I want to start off telling you about one of my favorite new cookbooks by saying that this book is not just for sandwich-lovers! Of course sandwich aficionados will be sated beyond words with the huge variety of paninis, but Kathy Strahs, author of the Panini Happy blog and The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook, creatively shows just how much a panini press can do beyond making sandwiches.
You can make things like Grilled Smashed Potatoes, Spinach-Feta Quinoa Cakes, Grilled Brie with Honey and Toasted Pecans, Grilled Apple Turnovers, and get ready for it – Homemade Ice Cream Cones! I can’t even tell you how excited I was to discover all these other uses for the panini press…uses that had never even entered my wildest imagination.
The recipes are fantastic, so let’s dive right in…
Thanks to Kathy, I found out that pears are absolutely delicious grilled. They take on a caramel-like flavor, but also retain their lovely floral aroma and flavor notes that pears are so loved for. Paired with honey-sweetened, vanilla-scented Greek yogurt and toasted almonds, this elegant dish would be perfect for dessert when you’re entertaining. (How simple and gorgeous would this be as an ending for a lovely holiday meal?) Of course the fact that it’s healthy as well as super quick and easy to put together (so much more so than roasted pears!) makes it also perfect for a fast breakfast during the week. I think I found a new favorite way to eat pears.
Avocado Bacon Toast
I try to eat at least two avocados a week, so I’m always looking for new ideas to use them. Avocado toast is one of my standby favorites, and this version with bacon is fabulous. (And the nice thing about making toast on a panini press is that you can toast quite a few pieces simultaneously, so no one has to wait to use the toaster!) I added a few rings of white onion to my sammy because I admit I am an onion freak. Feel free to leave that out, but definitely don’t leave out the sea salt and lime (or lemon…which is what I used because it’s what I had in my fridge). Like Kathy said, this meal is perfect any time of day – no need to wait for breakfast!
When I was looking through the book, I couldn’t decide between Chicken Teriyaki and Grilled Salmon with Old Bay Aioli. Both sounded amazing, so I decided to combine the two into Salmon Teriyaki. At first I honestly wasn’t sure how fish would fare on a panini press, thinking it might stick. I am happy to report that it didn’t stick even a little, and this ended up being the flakiest, most tender salmon dish I’ve made in a while (which I completely attribute to Kathy’s fabulous recipe!). Just be sure to follow the recipe (and oil the fish and use fish with the skin on), and I’m confident you won’t have issues with sticking either. I will be making this one again and again…and again! Just look at how flaky that fish is, and with virtually no effort on my part. I served it on a bed of lentil salad and romaine lettuce and it was lunch perfection.
Mini Carrot Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
In a word, this cake is genius. First and foremost, it is moist and full of flavor. Plus the fact that it serves one or two people makes it super cute (who doesn’t love mini-sized foods, right?). Also, that a cake can be baked on a panini press is pretty incredible. It’s perfect for when you want a sweet treat, but either you don’t want to heat up your whole oven, or you don’t have access to your oven, like when you’re moving or doing a kitchen re-model. In fact, I can see the panini press coupled with The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook revolutionizing the way people live when they’re moving or in the middle of remodeling!
I chose to feature recipes other than panini to show you just a few other things that the panini press can do, but I also adore grilled sandwiches and couldn’t resist trying a few. The Pulled BBQ Chicken Panini was everything a BBQ chicken sandwich should be – sweet, savory, saucy, and gooey! Served with a simple cabbage slaw on the side, it was the perfect meal. I also made the Kale, Grill-Roasted Garlic, and Cheddar Panini, which was incredible. Kathy is really gifted at little touches – like roasted garlic in this kale panini – that truly take a dish’s flavor profile to the next level.
And I have my eye on quite a few other paninis: Cheese Steak Panini; Turkey-Apple Panini with Fig and Gruyere; Greek Shrimp Panini with Pesto, Feta, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes; and Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Panini, to name just a few. I was in awe of how many unique, delicious-sounding flavor combos there are in this book, and trust me, my list could go on for at least another 20 items that I want to try.
I also really like the way the book is organized by main ingredient (such as poultry, seafood, etc.), with the panini recipes in the front of the chapter and “More From the Panini Press” in the back after the panini recipes. And in addition to recipes, Kathy also includes a few helpful sections at the beginning of the book, like Panini Presses – The Ins and Outs; How to Use a Panini Press; Ingredients for Perfect Panini; and Grilling Beyond Sandwiches. This book is indispensable for anyone who wants to get more use out of their panini press.
And (hint, hint), in conjunction with a panini press, this book would make an amazing holiday gift for any college student. I remember dorm life all too well, and I know that if I had had a panini press, it would have made my life a heck of a lot easier. And healthier, lol.
Now on to the giveaway…I am so excited to be giving away three (3) copies of The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook to three (3) lucky giveaway winners, and one (1) Frigidaire Professional Panini Grill to one (1) lucky winner! (Thank you to Harvard Common Press and Frigidaire for their generosity!)
To participate in this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what’s in your favorite sandwich.
For extra entries, you can do any of the following (please leave a separate comment for each):
- Tell me the craziest thing you’ve ever cooked on a panini press. (I made the cake from Kathy’s cookbook on my panini press…it turned out great!)
- Like Panini Happy on Facebook.
- Like An Edible Mosaic on Facebook.
- Follow Panini Happy on Twitter.
- Follow An Edible Mosaic on Twitter.
- Tweet the following: Enter #giveaway to win a copy of @KathyStrahs’s The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook or a @Frigidaire panini grill! http://bit.ly/17zWNst
You do not need to have a blog to enter this giveaway. For shipping purposes, this giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. This giveaway ends on December 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST. Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email. The winner will have two days to respond with their mailing information, otherwise a new winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck to all!
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook (Harvard Common Press; September 2013), and the publisher is also providing the cookbooks for this giveaway. Frigidaire is providing the panini grill for this giveaway. As always, opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items, which helps me keep this site alive – thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!