A Sunday Lunch

August 10, 2008

My youngest brother Michael just moved back to Seattle a week or so ago. He hasn’t really lived here since he graduated high school. Although we are eight years apart, we have always been close. When we were really young it was because I was kind of a second mother to him, and now that we are adults, it’s really just because we like each other and have a fair amount in common. I have really missed having him close by, especially once I started having kids and he only got to see them once a year.

One of Michael’s favorite things to do on Earth is ride bikes and that is one thing we do not have in common. My three month tour of France basically forever ruined my urge to ever get on anything with two wheels again. My husband, however, is a biking nut and I think he is really excited to have a buddy to ride with and someone who can challenge him. Randy did a crazy ride called RAMROD a couple of weeks ago and RAMROD stands for Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day. If you are not from around here, Mt. Rainier is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states and this ride was about 160 miles and 10,000 feet vertical climb. In one day. Randy told me many times that he was worried that he wasn’t going to be able to finish. He called me after he did finish to let me know that he came in fifth. And he started half an hour late. Michael can’t wait to join him next year.

Another of Michael’s favorite things to do on Earth is eat. In spite of his extreme carnivore-ness, he is a very enthusiastic audience for the vegetarian food that I make. His friends once got him a bacon-of-the-month package for his birthday, but he insists that if he were eating my food, he could be a vegetarian. Awwww. So, needless to say, he is fun to cook for. I decided to make lunch for the guys today – something I don’t normally do. I do a lot of dinner cooking, so breakfast and lunch tend to be simple around here (or eaten out). But since we had no plans this weekend, I was getting the urge to get in the kitchen anyway.

I must have the cut the recipe for this sandwich out 15 years ago or so, and have never made it. I am actually not a huge sandwich person. In my experience, vegetarian sandwiches are ho-hum at best and oily greasy messes at worst. I also always get to the end of a sandwich and think, “That’s it?” I guess they just don’t satisfy me. This baby is another story all together. This is a meal. I used the recipe as a starting off point and made a few changes, one of which being to add hard-boiled egg slices. I figured the guys would want a little extra protein after a long ride. The best part about this sandwich is that it can be made a day ahead – it’s actually even better since the flavors of the filling have time to seep into the bread. Yum. This would be a great dinner on a night that you just can’t face the stove or the oven. I served it with a summer squash soup with small shell pasta and tons of herbs, but a salad would be lovely as well.

Olive and Jarlsberg Sandwich
Adapted from
Gourmet Magazine
Serves 4 (very hungry) – 6 (slightly less hungry)

You could substitute a different kind of cheese here (I would use something mild as the other flavors are very assertive.) You can also swap out some of the parlsey with a different herb – basil would be delicious. If you eat fish, I would imagine that a drained can or two of tuna would great great mixed in with the olive mixture.

an 8 inch round loaf of peasant bread
cup drained pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped fine
cup drained Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped fine
1/2 cups grated Jarlsberg cheese (about 6 oz.)
6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped fine

1 cup drained bottled roasted red peppers, chopped fine

2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves, minced

1 tbsp. drained capers, chopped fine

olive oil


4 hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced

Cut the top quarter off the loaf horizontally with a serrated knife and remove the soft crumb from the top and bottom sections, leaving a 1 1/2 inch thick shell. In a bowl, stir together the olives, cheese, artichoke hearts, peppers, parsley, and capers. Stir in just enough olive oil to moisten it, not make it greasy. Add salt and pepper as needed to taste, keeping in mind that the olives and capers are very salty.

Spread a thin layer of hummus (or more if you love hummus) all over the inside of the bowl and lid. Spoon half the olive mixture into the bread shell and top with a layer of hard-boiled eggs. Spoon in the remaining mixture and top with the remaining eggs.

Put the lid on the bread bowl and press down to compact. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. If you want, you can place a heavy pot on top to compact it even further. Chill it for at least one hour and up to 24. Cut with a serrated knife.

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