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Panini and sandwiches

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 🙂

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.”  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 🙂

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 a  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 🙂

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 🙂

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Hiding the caraway seeds, preserving the healthfulness: my rye bread panino

What to make with rye bread? This was the question I asked myself the other day when I bought rye bread from the local grocery store. It was on sale and looked really delicious and healthy. Yet, I was a bit apprehensive to give it a try. I’ve never been a fan of rye bread for one simple reason: caraway seeds. I find them way too aromatic, way too pungent – way too “over the top” flavor-wise. Caraway seeds are to me what basil is to my husband – a culinary adversary. 🙂

Still, I wanted to know how to “tame” my adversary, and as usual, the deli products I had in the fridge came to the rescue. I decided to “hide” the caraway seeds behind the flavor wall of several deli meats, and to add bell peppers for freshness and crunchiness. Once again, panini was the way to go 🙂

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Let’s wrap things up after Christmas! My turkey and three cheese wrap

It’s that time of the year again – the time to ask the question: what should I make with the leftover turkey meat? As a small family, we always buy turkeys that are on the small side. Even so, there is always extra meat left, which lingers in the fridge for days on end. I use shredded turkey in the omelette I make for my husband in the morning, and in the occasional post-Christmas turkey sandwich. Moreover, I have recently started to use leftover roast turkey to make wraps.

My husband is not a big fan of wraps. He gets to eat a lot of them at work, and the ones that are delivered by the catering company are always on the heavy, greasy side (or so he says) and have a lot of mayonnaise in them. Thankfully, I have persuaded him to give wraps another try, with promising results.

As you know by now, I hardly ever use mayo in our home-cooked meals, and wraps make no exception. Instead, I use cheese – a lot of it! In this wrap I used no less than three cheese varieties, all to my and husband’s liking: cottage cheese, feta cheese and mozzarella. The fluid wholesomeness of the cottage cheese works well with the constant assertiveness of the feta and the gooey seductiveness of the mozzarella. In my opinion, this combo can really do no wrong.

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