Showing posts with label airplane food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label airplane food. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Perfectly Delicious Tea Sandwiches, Ideal for Snacks, Dinner Parties and Picnics on an Airplane

Tea sandwiches aren't just for fancy tea rooms. They are easy-to-make and enjoyable for just about any occasion.  They look elegant, so they enhance a dinner party table. Easy-to-eat, they're ideal for afternoon snacks or picnics.



Usually made with white bread and also called finger sandwiches, the crustless sandwiches have fillings that can feature salmon, beef, tuna, crab, ham, chicken and cucumber. 

Fun to make, delicious to eat

When I'm working at my desk, a plate of tea sandwiches and a cup of hot coffee keep me happy all afternoon.

I have two favorites. One is made with chopped hardboiled eggs mixed together with finely chopped parsley, carrots and capers, flavored with mayonnaise, sea salt and freshly ground back pepper.


The other is as delicious as it is elegantly simple.

Thin radish slices are placed on buttered bread, seasoned with flake salt and freshly ground black pepper. For added flavor, I top the radishes with slices of homemade picked onions. 

On airplanes, I make a picnic lunch to counteract tedium and discomfort. After I'm settled into my too-snug seat,  I look for ways to make the experience more fun. I put on headphones, watch a movie and pamper myself with a meal of tea sandwiches.

No matter the turbulence, the discomfort of sitting too close to a stranger or the lack of leg room, when I'm snacking on my elegant sandwiches, I'm happy.

Quality above all

Tea sandwiches are only as good as the ingredients. 

Ideally the eggs and radishes come from a farmers market or a quality grocery store. Use sweet butter (unsalted), Best Foods/Heilman's Mayonnaise (my preference) and a good quality white bread. Marukai, our local Japanese Market, carries baked goods from MamMoth Bakery.  I use the bakery's thin-sliced white bread. 

Tea sandwiches can be as heavily seasoned as you enjoy, or, like the egg salad and radish sandwiches, lightly seasoned with flake salt (or sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper. 

Pickled Spring Onions

Spring onions are scallions that have matured in the ground and developed a fat bulb.


Thin-sliced pickled spring onions brighten the flavor of the radishes. Prepare them a week before use. Kept refrigerated in a sealed jar, the onions will last for months as their flavor evolves. Besides placing in tea sandwiches, serve the pickled spring onions with seared steak and roast chicken or added to stews.

Only use kosher salt that is additive-free like Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.

Ingredients

1 bunch spring onions, washed, root ends and discolored leaves removed

2 cups water

2 cups white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1/4 - 1/3 cup kosher salt, depending on preference

4 dried bay leaves

Pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Sterilize a large glass jar by boiling in water or cleaned in dish washer.

Leaving 2" of greens attached to the bulbs, cut off the remaining length. Place the bulbs and all the greens into the jar.

Stir kosher salt into water to dissolve. Mix together with vinegar. Add aromatics and olive oil. Stir well. Since the pickled spring onions will have the same flavor as the brine, taste and adjust seasonings by adding more kosher salt, vinegar or water as desired.

Pour brine into the glass jar. Make more brine if needed to cover the onions. Place into refrigerator for a week before using.

Thin-Sliced Radish and Sweet Butter Tea Sandwiches

These days, there are a great many radish varietals at farmers markets. If you like one of the exotic radishes available, use those. 



For me, a basic red-on-the-outside, white-on-the-inside, fat radish reminds me of the appetizers my dad liked. After a long day at work, he'd settle into his favorite easy chair, sip a Seagram's 7 and 7 and enjoy a pre-dinner plate of appetizers that often included radishes. 


My mom taught me to soak the radishes in clean, cold water for ten minutes. That loosens any dirt so the radishes can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.


Serve the radishes open faced or sandwich-style. Layer the radishes one-deep or pile them on as much as you like. 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 bunch radishes, greens and root discarded, soaked in cold water 10 minutes, washed clean of any grit

6-8 slices, thin sliced white bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons sweet butter

Flake salt or finely ground sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 spring onion bulbs, sliced thin (optional)

Directions

Cut the crustless bread slices in half or in quarters. Arrange them on a cutting board and butter them, assemble-line fashion.


Using a sharp knife, slice the radishes into paper-thin rounds.



Arrange the radishes on the buttered bread. Add sliced spring onion onions (optional). Season with flake salt and black pepper. Serve open-faced or as a sandwich.

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Use good quality, extra large eggs and fresh Italian parsley.


