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Panini and sandwiches

A panino a day keeps the panic away: my grilled eggplant and goat cheese panino

Whenever time is running out for me to come up with complicated meal ideas, the alternative is simple: panino it is! This should come as no surprise to those of you who have been following my blog for awhile now. Especially these past few months, with very little time to “spare” in the kitchen and with lots of things to do inside and outside our home, panini have ruled over our menu, and for good reasons: they are quick, easy to make, and very versatile indeed.

My husband and I are big fans of eggplant. However, so far my use of it has been limited to eggplant salad, eggplant parmigiana and stuffed eggplant. I came up with this idea of a panino because I was simply looking for another way to incorporate this rather unassuming veggie into my cooking. It was a “happy accident,” and pairing eggplant with goat cheese made up for a balanced and earthly panino, with an unadulterated mix of flavors which stays true to its component parts. Keep Reading

A salmon sandwich to remember – and an ode to herbs de Provence

There is something really magical about the flavor and smell of herbs de Provence. Alluring and thoroughly perfumed, this potent herb mix reminds me of summer and makes me dream of future vacations in the South of France. As a matter of fact, visiting France has always been a (culinary) dream of mine. Hopefully I’ll get there one day: I’ll get to touch and smell the endless lavender fields I’ve seen in the movies, I’ll visit some of the famous French vineyards, and I’ll feast on rustic dishes which will remain implanted in my memory forever.

In the meantime however, I am glad to be able to recreate the culinary spirit of France by using herbs de Provence, and I only wish I’d known more ways to incorporate them into my recipes. Sadly, due to my lack of spare time to do any cooking at all (!) nowadays, I have had no chance to do any research or to come up with any new recipes – so I’ve stuck to using this herb mix in some old, tried-and-tested dishes, such as the fish sandwich below. Keep Reading

Veggie and mozzarella bliss: my mushroom panino – made in a hurry!

What is one of the things I like about mushrooms? They can cook really fast – and fast is all I need now, when I’m so busy with work and with the baby 🙂

Truth is I’ve been incredibly busy these past few weeks, and as much I’ve been meaning to make more elaborate dishes, time has always got in the way. At least with panini and sandwiches you don’t need a lot of time. Plus, you can always use items from your pantry and/or fridge, which means that you don’t have to find a “window” in your day to go shopping, and to make and carry around elaborate shopping lists. I couldn’t do either the other day, so I decided to use up a portabella mushroom, some mini peppers and two ovolini I had been storing in my fridge for awhile to make a vegetarian panino for myself and my husband. Keep Reading

Egg on toast, and much more: Why mayo is out – and dandelion greens are in!

It occurred to me the other day that I had never told you why I don’t use mayo in my sandwiches. Indeed, if you look through my sandwich and panini recipes you’ll find none with mayo, and plenty with sour cream, cottage cheese or mustard. I know mayo is a very popular sandwich ingredient, and for good reason: you need a good creamy component to “bind” everything together and to turn the sandwich into a coherent whole. Still, we find mayo way too heavy and not particularly flavorful, and this is why I’ve been using other ingredients in its place. We’ve always been big fans of sour cream and cottage cheese (both of them lighter than mayo, in our opinion), so why not use these in panini or sandwiches? Moreover, on some occasions, I turn to other less used ingredients and I take advantage of their luscious creaminess to create a satisfying light lunch. Such is the case with the sandwich I am going to write about today, whose creamy component is a fried egg.

This sandwich is special to me because it incorporates a lesser known green element: dandelion greens. Keep Reading

Vive la France! My “almost” French lunch, featuring croissant, Camembert and tomatoes (again!)

I woke up this morning and remembered something: today is the National Day of France, which is also called Bastille Day.  This day is always celebrated in my home country. Our culture is closely related to the French culture – so close that we are members of the International Organization of the Francophonie. I am really glad I remembered about Bastille Day. Better mark the occasion later in the day than not mark it at all!

In honor of Bastille Day, I decided to make a French-inspired lunch: a stuffed croissant. Keep Reading

Cottage cheese sandwich: I thought of England (again!) and learned that onion rolls are the best :-)

I am a big French baguette fan, and you may have noticed this by now. I just love the crunchy exterior (the crunchier, the better!) and soft and comforting interior of a well-made baguette. I’ve never been to France, but I hope to travel there one day and to get the chance to experience baguette deliciousness at its best, on the streets of Paris, hot straight from the oven and complemented by a dash or two of wholesome butter. Still, not all sandwich/panini recipes work well with baguettes, and my ongoing challenge is to find what bread is best suited to the other ingredients that I have. This leads to a lot of what I call “sandwich experimenting” – so much to eat, so little time 🙂 Keep Reading

My warm vegetarian sandwich – with veggies galore!

Life gets pretty hectic with a newborn in the house. Gone are the days when I could spend hours working on a dish, take pictures to my heart’s content, and ponder over each and every word as I sat in front of the computer, thinking of ways to capture my readers’ hearts and minds. Nowadays, my daily routine is rather different, and it revolves around a tiny soul who brings me endless joy. I feel so blessed 🙂

What have I been eating lately? I have become a fan of toast (in the morning) and warm sandwiches (throughout the day). I haven’t used the panini maker in a while, but I hope to start using it again when things settle down and we get back to “normal” – whatever that might mean, lol Keep Reading