At Last, the Toronto Sandwich–and a New Computer

[Your basic Toronto Sandwich, loaded with avocado slices, hummus, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea and pea flour wrap.]

My, it certainly does feel like a while since I’ve posted here! As I already mentioned earlier, my relic of a computer, which I’d been using for longer than I care to admit (let’s just say it was almost the same age as Alec Baldwin’s new wife), finally bit the dust last Tuesday, and I’ve spent the past several days (a) hopelessly–and unsuccessfully–trying to fix it; (b) tracking down a Computer Guru who could possibly help me; (c) lugging the lifeless computer carcass (which probably weighed more than Alec Baldwin’s new wife) to the Computer Guru’s office; (d) waiting helplessly while he tried to fix a couple of nasty viruses; (e) subsequently purchasing a new computer from said Computer Guru; and, finally, (f) waiting helplessly while the CG salvaged what he could from the old computer corpse and set up the new one for me.

What I didn’t realize, however, was that new computers don’t come fully loaded with all the same programs I used to use–and that some of those programs, in fact, are no longer even available with my new, up-t0-the-minute machine.  So please bear with me while I learn about how to use a new photo editor (GIMP, which was recommended to me by my friend Cara--if my photos come out half as lovely as hers, I’ll be thrilled!) and try to relocate all my old bookmarks, which were, sadly, lost.  Luckily, many of the programs I use are web-based, so I’m hoping the transition won’t be (much more) painful and that you folks will hardly notice.

Uslhoik lsoeh s”dhe hslsl dhoe ‘sd;pj dkkdjdj ls’ldkjjk &&& LLL js‘kjl ;supeoe’; djljs

(Ooooops.  Looks like I still haven’t mastered every little change on this thing.) ;)

[Is that Daiya I see on that TO sandwich? Why, yes, indeed, it is! I finally decided to give it a try. Here, paired with mesclun mix, grape tomatoes, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea-pea flour wrap.]

In any case, I’ve been chomping at the bit to tell you about this latest favorite food in the DDD house! (I’ve been chomping at the sandwich, too, of course). What seems like ages ago, I first mentioned this Toronto Sandwich on my DDD Facebook page.  I’ve consumed almost a dozen of these lovelies, with different variations, since I first threw one together as a way to use up a collection of disparate ingredients in my fridge. What I ended up with was a light lunch or brunch dish that I adore, and one that’s über easy and quick to pull together (start to finish–on the table–takes less than 10 minutes).

As anyone who’s wandered through Yorkville,  or visited the Eaton Centre, or meandered through the Beaches, or strolled along Harbourfront knows–Toronto is an international city. When you live here, you quickly grow accustomed to seeing a variety of pairings on the streets: Korean gentleman promenades arm-in-arm with Trinidadian gal; Texas cowboy lopes alongside Japanese Bubble-Tea sipper; Russian blonde model drapes herself over Iranian-born boyfriend. Along with inter-generational couples, couples from different social strata, couples who share the same sex and couples whose sex is indeterminate–well, you see every kind of pairing you can imagine here. Like passengers from around the world thrown onto the same cruise ship, we somehow discover our shared language and manage to communicate our hopes, desires, wishes and ideas. And the beauty of it is that we all, by dint of goodwill and sheer willpower, manage to get along (well, more or less).

To me, it’s the hodge-podge of multiculturalism that really defines Toronto (along with the world-class restaurants, entertainment, shopping, cultural attractions, hotels, cleanliness, safety and totally awesome politeness that’s so indicative of Canadians, of course).  So when I created this dish, even though it began with Reuben-esque characteristics (the sauerkraut and “cheese,”) I determined fairly quickly that this sandwich was quintessentially Torontonian.  Start, shall we, with the wrapper: alternately called Socca (French) or Pudla (Indian), it’s a lightning-quick pancake whipped up with either a mix of chickpea and pea flours, or chickpea on its own. Next, add something creamy: avocado (Mexican), “cheese” sauce (American) or, if you’re feeling adventurous (as I was last week), Daiya (Vegan. Oh, wait, that’s not a country. Yet.).  For a protein boost, include a slice of marinated, grilled tempeh or tofu (Japanese/Chinese).  Add greens if you choose, but don’t forget the key ingredients that really define the dish: sauerkraut (German) and, finally, hot sriracha sauce (Chinese). It’s a cultural fusion of ingredients that, somehow, creates culinary miracles.

[Tempeh base with more Daiya, baby spinach, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea-only wrap]

When I first made this, The HH was embroiled (pun intended) in eating his own meal of grilled steak. And while the HH is one of the most accepting, tolerant people I’ve ever met when it comes to human beings, when it comes to food, getting him to try something new that’s plant-based is often quite the challenge. Often, I must negotiate, cajole, implore, threaten, or plead before he’ll deign to try it. Because I was so enamored of this recipe, he agreed to try it along with me the next day.