The egg salad can be spiced up by adding pepper flakes, curry powder or any spices you enjoy. I prefer a simpler flavoring.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

6-8 slices, thin sliced white bread, crusts removed

4 extra large eggs

1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, pat dried, finely chopped

1 tablespoon capers, drained, pat dried, finely chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Best Foods/Hellman's, taste and add more mayonnaise as desired

1 teaspoon kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Place eggs in a large sauce pan, add kosher salt and cover with water. Place on a high flame, bring to a boil  and cook 10 minutes. Drain eggs and cool with cold water.


When cooled, peel and discard shells.


Finely chop the eggs. Place in mixing bowl. Add parsley, capers and mayonnaise. Mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


If not used immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.


Cut the crustless bread slices in half or in quarters. Using a flat knife, spread egg salad on the bread. Serve open-faced or as a sandwich.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Egg Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Crisp Bacon


I keep connecting with an early childhood memory about summer days at the beach.

To get to the beach we'd drive a long time in our hot car and coming home, I was always sunburned, with gritty sand in my swimsuit.  The travel part wasn't what I liked, but the picnic lunch my mom packed sure was.

Fried chicken, potato salad, biscuits with butter and honey, watermelon slices, and egg salad.

My dad rarely came with us so usually my mom had a friend along for company while my sister and I splashed in the water, determined to annoy one another as much as possible.  After awhile we'd get tired. Then it was time to eat.

We'd load up paper plates and settle down on the sand watching the older kids body surf.  We didn't talk much but we'd share the moment enjoying our mom's food.

I don't know why but it's the egg salad I most remember.  Hers was a pretty straightforward affair.  Hardboiled eggs, some red onion, mayonnaise, a little salt and pepper.  Sometimes she'd add capers if she wanted to get all fancy.

I don't get down to the beach much these days, but when I travel and know I have to endure the long lines at security, a cramped airplane cabin, and no food service, I bring along a couple of egg salad sandwiches. Nothing is more comforting at 30,000 feet.

Egg Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Crisp Bacon

Starting with my mom's basic recipe, I've added grilled vegetables and freshly chopped parsley for color and flavor. Crisp bacon bits makes the egg salad really good. The bacon strips can be cooked first but better is to mince the raw bacon and saute the bits. That way, each bacon bit is nicely browned and holds a uniform shape.


Yield: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

4 farmers' market fresh large or extra large eggs
1 large carrot, washed, ends trimmed, peeled
1 ear of corn, tassels and husk removed, washed
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, washed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, finely chopped
2 strips of bacon, finely chopped, sauteed until crisp, drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots or scallion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

I like to put the eggs into a pot of cold water, turn the flame to medium-high, and cook them for 30 minutes. Many people say that's way too long but it works for me. The yolks come out flaky, the whites dense. Rinse with cold water, take off the shells, and roughly chop.

Slice the carrot into flat slabs about 1/4" thick and 3" long.  Toss in olive oil seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.  Do the same with the ear of corn.  Grill until lightly browned all over or oven roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn frequently to avoid burning. Let cool.  Finely chop the carrots. Remove the kernels from the cobs.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped eggs, carrots, corn kernels, parsley, shallots, and crisp bacon bits. Toss. Season with sea salt and black pepper.  Add the mayonnaise and mix well.

Serve on bread, crackers, or lettuce leaves.

Variations

Add 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped

Omit the bacon

Add 1/4 cup finely chopped, pitted olives

Roast 2 garlic cloves, tossed in olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and pepper until lightly browned, peel off the skins, finely chop the soft garlic and add to the egg salad

Add a dash of tabasco or a dusting of cayenne pepper for heat

Friday, April 23, 2010

30,000 Feet in the Air and You're Really Hungry

I'm packed and ready to fly to Seattle this morning to attend Starbucks' Coffee College. I know, it's a little late to go back to school but you can never know too much about coffee, Seattle, or Starbucks.

Something about being on a plane makes me very hungry, so I always brown bag it. Today's breakfast meal is egg salad with bacon sandwiches. And a Fuji apple.

My first post on Zesterdaily is about food to bring with you when you fly. Please take a look and let me know what you'll be making for your next trip.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Down and Out in London and Paris

I'd love some advice. I'm taking a trip this coming week to London and Paris to write a piece about upscale business travel. It's been many many decades since I've been in either city. In the meantime I've been clipping newspaper and magazine articles but that's not the same as personal recommendations.

