Spaghetti Squash

Social media, a conversation in itself, has become a huge platform for bloggers these days.  I have been able to post more and quick videos on my instagram, @sanipanini.  Recently on my instagram, I posted how to make Spaghetti Squash on the panini maker!!  Who knew you could?  Now you do:

Ingredients:

1. Spaghetti Squash

2. Olive Oil

3. Salt

5. Onions

5. Zucchini, Olives, Peppers, Sun-dried tomatoes, Kale, Peas, or other vegetables of your choice

6. Shredded Parmesan cheese

7. Optional: Bacon, Sausage, or other meats

Assembling:

1. Cut the squash in half (FYI- this is the hardest part of the recipe!! Ask your local grocers if they can cut it for you)

2. Pick out the seeds (save them*)

3. Drizzle 1/2 of the squash with olive oil & salt

4. Let grill on the panini for 30 minutes, or until soft

5. Using a fork, scrape the squash from front to back to create ‘spaghetti’

6. Place the spaghetti in bowl

7. Grill the veggies of your choice on the panini, in the video I used zucchini, kale, and onions- this recipe is great because you can literally use ANYTHING you want

8. Grill the vegetables for 3 minutes

9. If you’re using meats, grill after the vegetables

10. Mix veggies, meat, and spaghetti squash together

11. Top off with Parmesan cheese

*Save the seeds and grill on the panini with a little olive oil and lemon pepper for the perfect snack!

Have fun with this recipe, add any and all of your favorite ingredients!

To switch things up with this recipe,  you can add flavored olive oils and/or balsamic vinegars.

Enjoy,

Sani

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One Thoughtful Panini…

I’ve eaten a lot of paninis, so many that I like to consider myself a panini connoisseur.  On my blog, I share the ones that stand out- this one stood out.  I went to Ballaro in New York on an early Sunday afternoon, unaware that they were only serving their brunch menu and not their regular menu, which included a long list of paninis.  Fortunately for me, my waitress and I devised a plan where we could create an amazing panini despite their limited Sunday ingredients.

Lo and behold this thoughtfully created panini, a perfect example of why two minds are better than one:

IMG_6477

This panini consisted of the basic Italian ingredients: Parmesan, arugula, olive oil, and Bresaola.  My waitress, who was from Italy, explained to me how they make Bresaola in her country.  It is an air dried beef, that has been aged for two to three months until it becomes this rich purple color (see next picture).

Much to my surprise, this panini was thoughtfully created in yet one more way:

IMG_6481

 

Mid bite, I noticed that the Bresaola had been grilled on the panini separately before grilled with the sandwich (notice the grill marks).  Genius!

PANINI TIP: Depending on the type of ingredients, grill the meats and veggies in your sandwich separately before you grill them all together.

 

Enjoy,

Sani

Peppers, Stuffed Peppers

Peppers, tomatoes, squash, zucchinis; all things that can be stuffed with greatness and made to perfection on the panini.  Like many of my recipes, this one is extremely versatile.  Stuffed peppers I thought originated in Spain, ‘pimientos rellenos’, however I’ve learned that many countries and cultures have their own variation of the stuffed pepper.

India- Bharwan Mirch

Arabic- Dolma (kousa, sometimes called mahshi is stuffed squash– and it’s amazing!!)

Mexico- Chille Relleno

Greece- Yemista

Egypt- Mashi Phil-Phil

Romania- Ardei Umpluti

USA- Stuffed Pepper

 

My recipe for the panini version of a stuffed pepper:

Ingredients:

Yellow, Green, Or Red Bell Pepper

Breadcrumbs

Olive Oil

Egg (optional*)

Chopped Onion

Chopped Zucchini

Salt

Pork Sausage (optional*)

Chopped Mushrooms

 

Assembling:

1. Wash the pepper and cut off the stem end of the pepper (the ‘hat’) to save for later

2. Clean and remove the seeds

3. Rub olive oil and salt on the outside of the pepper

4. In a bowl combine the desired ingredients

5. Fill the pepper and grill on the panini

6. Have something at the bottom of the panini to catch the juices that will ooze out to pour over the pepper when it’s finished

