Thursday, August 2, 2012

summertime awesomeness...

once again life has been interfering with blog time :/ ...I just wanted to pop in and say that I'm still kickin' over here - I actually have about half a dozen things I want to post about..including what's been going on in brandiland..and other stuff that is mostly NOT food related - but really about all I have time for today is to share this awesome sammich with you guys...

actually it's not just a sammich..really it's the flavor of summer!

it's no secret I'm NOT a big fan of summer..I'm also not a real big fan of summer foods

don't get me wrong..I LOVE a nice, juicy grilled steak or burger..some fall off the bone BBQ ribs..they're all serious YUM! ...but to me it just gets boring..I'm MUCH more of a fall/winter-time food person

besides..heck..summer foods can be replicated INSIDE (or if you're crazy like me..still grilled OUTSIDE) all year long!

so unlike cold weather foods which are often too heavy to really enjoy during the sweaty heat of summer...I don't come to miss summer foods in their off season like I do winter foods

with one major exception...FRESH FRUITS & VEGGIES!

one of my very favoritest things about summer is our garden..where we grow tons of awesome heirloom tomatoes, basil and spinach..3 of the main ingredients in one of my all time favorite sammiches..something that can only be made with fresh garden has way too short a season..I miss it as soon as the season ends and look forward to it again all year long!

my SUPER AWESOME parmesan crusted double garlic heirloom tomato panini with fresh basil and baby spinach..oozing with melted mozzarella...OHMYGAWD it's so freakin' good!!

the 'double garlic' comes from a layer of this awesome creamy garlic dip (which, for those of you who are local..I use 'Dons double garlic dip' from Adams..but I'm sure there are similar sour cream/mayo based garlic dips on the market) spread on the inside..along with a drizzle of this amazing GARLIC VINAIGRETTE 

the backbone of a good sammich is the bread...for a panini, regular old white bread won't hafta use something that will stand up to being this case I use this great crusty PEASANT BREAD

so ya start out with the bread...and you spread on a layer of creamy garlic dip (as if it were mayo) then you start layering on your veggies..if your tomatoes are real juicy, ya wanna remove as much of the wet seedy area as possible so's to not make your nice crunchy sammich all soggy

so yeah..layer on the tomatoes, basil and baby spinach (sometimes I also add very thinly sliced shallot as well)

next..add your cheese - I usually use nice creamy whole milk mozzarella..I find it melts the best (as opposed to part-skim..which to me often seems rubbery) - you could also use fresh mozzarella - YUM!

I shred the cheese rather than using slices, simply because the next step is to drizzle on the garlic vinaigrette..which will stay on the sammich A LOT better if it has those nooks & crannies to seep into (rather than just pour off the flat surface of the slices)

so like I add the drizzle of garlic vinaigrette..and top with the second slice of bread...

on the top of that slice..brush on or drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a nice layer of fresh grated parm (the pre-grated store bought stuff will work in a pinch..just make sure it's a good one!)

now...since I'm not rollin' in the dough over here..nor do I have space for (as Alton Brown would say) UNI-TASKERS..I don't have an actual panini press (I'm sure most people don't!) ...but I DO have a George Foreman fat reducing grilling machine..which my mother bought me for my birthday..prolly 12 years ago!

which I hafta admit..aside from my yummy BUFFALO CHICKEN BURGERS..pretty much ONLY gets used for making paninis!! (although I did recently grill steaks on there..after running out of propane 2 minutes after putting them on the real grill...with surprisingly successful results!)

anyway...onto a pre-heated George Foreman grill (or panini press if you have one) goes the sammich (parm side UP) for prolly about 5 should start to hear the sizzle of the cheese melting down onto the grill..that's usually a good indication that it's done - unlike with a panini press that kinda locks down...when using the George Foreman you sometimes have to move your sammich around once or twice to make sure that the whole top gets nice and toasty

when it's done it should look something like THIS:

a perfect, crunchy, gooey, awesomely fresh, delicious taste of summer!!

if you have your own garden..or access to a good farm stand or farmer's market you should totally try it's a great quick, simple and delicious summer meal..that is not only full of awesome, healthy flavorful and nutritious doesn't heat up your house!!'s the simple things that make life so good :) ♥