Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich

by Rebekahcooked up on September 10, 2012

So, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted. I posted Sunday morning – early – so it feels like it’s been two days even though it really hasn’t. I know it’s only Monday night, but I am kind of amazed at how quickly things are moving this week.

On Sunday (after my post, but still early), I had my very first radio appearance on KPAM here in Portland – the show is called Simple Kitchen with Missy Maki. I had such a great time! We talked for two hours (which absolutely flew by) about how to save money when cooking/shopping for your family. We talked about a lot of ways Dave and I save money when we shop. You can listen to the whole show here.

I wanted to share a little something that we didn’t touch on too much in the show, but is still a big way we save money: We almost never buy lunch on work days.

Going out to lunch is a nice treat, and we try to keep it as exactly that: a treat. I’d say we do once a week, ish. But buying lunch every day is, frankly, budgetary suicide. I would rather bring some frozen thing most days than buy lunch that often because I can spend that money on travel, clothes or eating a much more relaxing meal than the one I’ll inhale between meetings at my desk (my job doesn’t involve lunching with clients, which I understand is a different type of venture). For me, there are better ways to spend money. But it’s also a challenge to make my own food ahead of time, and to keep bringing our own food interesting.

You don’t have to do anything too complicated – just pick up a few fresh ingredients ahead of time. I promise, this is the easiest thing ever:

That’s why I was inspired to make this sandwich for lunch the other day. It’s a total copycat of the most basic sandwich available at a certain ubiquitous coffee shop. But this one’s a little fresher (I can’t knock sbux, when I get this sandwich it is ALWAYS good). And like I said, I can’t pay $7+ for it every time. But I can make it at home for much less.

Here’s what I put together for this sandwich for one:

  • One small heirloom tomato
  • About 1/4 of a good baguette, then sliced horizontally
  • Basil (I have pretty small basil leaves, so I used 7-8. Store bought basil tends to be larger and thus will need fewer leaves)
  • Fresh mozzarella – one or two slices
  • A handful of arugula (I had some on hand. Totally not a deal breaker – I just love including any kind of greens)
  • Salt, pepper and olive oil (definitely deal breakers. Do not underestimate these ever!

Slice your tomato and mozzarella to about the same thickness…

and assemble them with the basil and arugula/greens on your sliced baguette. The trick to making this delightful instead of humdrum is to use lots of EVERYTHING. Especially the tomato.

And let’s be honest, it is really difficult to have too many greens. As you can see, I only had teensy fresh mozzarella balls at the time. They of course taste the same, but they are not the best for this application.

Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil on top (before you put the “lid” on) and salt and pepper liberally. This is a great place to try out any of your favorite dressings, oils, vinegars and finishing salts, too. Then see if you can wait ’til noon to devour this!

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