I am exceptionally grateful this week because I had a few days off from work. Plus, the Midwest decided to bless us with a sunny day, which meant I was in the kitchen whipping something up. That something was “The Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich”. I first discovered this sandwich masterpiece after going on a lunchtime outing at Farren’s Pub and Eatery with Momma Crawford and my cousin a few months back. Farren’s is famous for having the absolute killer, award-winning hamburgers in the area. My dad is an avid burger coinsurer himself, and he adores this little hole-in-the-wall of a pub. If you’re not looking carefully, you’ll walk right past it. The building hides behind two other, very large buildings. Just look for the crème-lime colored building and you’re there.
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We interrupt this blog post for a very important announcement. I have a pretty exciting announcement, everyone. When I started TermiNatetor Kitchen, I wanted to not only use the blog to chronicle my culinary journey. I also wanted to collaborate and interact with other foodies and bloggers who shared my love and passion for food as well. That’s why I’m very excited to announce my first food blog collaboration featuring some awesome gents. Welcome to BroAppetite.
What exactly is BroAppetite? BroAppetite convenes some of the web’s most popular, up-and-coming, and rookie male food bloggers to promote, create, and share creative culinary content. We are proving that men can cook and do so with gusto and grace while convincing other men to do the same. It’s obvious that the food blogging game is dominated by female bloggers (which is totally cool, go women!), but there is a noticeably lesser voice when it comes to male food bloggers. There also seems to be a societal stigma that only women belong in the kitchen. This multi-blog collaboration will be a chance to share recipes, promote fellow male bloggers, and just talk about food (because who doesn’t love doing that?)
How is this BroAppetite thing supposed to go down?
Throughout the week of Sunday, May 10th through Saturday, May 16th, myself and a variety of other male food bloggers will be sharing recipes and answering the questions:
· What one food defines you?
· What food could you never live without?
· What food has always inspired you throughout your life?
· How has food impacted your life?
· What are your thoughts on the different sexes being in the kitchen?
· Do think that some food is socially categorized per gender (ei. Girl food vs. Man food)?
· Why should all men learn to cook/bake?
· What are the advantages/disadvantages with cooking/baking as a man?
· And, I think most importantly, what color genuinely is the dress? (It’s obviously black and blue)
This question and more will be answered and explored through the medium of food, recipes, photography, videography, and blogging. This collaboration also runs throughout the same week as final exams (Eck!). On a more positive note, it is also the same week as Jamie Oliver’s #FoodRevolutionDay. It’s a campaign, hosted by the British culinary titan himself, which encourages governments around the world to support compulsory practical food education in schools. That week also falls on National Stuttering Awareness Week. In honor of that, I’ll be writing a very special post on the blog about my journey with stuttering.
I’m very excited to say that I’ll be working with seven amazingly talented food bloggers, recipe developers, photographers, videographers, and all-around nice guys in this collaboration. Check them out and subscribe to each of their blogs to know which days they’re posting, what food most inspires them, and how they respond to the question posed above.
Who’s all on the list? Check them out:
Brett from Fig+Bleu.com
David from Spicedblog.com
Chris from Mother'sBBQ
Chris from Mother'sBBQ
Jim from Whatscookingwithjim.com
JP from HellthyJunkFood
Kevin from keviniscooking.com
Matt from RealFoodByDad.com
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Back to the sandwich. This chicken sandwich was incredible. At Farren’s, the “Santa Fe Sandwich” is made with grilled chicken breast, fresh cilantro feta pesto, and melted pepper jack cheese. It is then all sandwiched between a pair of warm, beautifully toasted French baguette bread. The cilantro feta pesto was fresh, vibrant, and delicious. My family devoured it in seconds. Side note: It may be a sin to get a chicken sandwich at a burger joint. Though if you know me, you know I have to be in a “burger eating” mood to truly enjoy one to its fullest potential. Jon and I much rather order a chicken sandwich before a triple decker cheeseburger any day.
For my recipe, I modified the ingredients to a minor extent. Here in old Illinois, it’s not grilling season quite yet, so pan-searing was my next option (which still turned out great). Momma Crawford decided to buy an enormous quantity of Monterrey cheese, so I substituted that instead. I added soften butter to the cilantro feta pesto. As the warm baguette melted the butter, it began to seep into the bread and beautifully melt into the rest of the sandwich. My family seriously loved the cilantro fest pesto butter. They obsessed about it and so did I. It just had this earthy, fresh, warming taste that complimented all of the other taste and textures quite well. This recipe adaptation is the perfect weeknight dinner or weekend cookout favorite.
The Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich with Cilantro Feta Pesto Butter
3 ½ lbs. Chicken filets
For the Cilantro Feta Pesto Butter (1 cup pesto + 8 tablespoons soften butter)
1 cups packed fresh cilantro
Two cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Feta
One tablespoon Olive oil
Pre-step: I’m getting pretty Feta-up of your shenanigans.
Step One: For the Chicken. Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Season one side of the chicken breast with onion salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Sear the seasoned side first until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Flip it over and properly season the other side while the first side is cooking. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until internal temperature reads above 165°F. Take off the heat and let drain on a plate covered with a paper towel.
Step Two: For the Cilantro Feta Pesto Butter. In a food processor, add the roughly chopped cilantro, sliced garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse for 15-30 seconds or until it resembles wet sand. Slowly add the olive oil in little increments at a time until all the oil is combined. Add the feta cheese and pulse for 15-30 more seconds or until well combined. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper for taste. Add the 1 cup of pesto to medium size bowl with eight tablespoons of soften butter in it. Stir to combine. Store in the refrigerator or until ready to use.
Step Three: Assembly: Toast the baguette bread to the packages instructions. Layer the sandwich with one chicken filet, shredded lettuce, sliced red onions, tomatoes, and a layer of cilantro feta pesto butter. Serve immediately.