Sunday, July 19, 2009

Philly-style Polish sausage sandwiches and inter-session meals

My number-one inter-session food request from staff is for adult food. The instructors (and the small number of campers staying for the next session) want off-menu food items. They welcome any dish that's a change from the standard Deer Crossing Camp two-week cycle menu.

When I started lunch prep at 11 a.m. yesterday, I quickly assembled 2 salsas. My first thought was to offer a trio of salsas to the 14 staff and campers that would eat lunch. Three unique flavor combinations would form the basis for a chip and salsa extravaganza.

The first two salsas quickly came together. The fiery orange and apple salsa contained two dice Valencia oranges and two diced granny smith apples with ground cumin and the juice of two limes.

Red and green bell peppers, roasted and cut into strips, and flavored with a quick spicy vinaigrette (vegetable oil, white vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper) formed a sweet pepper salsa.

I switched gears by the time I got to make a salsa fresca. When I first posed the idea of serving leftovers from the Friday barbecue, one instructor doubled her request for something other than leftovers. She may have thought I was going to throw a plate of warmed-over hamburger patties and sausages on the table.

Inter-session meals are the perfect time to get rid of the few leftovers in the refrigerator. I rarely have sufficient quantity to feed the whole camp. Inter-session gives me the opportunity to mold the leftovers into something new.

So, ingenuity and the desire to fulfill instructor requests for adult food drive many of my ideas for inter-session meals, which run from Saturday lunch to Sunday lunch. Once campers for the next session arrive on Sunday afternoon, I'm back on the two-week cycle menu.

My original thought was to slice the 22 Polish sausages and saute them with tomatoes, onions and sweet peppers. Leftover Boca burgers would form the basis for the vegetarian option.

With my newly revised menu in my heads, I figured the orange and apple salsa could double as a fruit salad, while the sweet pepper salsa would make a good relish for Polish sausage sandwiches with melted cheese – a quick camp version of the famed Philly cheese steak sandwich.

I slice the tomatoes for the salsa fresca and marinated them in a quick vinaigrette with garlic and basil. It only took a few minutes to slice onions, green bell peppers and tomatoes for the sandwiches.

To complete the sandwiches, I sauteed the onions and sweet peppers in a large cast iron skillet, then added sliced Polish sausages. Once the sausages came to temperature, I spooned the mixture onto toasted hamburger buns, topped with sliced cheese and melted the cheese in a 350-degree oven.

Note: In the last two pictures, the sandwiches with the bell pepper on top of the cheese are vegetarian sandwiches. This helped me identify them from the meat sandwiches.

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