A Pork Full Sandwich & More

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You may remember way, way back I wrote about our travels to Chile and the biggest, sloppiest, oddest pork sandwich we encountered, Germany in Chile - A Super(bowl) Pork Sandwich. Thanks to the advice of the dearly missed, uber-talent of Anthony Bourdain, JuanCarlos and I visited one of his restaurant recommendations. The draw to the unusual German spot was a pork sandwich called the ‘lomito’; for what Tony described as a ‘towering monument all its own’ and delicious. And it was. (To watch the episode, and you should, visit Anthony Bourdain No Reservations. I miss him and his thoughtful insights into cultures around the world. A moment of pause for his passing.)

The sandwich was not just good because we were tired, starving and practically had lost hope on finding a place to eat. It was good because it was filled with individually good foods that seemingly didn’t go together, but somehow worked.

I promised way back then that I would try to recreate it. It may have taken awhile, but JC and I finally did. Mind you, this was not exactly that sandwich but it was our homage to the lomito. Nothing truly can ever be the original experience. But according to our guests, ours was delicious.

First you have to make the pork. Or you can buy cooked pork from a specialty market. You can go two different avenues - the pulled pork kind or roast pork slices. Here is what we did with JuanCarlos leading the charge on the pork as I captured his messy hands along the way. If you make your own pork, bare in mind that you have to start a day (or 2 depending on what time you need to serve it) ahead of time because once the pork is marinated it needs rest in the fridge for several hours or overnight, plus the cook time of an additional 7 hours. So, this is not one of those “let’s make pork” tonight recipes.

The spice rub line up.

The spice rub line up.

The pork shoulder. Definitely a piece of meat you can lean on.

The pork shoulder. Definitely a piece of meat you can lean on.

Ingredients

We used Ree Drummond Pork Recipe as a guide, but added a few of our own ingredients. Below were the amounts we used. Follow the linked recipe for cooking. JC made two modifications. He didn’t refrigerate overnight, and he cooked the pork for only 6 hours. This gave us pork slices instead of shreds but I would be careful doing it this way as it is easy to run the risk of the pork not being tender. If you are experienced with cooking pork shoulder, go ahead. If not, I would recommend cooking it according to the Ree’s recipe to get the pull of the pork. Also, we did not use BBQ sauce. We only used the luscious juices that it produced along with the onions.

For the Pork Roast

1 Pork Shoulder roast
1 t Cayenne
1 T Chili Pepper
1 t Cumin
2 T Anise Seeds
1 T Paprika
Bay Leaves
1/3 c Garlic
1/2 c Sugar in the Raw
1 heaping T salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
4 onions, cut into halves

 

For the Sandwich Fixings

Spicy Slaw
Guacamole (store bought)
Mayo or Yogurt Lemon Sauce
Sautéed Peppers & Onions
Buns

We used fresh garlic.

We used fresh garlic.

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After you have all the ingredients mixed together, lovingly rub the mixture ALL over (front and back) the pork. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Rub-a-dub-dub, Rub it with love.

Rub-a-dub-dub, Rub it with love.

Then place the pork in a large roasting pan on a bed of the onion halves and cook in a 300 degrees F. Roast until fork-tender and falling apart, about 7 hours. Remove the pork from the pot and set it on a cutting board. Slice some of the onion.

While you are waiting for the pork to cook, move on to making all the fillings. I decided that instead of the limp string beans, I would make a slaw. I used my Spicy Crunch Slaw recipe which I knew both the crunch and spice would work well with the pork. I bought guacamole because frankly I had way too many other things to make, and a good store bought one can be delicious. I made caramelized peppers and onions, and created my own type of ‘mayo’. I used half mayo, half greek yogurt with lemon juice to thin it a bit, salt and pepper, but you can use mayo if that’s your groove. Once I gathered all the ingredients, all that was left to do was to pile them onto a soft bun.

Everyone was ready and waiting to be piled on.

Everyone was ready and waiting to be piled on.

Guac first

Guac first

Start piling on the flavors. I think the slaw works nicely with the guacamole.

Start piling on the flavors. I think the slaw works nicely with the guacamole.

Pork and onions.

Pork and onions.

Creamy and tangy mixture of mayo, yogurt, salt and pepper.

