Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sandwiches

By popular demand! How do you make these things?

First, I have to give credit to the artist at Mini Mocha. I was searching the web for ideas and was totally inspired (ie decided to copy) after seeing this picture. But I couldn't find the instructions for making it so I did my own version. But that's the beauty of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, though. It's not perfect - the edges in the original are very rough, so even if you're not perfect, it still looks okay.

First, I cut through two loaves of bread - whole wheat and white bread (both Sara Lee), using 1.5 inch round biscuit cutters (the second smallest from the set I bought from Williams Sonoma). I got three circles out of each slice. Then I cut out slices from the swiss cheese (Tillamouk), thin salami, and Ham (Oscar Meyer Honey Ham). Basically, it doesn't matter what brand you use, but I'm just listing the brand because the portioning was just right! The swiss cheese was perfect (I have none leftover) and I have a little bit of the salami and ham (~4 slices) left from this project. I got four circles from both the cheese and the ham. I wanted to be true to the story, but I personally am not a fan of salami (and I deserve a bite to eat, too!) so I used salami on wheat and ham on white.

Next, just make an assembly line and assemble. Bread - sandwich spread - cheese - ham or salami (2 slices) - sandwich spread - bread. Cover with a wet paper towel and wrap with cling wrap until you're ready to assemble. Actually, at this stage, I laid them out flat, covered them with a damp paper towel, and put a cutting board on top of them for about 10 minutes before I wrapped them up in cling wrap - just to make sure everything sticks together, and to make sure that all 50+ sandwiches fit on the platter!

Now for the good part! The face. Judging from Mini Mocha's picture, I thought the face looked like a tomato. I wasn't sure I could handle all the liquid coming out of a tomato, so I opted for a white nectarine. Select one that is very red and round. Then take a paring knife, draw the shape of the eyes with the sharp edge, and peel away! Although the flesh looks white now, it will turn yellow by the time it's ready to be seen.

Next, peel a very thin strip of avocado peel. VERY thin. I haven't tried a thicker cut, but if it's too thick I think there might be issues in making it stick. I used a pair of kitchen shears to cut out the shape of the eyes and the nose from this single strip. Two long ovals for the eyes, and a rounded triangle for the nose.

Now, to make them stick on the necatarine! So there were many ideas on how to do this. A friend suggested a glue gun. My husband wanted to stick it using the juice of the fruit. In the end, I went with something in between to keep it completely edible but to have more insurance against having the whole thing fall apart. RICE! One grain of cooked rice for each piece of avocado, smooshed between my fingers to create a paste, and voila, everything sticked like a charm.

Finally, I cut the ends off of two frill picks so the wooden part was 2-3mm long, and pushed them into the nectarine. Voila!~ (To be true to the picture, I should have looked for purple picks, but this time, blue will havve to do.)

Assembling everything is the fun part - first the face, then alternate between wheat sandwiches and white sandwiches. If you have room to create a hump like the picture on the book cover, by all means, do so. I didn't have room. I got a melanine platter from Crate & Barrel and the two loaves fit perfectly with no extra room. Thank goodness, it didn't shift at all during the drive to school. They held up great and we all had a great time, too!

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