It’s more fun to just buy whatever inspires me and throw things together. But sometimes it doesn’t turn out well. As in this case:
Me: “Gee, that might be too much lemon.”
Husband: “No, no it’s fine. Refreshing, really.”
Me, taking another bite, “Really, I’d call that tart.”
Husband, gainfully eating, “No darling, it’s fine. Just fine. But, erm, just out of curiosity, exactly how many lemons did you put in there?”
Me: “Four. Big ones. Do you think I overdid it?”
Husband, through clenched jaw: “No, no not at all.”
Me: “Then maybe it was the three limes that were too much.”
Husband, sputtering: “Three limes?”
Me: “Yeah. And the chilies.”
Husband: “Oh dear.”
But, sometimes, just sometimes, it does turn out well. I know when this happens because the conversation is much shorter.
Husband: “This is great. Make it again.”
So that’s what I want to share with you now. A non-recipe recipe that turned out well. It's in recipe format. But don't let that fool you, you can adapt it any which way you like. Almost.
Totally vegetarian non-recipe, recipeThe first non-recipe recipe part is that I invented this based on whatever looked nice at the market that day. The second non-recipe recipe part is how flexible this sandwich is.
- Some nice crusty bread, like a baguette, cut lengthwise
- a handful or two of tomatoes chopped into bite-size chunks or a jar of tomato sauce
- green peppers, ditto the bite-size chunks
- onions, also ditto the bite-size chunks
- the kind of spices you would throw into a tomato sauce, like garlic and oregano
- any extras you like to throw into a tomato sauce, like black olives or capers
- mozzarella cheese or a soy cheese that melts nicely, sliced thinly
Pour some oil (I’d go a tablespoon or two of olive oil) into a fry pan, turn the heat to medium and add the onions and green peppers.
Pop the bread under the broiler to toast.
When the vegetables are starting to crisp a bit at the edges, say five minutes or so, add the chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce as well as any spices and extras you like, bearing in mind that the consistency you are aiming for is more thick stew than runny gravy. Stir and simmer for five minutes or so.
Once the bread is lightly toasted, cover the inside surfaces with cheese and broil until the cheese is melted. Then cut the bread into sandwich portions (think hoagies), plate, and cover the bottom half with a generous helping of the tomato sauce and vegetable mixture. Put the top half of the bread on your creation and enjoy.
Serve this with a fork and napkin because, if you’ve been as generous with the sauce as you were supposed to be, half of it will escape from your sandwich.
For example, say there are no nice onions at the market. Then try grilling some eggplant for your sandwich, instead. Or, say, you found a gorgeous bunch of parsley. Go ahead and sprinkle some into your sauce. Or, perhaps you’ve an open bottle of red wine. Throw in a splash. And what about those leftovers in your fridge, like that half a can of tomato paste. Dump her in.
They all work. I know. I’ve done them all. And every time my husband asked me to make it again.
Something he never did after the lemon recipe. Oh dear.