Creamy and tangy mixture of mayo, yogurt, salt and pepper.

Sautéed peppers & onions.Simply slice them thin and slowly sauté them in oil and butter until they are soft and caramelized. Salt/pepper, too.

Sautéed peppers & onions.Simply slice them thin and slowly sauté them in oil and butter until they are soft and caramelized. Salt/pepper, too.

A platter full of pork with luscious juices and soft, flavorful onions.

A platter full of pork with luscious juices and soft, flavorful onions.

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Funny enough, my original blog post suggested that this was a Super(bowl) of a sandwich and I posted right before SuperBowl Sunday thinking you might serve it for the big game. And now, I am posting my recreation again right before the SuperBowl. So, now you can serve up this ‘towering monument’ of pork to your cheering fans. You may also want to include a charcuterie/cheese platter, as I did. A few other ideas for game day; maybe make my 3 Dips or my Tapenesto. Great choices for a crowd. No matter what you serve, you are a winner in my book.

 

Saturday Dinner Party - A Nod to the Mediterranean

A nod to the Mediterranean using a Provencal tablecloth. Simple. No fuss.

A nod to the Mediterranean using a Provencal tablecloth. Simple. No fuss.

We are in the midst of planning a trip to the South of France.  In our research, food and wine keep popping up frequently.  So much so that JuanCarlos has taken to buying only French wines at the moment.  Getting his palate ready, I guess. 
I'm getting mine ready by dreaming of Mediterranean flavors. So with plans to host a Saturday night dinner party for our friends, Donna and Jeff, it made total sense to devise the menu around that theme.  It's easy to cook for them. They are food lovers, too, and enjoy a wide variety of food.  Well, except that Jeff isn't quite that fond of spinach or squash, which believe or not, were both on my original plan. I had my heart set on making fish en papillote using carrots, zucchini and spinach. But no biggie, there are so many other ways to go.  I could still make fish en papillote, but minus those two ingredients. Thinking cap on, I would spiritually fly myself to the Mediterranean and envision some ingredients.  I had capers, olives, tomatoes which all fell right in line with that theme. It seemed even more fitting since Jeff and Donna have been to France numerous times, plus they are planning a trip to Italy in June.  Yet another cosmic nudge toward a Mediterranean mood.  So, mind made up. Plan in place. A celebration was in order, not just the flavors of the region but the style, too.
Starting with the table setting. 

I pulled out a tablecloth that had olives, sunflowers and tones of green, all of which are reminiscent of the Provence region of France.  I added deep olive green, velvet placemats and playing off the yellow tones, I used gold rimmed dishes and draped a triple pointed folded napkin slightly askew. Simple, elegant but not too fussy.

All keeping in the same tones. Greens play off the yellows and reds. Even the water glass is green and gold.

All keeping in the same tones. Greens play off the yellows and reds. Even the water glass is green and gold.

The Plan:

  • Table setting with a Provencal tablecloth

  • Keep appetizers to a few simple bites in the bistro style

  • Main course featuring fish with Mediterranean flavors, potatoes and salad

  • Dessert: true European style - Cheese platter

For appetizers, I thought a fun intro to the meal would be small pressed sandwiches accompanied by marcona almonds, olives marinated with herbs de Provence and cornichons.  The mini sandwiches were made with a combination of cured meats/cheese and leftover pork loin & onion jam

Plus a little twist on an old classic; Pigs in a Blanket, served up by using mini spicy Spanish chorizo wrapped in puff pastry and a side of whole grain and dijon mustard mix.

 

Lastly, a bite from the sea provided by marinated boquerones served on a crisp, cool slice of English cucumber.  

These offerings were just the right amount to get us started.

A panini press gives a nice warm crispness to the bread and melts the cheese.

A panini press gives a nice warm crispness to the bread and melts the cheese.

Cut strips of puff pastry

Cut strips of puff pastry

Roll 'em up in their blankets

Roll 'em up in their blankets

The puff pastry adds a buttery flavor that complements the spice of the chorizo. These are a more grown up way of serving Pigs in a Blanket. Adding a nod to France, I mixed up whole grain mustard with dijon for dipping. Marcona almonds and cornichons for crunchy, salty bites.

