Saturday, February 9, 2013

Italian sandwiches

I have lived in New Mexico since 2006 and I think I have adapted pretty well to the climate, the food and the general way of life.

Sometimes I do miss life in the east, however. I lived in New York for most of my life; I grew up in a suburb of New York City and the Bear and I lived in a smaller city in the northern part of the state after we were married; the LB was born there.

I think it's the food I miss most. I often try to find foods similar to my favorite eastern ones but it can be difficult. I especially miss bagels and pizza. We have those here but they just aren't the same. Of course there are many things I love about this part of the country so it balances out, but you can't really help food cravings

Last night, I made Italian sandwiches, or what we called Italian "subs" where I grew up. This is a sandwich traditionally made with cured Italian meats, cheeses, oil and vinegar, fresh and sometimes also pickled vegetables, on crusty Italian bread. It's easy to find these sandwiches made-to-order in an Italian deli in the east but harder here, so I make them at home instead.

This time, I used some delicious Italian meats I found at Trader Joe's, which is the best grocery store ever, in my humble opinion. We have one just a five-minute drive from our house and I'm there every week. They had this fancy-looking packaged meat assortment, containing salami, prosciutto and capicola, one meat which is very difficult to find in this area. I also bought a package of sliced provolone cheese. I typically prefer to buy these foods freshly sliced, but they were really nice.


I added sliced tomato, lettuce and bottled Italian salad dressing at home. I would have liked to use plain oil and vinegar like a traditional Italian sandwich usually has, but I was concerned that the small Bears would find the vinegar harsh so I went with the sweeter stuff.

For the bread, I bought one of Trader Joe's par-baked "Filone" loaves. I love to buy the par-baked bread because you can have fresh bread straight out of the oven when you want it; just pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes and it's crusty and delicious.

I sliced the bread horizontally to make two long halves and then started stacking the meats and cheese on the bottom half, topped with lettuce and tomato and then spread the dressing over the other half of the bread. I sliced the sandwich into six thick pieces.

We ate our sandwiches with homemade minestrone soup left over from earlier in the week when I made it for dinner. At the table, we added roasted red peppers (from a jar) to our sandwiches and some (the Bear and LB) also added mustard. I went for some marinated artichoke hearts (also from a jar) on the side with my sandwich.


It was a very tasty meal. I got my Italian fix, for sure. The meats were excellent, as good as any I've tried freshly-sliced. The Bears liked it too; the LB devoured his portion and asked for more. He and the Bear probably ate two-thirds of the sandwich between them. Both small Bears are fairly adventurous eaters but I'm never sure which foods will be a hit. This worked for the LB, though; he filled up and asked me to save a small portion for his lunch today. The GB ate much less, due to her lingering illness, but she did eat all the meat and cheese from her slice.

Tonight, if the GB is feeling well enough, we may try a new Mexican restaurant nearby. Her fever broke yesterday and we could use a trip out of the house. We have heard only good things about the restaurant and I have definitely learned to enjoy many of the foods of my adopted home. But let's be real here - I love food, full stop.

6 comments:

  1. There must be much bigger regional differences to food in the US than there are here in the UK, but it's a much bigger country so I guess that makes sense! Your sandwich looks amazing, and your kids are such good eaters! My eldest is pretty good but my youngest is a fussy, picky eater.

    Gillian x

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    1. The regional differences here are incredible and I didn't that until I moved to the southwest. I only lived in the east before that; I was born in Atlanta, where my parents were living for a few years for my dad's job, grew up in New York after they moved back there, went to college in Massachusetts and then lived in Syracuse in upstate NY after we were married. Moving here was a huge adjustment in so many ways. Thank you, the sandwich was so good. I had made similar ones a couple of times in the past but now that I found that meat, I want to make it more often. They are very good eaters, knock on wood. I think A will grow out of some of his pickiness as he gets older.

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  2. Hi Jennifer,

    Your meal looks great. I live in Central IL but grew up on the Chicago area. I know the exact subs you mean. Yumm. Looks like you did a good job of replicating one pretty closely. I would try vinegar and oil with just a sprinkling of oregano on one. Wow I am starting to get hungry just thinking about it! Have a nice Sunday.

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    1. Hi Softie! Aren't they good? I bet there is excellent Italian food in your area too, especially in Chicago. I have always wanted to visit there. I have flown through Chicago before and gotten Garrett's popcorn in the airport, Chicago mix, which was delicious. Hope you're having a nice day. :)

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  3. Oh.. that sandwich looks good! I remember a long time ago I worked in downtown Portland and a New Yorker opened a Sub Shop and it was like that with the Italian dressing drizzled over it. Yum! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious! I could go for that right now. :)

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