Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Pressing Matter

Lunch time can roll around with resounding doldrums at times, especially if you bring it with you or eat at home. I personally prefer to indluge at home, in the comfort of my own kitchen, where I know EXACTLY what I am eating. Going out to lunch weighes heavily on both my wallet and waist, so I try to keep it at a minimum.
That said, what do we usually reach for at home when making lunch? Turkey and cheese, pb&j, maybe the leftovers? Not here. I like to eat just like I would if I were ordering at a deli, but without the added calories and cash. Most of us make dinner the only meal we put effort and attention into to, and leave lunch to the hair netted business cafeteria ladies or the butter smothered special of the day somewhere close to work. So, why then would you trek home for lunch when you have a delicious meal at the cafe on the corner? Because you can make it at home, and better!

Impress with your Panini Press.

If you do not have one of these little wonders, I highly suggest you put that cash you would have spent at lunch away and purchase one soon. The possibilites are endless and enjoyable. I have been experimenting with different combinations over the last couple months and have some favorites for any thirsting palette.

My experimentation also included testing which gluten free bread held up best in the press. Frozen white or brown rice breads, tapioca breads, Udi's few options, and a couple other brands I have recently come across at Whole Foods. Although I love the taste of the frozen brown rice, fruit juice sweetened bread for toast, Udi's whole grain or sandwich bread held up best under the press pressure.

Here are some of my favorite panini possibilities that I came up with recently! Just pile high on the bread and press away. You can brush EVOO or butter on the outsides of the bread to get that panini grill tattoo that is sure to impress your significant other.

Sicily Panini
Fresh Basil
Roasted Red Peppers
Salt and pepper
**I put fresh rosemary sprigs on outside of bread and pressed them in!

Loaded Grilled Cheese
Dill Weed (pressed into outside of bread)
Sliced Tomatoes
Dijon Mustard

Pesto Chicken Panini
Pesto (spread evenly on both slices)
Chopped Chicken
Carmelized Onion

Twisted Turkey Panini
Smoked Turkey
Thinly Sliced Green Apple

Tuna Teaser
Canned tuna, drained
Chopped Artichokes
Black Olive Pesto
Squeeze of a Lemon

Savory Salmon Panini
Smoked Salmon, flaked
Dijon Mustard
Cream Cheese
Thinly Sliced Red Onion
Chopped Capers
Baby Spinach

Tom the Turkey Panini
(my basic deli delicasy)
Honey Roasted Turkey
Sliced Tomato
Yellow Mustard
Salt and pepper

I have many more, so please ask if you want some more lunch time panini ideas, and PLEASE SHARE YOURS!

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