Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pesto Turkey Sandwiches (dairy and egg free): How to be like others

The other morning, I called out to Son, "Hey, I'm packing you some soon tofu stew (순두부 지개) for your school lunch in your thermos."

Son ran over and hesitated for a moment as I madly put things into boxes.  "Mom.  What do I tell people it is?"

"What do you mean tell people?  Tell them it's spicy tofu soup."  With that I assumed the conversation was over.

When he brought home the lunch, all of the soup was gone, and I casually asked, "Did you tell people what you ate?"

"Yes.  They asked.  I told them," he replied.  "But mom, do you think you can pack me some bread with something in it - you know, like a sandwich?  All my friends eat sandwiches."

Suddenly our conversation earlier made sense.  Son realizes he is different.  He notices and others notice that his food is not like the food of his classmates.  We hadn't run into this problem last year because lunch was not a part of his day, but since eating lunch at school, the differences between his food and his mates' foods was noticeable.  He already feels set apart from his classmates as he isn't allowed to participate in many of the cooking activities (Friday challah baking for one).

However, packing sandwiches pose a few logistical problems for me.  Son is allergic to dairy and egg which is a staple in most breads.  He loves paninis, which I make with french bread, but french bread doesn't taste good cold on its own to him (must be in a hot panini) and I cannot pack him a hot sandwich.  The school he goes to is also kosher, so ham, bacon or salami, which are things that he enjoys, are not available to him.  I began considering a few options and none of them seemed to be feasible. I began to think that he was going to have to be different and just get used to it.

However, as I strolled through Costco the other day, I happened upon these torta rolls.

Curious I picked them up and squeezed them.  Hmmm.  They were soft.  They looked pretty tasty.  They looked like I could make a good sandwich with them.  I saw this organic (EXPENSIVE) turkey sandwich meat, which tasted good (love sample Friday at Costco) and thought, ah...why not.

I don't know about you, but a sandwich that has just has a slice of turkey in it doesn't sound good.  It actually sounds bad.  But I remembered my new discovery which is pesto with no nuts and cheese and it came to me - a bit of pesto with the turkey on bread would be tasty.

I did a run through this weekend, and VOILA!  Son likes it!  Son can feel like he's like the others.   I'm sure there will be a point (very soon I hope) where he wants his Korean food in his thermos and he doesn't mind bringing the stinky food to his kosher classroom, but for now, as long as he tries and eats this sandwich and tries to enjoy it, I'll be happy.

As a side note, I did make an egg and cheese filled one as well, which ended up being a huge hit with Daughter #1.  Daughter #2 strangely preferred the version given to her brother.

Pesto Turkey Sandwiches (dairy and egg free)
Makes as many as you can until the pesto, turkey, or bread runs out

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

turkey deli meat (your choice - I used organic)
torta rolls (or if you can find bread of your choice)

In a food processor or blender, blend together basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  As a note, this pesto can be stored in a glass gar, with a nice layer of olive oil drizzled on top to help preserve the green.  Good for about 1 week.

Slice torta roll in half.  Smear a nice healthy tablespoon of pesto on one side of the bread.  Add turkey.  (and egg and cheese if desired and not allergy prohibited.)  Repeat sandwich making as necessary.


Printable recipe


~zandra~ said...

I really like the idea of putting pesto on a sandwich- something I've had in restaurants but never thought to do at home. Thank you for the idea!

Sandy said...

Ironically I know a man who had exactly the opposite circumstance. He lived in korea as a child but had a caucasion American mother who packed him sandwiches for lunch. He would come home crying and begging for Korean food in his lunch so he could be like the other kids. :)

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