The puff pastry adds a buttery flavor that complements the spice of the chorizo. These are a more grown up way of serving Pigs in a Blanket. Adding a nod to France, I mixed up whole grain mustard with dijon for dipping. Marcona almonds and cornichons for crunchy, salty bites.

Boquerones  are fresh anchovies. I marinated them in crushed garlic, olive oil and parsley. Then placed them atop an English cucumber slice.

Boquerones are fresh anchovies. I marinated them in crushed garlic, olive oil and parsley. Then placed them atop an English cucumber slice.

All appetizers were prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge till right before serving. I made the sandwiches and wrapped them in plastic wrap. Then pressed them when our guests arrived.  The boquerones were assembled and plated earlier in the day. So all I needed to do was place them on the table.  My adult version of Pigs in Blanket were cooked right before they were due to arrive, so those were warm and ready to go. These small bites created a relaxing, no fuss vibe giving us a chance to sit, chat and catch up before the main meal.  Many a moon ago, Donna and I had blood orange cosmos at the Royalton NYC.  It seemed only fitting that we serve up a similar cocktail to start... just for old times' sake. As we nibbled, we sipped on Blood Orange Martinis made by the deft hand of my hubby, who lovingly squeezed all the citrus and mixed this drink to perfection.  

A mix of blood orange, lemons, limes, vodka and simple syrup.

A mix of blood orange, lemons, limes, vodka and simple syrup.

Squeeze them all into a bowl and include some of the pulp.

Squeeze them all into a bowl and include some of the pulp.

I love the bright color and flavor of this drink. So fresh. So delicious. Goes down so easy. Now that's AMORE!

I love the bright color and flavor of this drink. So fresh. So delicious. Goes down so easy. Now that's AMORE!

Dinner was also prepped ahead of time, stored in the fridge and then pulled together before serving.  The real nod to the Mediterranean came in the flavors used for the cod. I like using the en papillote method (cooked and served in paper wrapping) because it cooks beautifully. It's easy to prep, and each guest gets their own portion. I have made fish this way numerous times using different vegetable combinations. Not going with my original plan of zucchini and spinach, I needed some inspiration and found a recipe using grouper with capers, red pepper, tomatoes, kalamata olives and lemon.  I immediately knew that combo was the perfect way to go since I had most of the items save for the red pepper.  I took my cues from the recipe photo but used my own amounts. I also used cod because it was the freshest at the market.  I swapped the red onion for yellow, and eliminated the garlic and red pepper flakes. Although, I made modifications, this isn't my own, so if you want to follow the recipe to a tee, click here.

Using the mise en place method of cutting all ingredients, and getting everything ready makes assembly much easier.

Using the mise en place method of cutting all ingredients, and getting everything ready makes assembly much easier.

I place the parchment paper right on the baking sheet and built up the flavors.  Then folded the paper into a packet and built the next packet. I put two on each pan, then placed the whole baking pan in the refrigerator.  Once we were done eating our appetizers, I placed the pans in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Fresh, clean and ready to make a pocket full of Mediterranean yum.

Fresh, clean and ready to make a pocket full of Mediterranean yum.

Simply fold the edges around to create the pocket.

Simply fold the edges around to create the pocket.

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For side dishes, I made Potatoes Anna turned Potatoes Dana, crispy kale/caramelized onions and Baby Arugula salad with oranges, tangerines, red onion, chopped marcona almonds with a orange/lemon vinagrette.

Slices and slices is what creates layers of potato for this dish.

Slices and slices is what creates layers of potato for this dish.

A slice of layered potato goodness.

A slice of layered potato goodness.

Peppery bite of arugula is balanced by the sweetness of the orange with the crunch of the almond.

Peppery bite of arugula is balanced by the sweetness of the orange with the crunch of the almond.

Baking en papillote allows all the juices to delicately poach the fish and vegetables together. A harmony of Mediterrean flavors.

Baking en papillote allows all the juices to delicately poach the fish and vegetables together. A harmony of Mediterrean flavors.

Of course, French wine was served. Beaujolais Blanc and Chateau Saint Roc Cotes du Rhone.

Of course, French wine was served. Beaujolais Blanc and Chateau Saint Roc Cotes du Rhone.

