There’s an Irish saying that dates back to the 16th century that goes… “April showers bring May flowers”. It also brings thoughts of other showers, as in bridal and baby showers. The first question when planning a shower is, what to serve?
If you have a couple of hours (yes this takes a little bit of time) and want to offer your guests a really great lunch, that is both light and easy to handle (since you might be balancing your plate on your lap as we often do at these functions), then try serving a Sandwich Loaf the next time it is your turn to host the shower.
I don’t think a Sandwich Loaf is what the 4th Earl of Sandwich had in mind when he asked his butler to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread. Apparently the Earl of Sandwich liked this form of food as it allowed him to continue playing cards while eating, without getting his cards greasy from eating with his hands. Here is the recipe – at the end of the recipe you will see why I mentioned the Earl of Sandwich.
16 slices wheat bread – crusts trimmed
3 pkg Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese (8 oz packages)
3 slices fully cooked traditional ham steaks
1 small can Deviled Ham spread (optional)
2 green onions, chopped (use both white and green parts)
Cream Cream Mixture
Cheese and Olive:
1 jar Kraft Pimento Cheese Spread (5 oz jar) (sometimes hard to find, but usually located in the crackers section)
2 cans of sliced black olives (2.25 oz each can)
Cream Cheese Mixture
Strawberry and Avocado:
6-8 large fresh strawberries (sliced)
1 medium to large ripe avocado (should be ripe but not mushy to the touch)
Cream Cheese Mixture
Whip the 3 packages of cream cheese in a mixer, adding a little milk to bring it to consistency of frosting – add a splash of worchestire sauce and a pinch of garlic powder. Trim the crusts off the 16 slices of wheat bread and put them back into their bag leaving the end open so they get a tiny bit stale.
Using a large platter, lay out 4 slices of the bread side-by-side. Spread them with a little bit of the Cream Cheese mixture (noted as CC in remainder of this recipe) – should be spread similar to how much you would spread mayo on a sandwich.
First layer is Ham: cut up ham steaks into cubes and chop in the food processor till they resemble hamburger. Add 1/2 can of the deviled ham, the green onion, and about 3 Tbl of CC, and mix until well blended and spreadable. Spread this evenly onto the four slices, and then top with the next set of 4 slices of bread.
2nd layer is Cheese: mix the jar of Pimento cheese spread with 2 Tbl of CC – blend well and spread on the bread. Top this with the black olives, spread evenly over the entire loaf. Take your next 4 slices of bread and spread them lightly with CC before laying the CC side down onto the olives/cheese spread.
Top layer is Avocado and Strawberries (my favorite layer): spread CC over the top of the bread. Cut avocado in half, remove pit and skin. Slice each half and layer over the CC. On top of the avocado slices you will add the strawberries, also cut into thin slices and dropped right on top of the avocado slices. Spread CC over the remaining 4 slices and place them CC side down onto the strawberries. Your assembly is now complete – lightly press the top down to make the loaf compact. Clean up any fillings that have spilled out the sides of the loaf and then put in the refrigerator to set for about 20-30 minutes before you frost it.
You should have a little more than 8oz of CC left which you will use as the frosting. This should be about same consistency as cake frosting and not runny. Spread the sides first, and then finish with the top. I like to create swirls on both the sides and the top, just as I would if frosting a cake. Lastly you decorate the top. There are many ways to decorate: create a flower using egg slices and green onion strips; or surround the edges with Bay Shrimp, dill and cucumber. I like to make strawberry petals with chive strips as both are in the sandwich loaf. There are numerous ways to decorate – just surf the internet or go to my Pinterest page under Tea Time for other decorations.
So here’s my correlation with the Earl of Sandwich: My recipe for Sandwich Loaf goes back to the 1950’s when my Mom served this entree to her girlfriends when they played cards (a rummy game called May I?). She too had 3 layers in her loaf, but her fillings were egg salad, sliced tomatoes, and cucumber. The best part of my Mom playing May I? was the leftovers, when us kids got to have a slice of the sandwich loaf – yum, fond memories!
Did you or your Mom serve a Sandwich Loaf? Let me know what type of fillings you used in your loaf. Enjoy!
Serves: 12-14 slices