At Last, the Toronto Sandwich–and a New Computer
[Your basic Toronto Sandwich, loaded with avocado slices, hummus, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea and pea flour wrap.]
My, it certainly does feel like a while since I’ve posted here! As I already mentioned earlier, my relic of a computer, which I’d been using for longer than I care to admit (let’s just say it was almost the same age as Alec Baldwin’s new wife), finally bit the dust last Tuesday, and I’ve spent the past several days (a) hopelessly–and unsuccessfully–trying to fix it; (b) tracking down a Computer Guru who could possibly help me; (c) lugging the lifeless computer carcass (which probably weighed more than Alec Baldwin’s new wife) to the Computer Guru’s office; (d) waiting helplessly while he tried to fix a couple of nasty viruses; (e) subsequently purchasing a new computer from said Computer Guru; and, finally, (f) waiting helplessly while the CG salvaged what he could from the old computer corpse and set up the new one for me.
What I didn’t realize, however, was that new computers don’t come fully loaded with all the same programs I used to use–and that some of those programs, in fact, are no longer even available with my new, up-t0-the-minute machine. So please bear with me while I learn about how to use a new photo editor (GIMP, which was recommended to me by my friend Cara--if my photos come out half as lovely as hers, I’ll be thrilled!) and try to relocate all my old bookmarks, which were, sadly, lost. Luckily, many of the programs I use are web-based, so I’m hoping the transition won’t be (much more) painful and that you folks will hardly notice.
Uslhoik lsoeh s”dhe hslsl dhoe ‘sd;pj dkkdjdj ls’ldkjjk &&& LLL js‘kjl ;supeoe’; djljs
(Ooooops. Looks like I still haven’t mastered every little change on this thing.)
[Is that Daiya I see on that TO sandwich? Why, yes, indeed, it is! I finally decided to give it a try. Here, paired with mesclun mix, grape tomatoes, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea-pea flour wrap.]
In any case, I’ve been chomping at the bit to tell you about this latest favorite food in the DDD house! (I’ve been chomping at the sandwich, too, of course). What seems like ages ago, I first mentioned this Toronto Sandwich on my DDD Facebook page. I’ve consumed almost a dozen of these lovelies, with different variations, since I first threw one together as a way to use up a collection of disparate ingredients in my fridge. What I ended up with was a light lunch or brunch dish that I adore, and one that’s über easy and quick to pull together (start to finish–on the table–takes less than 10 minutes).
As anyone who’s wandered through Yorkville, or visited the Eaton Centre, or meandered through the Beaches, or strolled along Harbourfront knows–Toronto is an international city. When you live here, you quickly grow accustomed to seeing a variety of pairings on the streets: Korean gentleman promenades arm-in-arm with Trinidadian gal; Texas cowboy lopes alongside Japanese Bubble-Tea sipper; Russian blonde model drapes herself over Iranian-born boyfriend. Along with inter-generational couples, couples from different social strata, couples who share the same sex and couples whose sex is indeterminate–well, you see every kind of pairing you can imagine here. Like passengers from around the world thrown onto the same cruise ship, we somehow discover our shared language and manage to communicate our hopes, desires, wishes and ideas. And the beauty of it is that we all, by dint of goodwill and sheer willpower, manage to get along (well, more or less).
To me, it’s the hodge-podge of multiculturalism that really defines Toronto (along with the world-class restaurants, entertainment, shopping, cultural attractions, hotels, cleanliness, safety and totally awesome politeness that’s so indicative of Canadians, of course). So when I created this dish, even though it began with Reuben-esque characteristics (the sauerkraut and “cheese,”) I determined fairly quickly that this sandwich was quintessentially Torontonian. Start, shall we, with the wrapper: alternately called Socca (French) or Pudla (Indian), it’s a lightning-quick pancake whipped up with either a mix of chickpea and pea flours, or chickpea on its own. Next, add something creamy: avocado (Mexican), “cheese” sauce (American) or, if you’re feeling adventurous (as I was last week), Daiya (Vegan. Oh, wait, that’s not a country. Yet.). For a protein boost, include a slice of marinated, grilled tempeh or tofu (Japanese/Chinese). Add greens if you choose, but don’t forget the key ingredients that really define the dish: sauerkraut (German) and, finally, hot sriracha sauce (Chinese). It’s a cultural fusion of ingredients that, somehow, creates culinary miracles.