Finishing off the meal with savory flavors of a full cheese board was perfect way to end the evening.  Cheese selection of Époisses, Sofia, Majorero Pimenton surrounded by fruit and sweet condiments all enjoyed in front of a roaring fire.  

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We had a wonderful time together with friends with love, savoring food that paid homage to places we all love.  Pick a country or a region and honor it by creating a menu to share with those who love it too.  We're glad we did.

 
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Germany in Chile - A Super (bowl) Pork Sandwich

Although this is a review post, it is rightly timed for the Super Bowl, as parties are being planned nationwide. Now, I'm not a big fan of watching sports but I do like throwing parties featuring good grub.   So the sandwich, El Lomito, featured in this post could be the starting quarterback to your fiesta bowl.

Just about this time last January, Juan Carlos and I traveled to Chile.  You might remember my post, Sunday in the Chilean Countryside about the amazing meal we were treated to by our friend's mother. 

After that glorious meal, we were in constant search of good food for the remainder of our trip.  We had some hits and some misses.  One of those hits was at Fuente Alemania, a cafe joint that we learned about while watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations about Chile.  I highly recommend watching the linked episode, as well as the series.  His POV of a city is transmitted through its people, food, cultural as he provides a well balanced, insight of the places he visits.

The famed locale has a German style feel.

The famed locale has a German style feel.

Anyway, back to how we happened upon this sandwich.  Anthony visited Fuente Alemania in Santiago and had such love for what appeared to be the most intense pork sandwich ever that we put it on our list of places to visit. Since I don't eat meat or bread, this spot went to the bottom of the list.

However, opportunity struck, and what was once on the bottom rose to the top.  After walking for several hours through city center, we were struggling to find a place for lunch. JC wanted to try a few other places but we just couldn't find them.  (This was an ongoing issue with maps of Chile streets and then those streets not quite existing in the three dimensional world.) Literally after traversing through alleyways and main thoroughfares, we couldn't find a single one.  Desperate for food, and just wanting to land ourselves in any spot that served edibles, I suggested Fuente Alemania.  That's right the pescatarian, non wheat/yeast eater suggested a pork sandwich place. This was the desperation/exasperation dew point.  But I knew JC would love it and when in Rome...or Chile.

The busy action of these steadfast mavens of the pork sandwich.

The busy action of these steadfast mavens of the pork sandwich.

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Upon swinging open the doors to this joint we are met with a full house.  Packed with locals ordering sandwiches to their liking using the handful of main ingredients... Pork, sauerkraut, avocado, string beans, mayo, cheese and some red relish that I couldn't quite make out.  Although there were plenty of items on the menu, it seemed like most people came for that big, honking pork sandwich.  The man next to us had steak tartare on toast topped with cornichon, which I must admit reminded me of an old boyfriend.

We got ours without the mayo, for several reasons, but mostly because they add the amount that one would normally consume in a year, and it looked quite sticky. A serious amount of very gooey cholesterol clogging condiment. 

I wasn't kidding about the amount or the sticky nature of this "mayo".

I wasn't kidding about the amount or the sticky nature of this "mayo".

More evidence of its strange consistency. Sorry, I just had to share another shot as I have never seen anything like it.

More evidence of its strange consistency. Sorry, I just had to share another shot as I have never seen anything like it.

Buns a-grilling.

Buns a-grilling.

Alright, it ain't pretty or elegant. But then again, I never promised it would be. However, I must admit that this was one of the best sandwiches I have eaten.  That's right, I gave in and tasted this monster hog heaven. It was delicious.  I thought my taste buds might have been over-reacting since I haven't tasted anything like this in quite some time, but JC concurred. It was damn good.  It is a bizarre combination of ingredients that somehow worked.  I can't imagine what the calorie count was on this creation but then again, it was a once in a lifetime consumption.  Which was why I tried it. Several hours later my stomach was gurgling. Not because the food was bad but simply due to my system not being used to meat or bread for so long.  
 

 

 

 

If you are ever in Santiago, Chile I would highly recommend checking this popular locale out.  If not for the food then to watch the woman who navigate a center station, cranking out sandwich after sandwich at an incredible pace yet they never seem to be rushed or panicked.  The sheer joy with which they pump out orders was a blast to witness. They were the backbone here, sharing an abundance of food with an abundance of love.