So we sat down to eat our meal:

HH [taking a tentative bite]: Yeah, I guess this is okay. [Ricki continues to eat, silently].

HH [second bite] Hmmn, you know, this stuff  is pretty good. [Ricki nods and smiles, silently.]

HH [third bite]: Wow, this combination of ingredients works really well together! I mean, really well! [The HH chomps happily. Ricki continues to smile, knowingly.]

HH [fourth, fifth and sixth bites, in one, a bit of sriracha dripping down the side of his mouth]: This is a brilliant mix of flavors! It’s perfect! This is delicious! [Ricki nods. And smiles. Silently.]

HH: [shoving the remainder of the sandwich in his mouth, bits of avocado and sauerkraut on his fingers]: I love this stuff! You have got to make this again! This is fantastic!

Ricki: Thanks, honey. Glad you like it. [She smiles inwardly and silently pats herself on the back. Triumph!]

Just like its inspiration, the Reuben, this sandwich combines a few key ingredients for an amalgam of flavors and textures that, mysteriously,  just seem to work together. Sort of like Canada’s largest and most multi-cultural city, it may at first appear that there’s too much going on. . . but once you dive into it, well, there’s nothing else that can compare to it in the whole wide world.

[Avocado, "cheese" sauce, sauerkraut and sriracha in a chickpea-pea flour wrap.]

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Last Year at this TimeSimple Raw Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Fava Beans Salad (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Two Years Ago: Cabbage (or Broccoli) Delight Salad (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Three Years Ago: Sour Cream and Raisin Tart (or Pie) (not gluten free; ACD maintenance only)

Four Years Ago: Dog Day: Dog Days of Summer

© Ricki Heller

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Comments

  1. Beautiful! Yes, I have heard Daiya is good, however I have not had a desire to try it, assuming it is still a ‘processed’ food.

    • Lynn, it IS a processed food, but one that I considered carefully and decided was minimally processed, with ingredients I could tolerate (at least once). For me, it was just massive curiosity after reading so much about it the past couple of years! I won’t be buying it again, but at least now I can say I’ve tried it. ;)

  2. Glad to have you back, Ricki! Gosh, this looks like a wonderful version of a reuben.. and if you will name after Toronto, so be it! Can’t wait to try it out. :)

    • Thanks, Janet! :) The name had more to do with the disparate elements than the resemblance to a Reuben (I did consider the “Robin,” but quickly changed my mind!) ;)

  3. Haha this is such an amazing sandwich and you are so right about it symbolizing Toronto! I absolutely love the mixing of cultures in that city, I can’t wait to move there in September!

    This is definitely bookmarked, and speaking of which, I hope you sort out all of your old bookmarks. Remember to enjoy the new laptop despite the learning curve it requires :)

    • Thanks, Gabby! And congrats on the move–you will love it in the city! Did I say I got a laptop? Nope–a big ole desktop. I spend too much time on my machine for a laptop–but do hope to get one of those ONE day! ;)

  4. Glad you are back in front of a computer again – it should be seamless to move from one to another but there is always pain in my experience. Probably just as well your latest foodie love is a sandwich – looks like you can have a sandwich in one hand and drive your computer with the other. Isn’t that why Lord Sandwich invented them all those years ago :-) It sounds very tasty – I haven’t had sauerkraut for ages but have a yen to buy some now

  5. So you’re saying Toronto is like a sandwich, and Alec Baldwin’s wife shares certain characteristics with your old computer? Hmmm.

    Congratulations on getting a new computer — once you are able to get past the losses you’ll surely appreciate the new capabilities. I sure did when I finally let my old computer go. The new one was so fast and the hard drive so large, compared to the old one. Now don’t forget to back everything up. :)

    I posted a very similar socca salad sandwich about a year ago — slightly different ingredients but so delicious. I loved it so much and then forgot all about it. Thank you for reminding me to make it again. It’s a great choice for hot weather.

    • The classic description (believe it or not) is that Toronto (well, Canada) is like a salad to your melting pot down there. However, I do think a sandwich is equally appropriate–if it’s this sandwich. And actually, I think my previous computer may have just been older than Alec Baldwin’s new wife. ;) I’m very pleased with how fast this new computer is, yes, but it is such a drag to have to re-do everything that was already done on the old one. Sigh. And yes, perfect for hot weather! :)

      • Last week, “melting pot” took on a whole new meaning in much of the US, including Wis. where we’re visiting. 106˚ was pretty intense. I’m using my husband’s computer while we’re here and it has NOTHING I’m used to having. I brought my portable hard drive but I don’t have access to things like photoshop. But think of this — it wasn’t that long ago that I lost every single image (including my avatar) from every single blog post, and am still not finished putting them back. I have about 8 months to go out of five years of blogging. THAT was (and still is) a drag. But I feel for you. Getting a new computer is worse than moving house.