[Tempeh base with more Daiya, baby spinach, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea-only wrap]
When I first made this, The HH was embroiled (pun intended) in eating his own meal of grilled steak. And while the HH is one of the most accepting, tolerant people I’ve ever met when it comes to human beings, when it comes to food, getting him to try something new that’s plant-based is often quite the challenge. Often, I must negotiate, cajole, implore, threaten, or plead before he’ll deign to try it. Because I was so enamored of this recipe, he agreed to try it along with me the next day.
So we sat down to eat our meal:
HH [taking a tentative bite]: Yeah, I guess this is okay. [Ricki continues to eat, silently].
HH [second bite] Hmmn, you know, this stuff is pretty good. [Ricki nods and smiles, silently.]
HH [third bite]: Wow, this combination of ingredients works really well together! I mean, really well! [The HH chomps happily. Ricki continues to smile, knowingly.]
HH [fourth, fifth and sixth bites, in one, a bit of sriracha dripping down the side of his mouth]: This is a brilliant mix of flavors! It’s perfect! This is delicious! [Ricki nods. And smiles. Silently.]
HH: [shoving the remainder of the sandwich in his mouth, bits of avocado and sauerkraut on his fingers]: I love this stuff! You have got to make this again! This is fantastic!
Ricki: Thanks, honey. Glad you like it. [She smiles inwardly and silently pats herself on the back. Triumph!]
Just like its inspiration, the Reuben, this sandwich combines a few key ingredients for an amalgam of flavors and textures that, mysteriously, just seem to work together. Sort of like Canada’s largest and most multi-cultural city, it may at first appear that there’s too much going on. . . but once you dive into it, well, there’s nothing else that can compare to it in the whole wide world.
[Avocado, "cheese" sauce, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea-pea flour wrap.]
This quick, easy, and as-you-like-it meal is provides 5 grams of protein in the “bread” wrap itself, boosting the protein content of whatever filling you decide to use. I combined half chickpea flour and half pea flour, since I had a big bag of the latter I wanted to use up; but feel free to use all chickpea flour. Naturally fermented sauerkraut is the best choice if you have it, as it offers healthful probiotics to keep your digestive tract healthy and functioning optimally.
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chickpea flour
2 Tbsp (30 ml) pea flour (or more chickpea flour)
pinch fine sea salt
3 Tbsp-1/4 cup (45-60 ml) water
2-3 slices baked marinated tempeh or tofu, optional
handful shredded lettuce or salad greens, optional
2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) well drained sauerkraut, preferably homemade (use homemade for earlier stage of the diet)
1-2 tsp (5-10 ml) sriracha or other hot pepper sauce (for earlier stages of the diet), to your taste
Make the wrapper: In a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, pea flour and salt. Add the water and whisk until smooth and pourable but not watery (like pancake batter).
Spray a small nonstick frypan with nonstick spray, or brush with a little olive or coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add the wrapper batter and allow to cook until the top appears dry and the color has darkened, 5-7 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.
While the wrapper cooks, prepare the fillings: Peel and slice the avocado if using, or heat the tempeh or tofu in a nonstick pan and set aside. Drain the sauerkraut and set aside. If using lettuce, chop it now.
Once the wrapper is cooked, top one half of it with the avocado or other choice; the tempeh/tofu, if using; then the greens and sauerkraut. Finally, drizzle with sriracha. Fold the wrapper over the fillings and consume immediately. Makes one sandwich.
*NOTE: Neither Daiya nor sriracha are recommended for anyone in the early stages of the anti-candida diet. For Stage One, use avocado or hummus rather than Daiya, and finely chopped jalapeno or a pinch of cayenne instead of the sriracha.
Suitable for: ACD all stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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Last Year at this Time: Simple Raw Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Fava Beans Salad (gluten free; ACD All Stages)
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs