Panini Sandwiches

Panini SandwichesDun Lost My Mind

It’s the first week of school—which is awesome. But it’s also the first week of school—which is this crazy haze of work, meetings, practices, driving here and driving there, signing this form and signing that form, and Oh by the way we need a check….

It’s a miracle I made it to work today, and can hold a meaningful conversation. The fact that my shoes actually match is a bonus. Adding fuel to the dumpster fire that is this week, my other half is in Asia on business. And I am unable to clone myself.

The other night, when one of my boys asked me what was for dinner, I laughed hysterically at him (okay…it may have been a witch-like cackle), as he backed away slowly, his eyes as big as saucers.

This week, they are on their own. The good news? The kids are actually pretty capable in the kitchen (my daughter especially). They won’t starve, though I am pretty sure my other son will be face down in a mixing bowl full of cereal. You go, boy…

If I have to guess what they will be making themselves for dinner, it would probably be panini sandwiches. My panini press is one of the hardest working appliances in my kitchen. Everyone is a big fan, and the kids love to make their own combinations. You can be sure they will always be overloaded with cheese.

The nice thing is you can make panini sandwiches with or without a press. You only need something to weigh it down. On a personal note, I like to use the Herb Slab bread we get from Semmifreddis for my panini sandwiches. It comes out so crispy. Yum!

This is a recipe blog, so you expect a recipe? (cackling) You will have to look for one yourself! However, here is a great resource from The Food Network, a list of 50 panini recipes with every variation you could dream of. Or check out my Summer Panini post from last year.  Read more…

Backyard Tomato Salad

Tomato SaladGetting Squirrelly

The other day, one of my Facebook memories from a few years ago popped up…a photo of a monumental pile of ripe tomatoes, squash, peppers and cucumbers. It made me nostalgic and sad.

I can’t explain to you the joy I feel when picking fresh tomatoes, fruits and vegetables from my own garden. (I’m kinda weird that way.) Then, of course, there is how they taste, plus the endless possibilities of what to make with them. There was no joy in Mudville this year.

I usually plant during Spring Break, but since we actually went on vacation this year, my tomatoes went in late. Ditto for the squash and the melons—the odds were stacked against them from the beginning.

The biggest obstacle was the attack from above. Our property is a veritable Squirrel Disneyland. They fly from tree to tree without a care in the world and apparently, when they need a snack, they scamper on over to the veggie buffet that is my garden.

Now, I can’t tell you how many times I went out to check the progress of my plants, excited that there was fruit ripening on the vine, only to find the vermin had gone on a binge. I heard them laughing.

So, no tomatoes this year. However, there is good news. My brother-in-law has more than he can handle, so I am being nice and helping him out by making stuff like this…

Backyard Tomato Salad
The flavor in this tomato salad is accentuated by salting the tomatoes, so don’t be shy of this step. I promise it will be delicious, and not too too salty. So, whether you are gathering tomatoes from you own backyard, or stopping by the store to pick up a variety of heirlooms and cherry tomatoes, this is a fantastic summer tomato salad!

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Prosciutto Wrapped Figs And Blue Cheese

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs And Blue CheeseHeadin’ For the Hills 
Every year, for the last thirty years, my family and some of our dearest and closest friends gather at Tahoe for the first two weeks in August. The amazing thing about it, besides the amount of space we take up on the deck at Garwoods, is that the third generation of these families is now carrying on the tradition. We may not see much of each other during the rest of the year, but we all make sure we’re there in August.

During those two weeks we raft down the river, hike, jet ski, go out to dinner, and hang out on the beach catching up and gossiping. As the years go by the little kids become big kids, and the big kids get married, and add more kids ensuring the tradition continues.

One of the best parts is our End of the Summer Beach Barbeque, which happens on the last Saturday. We stay on the beach all day, play red rover, and watch the sun go down over the lake while munching on the grilled sausages and various other tidbits that everyone brings. One of my family’s favorite’s is below. Try them. They’re so good. See you in a week. I’m headin’ to the lake… Read more…

Bahia-Style Fish Stew

Bahia-Style Fish StewHer Name Is Rio

The Olympics start this week. I am excited to watch, but I admit to not being as excited as in previous Olympic years. Maybe it’s the controversy surrounding the games, or maybe I’m just tired…but I’m just not as into it.

Doesn’t mean I won’t go with a theme—it’s tradition, after all. We gotta have the food of the host country while watching the Opening Ceremonies. There are Brazilian dishes that I love (see this post for two versions of Brazilian Feijoada and Caipirinhas). There aren’t too many that I make with any regularity, because despite being introduced to some great dishes, Brazilian food still remains a bit of a mystery to me. Also, until recently, it has been challenging to find all of the ingredients. The good news is that has changed.

One of the first Brazilian dishes I ever made was this Bahia-style Fish Stew. My husband ate so much he made himself sick. It’s definitely tasty, though don’t expect to find it on the Olympic training tables, ‘cause it will blow your diet. It would, however, be a great way to celebrate the Olympic spirit Rio style.

Bahia-Style Fish Stew
Serves 2-4

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