We love receiving books from far oﬀ places, but sometimes it’s fun to see what’s happening in our own backyard. One Boston-area blogger we have followed for several years is Katie Chudy. She began blogging in 2009 from her Small Boston Kitchen and has taken her skills to a whole new level with her debut book, Superfood Sandwiches. The book oﬀers veggie- and- meat-lover options (83 to be exact!) beyond your wildest sandwich dreams! We’re not just talking about the ﬁlling either. Katie helps with everything including bread and condiment recipes to round out everyone’s sandwich making skills.
We can assure you that this is not mom’s bologna sandwich book. From Ancho Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato “Steak” and Avocado Sandwiches to Quinoa-Crusted Eggplant Parmesan and Buﬀalo Brussels Sprout Subs, some are familiar sandwiches reimagined and others you couldn’t have imagined but cannot wait to try! And, speaking of can’t wait, we couldn’t wait to chat with Katie about her new book and share the conversation with all of you!
OLDWAYS: We love how you talk about the sandwich as a celebratory symbol. How did your love of the sandwich turn into a book?
KATIE: It’s funny actually and totally by chance. My husband and I are personal chefs and we tend to rely on sandwiches for meals a lot because they are so easy to pull together with what’s on hand, which is great when you’re working a lot of weird hours. I didn’t want it to be an unhealthy meal and discovered fast that it doesn’t have to be. I found that little bits of leftovers made easy, healthy meals, especially when you have the time to make your own bread. At the same time that I was getting really creative about our sandwiches, I started talking with the great folks at Fair Winds Press and we agreed that there are many people in that same boat of a busy lifestyle but still wanting to take the time to eat in a thoughtful way. The book just happened from there.
OLDWAYS: The carb-free craze has scared many folks away from bread. How do you bring friends and family back from the dark side and make them fall back in love with sandwiches?
KATIE: I think it’s a mindset shift that has to happen. There’s “bad” bread and there’s “good” bread, in my opinion. There are a lot of misleading facts on carbs and several diﬀerent opinions on what sort of a role they should play in someone’s diet. I wholeheartedly agree that processed bread products have no place in our diet. When a loaf of bread lasts a month without molding, there’s something wrong and that’s a problem. I personally love baking my own breads and I’ve found that I don’t feel bad when I eat my own bread made with good quality and wholesome ingredients. I also found that homemade bread is a great vehicle for adding more nutrition to a sandwich with healthy nuts and seeds and even vegetables. One of my favorite bread recipes in the book is for a Kale — Parmesan bread. It’s made with whole wheat ﬂour and it’s hearty and the addition of kale gives it this wonderful earthiness and personality. That being said, I, as well as most people, don’t always have time to make bread from scratch. That’s when I advocate sourcing your bread from a reliable bakery that is using great quality ingredients and making their bread fresh everyday. It tastes better, is fresher, and it supports local artisanal food.
OLDWAYS: Can you share some of your delicious and (healthy) sandwich building techniques with our readers?
KATIE: In our house, we try to avoid processed food at all costs. We make all of our own condiments, sauces, etc. Most can keep for a good amount of time in the refrigerator or can be frozen. I always make extra of things so that there are little bits of leftovers that can easily be made into a sandwich. For example, if we’re having chicken for dinner one night, we’ll make extra so that we have meat for sandwiches, as opposed to buying processed deli meats. I’ll also chop up extra vegetables so they are easy accessible and can be thrown together fast. Eggs and beans are also a fast, easy, and nutritious addition to sandwiches. It’s also cost eﬀective to keep a can of beans on hand to transform into a veggie burger. We eat a lot of veggie burgers, especially in the summer. I’ll make several of them and freeze them individually for something fast, but still homemade.
OLDWAYS: As interest in plant-based diets continues to grow (and research points to the many health beneﬁts) sandwiches seem to provide the perfect place to load up on veggies. What are some interesting ways to substitute plant foods for more commonly used lunch meats?
KATIE: Absolutely, getting more greens into one’s diet is essential and sandwiches are an excellent (and pain free if you don’t love greens) way to incorporate them. As I mentioned in the last question, veggie burgers are a really great way to eat more greens because they ﬁt in nicely and give the burgers some body. They are particularly great with kids who may not love the idea of eating greens. I also like to make vegetable cakes, which are very similar to veggie burgers, but are a little softer. My recipe for zucchini cakes utilizes fresh herbs and spinach and generously incorporates them so you’re getting a great serving of greens. Green pestos, slaws, and even kale chips also give sandwiches some extra personality and added nutritional value.
OLDWAYS: We must ask, can we share one of you super sandwich recipes with our readers?
KATIE: Yes, absolutely!
Spinach and Zucchini Cornmeal Cakes with Spiced Goat Cheese
Recommended Bread: Sub Rolls, Burger Buns, Middle Eastern–Spiced Oat Flaxseed Buns
YIELD: 4 sandwiches
While some veggie burgers can end up mushy, the cornmeal in this one helps give this patty some texture. I like to use a coarser cornmeal so you really get that crunch. I make these a lot in the late spring and early summer months when the ingredients are in season. For more protein and texture, add chopped nuts to the mix. Consider using wilted Swiss chard or mustard greens in place of the spinach.
5 cups (150 g) fresh spinach
1½ cups (180 g) shredded zucchini (about 1 medium-size zucchini)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
⅔ cup (92 g) cornmeal
⅓ cup (13 g) chopped basil
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
¼ cup (30 g) all-purpose ﬂour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup (120 g) goat cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon sumac
½ teaspoon dried mint
4 sub rolls or buns, sliced in half
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat the spinach until it wilts but still has its vibrant green color, about 5 minutes. (You should end up with about ½ cup [90 g] once it’s all wilted.) Let it cool for a couple of minutes until it’s not too hot to touch.
In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, spinach, lemon zest, and egg. Add the cornmeal, basil, salt, and pepper. Add the ﬂour and combine until it just comes together. Don’t overmix or you’ll end up with tough cakes! At this point, your “batter” should look like very thick, loose cookie dough. If you ﬁnd your batter is a little too loose, you can add cornmeal by the ¼ cup (35 g) until it reaches the desired consistency.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Divide the batter into 4 equal portions and drop each portion by the spoonful into the hot skillet, giving them plenty of room to spread out. Cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes, and then ﬂip them over and cook the other side until it becomes golden brown as well. Transfer the cakes to a plate and season with a little dusting of salt.
While the cakes are cooking, combine the goat cheese, sumac, and mint in a small bowl. Spread evenly over each roll. Top with a zucchini cake and enjoy.