        • I’m still amazed that you are putting them all back (AND that you even have them, somewhere–not sure I could find all of mine if I had to!!). We’ve been getting 100+ temps over the past 2 weeks as well, so I know how you feel. There was one day I wouldn’t even take the dogs out because poor Elsie got overheated so quickly the day before. And so glad I’m not going to move house any time soon!! ;-)

  6. This sounds so good! I love sauerkraut and have used it in sandwiches before but had forgotten about it. Sometime this week I will make a ‘Toronto’ sandwich. Glad to hear your computer is fixed. Getting used to a new one is painful but worth it when you get comfortable with it.

  7. Now that is a weird combo of ingredients – but if you and the HH say it’s that good, I may have to try. Glad you finally got a new computer!

    • Seriously? Weird? I guess I’m just so used to combining otherwise disparate ingredients that it didn’t even strike me that way. If you try it, though, I warn you: you will be hooked!

  8. That is quite the combination – I have been known to come up with some weird ones, but this takes the cake!

    I suspect you may get hooked and try Daiya again. It makes for some really good pizza!

    • Cara, I did like the taste and texture of it, but I probably won’t buy it again because I don’t want to consume canola oil and it really had too much starch for me to use it regularly. And honestly, I don’t even think of this combo as weird–just eclectic. ;)

  9. Georgina says:

    Hello from Ottawa! I recently had a marvelous holiday in Toronto with my husband. Toronto is vibrant and fun like this sandwich. How cool of you to name it the Toronto. Can’t wait to make it!

  10. Courtney says:

    Ugh–I had my last computer for 7+ years, so I feel your pain in losing everything! And getting used to the new computer is always so hard. I am sorry! You are so much more web savvy than me, though, I am sure you will figure it out quickly. Losing your bookmarks is rough though–I was so frustrated with that!

    Anyway, your sandwich *was* worth waiting for! I can’t wait to try that wrapper–it sounds so simple and sooooo good! I have never seen pea flour (although I have seen pea protein powder), so I am glad to hear it will work with all chickpea. Once it cools down and I can stand to turn on the stove, I am making this!

    Courtney

    • Courtney, thanks for the sympathy! I think I had mine (ahem) about 10 years. . . we had upgraded just as much as we could and really had to get this new one. I’m getting used to it (the gorgeous flat screen monitor was the easy part–I was still using one of those old huge ones that took up most of the desk!!). I first got some pea flour at the Veg Fair here in Toronto last year and just love it. I made my “green eggs and ham” with it and have been hooked ever since! Hope you enjoy this!

  11. I’ve been WAITING for the recipe to accompany that gorgeous sandwich picture. Thank you!!! It was definitely worth waiting for. I can’t wait to try the wrapper. Such a simple recipe! I’m so sorry for your computer woes. Glad that you are back up and running, and after learning the new programs, I hope that you find that you like them even better than the older ones.

    • Thanks, Heather! And sorry to make you wait–especially since it is SO easy! :) Part of why I love this recipe–it comes together incredibly quickly. And tastes so darned good! :)

  12. Sarah D. says:

    Hi Ricki, first: YUM,and thanks. second, though, I’m having trouble finding tempeh that is gluten free at my whole foods. Do you have a brand you recommend?

    • What?! Tempeh that ISN’T gluten free??? But tempeh is just soybeans. . . and culture, no? I think if you’re buying the pre-flavored kind, or tempeh “strips” or something like that, it would have gluten, but plain ole tempeh shouldn’t. I don’t know where you live, but I buy Noble Bean. Another one I use sometimes is Henry’s. If you look at the ingredient lists, I think everything in it is GF, unless the rhizopus culture has gluten??

  13. marissa says:

    Toronto sounds like such an amazing city. The last time I was there I was too young to fully appreciate it. I’d love to make it back again one day.

    The avocado/sauerkraut pairing is one of my favorites. I told my partner about this sandwich and his eyes bulged out of his head. Needless to say, this is on the menu for dinner later this week. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Glad you like the sound of it, Marissa! I always feel as if I go a little overboard about Toronto, but then again, since I came here later in life, I feel it’s okay to be a champion of the city (anyone born here isn’t allowed, though–lol!). :D I’d love to hear how you both liked it if you do give it a try!

  14. Thank you! I love wraps made with gram flour! I haven’t tried pea flour but the other day I was looking at an Artisan Bread site where I could buy it! I would choose hummus, always hummus! I’ve never made sauerkraut, maybe that’s a must for this year! Lovely combinations of flavours!

    I loved Toronto and I remember some of the places you mention, it truly is an international city. We went on the Hippo tour of the city!! Such fun! Can’t wait to be going back there! I’m getting quite excited!

