Panini #5: Crab revisited

This time my crab sandwich was a success (compared to panini #1, which wasn’t so great.)  I tossed the crab with a little lemon juice and then added avocado and cheddar and grilled; perfect.  The inspiration came from a similar crab crepe which I recently had at an ocean side creperie:

I have to admit, I think I liked the panini better than the crepe; the crunch of the bread just added to all the wonderfulness, in my opinion.

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Apple Kuchen

Many summers when I was young, we would have a big, family reunion at Black Butte Ranch in Oregon.  My mom always made this apple kuchen for a special breakfast.  It was indeed special, as we weren’t even allowed sugared cereals on regular mornings.  I’ve since made this on special occasions, including a ladies tea.  My husband loves it (although he wasn’t at the tea) and so do most people who try it (including me).  I don’t know where my mother got this particular recipe, but here it is:

Apple Kuchen

Crust:
1/2 cup softened butter
yellow cake mix
1/2 cup coconut

2 1/2 cups peeled, apple slices  (I use 3 or 4 medium green apples.)

Mix butter into cake mix until crumbly.  Stir coconut in.  Press into greased baking dish (9×13).   Arrange apples on crust.  Bake 10 minutes at 350.

Custard Topping:

1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream

Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over apples.  Mix egg yolks with sour cream and drizzle (or glop) over apples.  Bake all for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until dry.  Cool.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Panini #4: Greek tomato & feta

If I ever have the option of choosing a Greek sandwich, or a Greek salad, or a Greek pasta, I probably do.  And the reason is because the dish often contains feta, which I adore.  I know some people don’t care for it (crazy!), but I’m a fan.  Today I made a simple tomato and cheese panini, Greek style!

Above is the sandwich assembled before cooking.  On your bread, place a couple of slices of tomato.  Sprinkle with some Kosher salt.  On top of the tomatoes, place three or four fresh leaves of basil.  On top of the basil, spoon as much or as little feta cheese as you would like.  (The feta doesn’t melt completely, but becomes nice and soft.)  Top with another slice of bread.  On the outer sides of both pieces of bread, brush with olive oil.  Grill until golden.

In my opinion, this sandwich was perfection.  (You can always click on each image for a larger view.)

Panini #3: ham & cheese

I will have to get better at taking food pictures.  This sandwich was awesome, even though it looks pretty boring.  When my husband suggested we try ham & cheese next, I imagine he was thinking a slab of ham and a slice of cheddar, end of story.  Too bad he married me.  I went poking around online and found Martha Stewart’s recipe for a ham and cheese panini here.  I knew it would hit the spot.  It’s very similar to a Croque Monsieur, with ham, Gruyère, and Dijon, but without the sauce and with crackling browned shallots and fresh thyme.  It was perfect.  Will definitely make this again.

Panini #2: Italian Chicken

Not the greatest “food picture” (sorry), but a tasty sandwich.  This panini consisted of grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella and basil leaves.  I learned a few things along the way with this sandwich: 1) I do not prefer fresh mozzarella.  I read several recommendations to use fresh over processed if possible, so of course I did.  Perhaps I am just not sophisticated enough, but I felt the fresh mozzarella had very little taste.  Next time I plan to use processed mozzarella for a stronger flavor.  2) I need to do all the prep-work during the baby’s afternoon nap.  I had grilled the chicken on my hand-dandy, new panini press during nap time, but I did not assemble the sandwiches.  As silly as it sounds, all the slicing and putting together still takes time and my goal with paninis is to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible while the girls are doing their needy thing.  Next panini night, I will have the sandwiches assembled and prepared for grilling during nap time so that all I have to do is pop them on the panini press when it is time to eat.

I found the link to this particular sandwich here: Italian chicken panini.  It was very good and I will make it again.

Panini #1: crab and artichoke pesto

In an effort to come up with easy weeknight meals, I plan to have a “panini night” once a week.  This week I brought home a shiny, new panini press and away I went!  My very first panini was somewhat of a success.  I used fresh crab, a slice of cheddar and William Sonoma’s artichoke parmesan pesto.  I say this sandwich was somewhat of a success because I grilled it perfectly and it was a nice lunch, however, I felt the artichoke pesto overpowered the flavor of the crab.  I was surprised because a favorite family meal growing up was crab stuffed artichokes.  I figured I was sort of recreating that meal in the form of a sandwich, yet the result was not as wonderful as I had hoped.  I will try the pesto in some sort of chicken combo next time.  I will definitely try crab again, minus the pesto.