Pan Bagnat Revisited

Today I wanted to share a sandwich that had been an old favorite  of ours quite a while back. I'm not sure why I quit making it but something inspired me to make it for our lunch this week. Wednesday evening I made a loaf of French bread in preparation for Thursday's lunch.

I cut the two butt ends off and froze them for later to serve with soup or a cheese course with dinner. Then Thursday morning, I began assembly of this sandwich called Pan Bagnat.

Here is a collage of the sandwich in the making.  Cut the bread almost in half,  Now liberally brush the inside with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and parsley.  At this point the layering begins.  You can use your favorite sandwich stuffers - each time it can be a different taste.


As you can see I first layered the shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses.  Next I added thinly sliced cucumber and tomato.  Then black olives and sliced hard boiled egg. I had a jar of marinated artichokes so they were placed on top.  What I forgot was the sliced onion and diced bell pepper.  Next time........

This makes an enormously fat sandwich which you can't possibly eat....unless you crush it.   Now you carefully put the top bread over all those ingredients.  See top photo on right.

Wrap it with plastic wrap to avoid oils seeping out.  Now wrap in foil.  When I got to work I placed the foil wrapped sandwich on a table and put heavy Florida Statute books on top.  It weighs it down so the sandwich is pressed and all those ingredients and flavors blend and squelch into the bread.

(Is that a word? Squelch?)

Hours later your sandwich is much thinner and easy to eat.  Bring a napkin because it's still juicy!  You can add turkey or anything you'd like per your taste preferences.  It's a great lunch - lots of carbs but you wouldn't want to have it every week.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday Series and Beth Fish Reads Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.



Bahama Mama and Nachos and a Kong

How naughty were we? Bahama Mamas and Nachos for our movie night dinner. Just a splurge and a good movie. Aja has her Kong filled with peanut butter - that bought us 5 minutes of zero begging so we could focus on our food.

Not that I would ever give her nachos. That's a sure fire trip to the vet for an expensive canine belly ache.

Bahama and Nachos

The "recipe" for nachos may be found HERE.

Bahama Mama Recipe

3/4 ounce (20ml) white rum
3/4 ounce (20ml) añejo rum
3/4 ounce (20ml) Myer's dark rum
1/2 ounce (15ml) coconut rum
3 ounces (90ml) unsweetened pineapple juice
2 ounces (60ml) fresh-squeezed OJ
1 teaspoon (5ml) grenadine
dash of Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Orange slice for garnish


Combine all but garnish, shake with ice, strain into hurricane glass & garnish.

So what else is new?  It's been very rainy here and so we are dividing our time between  watching DVDs, sitting in the den and listening to music or sitting on the patio for dinner and hoping for a fox sighting.

Old Séamus the fox has been a fairly regular visitor but we are worried about him now. He hasn't shown up in quite a few days.  Gray foxes live to be 15 years old on average so maybe Séamus was an old man.  We do see other foxes but he was special.

The movies we have seen lately are John Wick II and a series called The Syndicate.

The music has been Handel's Water Music and Mark Knopfler.

The reading lineup includes Living the Dream and The Secret Garden.  I am almost finished with Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker and enjoying it.

That's it for us - eating, drinking, reading and enjoying.  Updates on the camping goals and plans soon.

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

The Camping Bug may be back

Years back we used to go camping.  When Tristan was young we bought a very old pop-up camper - just to see if we would like going.  Both Doug and I had camped with our families when we were growing up and remembered enjoying it.

Tristan loved it.  This must be when he was about 13 years old thinking back.  We would go to Manatee Springs and play in the water, grill out, walk around and scope out campsites to ask for next time we went.  He rode his bike and swam, we played games in the camper at night and sat by a campfire other nights.  It was a blast.

Then we traded the "test-run" pop-up for a new one.  That was okay, it had a problem with the A/C leaking on the table but the trips to Manatee and St. George Island were fun. (For what it's worth, I wish I had thought of videoing the leak because Camping World never could duplicate that in the shop).

Next camper was a 27 foot Sunnybrook and that was sooooo nice!  In this photo we had it set up at St. George Island.  When the weather cooperated we could leave a window open and hear the sounds of the Gulf waters.

We spent one Thanksgiving  at St. George Island park and it was a good deal of fun. We were all surprised at how full the campground was, thinking for Thanksgiving it wouldn't be very popular.  What a great tradition - I would love to do that again.

Camping and stuff 020

Sadly, we are bad about balancing recreational pursuits and so, once a motorcycle was acquired, we pretty much abandoned camping to go riding every weekend.  Eventually we sold the Sunnybrook.

We still enjoy taking the Harley out for weekend rides but as retirement approaches, we have started thinking about long camping trips and seeing more of the U.S.  This took us over to Camping World last Sunday to nose around.

