This year for Steven's and my birthdays, we
Ham and Butter Sandwich
Salami, Pastrami, Spinach and Cream Cheese Sandwich
Bread and butter
Seattle rolls: smoked salmon and cream cheese sushi rolls
Cold noodles: a must since noodles are a Chinese birthday tradition! long noodles = longevity
Cheese and meat platter: white Stilton, danish blue, cheddar, Parmesan, salami, prosciutto, pastrami, ham
Crackers, grapes, and raspberries
White wine and mango lemonade
I first tasted a ham and butter sandwich at Le Fournil, a wonderful French bakery in the Seattle area. It was so simple and delicious. It's really important to use good butter, bread, and ham since the flavors of the sandwich are really subtle and clean, the ingredients will really shine. I used some Kerrygold Irish butter; this is the butter I couldn't get enough of at the cheese festival. After reading comments on Jaden's post about bread and butter, some other recommended brands are Lurpak, a Danish butter, and Presidente, a French butter. Just don't use any old regular brand, splurge for the expensive stuff! It's sooo worth it to indulge! And don't you dare use "I can't believe it's not butter" because I can believe it, and it's not butter. ;) After some Googling, ham and butter doesn't seem like a popular combination but it always struck me as a classic French sandwich. Maybe fellow French food bloggers/readers can offer some more info?
Ham and Butter Sandwich*
A section of crusty baguette cut in half
2 - 3 oz. of ham, about 3 - 4 slices
1 Tbsp high quality butter
1 - 2 tsp Dijon mustard
Spread a thin layer of Dijon on one slice of bread, and spread butter on the other slice. Layer with ham and close the sandwich. Cut in half and serve somewhat chilled.
The butter will be hard to spread if it is chilled so wait for it to warm up a little to soften so it's easier to spread. Then chill the sandwich to chill the butter.
The idea of salami and cream cheese in a sandwich came from Everyday Food. I had never thought of pairing cream cheese with anything other than preserves or smoked salmon, but this sandwich was truly delicious. The salami and pastrami are very flavorful meats, the cream cheese added a luscious, creamy smoothness, and the spinach is a rich green that holds its own in this robust sandwich. Don't skimp on the cream cheese and no buying reduced fat! You can't go wrong with Philadelphia, my favorite brand.
This sandwich, featuring the very healthy spinach, will be my entry for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, a fantastic event created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, and hosted this week by Susan of Food Blogga. Food fact: After cooking the volume of spinach will decrease by 3/4. Spinach is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, bone building nutrients, and other healthy compounds. Eating your spinach will help prevent cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis, delay loss of mental function, prevents and even reverse macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.
Salami, Pastrami, and Spinach Cream Cheese Sandwich*
2 slices of bread or a section of crusty baguette cut in half
3 - 4 slices of salami
2 - 3 slices of pastrami
A handful of baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp softened cream cheese
Optional: 1 - 2 tsp Dijon mustard
Spread a thin layer of dijon on one slice of bread (optional). Top first slice of bread with a layer of salami, followed by pastrami, and then a thick layer of baby spinach leaves.
Spread the cream cheese on the second slice of bread and close the sandwich. Cut in half and enjoy!
*The quantities are really estimations, since I made the sandwiches without measuring the ingredients exactly. If you like more meat feel free to pile it on or if you really like cream cheese or butter, like me go, ahead and add more! :)
For more pictures:
Regrettably many of the zoo pictures turned out too blurry and I'm not a big picture taker at the zoo to begin with. The red panda was awfully cute though! The butterfly house was very nice also.