Tempeh. Many run from this word, as it is unknown to most. However, I’ve slowly started to notice it’s becoming more and more ‘trendy’. I started to explore this tempeh, what makes it both intimidating and attractive? Fermented whole soybeans with mold, similar to tofu. Tempeh is a meat substitute, it’s firm, dry and chewy and the best part about it is that you can get it smoked- tastes like bacon!! Which is why when I first tried tempeh, it was smoked and I found it delicious. At Candle Cafe, a vegan restaurant in New York, their menu featured many variations of tempeh. I got a smoked temeph sandwich with roasted red pepper, roasted zucchini, arugula, with a tomato spread on whole grain bread.
Ways we can use temeph in panini form: replace your grilled meat with grilled temeph, try it smoked, grill it with some veggies on the panini with a soy sauce, and naturally add it into your next panini :).
*Did you notice the great panini grill marks on the tempeh?
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…
Peppers (your preference of red or green bell peppers)
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!
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.
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.
Let me know if you try out this new trick!
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.
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)
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
Grilled Pears with a Balsamic and Honey glaze topped with Goat Cheese. They are phenomenal!!
Healthier than bread and a creative way to make ordinary wraps taste even better is a Panini Wrap!! I have featured recipes on my blog before on how to make a delicious panini wrap, but don’t often see them on menus. So, I was thrilled when I went to this great little deli in Charleston, South Carolina called Dellz Deli; which featured a whole menu of grilled wraps and pitas.
This place has only about 6 barstools… .and that’s it. The line was huge wrapped around the corner and just by the looks of the people in line, it attracted everyone!
Inside was an interactive place where the owner and her son knew their customers by name!
They are known for their “goddess dressing”, which is their secret sauce that they give you to put on your sandwich. And whatever it was, it was amazing! Here is a picture of my grilled wrap with the goddess dressing on the side.
Their menu consists of seasonal items and the freshest ingredients. My wrap had brown rice and an assortment of different kinds of fresh veggies, and with the goddess sauce on the side it was delicious!!!
For my recipe on how to make great wrap panini’s check out this post by clicking on this link >> http://sanipanini.com/2012/11/19/thats-a-wrap/
For all you Vegans and Vegetarians out there- I have a great panini for you! This recipe includes a major flavor booster: hummus! My favorite type of hummus is one with extra lemon and lots of garlic. Hummus is extremely easy to make. It simply consists of using a food processor to blend garbanzo beans, lemon, tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil, an optional jalapeño, and paprika for looks! If you are unfamiliar with the ingredient tahini, it is a grounded sesame seed paste that originated from the Middle East. On the other hand, store-bought hummus is also a great option because of the various flavors! You can leave it as is or make it your own by adding more lemon, crushed red pepper, etc. Roasted garlic, jalapeño, and roasted red pepper are amongst my personal favorites.
Depending on your tastes and veggies you want to add into this panini, you can alter the type of hummus you use too!
Your favorite vegan bread or lavash wrap
Any hummus you’d like
Lettuce (or Spinach or Arugula)
Salt and Pepper
1. Cut and clean your red pepper and onion into slices
2. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper
3. Grill on the panini for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables become tender
5. Cut tomatoes and cucumbers into slices
6. Wash and chop lettuce
4. Spread hummus on both slices of bread or lavash wrap
5. Add the grilled red pepper and onion to bread or lavash
6. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce
7. Wrap your lavash or add your second piece of bread
8. Grill in the panini for 3 minutes
9. Cut in halves and then serve
The colors in this panini are fantastic!!
TIP: Before adding the veggies inside the sandwich, grill them on the panini to enhance their flavor!