 

 

 

 

 

Our sandwich without the mayo.

Our sandwich without the mayo.

Check out the smile on this woman's face. And it wasn't because she knew she was being photographed. I shot this with a zoom lens.

Check out the smile on this woman's face. And it wasn't because she knew she was being photographed. I shot this with a zoom lens.

Like good choreography it seems simple and well played. The men serve the drinks and NEVER enter the inner sanctum. 

Check out the men in the background. Even the regulars are mesmerized.

Check out the men in the background. Even the regulars are mesmerized.

It was an exciting afternoon local experience. And as they say in Chile, "If you have eaten El Lomito, you are one of ours,"  In the end, we were indeed one of theirs and thrilled we got lost and didn't find the other places. Making it possible for us to find our way into a little bit of Germany in the center of Chile.  I realize that many of you might not have Chile in your travel plans, but I believe this could be a great game time offering.  It's hearty and meaty to stand up to any helmet clashing fan. Jaime Oliver has this pork recipe that I think those ballet-ed German ladies would approve for the sandwich.  Then you can just grilled some buns and add all your toppings; tomato, cheese, mayo, smashed avocado, onion. Whatever you like.  It will be the Super Bowl of Pork Sandwich. Germany in America, too!

Tomatoes Galore: Tomato Fennel Spread & More

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What do you do when you buy 25 lbs of tomatoes? 

Make a spread... that is, after making a ton of other tomato goodies. But first, I bet you are wondering why I bought so many tomatoes.  Well, it's the end of the season and our farmer's market had an offer I just couldn't refuse.  So after making containers upon containers of Roasted Tomatoes...
 

AND Tomato Sauce, to freeze for the fall months...

AND Oven Dried Tomatoes...

These were easy.  P lace on parchment paper & s prinkle oregano on tomatoes. Roast at 200 degrees for HOURS.  These took 7 hours, then I let them dry out more in the warm, but turned off oven overnight.  

These were easy.  Place on parchment paper & sprinkle oregano on tomatoes. Roast at 200 degrees for HOURS.  These took 7 hours, then I let them dry out more in the warm, but turned off oven overnight.  

Just like sun dried tomatoes, pack these in olive oil and use at will.

Just like sun dried tomatoes, pack these in olive oil and use at will.

I looked at my cutting board and saw tons of tomato tops.  

I know, you are thinking, just toss those away, don't I have enough tomato product already?  But it seemed like so many to just throw out. (I must have been channeling my grandmothers who never wasted anything.)  I then realized I had a fennel stalk that needed to be used before it was abused by age and I got the idea for a tomato jam.  I figured it would be like making regular ole fruit jam, but thought I would quickly google tomato jam to see if I was on the right track.  It seems no matter how you slice it when making tomato jam, besides the usual need for sugar, you also need an acid. I took what I had and cooked up the following.  I'm calling mine a spread because it's more spread-like than jam, which I think is pretty darn good.

 

Ingredients

3 c Tomato tops (core cut out)
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly (no stalks or fronds)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 T honey
3 T sugar
2/3 c white wine vinegar
salt, pepper, oil

 
Onions & fennel sweating up a storm, getting caramelized together.

Onions & fennel sweating up a storm, getting caramelized together.

Tomatoes cooked down with vinegar, sugar & honey.

Tomatoes cooked down with vinegar, sugar & honey.

Buzz it up, but leave it a bit chunky.

Buzz it up, but leave it a bit chunky.

INSTRUCTIONS

Sweat the onions and fennel in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Once translucent, add the honey and sugar and let melt down.  Add vinegar and tomatoes and simmer over low heat for an hour to hour and half until all the vegetables breakdown.  Use an emulsion blender to puree it all up.  I took out some of the liquid, as I could see it would have been too much and made it soupy instead of a chunky spread.  Store in an airtight jar. Here are some used ways to use this "leftover tomato top" spread.

