This is really a post about my husband, it just happens to end with a sandwich. We met when we were in college and he had been without a sense of smell for about seven years after being over-prescribed nasal sprays as a kid. He swore this didn’t affect his taste, but I didn’t think that was possible. Even if I just had a head cold, food didn’t taste as good, so how could he taste food normally, with no sense of smell whatsoever? What this meant is that he literally ate to survive. He didn’t enjoy or crave food, and he selected food based on what was cheapest, easiest, or quickest.
This was totally incomprehensible to me, having grown-up in such a food-centric family, and I felt the need to introduce him to food. I insisted that he tried different foods, especially those that he was sure he didn’t like. Over time, as his nose healed, his sense of smell began to return. This coupled with his new openness to try different things meant that he was trying and tasting flavors that he had never had before. Just as he was beginning to enjoy food, he took a summer job in Tennessee. Despite the interesting work that he was doing, his work day would end and he would go back to an empty hotel room to east fast food and spend the evenings and weekends alone. It wasn’t long before he ended up bored and lonely, and several hours away from friends and family. I suggested that he start learning to cook. Not only would he be eating better, but he would also learn a skill that would help to pass some of his free time. He took my advice, and before long started to love food and cooking as much as I do – and in particular, sandwiches.
We used to love watching TV shows about little dive restaurants that make amazing foods, or about food trucks that serve interesting variations of classic favorites. Occasionally he would get inspired by something he saw and try making a similar version at home. Since having Sweet Girl, we don’t sit and watch much TV, but we had a rare evening a few months ago to sit and relax, and one of the food truck shows was on. I vaguely noted some sort of twist on a reuben that they were discussing, but my husband was enthralled. The next day he went shopping for ingredients and got to work creating his own version of the sandwich he saw. I have to say, of all sandwiches he has tried to duplicate, this is my absolute favorite. It is literally dripping with flavor, and tastes just like it came out of a gourmet sandwich shop (or off of a food truck).
Food Truck Reuben
1 loaf good quality bread, like sourdough (check ingredients for dairy and soy)
4 cups finely sliced red cabbage
1 onion, preferably red, finely sliced (reserve about 2 tbsp for dressing)
1 Tbsp bacon grease (or oil if you don’t have bacon grease on hand)
Good quality sliced roast beef (we use Applegate Organic)
1 Recipe Homemade Russian Dressing
- About 2 Tbsp fresh onion
- 1 cup canola mayonnaise (or another dairy and soy free variety)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tsp grated horseradish (or to taste)
- 1 tsp Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
- 1 tsp coconut aminos
- ¼ tsp paprika
- Pinch of Salt
- (Puree all ingredients until smooth)
- Sauté the cabbage and onions in bacon grease, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and beginning to caramelize.
- Remove the caramelized cabbage and onions from the pan, and sauté the slices of roast beef for about a minute on each side, so they just begin to brown.
- Slice the bread to the desired thickness, and slather two slices with the dressing.
- Layer three slices of roast beef and a heaping scoop of the caramelized veggies on one slice, and add the other to the top. Best served warm.