Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Perfect Panini

Have you ever had a Panini? This Italian sandwich is similar to a grilled cheese sandwich. Typically the sandwich is pressed on a grill to melt the cheese and toast the bread. I'll show you how I make a Panini.

First off, I don't own a Panini press. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have one. I do what I can with what I have on hand. Cast iron pans are my press. I have 4 cast iron skillets including a grill pan. Cast iron is inexpensive, wears forever, heats evenly, is made in the USA and will give your wrist a workout. Start off by pre- heating your skillet or grill pan on medium heat.

Next use a uncut loaf of bread. Use any kind you like. Italian, Sourdough, Foccacia and Ciabatta. Make sure you pick a dense bread. I wouldn't use a white bread. I love the look of a rustic sandwich. Cutting your bread thick is the trick.

Roasted peppers taste wonderful melted in between the layers of meat and cheese. You can roast them yourself on the grill. For this application you can cheat like I did and purchase them already roasted and peeled in the can.

I've tried making the Panini's all different ways. I played with all of the different ways to toast the bread. Using butter, olive oil and just plain naked. All work well. Of course butter spread on the outside of the sandwich tastes the best. If you are watching your fat and calories naked is almost just as good. Layer your bread, meat, peppers, and cheese.

This sandwich is made with roasted turkey,cranberry mustard, peppers and provolone cheese.

Now for the fun part! Add a skillet to press down the Panini. I normally use 2 skillets to press the sandwich. Press for about 4-5 minutes each side.

A perfect Panini. Someone even told me that my Panini was better than Panera Bread's Panini. What a compliment. I encourage you to dig out your iron skillets, throw caution to the wind and create a sandwich all your own.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Magic Ball

Do you know what a magic ball is? It's a beautiful ball of yarn with special little surprises hidden inside. The theory is that as you unwind your ball of yarn while knitting one will come across fun treasures inside. It's like opening a present.

The sky is the limit when it comes to fiber choice. You can use any yarn you happen to have. I received the pink ball from a swap. My partner used bulky weight alpaca.

Think about the recipient and choose items they will enjoy. Things like buttons, charms, lip gloss, row counters and stitch markers always are welcome. Even some yummy chocolate hidden inside is nice. I am making one for a young girl who loves to crotchet.

I started with a cute pair of socks in the center. I'm using a yellow cotton yarn that's perfect for crocheting dishcloths. Wind the yarn around the item you have stashed inside.

Keep adding little treasures as you wind the yarn into a ball. Other idea's for surprises are any type of candy, jewelry, or a sweet little note.

Tie a pretty ribbon onto the ball or decorate with feathers, bows or floral birds. Adding a crochet hook or a set of knitting needles is a nice finishing touch. Each magic ball is unique and different depending on the recipient. Have fun! Create something lovely for someone you love!