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Panini and sandwiches

An ode to Double Gloucester cheese – and a fond remembrance of the years we spent in Britain

I was so excited to find this cheese on display at the local specialized cheese shop! I used to eat Double Gloucester a lot when we lived in the UK, and I loved it. This hard cheese with a distinct mature flavor is ideal on fresh toast – I remember having it for breakfast with a glass of skimmed milk, and savoring its wholesome taste for minutes on end before the start of yet another busy day. Those where the days when we lived a tranquil life in the midst of the British countryside, surrounded by picturesque houses and an evergreen vegetation which made you want to get out and explore – to get out and live. Time used to pass slowly, and each day brought a unique meaning and a distinct appeal. Keep Reading

The roasted red pepper and eggplant dip of my childhood: So pure, so rustic, so flavorful

I used this dip the other day in a panino and absolutely loved it! It is the perfect dish to make now, when summer is on its way out and lets fall take over, and when the local markets are starting to sell plenty of produce at a reasonable price. This roasted pepper and eggplant dip is one of my favorite foods ever, and it gets better the more you let it “marinate” in the fridge – this gives its ingredients enough time to infuse with each other’s flavor and to create a multifaceted harmony of various tastes and aromas.

This is a dish my mom and aunt used to make very often when I was growing up. They would prepare large batches, which they would can for the winter ahead. The canned dip would last us the entire winter: nutritious, flavorful and light, it would remind us of the beauty and warmth of seasons past. To us, this was both a flavorful and a functional dish: it satisfied a need, and told a story.
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Panino + smoothie = healthy lunch: My review of the Oatworks oat and fruit smoothies

Since becoming pregnant I have tried to live a healthier lifestyle and to eat a nutritious, fruit and veg based diet. I’ve been paying more attention to how my body interacts with certain foods or drinks – for instance, I have noticed that my baby becomes hyperactive whenever I drink coffee, and I have limited my daily caffeine intake as a result. It has been a process or rediscovery – of my body, my diet, and my general well-being. Thankfully, summer is the season when healthy eating can be accomplished relatively easily – in my case, I need some fresh produce, a panini grill and/or a blender, some inspiration and, of course, a bit of willpower 🙂

As someone who’s interested in nutrition, I was pleased to be contacted by Oatworks to review their oat-based fruit smoothies. Oatworks sent me a pack of smoothies to try for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed here are my own. Keep Reading

Panini with leftover roasted red peppers: The magic is still there!

One of the questions that pops up in my posts rather often is: What to do with leftover food? I’m always interested in repurposing food that is still safe to eat, and the thought of throwing it away does not sit well with me at all. I did some thinking and came to the conclusion that this must be a personality trait I inherited from my parents and my aunt. They were thrifty and very resourceful, and with good reason: the times were hard and food was scarce, and so they cherished every bit of it, and repurposed it with a passion.

I faced a new “leftover challenge” last week, when I realized I still had some roasted red peppers in the fridge. The roasted red pepper salad was an element of my 4th of July menu, and it looked like I had made a little too much of it. Keep Reading

Hummus panini: wholesome, protein-packed and delicious

You have leftovers in the fridge and you really don’t want to throw them away, so you frantically think of ways to use them up creatively – who hasn’t been there before? I, for one, have been there and have done that lots of times – perhaps too many times 🙂 It happened again the other day, when I had some leftover hummus I wanted to use before expiration. I have always been a fan of hummus – I like its earthly flavor and healthy protein content – and I really did not want it to go bad before I got the chance to use it. My mind went straight to the most convenient and familiar option: panini!  Keep Reading

A cheeseaholic’s delight: I made Gouda panini and thought of Amsterdam

As you may have noticed by now, cheese is featured prominently in many of the the recipes I post. The reason is simple: I am a cheeseaholic! I’ve always loved the versatility and wholesomeness of cheese – be it playful and exuberant like feta or serious and straightforward like cheddar, assertive and experienced like parmesan or deliciously mild like provolone. I learned a lot about cheese during the time I spent in the UK, and my knowledge has gained more depth since coming to Chicago. I am a cheese lover, yet I’d like to think that I’m not a cheese snob. I like various cheeses and try to incorporate them in my recipes – and I also like the life stories behind them. Like every other ingredient, cheese can tell a lot about you and can trigger lots of (hopefully happy) memories.

Such was the case the other day, when I bought some imported Gouda cheese from the local grocery store. I was very excited to find it on sale because this was one of the cheese varieties I used to eat most often when we lived in England. Miraculously, as soon as I saw the Gouda my mind went back to the wonderful time we had in 2007, when we went on a cruise to Amsterdam, the home of delicious all-things cheese. 🙂
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On panini, creativity in the kitchen, and delicious melty goodness: A review of the Red Gold Tomatoes aioli recipes

I won’t lie to you: my creativity in the kitchen has declined since becoming pregnant. My mind is like mud, I don’t have any energy, I am always sleepy, and even the easiest cooking tasks (peeling an onion, anyone?) are difficult for me to accomplish. I’ve been dragging along for a good couple of weeks, hoping to be back to my usual energetic self soon. In the meantime, I know I need inspiration and all the creative resources I can get my hands on to counteract the fatigue. I need novelty in the kitchen – fresh ideas to inspire me and to keep me alert and motivated.

This is why I was very excited when Red Gold Tomatoes contacted me to ask me to test out their aioli recipes. I never made aioli, and as such I was very excited to go back into the kitchen and to prepare something new and creative. Red Gold are currently on a mission to introduce more home cooks to aioli, a versatile spread which can be used in sandwiches, as a dip or as a topping. The aioli possibilities are endless, and for me this test could not have come at a better time. Keep Reading