The thing about doing the same thing again is that you get a clear window into your growth as a person. Let me back up and try to have this make some semblance of sense.
There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time in my life. I’ve done yoga in the privacy of my own home with only my puppies watching me and judging my bent knees while attempting “downward dog”. But I was in New Orleans and Joy suggested we go to a yoga class. I gave a hearty yes and the enthusiasm was straight up sincere but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel uncomfortable about the situation. I did it and towards the end as we were a bit sweaty and asked to breathe and think about our intention for the day and to give ourselves the proper accolades for having just spent an hour getting sweaty and being all mindful tears welled up in my eyes. I felt peace and lightness in a season where I had not anticipated such a gift.
What a difference this book release has felt to the first one. With any firsts there are so many unknowns. I don’t know about you but I don’t do very well with unknown. If I knew what the end result would be then I could have so much more chill, unfortunately life is a journey with an unclear destination. Because of that though there is so much opportunity for growth (basically a positive way of saying a challenge).
I’ve learned a lot about my process and I’ve learned a lot about myself. In my younger years my first step was always to try and change myself in order to fit into the mold that I assumed was right. These days I’m assured in myself and now the goal is to set up my surroundings in order to fit myself. The point of all of this? Not sure exactly but I see growth and wanted to take a minute to celebrate that and also, I ate the best sandwiches of my life and I needed to share that with you all. Because you get me and you understand why this sandwich brought a literal tear to my eye.
I am not always hip to the latest coolest restaurants on the scene so before Joy mentioned lunch at Turkey and the Wolf I had no idea that Bon Appetit had named it the best restaurant in the country in 2017. Now I’m a full-fledged fan. We ordered the Bologna sandwich with layers of fried bologna, shrettuce (shredded lettuce), special sauce, american cheese and housemade vinegar potato chips. And we had the Collard Greens Melt. Back at Joy’s house later that evening I did some Googling and found the recipe on Bon Appetit. Immediately I ordered Duke’s Mayonnaise and Creole seasoning so it would be at my door by the time I arrived home.
Make this sandwich. Yes, time is involved but you can not deny the tears I cried.
The Collard Green Melt
Yield 4 sandwiches
I followed this recipe exactly as written from the site, although when I ate the leftovers I didn't make it a triple decker as instructed here and it was just as delightful.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (such as Zatarain’s)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 cups (packed) torn collard green leaves (from about 4 bunches)
¼ head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (or more) distilled white vinegar
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped pickled hot cherry peppers
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon ketchup
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices caraway rye or whole wheat bread
8 thick-cut slices deli-style Swiss cheese
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar, sugar, Creole seasoning, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Add collards, tossing in liquid to wilt. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until collards are dark green and very soft, 2½–3 hours. There should be very little liquid left—just enough to coat greens. If there is too much, cook uncovered until you have the right amount.
Do Ahead: Collards can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.
Toss cabbage, onion, mayonnaise, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a medium bowl to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Season with salt and more vinegar if needed just before using.
Do Ahead: Slaw can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Mix mayonnaise, cherry peppers, hot sauce, ketchup, and pepper in a small bowl to combine.
Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Heat broiler (rack should be in highest position). Place 8 slices of bread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, checking every 30 seconds, until golden brown, 1–2 minutes. Turn and toast second side until golden brown, 1–2 minutes. Top each toast with a slice of cheese and broil until melted and starting to brown, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a work surface.
Place remaining 4 slices of bread on same baking sheet and toast, checking every 30 seconds, until golden brown, 1–2 minutes. Turn and toast second side until golden brown, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
If collard greens are cold, reheat in a large skillet over medium until hot, about 5 minutes.
Divide 2 cups slaw among 4 cheesy toasts. Top with remaining 4 cheesy toasts. Using a slotted spoon (or you’ll end up with a soggy sammy), divide collard greens among cheesy toasts. Generously spread one side of plain toasts with dressing and place dressing side down on collard greens to close sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally and serve with lots of napkins.