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

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Classic Tuna Melt

What better way to enjoy the classic sandwiches than on a panini maker?  If you’re not a tuna person, I get it- I’ve seen the smell of tuna turn people away from trying it. However, I   know of a little trick that masks its’ strong flavor and encourage more people to try it!!  One of my favorite ways to eat tuna is with a little cajun mayo mixed in, on whole wheat toast, and with some Pepper Jack Cheese, and then obviously grilled in the panini maker.  Pepper Jack cheese is the greatest way to minimize the strong tuna taste and gives the sandwich some great flavor.

Ingredients:

2 slices of Whole Wheat bread

1 can of Tuna (packed in water is healthier than packed in oil)

1 slice of Pepper Jack cheese

Mayo (or Cajun Mayo)

Assembling:

1. Mix tuna and mayonnaise together with a fork to break down the big chunks of tuna (sometimes I add in a little crushed red pepper for some extra spice)

2. Add it on to one slice of bread

3. Top it with one slice of pepper jack cheese

4. Add the second piece of bread

5. Grill on panini for 3 minutes

Enjoy,

Sani

My Famous Panini

Here is a picture of my famous panini, “famous” meaning only to the people in my city and school.  This is my go-to, always.

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It’s a panini on ciabatta with tomatoes, cajun mayo, olive oil, oregano, turkey, crushed red pepper, and Vermont white cheddar cheese.  Literally it’s the best thing ever, that was kept secret until now!!!

Here’s an up close shot:

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Enjoy my little secret ;),

Sani

Oasis in a Desert

I found my own little oasis inside the ‘desert’ of Detroit, Michigan at a little place called Russell Street Deli.  Here people line up around the block, even in the dead of winter, just to wait to be seated.  The seating in the Deli is very unique, they have limited seating with only about 8 tables.  Each of these tables sit 6 people and they fill up these tables no matter how big or small your party.  If you go with a group less than 5, then plan on sitting and interacting with complete strangers!  I really loved this concept!  They have a great breakfast and lunch menu, and I was drawn to their vegetarian side.  I like ordering vegetarian sandwiches because I feel that the sandwiches are the most unique, creative and have the most variety of ingredients.  The trick to create that perfect sandwich (restaurant permitting) is to customize, maybe add my own choice of meat to a vegetarian sandwich.  When I was there, I ordered a grilled avocado melt.  The melt was served on grilled pumpernickel with avocado, tomato, provolone, lettuce, red onion, and my addition of smoked turkey, with a garlic mayo spread- all grilled of course!

 

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Up close shot:

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Contrary to common belief, Detroit is a city on the rebound with a recent infusion of great restaurants just like Russell Street Deli.  It’s full of life and booming restaurants and shops. Russell Street Deli is located right in the middle of the Detroit Eastern Market, where venders come from all over the state of Michigan to sell their homegrown crops and produce from vegetables to meats, and even seasonal goods such as Christmas trees, holly, etc.  There are speciality stores for wines, cheese, seafood, nuts, spices and so much!  If you are ever in the area, I would highly suggest stopping by on a Saturday (be sure to get there early)!