Sandwich Screw Up

Yesterday I was in a big meeting at Gluten-Free Living HQ and I received the familiar “ba-dink” from my Blackberry alerting me that I had a new text message. The only person who texts me in the middle of the day is my high school senior from whatever class she’s in and that’s a different problem altogether. Kids these days don’t ever pay attention to one thing at a time.

But, it was the lunch hour and since she has nine scheduled periods, she eats lunch in chorus so I apologized to Ann Whelan and looked at the text.

“I think you gave me the wrong sandwich.”

“Oh crap…” I texted back. Hardly a politically correct or maternal tone, but what she really was saying is that she got the turkey sandwich with the gluten-free bread and my celiac got the turkey sandwich on the loaded-with-gluten bread.

Two minutes later and there is another “ba-dink.” My other daughter happens to be in chorus as well and since both are Altos, they sit next to each other.

“Rach thinks its GF bread too.”

Now at this point, I’m wondering if I packed my celiac the Wheat Thins or the Pirate Booty and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. Did I switch up the entire lunch or just the sandwiches? I confirmed that my daughter had the Wheat Thins so at least my celiac had something to eat in his lunch.

I assumed he was smart enough to look at the sandwich and deduce that he had whole wheat bread there. But, when you are hungry, you tend to make rationalizations. I was really ticked off at myself because that’s just a really dumb error.

When my daughter walked in, I asked her if she ate the sandwich and she did. She said that it tasted pretty good and that it took her a while to decide if it was GF or not. I typically buy whole wheat bread for the rest of them, so the fact that it looked more like white bread tipped her off.

When my celiac walked in from school he was grouchy, not because he felt sick but because he was hungry! He did not eat the sandwich, took it out of his back pack and asked me what to do with it. He didn’t even eat the turkey from the bread.

I said chuck the sandwich and I’ll fix you a nice big, GF bagel with cream cheese. What a relief, I’ll take a grouchy, hungry celiac over a kid who made the wrong decision any day. And to Ann Whelan, who puts up with these interruptions during meetings…thank you.

Gluten-Free Success in the Kitchen

For my second try at real cooking, I decided to stay away from meat altogether and found a perfect sandwich recipe.

As I’ve mentioned before, my sandwiches are usually pretty simple – peanut butter on toasted gluten-free bread. I never put a lot of thought into lunch so I figured this sandwich could help change that.

The recipe for Arugla-Pear Focaccia Panini comes from Carol Fenster’s “1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes.” I think you can find a recipe for almost anything in this book – it has 700 pages!

I did adapt the recipe a little, something that I learned can be important from the last time I cooked. First, I used bread that I already had instead of making the Focaccia. I wanted something that I could make quickly so preparing a special bread wouldn’t have fit my goal.

Second, the recipe calls for a Panini press. I definitely don’t own one of those so I made the sandwich more like a grilled cheese with a little bit of cooking oil on a frying pan. Then I pressed the spatula down hard onto the bread to flatten it out.
Carol Fenster also suggests flattening the sandwich out by putting a heavy skillet on top if you do not own a Panini press.

But before all that I put the sandwich together. The recipe called for a little bit of spinach, Swiss cheese, very thin pear slices, red onion and a special spread (the recipe for the spread is in the cookbook) all layered between two slices of bread. After the sandwich was assembled, I put it in the pan on the stove for a few minutes, flipped it and cooked it for another minute or two. Overall it was a very simple recipe that did not require much more time than it does to toast bread and then put some peanut butter on it.

I did have to go out to get a few of the items because they were not all things that I had at home.

The sandwich tasted great and was not like anything that I have previously tried. I would never have thought of using pears with onions and cheese on a sandwich.
I would definitely make this sandwich again! Another lesson I learned is that I can create interesting and different meals that aren’t much harder than very basic things I’m used to. The key is just to get a little creative and think outside the box.
I know I have said I want to make healthy meals, but once I opened the cookbook I used for this recipe, I couldn’t resist some of the desserts. So that’s what’s up next!