If I had to pick my favorite food in the world, it would be sandwiches. No, I am not getting more descriptive than that. I am picking a category as my favorite food and there is not much you can do about it. I love the sandwich; it is the perfect vessel for almost anything. Its bulky carb-loaded exterior only makes me love it more.

Sandwiches are the chameleons of the food world. They can adapt to your mood and palate and satisfy what whatever culinary need you have at the time. Almost anything I can think of can go on a sandwich or goes with a sandwich and many foods already come in sandwich format: the breakfast sandwich, ice sandwiches. When you think about it, a layer cake is pretty much a big delicious sandwich. Two halves of moist cake like bread sandwiching a sweet usually fruit laden filling.

Sandwiches options are endless. When you combine the number of types of available supporting exteriors with the number of types of available filling interiors, the exponential possibilities could fill a million Olympic sized swimming pools. (Disclaimer: I am not a mathematician. This illustration is merely conjecture on my part and nothing more unless you have access to a million Olympic sized swimming pools; then we shall talk).

For example, take a grilled cheese sandwich. With the amount of cheeses and type of bread out there, you could live on different types of grilled cheese sandwiches for at least a year, I would think. And if you add tomatoes or basil or bacon or tomato sauce or apples or whatever to the mix you could add another 6 months. You could sustain yourself on different types of grilled cheese alone for many years; infact many children and college students do. And while this might not be a viable option for you, you have to appreciate the fact that it exists.

Yes, the world is full of  sandwiches and what a wonderful world it is.

Salmon SandwichesSalmonSandwiches

Adapted from Yum

These salmon sandwiches are awesome. The flavors of the marinade really work well with the fish and come across in the sandwich. It is a perfect summer dish that doesn’t take much time. We marinated the salmon for about 5 hours. We also used a regular French bread loaf. I would probably use Ciabatta as the original recipe suggests because the French bread was too chewy for the salmon and some of the taste was lost. We also left the capers off. Overall the meal was great and I cannot wait to make it again. The salmon would also work sans bread but why wouldn’t you want to have a sandwich if you could.

1-1.5 lb. fresh salmon

Marinade:

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

1/2 c. soy sauce

3 T. balsamic vinegar

1 T. mustard

1 t. salt

1 t. pepper

2 T. Worchestershire

12 or so garlic cloves, crushed

Garlic Lemon Mayo:

1/3 c. mayo

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1-3 garlic cloves (I use 3) pressed in garlic press

Ciabatta bread

Romaine

Sliced tomato

capers and lemon wedges to garnish

Whisk marinade ingredients together and place in zip-lock bag. Add salmon and refrigerate to marinate. 30 minutes to 24 hours. Turn oven to broil and broil salmon until dark on top and meat is done to your preference about 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of fish.

While salmon is broiling, combine mayo, garlic and lemon juice. Mix well. Toast ciabatta pieces and spread with mayo mixture. Top with romaine, tomato, salmon and capers. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on right before serving.

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If you have found yourself wondering what cliff the Cynical Chef drop off of in the past month and a half I apologize. I promise the void that has been my blog has been for a good reason. The time that I had previously been spending cooking, delicious cream filled, cheese laden, cinnamon and sugar dusted recipes is now being spent sweating profusely, begging for mercy, and realizing that no matter how long you walk on the treadmill you are still moving in one place.

That is right; the Cynical Chef has taken her lethargic butt to the gym, complete with a sadistic trainer, this is going to be a long journey but a fulfilling one. What does this matter to you? Well hopefully, you care about my well being and incase, I am being too assuming of your fondness for me, the recipes I will be posting in the future will have a healthy foundation. There will still be treats and cheater meals mixed in, which is why my trainer doesn’t have the web address, but my focus with primarily be on healthy cooking and living.

One thing you can still expect are the trials and tribulations of my kitchen and more importantly, the place I affectionately call Hell but most people call the gym. For example, the recent decision I made to attend a Step Class. Now, I am not sure what circuit shorted in my brain that made me think my clumsy, ungraceful, 6’3″ body could manage this class with ease, but nevertheless I stood in front of my plastic alter praying for mercy. I did not find it.

