For everyone coming off the post-July 4th carnivorous barbequed everything high, let me present the Christopher Sandwich. Almost vegetarian (except for the bacon) it’s both filling and light. The avocado and cheese stick to your ribs while the tomato, onion, olives, pickles, and mushrooms add interest and a salty tang. And then there are the sprouts. You gotta have sprouts cause they’re good and good for you and they make the sandwich look huge which will fool a few pastrami addicts into eating something healthy. The original had bacos which I switched to real bacon but it’s otherwise the same beast. And a little bacon never hurt anybody right? While a lot of bacon could probably effect world peace (at least while people were eating it).
Anyone living in Shreveport for the last few decades remembers Earthereal Restaurant. Opening right around the time of the first Earth Day it served up a full menu of sandwiches, plate lunches, and whole-grain baked goods. Founded by John and Katie Koellen it was the first vegetarian restaurant in town and was best in class until a few years ago when the Koellens retired for a well-deserved rest.
Located behind an old storefront on Line Avenue it was always a magnet for the local lunch crowd and I don’t think I ever ate there when I didn’t see someone I knew. There was a parking lot behind it and Katie had a beautiful container garden that formed a path to the back door entrance so you could see and smell the herbs and veg you’d soon be eating. What can I say? I miss it, but am grateful for all the years it was there.
Healthy Whole Wheat Sandwich
The first time I ordered the Christopher as a kid I wasn’t sure about the compatibility of the ingredients. However, when Mama’s picking up the tab you can take a chance. Suffice it to say, these flavors won me over and the Christopher was my go to bite most times. Earthereal served it with taco chips but they’re pictured here with Zapp’s Potato Chips which are the best I’ve ever had.
This is one recipe where there’s not much explanation needed. The pictures pretty much do the job. You can use any kind of bread but Earthereal always used a soft whole wheat with a little give in it and it really does work best at holding in all those layers of goodness.
Pineapple Lime Smoothy
For drinks, Earthereal specialized in smoothies. These always included a wide variety of seasonal fruits with Banana/Lime being a year-round offering. The one pictured here is a pineapple lime mint. The mint was late for the photo op but all the rest is here: a little honey, coupla tablespoons of yogurt, pineapple, lime, and ice cubes. A few bursts of the blender motor later and you have a refreshing drink. I don’t include amounts in the recipe because like so much in cooking it’s an eyeball kinda thing.
So here’s to healthy lunches and people like the Koellens who create food and restaurants that warm both the stomach and the heart.
- For the Sandwich:
- whole-grain bread
- Fontina or Swiss Cheese
- Bacon strips (or bacon bits)
- grated onion
- sliced tomato
- black olives
- For the Smoothy:
- Cracked Ice
- Mint leaves
- a squirt of lime (or lemon)
- For the sandwich:
- Grate onions to taste into an avocado. Do a rough mash.
- Stir in chopped olives & spread on one side of the bread.
- Over this layer bacon bits, pickles & sprouts.
- On the other side grate or slice cheese and run right under a very hot broiler till soft.
- Put the sliced mushrooms on the cheese & eat.
- For the Smoothy:
- Combine all and blend.