When I was growing up my Mom used to make us these amazing warm sandwiches in the fall. I remember looking forward to fall so I could have a hot pastrami & cheese sandwich (or should I say “samich”, as Jon used to say when he was little). My Mom would take deli pastrami (we lived in New Jersey at the time, and those of you who live there or have visited, know that there is nothing like deli pastrami from Jersey), cheddar cheese and a kaiser roll, wrap it all up in foil and stick in the oven for a period of time. Not sure what temp, not sure how long, I just know that when it came out, the cheddar cheese would be melted to perfection on top of the steamy, hot pastrami. The kaiser roll would be all warm and toasty. This, to me, was heaven on a cool & crisp fall day. I can’t exactly replicate this sandwich today. I have yet to find a kaiser roll that is GF and tastes like my old favorite or even comes close to the texture. Also, living in Ohio, I don’t quite have the deli options that we had available in Jersey. Yes, there are delis here. Being GF, I don’t get my deli meat from the deli due to cross-contamination risks. I buy pre-packaged deli meat for the most part. We use a lot of Oscar Mayer, a Kraft company, because they will declare all gluten, if present, on the label clearly. The Deli Fresh line is very good, with many varieties.
What do you do when you want something you can’t have? You get creative and make new favorites. One of my favorite sandwiches since going GF has been a tuna melt. I have made these on Kinnikinnick bagels in the past, but now I usually use homemade bagels made from Pamela’s Wheat Free Bread Mix or Trader Joe’s GF French Rolls. My tuna salad has evolved from your basic tuna, relish & mayo to a spicier version with some crunch added. Yesterday I had mine topped with grape tomatoes and sauteed spinach on the side (spiced with garlic, salt, pepper & nutmeg).
Tuna Salad Melt
1 can tuna in water, drained
1 – 2 tsp Hellman’s Canola Mayo
1 -2 tsp sweet pickle relish
chopped celery (to taste)
finely chopped walnuts (to taste)
Frank’s Red Hot (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Top with cheese (some of my favs are cheddar or muenster)
Bagel or French Roll, toasted
Mix first 7 ingredients together. Place tuna mixture on toasted bagel or roll and top with cheese. Broil until melty & bubbly. YUM!! Enjoy!
I have also used the Chebe Roll Mix to make buns (recipe on their site) and then I will make a deli meat & cheese sandwich with the bun, wrap in foil and place in the oven at 350 until the cheese is all melty. Roast beef & cheddar (topped with some horseradish) is especially good like this, as is ham & swiss (topped with spicy dijon mustard).
So, when you can’t have your old favorites due to a food allergy/intolerance, don’t fret. Make lemonade from your lemons and get creative! Keep positive and try not to worry about what you can’t have. Focus on what you can have. There are plenty of wonderful options out there.