If anyone has a favorite restaurant, farmers' market, specialty market, park, art gallery, museum, public space.....etc. that you think I'd be crazy not to visit, please send me a note.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Flying on the American Plan, Bring Your Own Food

Tomorrow we're taking our son, Michael, on a college tour of East Coast colleges: Lehigh, NYU, BU, Northeastern, Tufts, and Wesleyan. It'll be exciting for him to walk around the campuses he's been reading about. We'll fly from LAX, rent a car and take a road trip from Philadelphia to Boston. Packing for a plane trip these days means not only clothes and something to read, but food. Only a few years ago, the idea of making food for a plane ride would have seemed obsessive. Not that the meals in Coach were ever very good--the vegetables were usually overcooked, the meat dry, and everything was over-salted--but all the airlines served meals that included a salad, a roll with butter, a hot entree, and a piece of cake. Those were the good old days. Now you're lucky to get a bag of peanuts or pretzel bits. Trying to capture a sighting of the elusive "in-flight meal," airlinesmeals.net posts photographs sent in by passengers from around the world.

When we were at a friend's birthday party last week, I caught up with Carlin Benjamin, who has a unique perspective on good dining. When she was a young woman, she was a West Coast Eloise, living in the splendor of the Ambassador Hotel. The other guests were the rich and famous, politicians, and movie stars. Currently writing a book about growing up in that Privileged Age, Carlin draws on her incredible memory and describes in great detail the culinary pleasures of an earlier period. When I told her we were traveling to the East Coast, she sent me a mouth-watering description of the menu served in the Pullman Dining Car, as it traveled from Los Angeles to New York. I don't envy how long that trip took, but I certainly would have liked to try the food.
Around 1888, Fred Harvey and Santa Fe decided to include dining cars on some of their trains. Mr. Harvey asked my grandfather to set up the Santa Fe dining car system. The idea was to give guests the feeling of a traveling hotel. An example of a menu from the Pullman Dining Car "Alhambra" out of New York includes all of the following for $1.00. Hard to imagine how all this cuisine could come out of a train kitchen.
Mock Turtle soup, Consommé Victoria, Salmon a la Chamborg, Parisienne Potatoes, Boiled Beef Tongue, Boiled Chicken with Egg Sauce, Roast Beef with Browned Potatoes, Roast Leg of South Down Mutton with Current Jelly, Young Turkey with Cranberry Sauce, Salami of Duck, Banana Fritters with Port Wine Sauce, Roast Saddle of Antelope with Current Jelly, Lobster with Mayonnaise, Lettuce Salad, Spanish Olives, Chow Chow, Pickled Onions, Girkins, Boiled and Mashed Potatoes, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Stewed Tomatoes, Squash, French Peas, Succotash, Mince Pie, Apple Pie, Coconut Pudding, Fruit, Cakes, Ice Cream, Roquefort and Edam Cheese, Bent's Crackers, Cafe Noir.

The practice of offering a fixed price for an entire meal was known as the American Plan
Since the airlines have abandoned us, we have to provide for ourselves. In just a few minutes you can assemble good snacks for the plane: fresh fruit, cut-up carrots and celery, sunflower seeds, trail mix, a selection of candies and cookies, and some good teas. Sandwiches are good too, although on a long trip, they can get soggy. After a lot of experimentation I discovered a simple salad that holds up well on the long flight.

Chopped Parsley Salad

Lettuce wilts, but Italian parsley doesn't. Grilling caramelizes the broccoli. The carrots add crunch. The feta and avocado pull the other flavors together.

1 bunch Italian parsley, washed, dried, stems removed, finely chopped
2 carrots, washed, peeled, finely chopped
1 bunch broccoli, washed, stems cut off, florets separated
5 radicchio leaves, washed
2 scallions, washed, ends trimmed
10 olives, oil curred or split green, pitted, finely chopped
1 small avocado, washed, peeled, finely chopped
¼ cup feta, crumbled
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon reduced balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the broccoli florets, whole scallions, and radicchio leaves into a mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, toss to coat well, then grill on a bbq or roast in a 350 degree oven until browned on all sides. Be careful not to let the vegetables char.

Remove and let cool. Roughly chop the scallions and radicchio. Put all the vegetables, feta, and chopped olives in the bowl. Finish with olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. Toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. Put equal amounts in two pint-sized deli or Ziploc lock containers. Seal well. Pack forks and napkins.

Serves 2. Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 10 minutes.

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