Twenty minutes into the class, the instructor spoke of a move called “Around the World”; I am not going to bother explaining how to perform this maneuver because no one ever should attempt it. I followed her instructs to the tee, stepped up on my step and somewhere around China, I completely lost my footing. I fell off my step backwards praying that I would be the only causality and fell into the very fit and very tiny woman next to me. She fell and took out the girl behind her and then a couple more fell. What did I do? I promptly removed myself from the carnage, realized that my ankle was bruised and had to wait for my trainer to carry me from the room.

What did I learn from this you ask? That group exercise is not something I should be participating in (the trainer actually suggested this lesson) and skinny ladies go down easier than a string of dominos.

Flank Steak Sandwichesflank-steak-sandwichs-032a1

This came from mine and Alex’s head. You can also serve this on a multi-grain roll but today was our cheat meal and a French baguette is what we wanted.

Grilled Flank Steak Ingredients

1 Pound Flank Steak

Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Paprika

Cumin

Sandwich Ingredients

Lettuce

Tomato

Baguette

Garlic Aioli

Grilled Red Onions

Grilled Red Onion

1. Cut the ends from the onion and peel the outer layer from the onion.

2. Cut the onion into ¼ inch slices.

3. Brush the onions with olive oil. Use less than one teaspoon of olive oil for the whole onion.

4. Place the onion on the grill over medium heat. We use a vegetable metal tray for the grill but you can place directly on the grill or on tinfoil directly on the grill.

5. Cook about 6-8 minutes on each side until caramelized and delicious.

Garlic Aioli

1. Combine tablespoons of low fat mayo, a pressed clove of garlic, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper into a bowl. Spread the aioli on the baguette. You can also use as a dipping sauce for the Onion Rings.

Flank Steak

1. Trim the excessive fat from the flank steak.

2. Pound the flank steak with a meat tenderizer for 15 seconds on each side. Remember to pound the meat evenly. You are doing this since we are not marinating the meat to ensure tenderness.

3. Season the meat with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. This is really to taste. If you like more of one spice than the other; feel free to use more.

4. Place the meat on the grill over Medium/High heat. Cook 7-10 minutes on each side or until you reach your desired level of doneness.

5. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes,

6. Cut the meat on a bias in thin slices.

Assemble the sandwich with the grilled red onions, 4 to 5oz of flank steak, garlic aioli, lettuce, and tomato. Enjoy!!!

Alex and I rate these sandwiches a 10. They satisfied our desire for an unhealthy meal in a healthy way and the Oven Baked Onion Rings are a great compliment to the sandwich.

Oven Baked Onion Rings From Life’s Ambrosia

Serves: 4flank-steak-sandwichs-017a

You will need:

  • 2 large onions, peeled,  sliced into 1/4 inch slices, separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, granulated garlic, pepper and kosher salt. In bowl beat together eggs and milk. In another bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese.
  2. Place the onion rings into the plastic bag and shake to lightly coat. Dip into egg wash, drain off excess. Dredge in panko and Parmesan cheese mixture to lightly coat. (Note: The onion rings may not be completely coated, that is okay.)  Repeat process until all onion rings are coated.

To fry:

  1. Heat 1/2 inch canola oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, (Note: if you have a thermometer it should be 365 degrees, if you don’t have one, sprinkle a few pieces of the panko and if they sizzle its hot enough), fry the onion rings in batches, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or they will get soggy.  Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan over the top if desired. Serve.

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Lay the onion rings in a single layer not touching each other. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Turn and bake 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan, if desired. Serve.

We oven baked these rings and found that additional time was needed. Even after 20 minutes on one side, they were still not golden enough to flip. After a few minutes under the broiler on each side, we were good to go. I rate these onion rings a 7; they were good but not great but it did help satisfy that craving.