Going Ham

This post is far overdue. In October, my study abroad program and I went up north to Inverness, Glen Coe, Loch Ness, etc. We stayed at the Inverness Youth Hostel, which provided us a quick breakfast each morning. Lunch was on our own during bus stops in between each of the attractions. We toured Dunrobin Castle, the battle site of Culloden, a whisky distillery and a sheep dog farm! Everyday we were greeted with even more beautiful Scottish scenery and I would definitely recommend making the trek.

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On one of our breaks, a few friends and I went to One Up Restaurant. I ordered the cheese and ham toastie.  My choice reminded me a lot of my little brother.  He LOVES ham, and especially likes it when my mum roasts it for Christmas or Easter.  The cheese was perfectly melted and the ham was better than your typical grocery store variety.  The sandwiches in Scotland have been a staple of mine, since people do not really eat salads for lunch… or anytime for that matter 🙂

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This is Dunrobin Castle which is situated directly on the coast.

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I took this picture on my way to Loch Ness.  It reminded me a lot of New England.

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And this is Glen Coe.  A few minutes before this picture I saw where Hagrid’s hut was filmed!

 

Simplicity is Key

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Having been abroad for close to three weeks, I’ve been able to do a lot of reflection on my general transition to life in Scotland.

Over here, I have a lot less “responsibility,” whether it is places to be, people to see, etc.  It gives me more alone time, and chances to sporadically walk the beach, eat a scone, or write a letter back home.

I’ve come to really think about what are the necessary things in life that make me happy, and I came up with a list.

  1. People that love and care about me.
  2. Being intellectually challenged or finding work I am passionate about.
  3. Eating a few, simple food favourites.
  4. Exercise (good health).

Now this sounds all very easy, but I think back in the States I sweat too much about the little things that don’t fall on this list.  Over the course of these three months, I am going to focus on “Simplicity is Key,” so by the time I return back home, I have a better perspective on life.

To begin with, this past weekend I went on a 10 mile coastal hike, on a path that traces 100 miles of Scottish Coastline.  I went with great friends, got some exercise, and had a simple, but delicious lunch (so I satisfied three of the items on the list!).

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The views were breathtaking and reminded me a lot of Maine.

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I got a bagged lunch from my dining hall; consisting of a boxed ham and cheese sandwich (there are boxed sandwiches everywhere!), an apple, and some nuts.  It tasted delicious after a couple hours of walking, and we found a picnic spot by a cliff to have our wonderful picnic.

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One of my favourite things on hikes is see the cairns set by previous hikers.  It reminds you that others are looking out for you, and you don’t even know them!

Prosciutto Caprese Sandwich

I got the idea for this sandwich from my go to order at Cafe Rustica in Somerville.  Fresh bread topped with pesto and sliced tomatoes and mozzarella.  Simple but good ingredients make it a treat whenever I order it.  This version has an addition of prosciutto de parma, which melts in your mouth and adds another salty element.  Wicked easy to make you will be stunned by how delicious it is!

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Prosciutto Caprese Sandwich

Sliced focaccia

Pesto

Thinly sliced prosciutto de parma

sliced mozzarella

sliced tomatoes (sprinkle with salt and pepper)

Slather the bread on both sides with the pesto.  Layer with the prosciutto, mozzarella, and tomato.  Dig in!!

Cheddar, Tomato, Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese

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This is a “fancified” version of your traditional grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s still just as comforting! I made mine in a panini press, but you can also grill it on a pan with some butter.

Ingredients 

2 slices of bread (I used whole wheat bread)

2 large slices of tomato

1-2 slices of cheddar cheese (depending on how much cheese you like)

1 onion (chopped into small slices)

olive oil

Procedure

In a hot skillet add a drizzle of olive oil and the chopped onion. Cook the onions, mixing them every few minutes, until they caramelize, or become light brown.

On one slice of  bread, put the cheese. Then add the tomato, and then the caramelized onions. Place the second slice on top.

Put the sandwich in a panini press and grill it until the cheese is well melted.

Smoked Salmon Avocado Sandwich

The recent warm weather has reminded me of brighter days and I can’t believe February is wrapping up.  Although March can be a tricky month, it usually passes by quickly, and then we are finally finished with winter!  This sandwich is a light delicious meal, perfect for lunch and/or dinner.  The pink and green colors shout spring to me and brighten up the plate.  I realize smoke salmon is either loved or despised, so feel free to substitute with a different protein if you aren’t feeling it.

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Smoked Salmon Avocado Sandwich (sorry for pretty relaxed proportions, you do you on this one!)

Toasted pumpernickel bread

Smoked Salmon

Capers

Spinach

Guacamole

Place the spinach on top of the toasted bread.  Then dollop on the guacamole.  Add the salmon and then sprinkle with capers.  I prefer this to be an open faced sandwich.  Enjoy the last week of February!

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Sofra Bakery and Cafe

After much waiting and waiting I finally got around to trying Sofra Bakery in Cambridge.  Known for its Middle Eastern delicacies I was excited to test out their falafel sandwich because it is one of my favorite dishes.  Composed of spinach falafel, beet tzatziki & pickles all loaded on a pita of some sorts the dish looked the part to say the least.  I mean, I fell in love with the tzatziki for its color alone.  Can you say hot pink?

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The dish was pretty small for its price of ~$8.50 so if you are starving I’d say venture elsewhere, BUT it was delicious.  The falafel was soft and pillowy, the beets added a rich creamy sweetness and the wrap was a perfect thickness.  This would probably be a better lunch than dinner, but I’ll be sure to venture back!  Next time I want to try their chocolate baklava… yum.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich

Last week, I had a slice of roasted red pepper goat cheese quiche, and could not stop thinking about the delicious combination of flavors.  So, I decided to replicate the dish at home, but in sandwich form.  The sweetness of the red peppers counteracts the tang from the goat cheese and creates a fresh well-balanced meal!

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Roasted Red Peppers (serving size is whatever you want)

Red Peppers

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place peppers on a sheet tray and bake until the outside is charred.  It took me around 1.5 hours.  Take the peppers out of the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes.

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Take off the stem of the peppers.  Peel away the charred skin, so only the soft flesh of the pepper is left.  Core out the seeds and cut the peppers into thin strips.  Place the peppers in a dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Now, I always cover the peppers and let them sit a while before I use them.  Just to give them a chance to soak up their flavors and become really tasty.

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Don’t those look gorgeous?!  Alrighty folks, now on to the sandwich.

Roasted Red Pepper Goat Cheese Sandwich

Roasted Red Peppers

Goat Cheese

French Bread

Olive Oil

Fresh Spinach

Toast the french bread until golden on the edges.  Drizzle olive oil onto both sides.  Spread goat cheese onto one of the sides of bread.  Then top with peppers.  On the other side place fresh spinach.  Combine the two halves and dig in!

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