Sandwiches for a Road Trip

I know I’ve been neglecting my blog for the past few weeks, but I have a good reason for it- I didn’t have time.  I recently flew back to Canada and it’s been go go go since I got off the plane. I’ve been spending my days seeing family, catching up with good friends, supply teaching at my old school and a few new ones, reading, picking up an old knitting project and going to the gym 5 to 6 days a week.  See…I have a good excuse!
Anyhow, lets backtrack to a few weeks ago.  My husband and I were finally able to make our way up part of the Pacific Coast Highway, otherwise known as PCH. Along the way, we stopped to explore places people had recommended to us.  Our first stop was Solvang, a quaint Danish town about 1.5 hours north of Los Angeles. As we exited off the highway, our surroundings had transformed and it was as if we drove right into a fairy tale. The cottage-like structures and cobble stone paths reminded us of stories that we had read as kids.
We visited Paula’s Pancake House for breakfast and then continued to walk through the streets, exploring hidden squares, fountains and windmills. Solvang’s streets are lined with bakeries, antique shops, restaurants, book stores and gift shops. Really, there is something for everyone.
Once you have explored Solvang to your heart’s content, there are surrounding towns in the area that you can visit. There is one town that has a lavender farm. We never had a chance to explore it, but next time it will be on my list of things to see.
After our walking tour of Solvang, we headed down south to Santa Barbara.  Because we got there in the afternoon, we only explored one tiny pocket of downtown Santa Barbara.

According to our research, Leadbetter Beach was one of the better beaches to visit and since it was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean, we decided it was the place we wanted to check out.  I have to say, I love the beach!  I could sit there, fully clothed (hehe!) for hours.  We watched the waves for a while and then ventured out into the water, only to run back onto the beach when big waves rolled in.  We walked along the cliffs to a quieter part of the beach where the only sounds to be heard were of the waves crashing on the beach.  It was calming. It was peaceful.
Along the other side of the beach we hung out at the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival. There were crab stands, oysters on the half shell, clam chowder, live lobster cooked to your specifications and so much more.  We decided to try some lobster bisque.  It was creamy and chunky and full of flavour.  I think one of these days I’m going to have to try making clam chowder and lobster bisque at home.
Now when it comes to a road trip, it is important to have the all the necessary food items: drinks, water, sandwiches, fruit and some snacks.  A good road trip sandwich is this roasted chicken breast sandwich with tangy, crunchy cornichon.
Roasted Tandoori Chicken Breast Sandwich

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, washed and butterflied
1.5 cups of 2% plain yogurt
1 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp of minced ginger
3-4 tbsp tandoori spices ( you can pick up a packet of blended spices from any Pakistani or Indian grocery store or you could create a blend by mixing salt, red chili, ground coriander, turmeric, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, garlic and ginger powders, and ground cumin.)
6 whole cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
salt and pepper to taste
red chili powder to taste (optional)
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
5-6 large red leaf lettuce leaves, washed
5-6 baby cornichon, sliced
slices of whole grain bread
1-2 tbsp sweet and sour chili sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients.  Let the chicken breasts marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge. At this point, you can bake off all of the pieces of chicken or you can bake a couple and freeze the rest. You can roast the chicken breasts either on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a roasting pan. I used a baking sheet lined with parchment paper because I found it easier to flip the chicken pieces over as they baked.   Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken breasts have cooked through.

Toast bread slices once the chicken has come out of the oven. Once they’re out of the toaster, wash and pat dry the red lettuce leaves and then smear some mayonnaise onto the toast.  Take two slices of toast, mayo side up and begin to layer a few lettuce leaves on the bread. Then add your roasted chicken breasts. Next, spoon a little of the sweet and sour chili sauce on the chicken breast. Add the sliced baby cornichon and top it off with the other piece of toast.


For the love of bananas!

I love bananas! Mixed in with crunchy flakes and cool milk, bananas are a perfect companion to my morning cereal. They are also great on their own and prove to be a refreshing snack if eaten cold. 

We were going to go on a short trip to Santa Barbara a while back, so I picked up a few ripe bananas to take along with us. The trip got delayed and the bananas quickly began to show their brown spots.  I couldn’t consume all of them in one shot, so I decided to try another banana bread recipe that I found on Gina’s site. I didn’t want to bake two loaves, so I cut the recipe in half.  The bananas I had were far from being over ripe. They had brown spots on them, but were still firm so when I mashed them, I had little chunks of banana. The banana chunks baked in the cake created tiny, moist pockets of sweetness that I just love.

Banana Walnut Bread

I couldn’t resist eating a slice before taking this picture.

 4 ripe bananas (not over ripe), mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a loaf pan with parchment or grease the pan with butter.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl mix melted butter and sugar. Add eggs, mashed banana, apple sauce and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in chopped walnuts.  Pour into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes and run a knife around the edges of the pan. Cool for another 10 minutes before enjoying.

A Refreshing Salad

I came across an old post by Heidi at 101Cookbooks where she talked about a trip to Mexico. This trip inspired her to create a lime and peanut salad. The salad sounded mouth watering and led me in a direction to create an adapted version of her salad.  This salad has the tang of fresh lemon juice, the spice of a serrato chili and the creamy texture of a ripe avocado.

Broccoli Slaw Salad

half a bag of broccoli slaw, washed and drained
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 ripe Roma tomatoes, washed and sliced
1/2 a serrato chili, finely diced

1/3 cup cilantro/coriander, washed thoroughly and roughly chopped (you can use parsley instead)

juice of one small lemon
1-2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of cumin
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sized bowl, add the serrato chili and cilantro. Add the broccoli slaw and give a good stir so that they are combined. Add in the tomatoes and avocado. Stir gently.  Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil and add the cumin, salt and pepper.  Mix so that everything is coated, especially the avocado. 
Some thoughts:  If you want you could add in diced English cucumber, slivered almonds and bean sprouts.