Check out this small camper called Hummingbird.  It's not huge and weighs little enough that it could be pulled with a Ford Expedition or Chevy Tahoe.  The SUV idea is better than a truck as Doug will bring his telescope and there wouldn't be room for that equipment and us in the Hummingbird.


We have not bought anything yet.  We are thinking this through and of course, we have to consider Aja.  Both shibas liked to camp when we had the Sunnybrook but there isn't too much room in the Hummingbird.  Lots to think about.  If my lottery ticket comes up a winner this Friday then maybe we can accommodate our latest dream.

If anyone reading is a camper could you tell me some good campgrounds in the northern part of Texas or New Mexico? :-)  I am starting a list of places already.


White Bean Soup for Souper Sunday

Soup can be loved no matter what the weather is like - hot or cold, soup is a healthy and often inexpensive option for a quick lunch. This white bean, spinach and tomato soup was made a while back and I just forgot o share it.

Taking soup for lunch is an easy and healthy option, even tastier if you have fresh bread to bring long.  This one was made from pantry items on hand, getting creative when you don't want to go shopping.

  white bean soup

White bean and Spinach Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

  • 2 cups baby spinach

  • 1 large tomato, chopped

  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Directions

    1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in thyme and basil until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    2. Whisk in vegetable stock, bay leaves and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Stir in orzo; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes.
    3. Stir in spinach and cannellini beans until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    4. Serve immediately.

    Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday Series.


    Stir Fry: A quick meal on a busy night
    {or if you need to raid the fridge close to payday!}

    Oh my gosh, what a long week it seems and it's only Thursday.  Tomorrow is payday (whoop!) We had a few extra expenses this time with Aja's vet visit,  Thermacell supplies (Thermacell is a total necessity in this mosquito ridden swamp), meds and vitamins and my love affair with wine and sushi.

    Wait - that last one shouldn't be an expense but you gotta treat yourself now and then, right?  I think so.  We have eaten out a few more times than normal lately too - that's unusual and whaddayaknow....we put some weight on.  Restaurant food is OK now and then but too much will add the pounds.  I'm not worried, we'll walk it off.

    So here is a meal that is super easy to make and cheap as well.  Instead of take-away it's Fake-away. Make your own Chinese Stir Fry at home for a fraction of the cost.

    This is one of the easiest meals I have tossed together - ever. Honestly, if you have some of these veggies on hand you should try it.

      Stir Fry

    Important lesson:  What I learned was the jarred baby corns can be very vinegary.  The brand I purchased  may have more vinegar than others and I will try a different brand next time.  Also, cut the amount of those corns in half.

    Stir Fry


    • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Broth
    • 2 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
    • 1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
    • 3 Tablespoons Peanut  or Vegetable Oil
    • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Cut Into Large Chunks
    • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Cut Into Large Chunks
    • 2 whole Garlic Cloves, Minced
    • 1 whole Medium Zucchini, Cut Into Large Wedges
    • 1 can (15-ounce) Baby Corn, Drained And Halved Crosswise
    • 1 head Broccoli Cut Into Florets
    • Chopped firm tofu (we like the grilled tofu in the produce department)
    Here's what you do:

    Mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

    Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the onion and pepper, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, stirring continuously so it doesn't burn.

    Add the zucchini and stir it around, cooking it for 2 minutes more then add the baby corn and broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes.  Here is an important part - while the veggies are still firm, pour in the sauce.  This sauce will be too thick at first so you will need to add water to it.  Be careful so the sauce doesn't thin out too much, stir it so it doesn't congeal or burn.

    This is perfect over rice or noodles.  I used rice this time but may try vermicelli noodles next time.  And less baby corns. 

    If you prefer to add chicken or beef you could do that, we just like the grilled tofu.

    Birthday Roundup

    Last weekend was fun.  But any time off is fun even if you don't have big plans.  I celebrated another birthday and it was perfect, even though I had to work half a day.  My boss let me go early so I got home in time to make a fresh loaf of bread for dinner.  Nothing like hot fresh bread!

    My dear friend Mary Margaret sent me this wonderful candle for my birthday.  Since we spend as much time as we can sitting outside for meals, this will be well used.  I didn't even notice it spelled out my name until we had it lit on the table. Thoughtful and creative gift!


    Since I picked the menu I went with an international theme.  Cuban Mojitos, sushi, fresh bread, cheeses and fresh strawberries.   The refreshing Mojitos went very well with sushi - especially when you get too much wasabi on a salmon roll.

    IMG_9680 IMG_9678

    Strawberries are in season here and they are juicy, nice and sweet.   Great evening, meal and company. We sat outside and waited for the foxes to come by and eat, plugged in the patio lights and lit candles.


    That's one of my favorite things to do in the evening - just sit outside, listen to the birds, watch the wildlife and chat with my thoughtful husband.   We make retirement plans, weekend plans, sip our drinks and give Aja treats.  Life is good.

