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Panini and sandwiches

A touch of green, a lot of flavor: my St Patrick’s Day sandwich

Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone! I hope your day is progressing nicely and you are surrounded by friends and family – and lots of green, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚

The sandwich below is an ode to great Irish culinary symbols, such as corned beef and Cashel blue cheese. I wanted to include such ingredients in the recipe below, while also allowing the sandwich to accurately reflect my family’s tastes and preferences. What has resulted is a creamy, dreamy, delicious bite: the crunchiness of the green apple plays nicely with the overall smoothness of the sour cream-based coleslaw, while the beefsteak tomato adds freshness and gains an assertive edge thanks to the blue cheese right on top of it.

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Manchego and jamรณn serrano panino: dreaming of summer in the middle of winter

Remember when life used to be simple and unadulterated? When there was plenty of time to breathe in and to enjoy its every moment? To me, pure, joyful life means one thing: summer. Still, my favorite season is far and away, and the ongoing cold weather has made me sluggish and has drained me of energy. What better way for a foodie to escape the cold than to enjoy a fiery Spain-inspired panino? Sandwiches and escapism – that’s the name of my game, as of late. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week I went to the grocery store to tame my appetite for bright, summery dishes and came out with manchego cheese. Sometimes, weekly sales lead to the greatest discoveries!

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Two hummus sandwiches to remember: Eat, take a step back – and enjoy life!

“When are you going to make hummus?,” my husband asked me the other day. He had been pestering me with this question for awhile, and I had failed to give him an answer. After all, who has time to make hummus? With daily schedule so busy and spare time so limited, I have been meaning to go back into the kitchen, but life has got in the way. I want to take a deep breath and relax, sandwich and tea on hand, even for just 10 minutes. I want to think that life is not passing me by, to read a good book at a slow pace, and to reconnect with my very few friends. I want to cook and to enjoy life.

In busy times like these you’re grateful for any help you can get – be it a mom who’s willing to cook for you, a neighbor who shares some of their extra food, or simply a product you buy from the grocery store. To silence my husband who wanted hummus and was getting impatient lol, I went with option #3 and bought Hope hummus from my local Whole Foods. The team behind Hope Foods has recently contacted me to review their products, and their review proposal couldn’t have come at a better time. Keep Reading

My crunchy three cheese and veggie panino: “Blame” it on the celery sticks!

Yes, I want texture – and I’m looking at you, celery stick. Why did you have to make my three cheese panino so crunchy and delicious? Firm and perfumed, with an emerald appearance and a lovely bite, you are the perfect addition to lunches in a hurry – and you are here to stay ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve always been celery root fans – but sticks? Not really. My mom and aunt never used the sticks in their cooking, and eating them raw was unheard of. They would add shredded celery root to soups and stews and would throw away the stalks – or, in the best case scenario, they would use the stalks as a “filler” when canning stuffed peppers or cabbage.

Since coming to this country I have learned there’s more to celery sticks than meets the eye, and my appreciation of them has increased. My mom used a few sliced sticks in a soup just before she left for Europe: I simply couldn’t believe how much the flavor of the soup had been enhanced! Still in awe, I decided to use celery sticks in a panino. The recipe below is the result of these recent “celery experiments.”ย  Keep Reading

Back to sour cream-packed deliciousness: my chicken, celery & bocconcini salad and sandwich

You will have a hard time trying to find sandwiches with mayo on this blog. On the other hand, when it comes to sour cream, you will find lots and lots of options. This is hardly surprising: We are sour cream lovers – are we are loud and proud about it ๐Ÿ™‚

My family considered sour cream a delicacy when I was growing up. Hard to imagine, but sour cream was difficult to find in the local grocery stores, and we would form a line to buy it. We would take it home in jars we’d brought with us, and we would eat it on its own with a spoon, or on white bread. For the ultimate family treat, we would serve it with hot polenta – a delicious combo with aย  creamy consistency and a wholesome flavor.

These days, I eat sour cream with polenta at least once a week. However, I have also been trying to use sour cream as an ingredient in various salads or sandwich fillings. Keep Reading

CLOSED What do you need to create the perfect sandwich? A review of BFree gluten free products – and a giveaway!

*Disclaimer: BFree Foods sent me a pack of BFree products free of charge for me to review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

I have vivid memories of eating bread as a child. At a time when meat was hard to find and throwing food away was simply not an option, bread was a household staple we thoroughly enjoyed: It filled our bellies and kept us away from hunger, and content in our little world. I remember my father and I would often dunk days-old bread into warm milk and have it for breakfast, in the kitchen of our tiny apartment. A lot of time has passed and a lot of things have happened in my life, yet I’ve actually never grown tired of bread. It is a simple yet deeply meaningful food, with the simplest of ingredients ๐Ÿ™‚

These days I’m always on the lookout for new breads to use in my panini and sandwiches. As I said in a previous post, I was inspired by my visit to this year’s National Restaurant Association Show (you can read my review here) to search for quality breads, to work hard to discover innovative and flavorful varieties, and to share my findings with my readers. This is why I was very excited when BFree Foods contacted me and asked me to review their range of gluten-free, low-fat and high fiber products, which are now available for purchase in select Chicagoland stores. Keep Reading

A meat bonanza which holds up beautifully: my three meat panino – with plenty of cheese and veggies to boot!

Some time ago I asked a “panino pro” for tips on creating the perfect panino, and here’s what he said: 1. Use quality bread; 2. Don’t put too many ingredients in the panino because it will fall apart. I fully agree with tip #1. Inspired by the artisan bread I tried at the recent National Restaurant Association Show (you can read my review here), I have been exploring local bakeries in search for tasty and nutritious bread to use in my panini and sandwiches, and some of the culinary discoveries I have made have been nothing short of amazing. When it comes to tip #2 however, I don’t think that’s true in all situations. As long as you handle the panino carefully and choose a good foundation (aka a sturdy quality bread), the panino will hold up beautifully even if made up of more than a couple of ingredients. To support my case, I’m bringing you this delicious three meat panino ๐Ÿ™‚

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