Basic Panini

 

After all my children were grown and on their own, I “retired” from cooking. I had been feeding four children, one husband, and all their friends for many years, so I told everyone I didn’t want to ever cook again.

Oh, I ate! I certainly didn’t starve, and probably put on too much weight! But my career took me to breakfast meetings, luncheon meetings, dinner meetings, meetings over coffee and pie, and more. Anything I ate at home would be leftovers or something easy that could be assembled quickly without cooking. From July 1983 to about February 2005, that’s the way I my eating routine was established.

I’ve always loved reading through cookbooks, drooling over the photography and descriptions of the most scrumptious foods! Anyone who has visited my home is aware of the many shelves of cookbooks I have – yet I wasn’t cooking!

Almost five years ago, I started thinking about cooking again. So I started looking through my old cookbooks. Once I got back to cooking a few things here and there, I felt like a beginner cook. I burned stuff, undercooked others, added too much or too little of some ingredient, and simply was not up to my old standards.

Then I realized that in the past I’d been cooking for “family!” Food for “family” is a lot different than cooking something gourmet style – elegant and sophisticated. It’s been fun trying out new recipes, and sharing with friends.

One of the things I wanted to try again was waffles. I found a lovely little waffle iron at Macy’s for $20 (Bella Cucina). Along with the regular waffle plates, it came with several choices that could be used for grilling sandwiches.

An all-time favorite of almost everyone is a grilled cheese. It’s impossible to ruin a good grilled cheese! My little waffle maker creates wonderful Panini (a fancy grilled cheese) without having to buy one of the bigger and more expensive machines. The recipe below is just a basic Panini, and you can change or add or eliminate anything I’ve listed.

 

BASIC PANINI

My choice of ingredients:

Whole wheat or rye bread
Pesto
Promise
Deli meat
Cheese

You could use any bread you wish, but I prefer a hearty whole grain bread of some sort (maybe even homemade?).

Pesto can either be store bought or homemade.

I use Promise to help my friends with cholesterol concerns, but any margarine or butter would work. I also like the flavor and texture of Brummel & Brown Yogurt Spread.

I used pastrami in these pictures, but you can use any kind of deli meat. Deli roast beef is particularly tasty.

You might want to match the cheese to the meat, or use whatever you have on hand. This time I used an Irish Dubliner Cheddar, and sometimes I use a combination of several cheeses.

 

I don’t really need to tell you how to put one together for grilling, do I? Just keep the buttered side of the bread next to the grill plates. Layer pesto, cheese, meat and anything else you add on the inside of the sandwich. Follow the directions on your waffle/sandwich maker.

You can make your Panini as thick or as thin as you wish. The cheese does tend to melt and run out the edges, so I try to stay inside the crusty edge enough to prevent that and still get lots of cheese.

Here it is just before I inhaled my supper!

 

Doesn’t that look good enough to eat? Go fix one for yourself right now!

A hui hou!

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