Panini with Caramelized Onions-Pears Jam and Brie + Gorgonzola Cheese

God bless the person who invented ‘sandwich’ for all of us. I am huge sandwich fan myself, so I always experiment different food pairings in my recipes. Hot Panini, cold sub, grilled burger anything and everything is good, especially when I am not in good mood. It just brightens me up.

Moreover, I love sweet and savory combination of fruit and cheese in my salads and sandwich. Well, for hot sandwich craving I tried this recipe with baby spinach, brie + Gorgonzola cheese, pears, onions, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary.

Ingredients:

Any Bread (I used sunflower seeds & whole grain bread from Fresh Market)

Fresh baby spinach (for some greens)

Brie Cheese (thinly sliced)

Gorgonzola blue cheese (crumbled)

Jam Components:

1 teaspoon of butter or olive oil

2 Fresh Pears (thinly sliced)

1 onion (thinly sliced)

Fresh Rosemary (chopped)

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

For Jam

Heat up butter or oil. Add onions and cook them on low heat for almost 20 minutes until they are soft, lightly golden, and translucent. Add salt and pepper. 

Now at this point on low-medium heat add sliced pears, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary. Cook all for 15 more minutes until all turns lightly brown color.

Your sweet jam is ready. Cool it down a bit.

Sandwich Assembly

Heat up your Panini grill. (I use my Calphalon non-stick Panini press)

1st bread slice, brie cheese, sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese, jam, spinach leaves, brie cheese, 2nd bread.

Now with little butter make Panini sandwich.

Serve hot.

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Tofu & Lentils Burger – Asian Style

I always favor local restaurants over chain restaurants and one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had was at Twister Creek Restaurant of Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna, Alaska. We visited this place during our Alaskan cruise and land tour. It had fresh flavors of local ingredients. Here is the link http://denalibrewingcompany.com/

Even though I don’t favor chain restaurants, there is one restaurant which do serve gourmet style burgers ‘Red Robin’. It is my husband’s all time favorite burger place. The good part about Red Robins is that you can substitute meat patty with Garden Veggie patty or BOCA patty in almost all the burgers they offer. 

I always keep store bought burger patties in my freezer. Some of my absolute favorites are

1. Morning star’s Garden Burger, Black Bean Burger and BOCA Burger,

2. Trader Joe’s Veggie Masala Burger and Pizza Veggie Burgers.

One day in order to surprise my husband, I created this gourmet style burger. To my astonishment he loved it and asked me to make him one more burger. If you are like him and don’t like tofu then this recipe might change your perception towards tofu. Here is the step by step recipe,

Ingredients for patty:
1/2 block of extra firm tofu (drain all water and mash it well)
1/2 cup lentils (boiled)
1 cup baby spinach (chopped)
2 tablespoon cilantro leaves (chopped)
2 tablespoon Thai basil leaves (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced)
1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs (for crunch)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons of corn starch (for binding)
1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt spread (or plain Greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of hot chili sauce (sambhal)
1/2 tablespoon of smoked liquid (optional) http://www.walmart.com/ip/Colgin-Liquid-Smoke-Natural-Hickory-Seasoning-4-fl-oz/10314500
1 tablespoon of sweet chili sauce (or plum sauce)
1 teaspoon of habanero hot sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for Eggless Mayo spread:
5 tablespoons of Greek yogurt spread (or plain Greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of hot chili sauce (sambhal)
1/2 tablespoon of smoked liquid (totally optional)
2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce (or plum sauce)
1/2 teaspoon of habanero hot sauce (optional)

Ingredients for burger:
Cucumber slices
Tomato slices
Baby Spinach leaves
Onions slices
Whole wheat hamburger rolls

Method:
1. Marinate the tofu and Asian sauce mixture for atleast 2-3 hours.
2. Form burger patties and grill them in shallow frying pan (i used my panini grill). Add canola oil + butter and grill the patties on both sides.
3. Make eggless mayo for burgers and for dipping on the side
4. Assemble all the ingredients like a typical burger
5. Serve hot.

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Panini Sandwiches

I just purchased a new panini grill. Its Calphalon Contemporary Non-stick panini grill from Macys. It a good purchase for sure. This is my first panini attempt.

Here are both the recipes.

Panini A:

Ingredients: Basil Pesto, Fresh herbs such as basil, chives, oregano, and parsley, cooking white wine, onions, bell-peppers, portobello mushrooms, artichokes, brie cheese, garlic Tuscan bread, salt and pepper.

Method: Grill all the vegetables with herbs and white wine. This step is same as my previous sandwich recipe. Except, I have used brie instead of gouda. Brie is a soft cheese perfect for paninis. You can also use mozzarella, provolone or Gruyere. Any cheese which melts easily. Take slices of bread, spread basil pesto, add grilled veggies, and top it with cheese. Add another slice of bread. Butter the panini press and grill it. Change the side and grill it. Ready to serve.

Panini B:

Ingredients: Sliced tomatoes, cherry vinegar (I added fresh cut cherries in balsamic vinegar and kept it for a week), fresh basil leaves, provolone cheese, basil pesto, salt and pepper, garlic Tuscan bread.

Method: Layer the sandwich and grill both sides. The pictures will give you a better idea.

Mushrooms, Onions, Bellpeppers, Artichokes, and Gouda Sandwich

Hey All,

This is one of my favorite sandwiches. Again, its easy to prepare. This recipe makes 2 sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 1/4 Bell Peppers (mix colors)
  • 5-6 Marinated Artichoke Hearts (store bought)
  • Lettuce leaves or fresh Spinach leaves (optional)
  • 3-4 tablespoon White Wine (for cooking)
  • 2 tablespoon Basil Pesto
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Bread (Multi-grain or any)
  • Gouda cheese (2 slices)

Directions:

  • Heat up a grill, put butter and olive oil. Add onions, red bell peppers, artichokes hearts, and mushrooms. Grill them till the onions become translucent. Don’t brown the veggies. Now add white wine, salt and pepper. Keep the mixture hot. It will help the cheese to melt quickly.
  • Meanwhile, grill your bread will some olive oil in a flat/grill pan. First layer it with basil pesto and 1 slice of Gouda, add lettuce/spinach (optional), all the grilled veggies, again layer it with second slice of Gouda. Cover the sandwich with another slice of bread and let the cheese melt. Turn the sandwich upside down and let the other side brown up a little.
  • Enjoy.
  • TIPS: If you don’t have a panini grill, then create one by using a cookie baking sheet and top it with 2-3 tomato cans for some extra weight. You can use smoked Gouda. I like the original one, so I use that.