We spent last weekend in Grafton, VT. It is a cozy town in the Green Mountains. It is quiet, peaceful, and simple. You don't have to use Yelp to find a restaurant because there are only a few options. And they are all good. Everyone was friendly but not in an annoying, touristy way. They just seemed so content and happy doing what they do. It was a gentle kindness. We felt so relaxed and comfortable all weekend.
We did some hiking, hiked to a waterfall, visited a dairy farm (to eat ice cream and see cows, which are fairly disgusting animals), had a bonfire, survived 90+ degrees, stayed in the cutest cabin, bought VT cheddar cheese, dined easy.
I brought home way too many local VT goods. Maple Smoked Cheddar Cheese. Mango Habanero jelly. (Also a million gallons of maple syrup.) I always I hate when I find a recipe that calls for weird, impossible to find ingredients. That is exactly what this recipe is. Are you going to drive to Grafton, VT to buy the ingredients to make this sandwich? No. Don't do that.
Let me tell you the important parts of this sandwich. First, tempeh on sandwiches is delicious. It gives vegetarian sandwiches some substance. Second, smoked cheese tastes like ham. Third, spicy jelly on sandwiches is real good. Maybe I should call this jam. Jam is a much more pleasant word. Anyways, this mango habanero jam has all the flavor from the habanero without it being overly spicy. I don't know how they do it, but it is currently my new favorite thing.
I crave sandwiches all the time. I love sandwiches. We often associate sandwiches with a sandwich place because they are actually not super easy to make at home. You need freshly baked bread, a sauce, some good cheese, and the prepared fixings. That is what you need if you want a sandwich equivalent to one you would find at a shop. They are not always easy to throw together. Once you prepare each individual component, it can take a while and be expensive if you aren't willing to continue eating the same sandwich several times later to use up all the leftovers. But, I have realized that good vegetarian sandwiches are hard to find a local sandwich shop. I will even say...they suck. Typically you can choose from:
1. Caprese sandwich (good, but not really a true sandwich)
2. Egg salad sandwich (also just a different kind of sandwich)
3. Grilled cheese (get out of here)
4. Grilled, soggy veggies on bread (let's be honest, no one likes you)
So I have pretty much given up on finding a good vegetarian sandwich anywhere but in my own kitchen. Most restaurants know they need a vegetarian option but don't give it any respect. Somewhere "vegetarian" got translated to "I hate my life, don't worry about it."
Also, I am planning to become more a "jam person". I don't like non-homemade jams. Never have. Will I make jam? Probably not. But I will eat it.
To all my Vermont peeps, much love.
Vermont Grilled Sandwich
3 slices of tempeh, smokey maple bacon flavor
2 slices of Seeduction bread (a whole grain, nutty bread made at WFM)
1 tbsp of salted butter
1-2 tbsp of mango habanero jelly
2 slices of maple smoked Vermont cheddar
handful of spinach
½ of a roasted red pepper
Prepare all your sandwich fixings. First, slice the bread. Butter one side of each slice. Slice the cheese and remove rind. Cut the roasted red pepper.
Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a little olive oil and brown the tempeh a few minutes on each side. Remove from heat and set aside.
Pick up one of the buttered pieces of bread and slather the jelly on the non-buttered side. Place the slice of bread, butter side down, in the same pan you used to sauté the tempeh. Put a single layer of the cheese on top of the jelly. Then layer on the tempeh, spinach, and roasted red pepper, in that order. Finally, add another single layer of cheese and place the other piece of bread, butter side up, on top. Grill until first side is golden brown. Flip and grill the other side until golden brown.
Once bread is toasty and cheese is melty, remove sandwich and place on a cutting board. Let set for a few minutes. Cut in half. Serve with a pickle.
(Servings: 1, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 8/10
Scot (taste): 8/10
Dishwashing Effort: 1/5