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Polish ham

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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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

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

Ham and cheese panini with homemade veggie sauce: Cook less, enjoy summer more

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Summer just isn’t summer if you don’t spend it away from the computer once in awhile – I came to this simple realization earlier this week, when my husband and I took a couple of days off and ventured out of  Chicago. It was not a long break by any means, but it did allow us to relax and to recharge our batteries. Plus, it also made me remember how much I loved walking in the countryside, feeling light and invigorated, enjoying every breath of fresh air and admiring the colorful fields and the pensive forests.

We got back home late in the evening after a long drive, and I wanted to make something quick to eat as a light dinner. I still had a batch of homemade vegetable sauce in the fridge, so I decided to use it to make ham and cheese panini. Keep Reading