooking, environment — Robert Wicks @ 4:46 pm

Much of the hubub about global warming/sudden climate change seems to be around people becoming vegans, or at least vegetarians. While I am by no means an environmentalist, I did come up with something which may help appease a bunch of neurotics do my part to save the Earth. Of course, we all love the earth. After all, we live here. Some of us love the earth like we love our grandmothers. Some of us prefer a bit more carnal relationship. In light of this, I will mention a couple of tasty options in addition to the basics.

One of my favorite things to grill are mushrooms. Mushrooms on a charcoal grill add a lot to dishes and work well as a quick snack. Sliced and served cold, they work well in sandwiches, which is what I have here. First, get mushrooms which are big enough to not fall through the grill. I usually go for plain brown mushrooms, but not the full grown portabellas, since the stems have to be discarded or used elsewhere, being too chewy for a sandwich.

You will need:

  • Charcoal grill. I like Weber.
  • 3-4 bell peppers. Pick a color, any color.
  • Mushrooms. I usually cook an entire grill full of them at once.
  • 1 bottle of zesty Italian dressing
  • Sliced provolone cheese (optional)
  • Your favorite deli meat. (optional)
  • Lettuce. Pick the variety you like, but if the variety you like is iceberg, you’re wrong. You might as well shave ice from an iceberg and put it on a sandwich. You’ll get something cold, crunchy, and flavorless either way. I go for Romaine, usually.
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced.

Remove the seeds and stem from the peppers. Use a dry brush to remove the dirt from the mushrooms. In a 1 gallon sealable bag, mix the vegetables with the bottle of dressing. Sit it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, get read to grill. Put the peppers on direct heat to start out. You want to sear the skin on them so that it is easy to remove. Keep the mushrooms away from direct heat. Cook the whole thing for about 90 minutes. If you have the grill at very low smoking temperature, you can keep them on it for 3-4 hours.

After cooking, scrape the outer membrane from the peppers. Not only will the membrane make biting into the sandwich difficult, it is also where the pesticides are most concentrated. Tree huggers won’t have to worry about that, but the rest of us might as well. Chill the peppers and mushrooms. Once chilled, slice them in the something you can easily fit between two slices of bread.

As for bread, anything works. I like Italian bread, in keeping with the theme. Put some washed lettuce and sliced roma tomatoes on the sandwich. Since the vegetables were well-marinated, there is no need for condiments, but if you would like some freshly cracked black pepper, be my guest. The non-vegans get to have cheese. The non-vegetarians get meat, too.

Enjoy this sandwich, secure in the knowledge that you are contributing your small part to eliminating global cooling global warming sudden climate change.

September 28, 2009

My Favorite Collard Greens

Filed under: cooking, southern food — Robert Wicks @ 2:01 am


A bunch of collard greens. I literally mean a bunch, as in how they are sold fresh in a grocery store, or an entire plant, if you are one to pick your own.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (a little more if you like)

3-4 smoked turkey necks or fatback or strickalean, if that’s your cup of tea. Cut the oil in half if you use either of those.

Large pot with lid (3 gallons or so)



2 packets of Sazón Goya

1-2 Tablespoons of good honey

Cut and wash the greens in the sink. Wash them at least twice to get all the grit out. Heat the pot on medium heat. Add the oil to the pot and allow it to heat for a minute or so. Put enough greens in the pot to fill it to about 4 inches from the top. They should sizzle. Stir the greens into the oil, steadily adding greens until the entire bunch is in the pot. Stir them to coat them in the olive oil. Add enough water to almost cover the greens. Add the turkey necks, the Sazón Goya, honey, and a tablespoon or more of salt to taste. The amount of salt that different people like in greens varies tremendously, so don’t be surprised if you use much more salt than this. Stir everything up, set the heat to low, then cover it and let it simmer. The traditional way would be to simmer them for about 40 minutes. You could use far less water and simmer them for only 20 minutes for a different sort of dish. I tend to go for the long simmer, which is how my family always did it. Serve with hoecakes (also called hot water cornbread).

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