  • Add it as a condiment to a cheese platter
  • Top grilled fish
  • Slather it on a baked potato
  • Jazz up a plain salad
  • Spread it on a sandwich and grill it up, like I did below.  Enjoy 'spreading' the love.
The "spread": Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, baguette and of course, tomato fennel spread

The "spread": Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, baguette and of course, tomato fennel spread

Slather it one side, olive oil on the other and start adding the rest of the goodies.

Slather it one side, olive oil on the other and start adding the rest of the goodies.

I grilled the sandwich in a cast iron pan to get the bread crispy and the cheese melted.  Served it with some   Spicy Crunch Slaw   and rice/beans.

I grilled the sandwich in a cast iron pan to get the bread crispy and the cheese melted.  Served it with some Spicy Crunch Slaw and rice/beans.

My sister, Jilly & niece, Gabrielle: Happy Customers !!

My sister, Jilly & niece, Gabrielle: Happy Customers !!

Lunch 3 Ways, as performed by Roasted Vegetables

The Stars

The Stars

Yeah, yeah, I know that you know that I LOVE roasting vegetables.  Honestly, it's one of the easiest, most efficient and delicious ways to cook them.  All the work is done for you.  Place 'em on a pan with the magic 3 (oil, salt & pepper), slide into a 400 degree oven and done and done.   

Knowing this, you won't be surprised that I've come up with 3 more ways to serve up roasted vegetables. This was yet another time when we had a handful of unused items from a party that needed to be cooked up. As usual when I looked at these, I wasn't sure what their final use would be, but before they went bad they needed one last curtain call.  

The stars of this day's performance: Introducing the Carrot, The Vine Tomato, The Beet,  The Yellow Pepper and of course, Miss Fennel.

Destined for sweetness by way of roasting.

Destined for sweetness by way of roasting.

Adding the Magic 3, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Adding the Magic 3, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

I added potatoes because JC loves these roasted

I added potatoes because JC loves these roasted


Lunch Performance #1 - The Stack 'em Up Sandwich

Place a few of the roasted tomatoes in a small food processor along with crushed garlic, pinch of salt and 2-3 T olive oil. Pulse until you get a chunky paste.

 

Place a few slices of your favorite cheese on one side of the bread and broil it until the cheese is melted. (I used Ojeva Negra, an earthy Spanish sheep's milk cheese.)

Add a smattering of the tomato-garlic 'jam' and begin stacking the veggies onto your sandwich. From here you can begin diving in or take it the next step and panini it.  This earthy, crunchy lunch was for JC since I don't eat bread.  Sucks for me.

The Full Stack

The Full Stack


Lunch Performance #2 - Quinoa Bowl

Cook up your favorite quinoa.  I used an organic multi grain one.  Ready up your roasted veggies and cut into bite sized pieces.

Once quinoa is cooked, arrange in a the bowl, top the quinoa with the tomato 'jam' and dig in.


Lunch Performance  #3 - Pasta Toss

I don't need to tell you that this was my favorite.  I'm such a pasta monster.  You can use whatever type of pasta floats your boat.  Semolina is still my favorite but I can't eat wheat anymore so I cooked up some brown rice elbow macaroni.  

While the pasta was cooking, I sautéed 1/4 c chopped shallots, 2 cloves chopped garlic and some left over grape tomatoes equally about 2/3 cup. (Again, any amount that you have will work, so don't worry so much about amount here.)  Once those were soft, I added all the other roasted vegetables that I chopped into bite sized pieces.

To add a bit more heartiness as well as creaminess, I added a can of baby cannellini beans with their liquid, and a touch more salt & good amount of crushed red pepper.

Then came the star of this show. Can you tell I like pasta?  In went the cooked elbow macaroni. Add whatever shape you like  and gently stir together.  

Plate it up in a nice serving bowl and grate some Locatelli cheese on top.  This was satisfyingly yummy.  Add a glass of red wine, and you'll have a Joie de Vivre lunch, for sure.

I hope you love roasting vegetables as much as I do.  They are so adaptable to so many dishes. Be forewarned, roasted and grilled vegetables will make encore presentations in the future... and often.  Why not, their versatility is not to be reckoned with.  Get your veggie on!

P.S. The roasted potatoes were not called upon for lunches, but did make their appearance as a side dish for dinner.  Plus a few were eaten right out of the oven while making the lunches.  Seriously, who could resist those crunchy bites.