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Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

Weeknight Entertaining - Elegant Sandwiches

by Linda Larsen

Sandwiches for company? Who would dare to serve sandwiches to guests? You will - with these great recipes and ideas from Linda Larsen in her Weeknight Entertaining column.

Weeknight Entertaining
Elegant Sandwiches

Sandwiches for company? Who would dare to serve sandwiches to guests? You will - with these great recipes and ideas. Sandwiches have come a long way from the PBJ and tuna melt (although those are wonderful too!). Our choice of ingredients has improved radically over the past 20 years. Artisan breads, fresh seafood, exotic lettuces, relishes and chutneys combine to make sandwiches a wonderful, memorable meal that's easy on the host and just plain fun.

The most important tip I can give you is to make sure your ingredients are impeccably fresh and top quality. It's easy to find great bread almost everywhere. Even grocery stores are baking their own breads. I love a walnut-raisin boule made at our local store. The dark bread, chewy crust, sweet raisins and the crunchy tang of the walnuts make a fabulous bread that is perfect for a simple chicken salad sandwich. And that's just one idea! Experiment with different breads for your sandwiches. Try focaccia, toasted raisin bread, ciabatta, croissants, bagels, pita breads, onion rolls, flatbread, or toasted English muffins. The choices are almost endless.

I really feel these sandwiches are special because they use more expensive ingredients, like brie and smoked salmon - but also the chutneys and relishes are unusual and add wonderful flavor. Take a look at the condiment aisle at your grocery store. If you spend a few minutes browsing you'll be amazed at the variety of choices. Recently I found banana chutney, pepper relish, tomato relish, and cherry chutney at the store in my small town. I get the meats from the deli. You can have them sliced to your order, and you have a wonderful choice of flavored meats like peppered beef and honey roasted turkey.

Let your imagination soar with these sandwiches. Feel free to substitute for any of the ingredients. Remember - it's only with baking that you have to be careful about measuring and specific ingredient combinations. With sandwiches, if you like it, it will taste great.

And make it even easier on yourself and set up a sandwich bar for guests. Have a wonderful array of fresh bread, lots of condiments, choices of meat and cheese, and fresh summer veggies so your guests can pick and choose to their heart's content.

All you need to add is some fresh fruit and cookies for dessert. This is a great hands-on meal your guests will love relaxing over. There's something about choosing your own foods and assembling them, then eating with your hands, that just guarantees a good time, with lots of laughter and conversation. And after all, the perfect sandwich is a very individual matter.

Weeknight Entertaining Line

The Recipes

Brie Peach Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Ham Sandwiches with Blueberry Chutney
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Spread
Smoked Salmon and Pesto Rolls
Turkey Sandwiches with Spinach Aioli

Weeknight Entertaining Line

Next week...An Appetizer Party.

Weeknight Entertaining Line
Weeknight Entertaining Line

Linda Larsen is a freelance Home Economist with a degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota and a degree from St. Olaf College. She has been on the Pillsbury Bake-Off staff since 1987, and was in charge of Internet Recipe Search in 2000. Linda has developed recipes for Pillsbury and Malt-O-Meal, presented food to taste panels, held cooking seminars, and owned her own catering business "The Perfect Occasion". She loves to cook and entertain, write about food, talk about it, plan parties, read cookbooks and develop recipes. She has a cookbook collection of at least 1000 books and reads them as though they were novels.
Linda's first meal was a Mother's Day dinner from the Betty Crocker Children's cookbook, prepared when she was 11. Since then she has hosted wedding and baby showers, birthday parties, business dinners and cocktail parties, and wonderful simple meals for friends. Join her and learn simple and elegant ways to entertain your family and friends during the week.

Linda is also the Home and Décor host for Bella Online. Make sure to visit her excellent site for design tips, articles, links, and recommendations relating to home décor.

She is also the new guide for Busy Cooks.
Linda can be reached at
Weeknight Entertaining Line

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