  15. Wow, that looks delicious! I used to make a similar wrap just using just chickpea flour, water, and salt. My favorite filling was Trader Joe’s Lentil Masala Dip and goat cheese. I think the Lentil Masala Dip might be vegan and anti-candida (it might have vinegar–I’m not sure). And good luck with your new computer!

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! That dip sounds delicious. . .must look for it next time I get near a Trader Joe’s (ie, next time I visit the US!!). :)

  16. This looks great, if I can’t find pea flour could I blend frozen peas with with the chickpea flour? thanks..Karen

    • Thanks so much! I don’t think actual peas would work quite the same way because of all the moisture in them. You could use all chickpea flour, or part chickpea and part garfava if you like. I know that amazon sells pea flour, though–if you follow the link in the recipe, it takes you to the product (and since I’m an affiliate, I will earn a nominal fee if you choose to buy from them). :)

  17. Yum! This looks just scrumptious. I love chickpea crepes but rarely make them, and this is motivation to get on it :)

    • The chickpea version is good, but I truly loved the chickpea-pea mix. Something about the slight sweetness just brought out all the goodness in the other ingredients! :)

  18. Oh yum, Ricki! That looks so delicious!

  19. This looks delicious… my husband has now joined the ‘I love tempeh’ club. He eats meat once in a while when we’re out to dinner, but is slowly moving away from it at his own pace. I definitely need to make this for him, he’d love it, I know I will!

    I just can’t do Daiya anymore. The shredded version was ‘ok’ once in while, but then I tried the wedge… that turned me off completely, I won’t be buying it again.

    Congrats on your new computer! You’ll be a whiz at it in no time :)

    • That’s great about your hubby, Christa! What was different about the wedge vs. the shredded? I only tried it melted… can’t imagine eating it “raw.” And thanks for the computer encouragement–I think I need it! ;)

  20. Today was my last day at the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia… so I think I’m going to fit right in in Toronto. Sandwich and ALL. Squeee!

  21. This sounds like my husband and me. He is always skeptical of trying new health foods, but I silently gloat to myself when I win him over. Looks yummy!

  22. triumph, indeed! i’m not a huge sauerkraut fan, but i did like the quick one i put on my last pizza… worth giving this sandwich a shot :)

  23. I tried this today with hummus, romaine, homemade raw sauerkraut, and sriracha sauce. So good! Thank you.

  24. Love that wrap! Love the photos! Yay for the new computer. I just got one as well and am facing some of the same issues : ) xoLexie

  25. Hi Ricki! This looks delish but before I try, you as its safe for all stages of ACD. I know Sriracha has sugar in it and aren’t we to avoid fermented foods? I’m new to this whole candida thing so I just want to be sure I’m not confused! I’m hoping it’s ok, because it sounds amazing!!

    • Hi Autumn,
      Many anti-candida diets allow naturally fermented foods like kefir or sauerkraut. I made my own, with just cabbage and salt–nothing else! (I link to that recipe in this one). But it does take a week. . . !! You can sometimes find naturally fermented sauerkraut in health food stores, but it’s rather expensive. I do use a bit of sriracha here and there at this stage–sorry, I meant to mention that you can use either fresh jalapenos or spicy hummus instead (or, if you’re okay with it, a little tabasco). Hope that helps! :)

  26. Theresa says:

    Hi Ricki: I need help! I’ve tried the wrap two nights in a row and had to toss ea. time. My problem is it sticking to my pans. I tried a ‘green’ pan with coconut oil which just stayed around the edge of the wrap so it stuck to all the inside part and I have a small omelet pan that I oiled with the coconut oil and the wrap just stuck everywhere. What am I doing wrong and what kind of pan are you using?

    Thanks for any help – I would really like to make these.

    • Hi Theresa,
      I mention in the instructions that it has to be a nonstick pan; otherwise, you will need A LOT (like 2 tbsp) coconut oil to prevent it from sticking! I have a small titanium nonstick pan that I use (but titanium is VERY expensive). I’ve also used a well-seasoned cast iron pan when I make larger ones for both me and the HH, and it works well, too (you have to be sure to cook it until very brown on the underside before flipping). If you’re not averse to using more oil, I’d try that first. Or, if you have a nonstick pan, try oiling that and see what happens (can you brush the oil all over the pan’s surface so it’s evenly distributed under the pancake?). I can’t really think of another way to tackle it, sorry!

  27. Theresa says:

    Hi Ricki,
    3rd time a charm. Thanks for the tips – my green pan is ceramic and non-stick but apparently not for everything. I added more oil and let it cook longer before turning and that did it! I love it – great for a quick meal.
    Thanks,
    Theresa

    • Yayyyyy!!! :D So happy to hear this. And it’s great info for anyone else reading this post who might have had theirs stick, too. I’m glad you love it, too–once you get the hang of it, it’s so easy to start filling it with all kinds of things for a quick meal. Kinda habit forming. . . !

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