Friday, September 19, 2008


We still have no power, and may not for a while yet. We did a little research and discovered we are on a small grid (about 100 households), which means we very well may be at the bottom of the list to get power, since they'll probably fix the largest grids first, and go from there. Sigh... I really miss baking. I have a friend with a new baby and I can't make her dinner yet... boo hoo. But, I can't complain. Seriously...we have water, gas, phone, and a generator. Praise God.

Okay, so I am limited to the grill outside or the gas cook top inside. I made panino last night on my grill pan, and you know what, it turned out decent enough. Panini is just a fancy Italian word for grilled sandwiches stuffed with anything you want. Traditionally, they are made with cured meats and thinly sliced cheese (no lettuce), and maybe some grilled veggies. So feel free to experiment. You will want a good sturdy bread, like foccacia or ciabatta. Alas, all I had was whole wheat sandwich bread, which would make the purists shudder, but oh well. I made pizza panino for the kids, and a fancier version for David and I. I had seen this recipe for a quesadilla, but we'd already had taco salad and "anything in a torilla night," so I adapted this to make panini. All in all, it was satisfying.

Panini with Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil with a Parmesan Crust

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 ounce (1/2 cup) grated pecorino romano cheese
4 ciabatta/focaccia rolls or slices, however you buy it
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
8 thin slices mozarella cheese,(shredded is fine)
Salt and black pepper to taste

You can make this on your grill outside, or on your indoor grill pan. In a small bowl, mix the butter and pecorino romano cheese until combined. You will use this on the bread. Mmmm.... butter and cheese together... can't go wrong with that, right?

Spread the butter mixture on both sides of the bread. Heat up your grill pan/outdoor grill to about a medium heat. You may have to adjust your heat as necessary. You want toasted bread, not burnt hockey pucks. Lay one slice of bread down on the grill, buttered side down. Layer with the mozzarella and tomato. Sprinkle the tomato with a bit of salt and pepper, and then a scattering of chopped basil. Place the second slice of bread on top, buttered side up.

Now, using a heavy pan, spatula, or whatever else is handy, apply even pressure to the sandwich for about 30 seconds. My grill pan came with a heavy press to use for making grilled sanwiches, etc. But you just need something heavy to get the bread nice and toasty.
Lift up your pressure device and flip the sandwich over. Apply pressure again for 1-2 minutes. Check to make sure it's not burning. Remove the panini from the heat, cut in half, and serve immediately. This will make four panino-- if you want to serve these as an appetizer, cut them into quarters.

Here's the pizza panini I made for the kids, I just used a couple of tablespoons of pizza sauce, shredded mozarella cheese, and 4 pepperoni slices for each one. A bit of the pizza sauce oozed out (which wouldn't have happened if I'd used a better bread), but the kids didn't mind at all. Joshua even asked for seconds! You'll have to excuse the paper plates, no power means no dishwasher, and therefore, disposable serving dishes. And the pics are a tad fuzzy, I took these by the kitchen window with the last bit of sun (candlelight, although romantic, is not good for taking pictures).

And here's the adult version. The butter and cheese made a very tasty crust... you have to try it.

Whether you have power or not, these fancy sandwiches are fun to make.

God Bless your table tonight!

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