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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

New Tricks for an Old Dog

Oh, the joys of going out to eat!  I enjoy eating out because it’s a chance to learn something new. Mom and pop joints are my favorite places to learn new techniques.  At Soup Spoon Café (located near the capital of Michigan), I got a bonus lesson on, none other than… the panini!!  This does not happen often- trust me!  In a prior post, I mentioned a panini place that had panini’s on french bread. However, it didn’t have the warm, grilled bread component that makes up a great panini.  Soup Spoon transformed their french bread to a “panini appropriate” sandwich.  How?? They flipped the bread inside out, genius.

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In this picture you can see how the inside of the french bread is now the outer layer, and what is usually considered the outer part of the bread- is now on the inside.

This sandwich consisted of slow roasted pork loin, caramelized onions, pickles and melted Gruyére cheese with their bistro sauce.

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Let me know if you try out this new trick!

 

Enjoy,

Sani

Grilled Pears

Grilled Pears with a Balsamic and Honey glaze topped with Goat Cheese.  They are phenomenal!!

During my Lunch Break….

While lunch breaks are usually the best time of the day for some, its usually a very stressful time for me.  Naturally, I love finding those great spots.  So, when I’m pressed for time and want a quick, quality meal, it often times can lead to me being stressed.  Wish I was kidding.  If there aren’t any good spots around your university/work place, find a deli- and make your own custom sandwich!  Which is what I did at a sandwich joint by my work called Lenny’s, modified one of their sandwiches to make it exactly what I wanted it to be.

Fresh is the best with this kind of sandwich.  This sandwich is on whole grain bread, with turkey, prosciutto, muenster cheese, shredded red cabbage, avocado, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Obviously, I had to grill it!  (I like how you can see the melty cheese.)

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These colors are great, so here’s a closer shot:

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I kept hearing about this place called Via Quadronno, and how they had great panini’s.  So I went to try it one day, and they were great!  When I go back, which I probably will, I will make sure the bread is not in a baguette form and try it with Foccacia, or another type of bread that presses in the panini well.

My friend’s sandwich:

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And… this is my messy sandwich:

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Now closer up..:

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They’re not the prettiest, but they sure were tasty.  Mine, which was recommended to me by the waiter, consisted of:  prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, black olive paté, and fresh tomatoes.  My friends’ sandwich, vegetarian one, had goat cheese, tomatoes, chopped romaine, and black olive paté.

Both places were great, and made my lunch break feel as if I wasn’t going back to work!