Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Quick Dinner Idea

I didn't actually need to make a quick dinner last night, it just worked out that I did. The kids are on vacation this week and after Hannah and I watched Desperate Housewives on the dvr in the morning, she said she wanted panini's for dinner.'(Okay, so it's a terrible show and not worth our time, but sometimes you have to have a LITTLE fun)

I do not own a panini maker. I don't like to keep a lot of appliances in my kitchen. These are the only ones I own, in descending order of kitchen importance: Cuisinart food processor, Kitchenaid stand mixer, mini food processor, rice cooker, pasta roller, ice cream machine, waffle iron, and pizzelle maker. That's it. There is really no need for panini makers and quesadilla makers and the like. You can do all of those things without any special equipment.

The one thing you do need to make a panini is some way to apply weight to the sandwich. What is a panini anyway? Essentially, it is a grilled cheese sandwich. What makes a good grilled cheese? Thin, crisp, grilled bread and a smooth melting cheese. How do you get that pressed together panini texture without a special griddle? Easy: a brick. Yes, a brick. Wrapped in foil. Go find a brick. Buy one if you need to, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a panini maker. Wrap it in foil. Put it on top of your sandwich, grill until brown on one side, flip it over, put the brick back on and cook until the sandwich is browned and the cheese is melted. Yum! I even have some extra bricks if you need one. Let me know.

Here are some great panini fillings:

Hannah's favorite
Fresh mozzarella
Pesto mayo

Alex's favorite

Steve's favorite
One sandwich with every available ingredient in it that I have on hand

Keys to a good panini
Use a sturdy bread like a pain de campagne or sourdough.
Use a good melting cheese such as provolone, muenster, swiss, or gouda
Make your spread flavorful: add a dollop of pesto or some chopped basil to your mayo. Sun dried tomatoes or sun dried tomato pesto are yummy. Try a turkey panini with fontina and mayo mixed with a spoonful of mango chutney.
Always season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

This is just a jumping off point. Although I hate it when people say, "Use your imagination" that really is the key here. Look in the fridge and see what you've got. Use whatever is in there. Get cooking!


Sarah said...

Hey June! THis has nothing to do with panini, but I did make your risotto the other night and, as you promised, it was easy and oh-so-much better than regular rice! The goose broth gave it a ton of flavor and everyone gobbled it up.THANKS!! Sarah

Jennifer said...

June, I have to admit I own a panini maker. I love it and although I could just use a brick, you can do more with a panini maker than just make paninis! I grill chicken breasts on it in a few minutes and even some sliced baguette for toast in the morning. I definitely want to try some of your panini ideas. I like to add roasted red peppers on mine too. And, now I can make my own pesto because I got a food processor 2 years ago!

Optixmom said...

Hey, I love the brick idea! And if someone ticks you off in your kitchen it is a heck of lot cheaper to throw the brick at them then an actual panini maker! ;-P

Anonymous said...

June recently saw how easy a panini maker is to use. It is hard to burn a panini with the maker, takes little watching so you can make salad, drinks, open a bottle of champagne. Hannah likes the marks it leaves on the bread and Alex decided he liked rye bread. I also recently bought a quesadilla maker even though I have spent years making quesadillas with out one. Now I can eat some of the quesadillas along with everyone else while another is cooking. In the years past I cooked everyone else ate. Sorry, Mom

Anonymous said...

Headed over from Catra Praetoria and I have to say I am really, really glad I did. I can tell from just reading the first four posts aathat you and I would have a blast in the kitchen! I can almost hear your voice when you write. IT's always the siagn of a strong writer.

Thanks for supporting Mike. He loves comments. lol. The big baby.hee.