Tuesday, 14 May 2013

My New Panini Press

    I have a new obsession... PANINI!  My little brain is spinning with the different possibilities.  I have wanted a Panini grill for a few years now.  I would look longingly at the flyers, and touch and ogle (that sounds a little dirty) in the stores.  I could touch, but never have.  Those Tim Horton's adds would taunt me "Try our new panini's".  "I would like to try my own panini's" I would shout at the screen! (o.k. I never really did that, it just sounds dramatic, which is the effect that I'm going for here).  

    This year for Mother's Day I opened my gift from the kids (their Dad), and there it was, all shiny and perfect... a Salton Panini Grill!  I was over the moon!  I have a theory.... for my birthday Christopher bought me a cast iron frying pan, something that I had been wanting for years.  This Mother's Day,  he got me a Panini grill.  My theory is that he is trying to build up enough points so that if he does something really bad, really dumb, he can erase it with the thoughtful gifts.  Now you may not know this, but I think that men have a points system, something that they have formulated.  It is a well known fact that men love sports, and would bet on old men fighting each other with sticks.  It is also a well known fact that men like to assign point values to things... sports, betting.... you get the picture.  I think that they attribute good deeds to a points system.  In their minds so many loading the dishwashers equal, points.  The higher the deed, the higher the point value.  In their minds forgetting an anniversary can be canceled out with enough points.  We all know that women don't abide by a points system, but I don't think we need to tell them that, besides my husband would assure me that he is not going with a points system.  He would assure me that he made those purchases based upon great love, and respect.  He just wants me to be happy... but I think we all really know that he is going with the points system.  It could also be that this is the NHL play-offs and the stupid Chicago Blackhawks have made it.  But I will just play stupid, and pretend I don't know about the points system, so that he can keep racking up those points (ie doing chores, and things that I like).

    So now I have this great panini grill, and the world is open to all of the possibilities.  For Mother's Day dinner I decided that we would have panini's.  That afternoon I took my Mother, and we set out for the big metropolis of Belleville, and purchased panini ingredients (we also fit in a trip to Starbucks).  I purchased chicken breasts, roast beef, baby spinach, red bell peppers, as well as avocados, and onions (which I later sautéed).  Oh his was going to be a gourmet feast (well as gourmet as I get).

    I put my red bell pepper in the oven to cook at the same time as my chicken.  I just placed it on the oven rack.  I would like to pretend that I am an expert at this, but really this was my first time.  I have had roasted red peppers on my restaurant panini's countless times, but have never attempted roasting my red peppers in my own home.  It turns out it was pretty easy.  I roasted it for half an hour.  I took it out using my oven mitt, let it cool, then gently and easily peeled the skin off.  It was too easy.  I then sliced it into smallish slices.

    I was extremely daring and I made avocado spread.  Generally I have a very boring taste palette.  I like what I like, and don't like to deviate from that.  Recently we were invited over to my friend Jane's house for dinner.  She is constantly trying to entice me to try Indian food.  I have the stomach of a tiny baby, and Indian food would spell ambulance trip for me.  That night we had Mexican food (a risky move on my part).  It was delicious.  One of the things that she served with our Mexican Pizza was an avocado spread.  It was really nice, I don't like avocado's, but I loved this spread.

    I called my friend Jane Sunday morning to wish her Happy Mother's Day, but more importantly to get that avocado spread recipe.  She told me that when picking out an avocado to look for the dark green ones, that means that they are ripe.  Give it a squeeze, it needs to be soft, but not mushy.  
After purchasing the avocados (I used two), cut them in half, and take off the skin.  Put them in a food processor, add two tablespoons of lemon juice (to stop them from going black), one clove of garlic, salt and pepper, and 1/2 a cup of sour cream, and diced green peppers.  I am pretty sure that for her family she adds a lot more heat!   Then mix it up.

    For dinner I set out all of my ingredients like a buffet.  I let everyone chose their own bread / roll, and stuff the ingredients that they wanted into their sandwich.  I then grilled everyone's panini.  Oh my goodness they were good!  I went with a panini roll, buttered, roasted chicken breast, roasted red peppers, baby spinach, provolone cheese, oh and bacon, beautiful bacon (which I fried in my new cast iron frying pan).  It looked beautiful, and tasted like heaven.

    Panini's are a hit at our house.  Last night I made Pizza panini's.  I used a sub bun, with pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese... a resounding success!  I keep coming up with new and creative ideas for sandwiches.  Don't tell Christopher, but this gift really did earn him some points.  I mean, not enough points that I would be cool with him forgetting our anniversary, but enough points that I don't care if he watches the NHL Playoffs.  Don't tell him that though, because then my being cool with him watching the NHL earns me points in his points game!

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