     Sharing with with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

    Grilled Salmon with Orzo, Feta, and Red Wine Vinaigrette

    As I recovered from an illness my husband stepped up and did a whole lotta cooking. I was very thankful and well fed too! I did miss puttering around the kitchen but am happy to say I was able to contribute for part of this meal.


    This is a Curtis Stone recipe that is easy to prepare.  Doug grilled the salmon and I worked on the orzo and spinach portion.  The feta cheese really enhances the flavor of the spinach and tomatoes.  It was good.


     The recipe may be found HERE at Curtis Stone's website.  Now, the recipe for the Mai Tai is as follows:

    Mai Tai

    1 shot each of two rums.  (Appletones and Anjeo)
    1/2 oz. Cointrau
    1/2 oz. Orgeat
    1/4 oz. Simple Syrup

    Pour it over ice and add a little umbrella if you want to jazz it up.

    Sharing with I Heart Cooking Club and the Potluck theme and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

    The Squirrels vs. the Bird feeders
    and other updates

    I am recovering
    About two weeks ago I noticed a little scratching in my throat. You ever get that when you're in a room where people have been smoking cigarettes?  It felt like that.  Started off that way then progressed to a cough. A few days later I could do nothing but sleep, I must've slept on the 72 hours with only breaks to eat and sip some coffee. I don't know what it is but so many people at work seem to have come down with it and it evidently takes almost 3 weeks to get over. It takes all of your energy, I do mean All of it.

    But, the good news is things are starting to come back slowly and I'm getting an interest in looking at blogs again, reading again cooking. The appetite is picking up and I even indulged with a cocktail the other night.

    The Squirrels vs. the Bird feeders
    We have long been plagued by squirrel stealing seed from our feeders. We tried yelling, tried different sorts of feeders and we've even tried shooting them.  Doug recently read about someone who used an album.

    So far it appears to be a very good deterrent. It is not wedged on tightly so the squirrels don't seem to be able grip the album.  There are little paw prints on the album so I know they have tried.  As soon as weight is applied the record shifts and they can't get a grip.   Unless they figure a way to launch themselves onto the feeder, I think we have a solution. It's just an old Rolling Stone album anyway that we weren't listening to.


    Books:  I finished Peter Robinson's When the Music's Over and the classic book The Secret Garden. I planned to write about Secret Garden for British Isles Friday  but I devoted my short post to the bombing in Manchester England.   I wrote about that Here.   Seemed more appropriate in light of the tragedy.    People of all religions, as well as no religion at all, came together as a community.   

    We watched The Scorpion King, a good action movie that I didn't need to think too much about.  Fun stuff.  Now we are trying an old series called The Wire. So far we are enjoying it.  It's about the Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.

    That's it - I am on the mend and hope to see some of you soon!  Have a safe and fun Memorial Day.

    Chickpea, Cucumber, Tomato and Feta salad
    {It's a side dish but it's also a pita sandwich!}

    Last week my eating patterns were way off. Always happens when Doug leaves town....I seem to eat late and I usually just toss a meal together from leftovers in the fridge.  Ok, I did treat myself to sushi one day for lunch.  That was great.

    One evening I made my egg and rice stir fry and stayed up late to finish my latest Peter Robinson book. For dinner the following night I made a salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, olives and feta.  I stuffed a pita pocket with it and had a nice light dinner.  There was enough salad leftover to serve as a side with a Greek Shrimp Scampi for dinner once Doug was home.


    He had to go to Marathon in the Keys but it's not as great as you'd think.  Fly down for a meeting and then back again the next evening.  No time to enjoy that tropical part of our state.  To make things complicated, he couldn't get a flight back until near 11:00 P.M. and that means I drive to the airport late.  In the dark.  If your vision isn't great that can be a scary expedition so.....and this was probably stupid......I left super early and sat in the short term parking and watched a movie on my tablet!  Crazy, huh? :-)

    The following evening the good life begins when we can make a meal and enjoy it on our covered porch.  Sit and sip wine, talk, eat seafood and watch a couple of foxes eating the leftovers I leave on a tree stump.  I think our actual home could be smaller and we'd be fine as long as we had a covered porch.  It's just about the best room of all.


    Here is the recipe for the salad.  Obviously a recipe is more like a guideline so substitute where you like and make it per your taste.   Summer salads are always so good!

    Chickpea, cucumber, tomato and Feta salad

    • Ingredients
    • 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
    • 15 grape tomatoes, halved (about 1 cup)
    • 1/3 cup pitted  olives
    • 1 medium cucumber, sliced 
    • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or cut into 1/2 inch cubes

    • Dressing:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
    1. Place all salad ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano. Pour onto salad and toss again to well combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as you'd like.


    Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

     . SouperSundays

    Pan Bagnat Revisited

    Today I wanted to share a sandwich that had been an old favorite  of ours quite a while back. I'm not sure why I quit making it but som...