This blog has existed for over a year! Can you believe it? I can, and I can’t. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been working on it for over 52 weeks now, but when I look back at some of my first posts, it’s noticeable that all of the practice has improved my photography. When I look at the recipe page, too, I can’t believe that I’ve made and shared so much and so many different types of food, but I also can because I think about how I haven’t had the month of pizzas, or the month of quiches, or the month of the same dishes repeated over and over again for quite a long time.
All in all, I’m really happy that I’ve stuck with this whole blogging thing. I wasn’t certain that I’d stick it out. Recently, I’ve been stressing because I just can’t post as much as I’d like to– culinary school keeps a girl busy– but I keep remembering why I do this: It’s fun, and I like it. Hopefully you can bear with me. It seems like summer is pretty hectic for everyone, and everyone wishes they could lounge by the pool or sit on a porch and sip a cold drink all day every day instead of all the real-life things we have to do. Alas, let’s all take a little two second break and think about that porch with a rocking chair and lemonade and calming breeze right now.
Okay, back to the hot, hot heat and cold, cold office AC.
This is a sandwich that I really love. It’s inspired by (really the same) as a torta (ie sandwich) from a Mexican restaurant in Raleigh called Centro. I don’t really go to Raleigh anymore since I left my office job, and I’ve been craving some of the restaurants that I’d go to for lunch on the few days that I didn’t pack one. Instead of driving, though, I opened my fridge, and now I recreated one of the missed dishes.
A torta is a kitchen sink meal. Chipotle mayo, avocado, roasted vegetables, cheese, tomato, onions, lettuce, jalapenos and refried beans are piled into hollowed out ciabatta, and the results are magnificent. It is fresh and packed with flavor. You can prepare it so the vegetables and beans are hot, but they’re just as good when cold. Whatever you do, you need to make this, though. It’ll probably fall apart, some layers might poke out from the bread, and you might end up with food all over your face, but you’ll be grinning the whole time. The homemade version tastes exactly like the restaurant’s, but instead of looking a mess in public while eating it, you’ll get to keep the beauty in the confines of your home.
For roasted vegetables:
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ pound (1 medium) yellow squash, sliced into ¼ inch circles
½ pound (1 medium) zucchini, sliced into ¼ inch circles
1 green pepper, sliced into ¼ inch julienne
For refried beans:
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small yellow onion (about ⅓ cup), diced small
1 small garlic clove, minced
2-14.5 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
For chipotle mayo:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped finely
1 to 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from chipotle pepper in adobo can
2 ciabattas, cut into 5×5 inch pieces, sliced and inner bread removed
iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, sliced
purple onion, sliced
sliced, pickled jalapenos
cheese, sliced, (cheddar, queso blanco, or monterey jack work well)
1. For the roasted vegetables, measure olive oil onto a half sheet pan. Add a big pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper. Dump the sliced vegetables into the oil mixture, and toss with your hands until each piece is lightly covered. Roast in the oven at 400F for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
While the vegetables cook, prepare the refried beans and chipotle mayo.
2. For the refried beans, pour one big glug (about 1 tablespoon) olive oil into a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the diced onions and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the onions are translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic to the pan, and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Dump the beans into the pan, stir them around, and then cover with a lid. Cook about 5 minutes, until heated through, and then mash the mixture with a potato masher, pastry cutter or a fork. Season with a pinch of salt. You might want to thin the refried beans, so keep a cup of water next to you. Mix in a little bit of water while mashing until you reach the desired consistency. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.
3. For the chipotle mayo, in a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, chopped chipotle peppers and adobo sauce.
Now onto assembly:
4. Lather on a healthy layer of chipotle mayonnaise onto the hollowed-out bottom half of ciabatta. Add toppings in the middle however you’d like, but I suggest spreading a big spoonful of refried beans onto the top hollowed-out half and then pressing 4 jalapeno slices into the refried beans. My prefrered order for the toppings from bottom to top is chipotle mayo, avocado slices, roasted vegetables, cheese, tomato slices, a few onion slivers, a handful of shredded lettuce, and then slapping on the top bread that is already filled with refried beans and jalapenos. Once each sandwich is stacked in it’s glory, it’s time to eat.