7. Grill on the panini for 8 minutes

8. When finished, take off and pour the sauce over it

9. For presentation purposes, but the hat back on top

 

*Breadcrumbs and eggs are added to thicken the stuffing

*If you are using meat, cook the meat on the panini before mixing with the other ingredients

 

Raid your fridge and see what you can incorporate into your stuffing with these suggestions:

-Mexican: combine cheese, tomatoes, chorizo, bread crumbs and top it with salsa and sour cream; serve on a bed of shredded lettuce

-Meat Lovers: combine pork sausage, chorizo, mushrooms, mix in your favorite cheese

-Cheesy: combine ricotta, marscapone, feta cheese and breadcrumbs

-Veggie: combine chopped/shredded zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, spanish onions, and garbanzo beans

-Asian: Water chestnuts, bok choy, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, tofu, and chopped peanuts (or meat of your choice)

 

Don’t you just love versatility 🙂

 

Enjoy,

Sani

 

 

Tempeh Time

Tempeh.  Many run from this word, as it is unknown to most.  However, I’ve slowly started to notice it’s becoming more and more ‘trendy’.  I started to explore this tempeh, what makes it both intimidating and attractive?  Fermented whole soybeans with mold, similar to tofu.  Tempeh is a meat substitute, it’s firm, dry and chewy and the best part about it is that you can get it smoked- tastes like bacon!!  Which is why when I first tried tempeh, it was smoked and I found it delicious.  At Candle Cafe, a vegan restaurant in New York, their menu featured many variations of tempeh.  I got a smoked temeph sandwich with roasted red pepper, roasted zucchini, arugula, with a tomato spread on whole grain bread.

Sani Panini Tempeh

Ways we can use temeph in panini form: replace your grilled meat with grilled temeph, try it smoked, grill it with some veggies on the panini with a soy sauce, and naturally add it into your next panini :).

*Did you notice the great panini grill marks on the tempeh?

Enjoy,

Sani

Ratatouille

One of my favorite movies is Ratatouille, not just because I’m a foodie, because it’s just the greatest.  The title was clever, the plot was cute, and the location was perfect.  The ambiance and theme made me absolutely fall in love with this movie.  This also sparked my interest in Ratatouille…  What exactly is Ratatouille and how can this be made in a panini?

Ratatouille, which I assumed was French, actually originated from Occitania.  Occitania is a historical region in southern Europe which includes Monaco, parts of Spain and Italy, and the southern half of France.  This dish is a small representation of each these regions.  Usually, this dish is prepared by cooking each vegetable by itself and then layering it.  Over time, this dish has adapted to many different versions and methods of making.  The most modern approach to making ratatouille is by grilling it, which is how this relates to Sani Panini…

Ingredients:

Small Eggplant

Zucchini

Spanish Onion

Tomatoes

Garlic

Peppers (your preference of red or green bell peppers)

Olive Oil

Salt

Basil

Assembling (salad or layers):

1. Peel the eggplant

2. Cut the eggplant and zucchini into thin circles, relatively the same size

3. Drizzle olive oil and salt over the eggplant and zuchinni

4. Grill on the panini for 2 minutes

5. While they are grilling, start cutting the peppers and onions in slices and then cut in half.  So that the length of the peppers and onions are similar to the diameter of the zucchini and eggplant.

6. In a bowl, mash the garlic and add peppers, onions, olive oil and salt

7. Take the eggplant and zucchini off of the panini and add the peppers and onions for 2 minutes

8. Cut the tomatoes into slices (doesn’t matter if you are using cherry tomatoes or regular tomatoes)

9.  Take the peppers and onions off and cook the tomatoes for 1 minute

10. You can add all the ingredients to the panini now, just to warm them up, but leave the panini open

11. Chop some basil

12. Take all ingredients off of the panini and either mix together in a bowl with the basil OR you can layer them on a plate

*If you are making this into a salad, you can cut the veggies into thick cubes rather than slices.  I also like adding a touch of balsamic, just a little!!

**This makes great for leftovers!  You can add this into your eggs in the morning, or fry an egg and place on top.  You can also eat the salad cold, room temp, or hot.  While layering the veggies is best hot!

Enjoy,

Sani