Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Hubster's Grilled Turkey Sandwich with Cilantro Pistachio Pesto

I'm convinced I'm married to the smartest man in the world. See, the hubster has figured out that he needs to cook just one thing every year. Not two or three because that's heading toward routine and expected. No, just one. That way, it's always an exciting surprise. Back in 2006, he made Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner one night and he is still riding on the glory of that one meal. When a friend asks, "So which one of you is the cook?" the Hubster nonchalantly responds, "Oh, both of us cook. I make a great Chicken Tikka Masala."

Lately, the Hubster has saved his once-a-year foray into the kitchen to make a baked treat for my birthday. I hate to admit it but gosh, I love that annual baked treat. Last year, he made a batch of Ina Garten's Shortbread Cookies dipped in dark chocolate and I swear, coming home to those cookies was better than receiving jewelry or a fancy handbag and almost better than sleeping in. Almost. Let's not get carried away here.

But apparently, the Hubster wasn't content with his once-a-year baking prowess. Recently, he nonchalantly let it slip that when he was in undergrad, he was apparently quite the cook. He and his roommates specialized in wholesome meals such as doctored-up frozen pizza, "fresh" pasta of the Buitoni variety, and wait for it, the turkey and cheese sandwich. Unable to leave well enough alone, I was forced to ask about these world famous turkey sandwiches.

"So, you made turkey and cheese sandwiches for dinner?" I asked. "No Azmina, not JUST turkey and cheese sandwiches. GRILLED turkey and cheese sandwiches," he said confidently. I looked at him so skeptically, he felt compelled to make a special trip to the grocery store to get his special turkey and special cheese. And of course, his special bread from Tartine Bakery. All to make us his special turkey sandwiches to preserve his cooking honor. Oh, and reputation.

As he was making the sandwiches, I wandered by the kitchen and told him I wanted spread on my sandwich. Oh, and I didn't want mayo. Next thing I know, the Hubster is placing a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich in front of me crowing about what a genius he is. Apparently, the man happened to use our homemade cilantro pistachio pesto as a spread. Genius? Hardly. I mean, I told him I wanted a non-mayo spread on my sandwich. I made the pesto. Heck, he just happened to put it on a sandwich.

Pause grumpy, incredulous commentary. Bite. Pause. Oh wait, this does taste like genius. Darn it, he's done it again! So here's the lowdown on this pesto. It is fantastic. I know food bloggers say that all the time but really, this pesto is fantastic. We toss it with pasta and chicken for quick dinners, smear it on crackers for quick snacks, and I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes when I open the fridge to grab something specific, I get distracted and swipe a spoonful of pesto just because. The pesto has got this fresh herb flavor that is perfect for summer without being overwhelmingly herb'y. And apparently, it has the super hero power to elevate a humble turkey sandwich from the hubster's college days to the best turkey sandwich I've ever had. Oh wait, GRILLED turkey sandwich.

As for the me, I'm guessing I won't get a baked treat for my birthday this year. The hubster already made his one meal of the year this weekend and established that apparently, there are two cooks in this family. Why mess with genius, right?

Grilled Turkey Sandwich

Bread of your choice
Slice of your favorite cheese (optional)

Slice two slice of bread, and lightly spread one side of each slice with butter. Build your sandwich, with the non-buttered side of the slices on the inside of the sandwich. Place a pan on your stove on medium heat. Grill each side of the sandwich until crispy and the sandwich is warmed throughout.

Cilantro Pistachio Pesto

2 cups of fresh cilantro (large stems removed)
1/8 cup of fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. chopped serrano chile
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, mint, pistachios, garlic, chile, and cumin until well blended. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until pesto reaches desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. As an aside, I have the world's junkiest food processor so I often need to add more oil (1/8 to 1/4 cup) to get a smoother consistency. Plus, a looser pesto makes a fantastic pasta sauce so I consider my junky food processor to be a blessing. Right.


  1. very nice of Hubster. Hope his cookery expands further to once or twice of month :P I have a very junky food processor too which I love though!!!

  2. Well, that grilled turkey and cheese is beyond anything my husband has ever made me, so be happy :) The addition of the pesto does sound rather genius, though. Have a great week.

  3. LOVE. this. It sounds delicious and sounds like something I could easily make vegetarian. My hubby is the same way. Last night REB wanted the warm goat cheese salad I recreated from when we had it on our honeymoon in Paris. Except he didn't want a salad. So he had the genius idea to make them into a sandwich and voila! Warm goat cheese salad sandwiches were born. I can't lie. They were legit. And I hope he continues to sporadically feel the need to cook me delicious things.

  4. I love LOVE Pesto. We totally are hooked to it since our Italian trip.
    Maybe if you pray every single day, he might just cook twice a year:)
    My hubs is the same way he calls himself a "chef" and cooks about once a year.

  5. Well, he sure did pick a winner! My hubby only cooks frozen pizza or hot dogs. ;)

  6. I love how he only picks one thing a year haha. This sandwich does sound pretty awesome! I will recreate it at home :)

  7. This is hysterical...I love how he "makes" a great chicken tikka masala. Although I have to say that if Ali made even a boiled egg, even just once? I'd probably wax on about it for years and years. :)

    Looks delicious.

  8. I think you have two geniuses in the family, him for making you one of the best GRILLED turkey sandwiches I've ever seen and you for marrying him before someone else discovered his cooking talent. I need this pesto, pronto. Might have to trade you for some cookies since the hubby is in retirement for the rest of the year.

  9. Hi, wow... so nice of your DH to made such an awesome sandwich. Even thou it's 'one thing a year' but better than nothing. Enjoy your comfort meal.

    Have a nice day.

  10. Azmina... ha! You are an awesome writer. Loved this post. Hm. My husband doesn't bake ANYTHING. But then again, he doesn't have the same culinary history as your famous grilled turkey n'cheese sandwich making man, so... I guess I'll take what I can get. He does the washing up, regularly. Then I rewash the bits that are still caked on (bless his heart). He makes a mean steak (he's of the belief that a man's version of cooking is barbecuing) and I make the salad. A bit like how you made the pesto, I guess. We make a good culinary pair ;) Love your blog. Can't wait to read more!

  11. LOL. Your husband is too funny but that sandwich looks amazing...he should cook for us too

  12. How smart the man is!! Love the pesto. Must make it soon. Feels like a winner!!


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