"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mozzarella and Ham Panini

This is a quick simple and delicious panini. I love that there is no sauces but olive oil and salt and pepper. It comes together and is ready for the table in around 35 minutes. I tore this recipe out of a Martha Stewart Everyday Cooking magazine years ago.

Mozzarella and Ham Panini

1 Large Loaf of Italian Bread (I use hard rolls or sub rolls. A crusty bread works well)
8 oz Fresh Mozzarella thinly sliced (Regular deli Mozzarella is all I have used fresh is hard to come by in these parts!)
4 oz Shaved Deli Ham (My favorite is Black Forest Ham)
2 oz Baby Spinach (2 cups, loosely packed)
Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Split bread horizontally. Layer one side with cheese, ham, and spinach beginning and ending with mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Close sandwich (making sure mozzarella is in direct contact with bread on both sides--its what holds the sandwich together as it melts).

Brush a large baking sheet with some of the oil. Place sandwich on sheet; brush top with remaining oil. Place another baking sheet on top (cover bottom of sheet with aluminum foil-makes for easy clean-up!), press down firmly. (I personally like to put my rectangular pizza stone on top of the cookie sheet to add some weight for the "press")

Bake panini, press down top sheet once or twice during baking (unless you have used my pizza stone idea or a brick would work too), until cheese had melted and sandwich is golden, 20-25 minutes.

If using a loaf, cut into four pieces and serve with salad.

South-of-the-Border Sandwiches (Lion House)

Yes, I have fallen of the face of the earth or so it seems. We have moved into our new house now and life is getting a little more settled. My desire to cook more and try new recipes is returning day by day. This recipe was one I served at a luncheon I hosted for one of my friends birthdays this month. Unknown to me she loves avocado so this recipe made the luncheon for her. I promised to get her the recipe so rather than have to type it out twice I am going for a one time deal here. It was so fun to host this gathering at my new house. True the entry way and other areas are still unfinished, but if I waited until everything was just perfect! I may never get to let my friends know how special they are to me. Perfect or not sometimes you just have to do it! Because I was busy enjoying my guest there is no picture of this recipe for now, but I am sure we will get one eventually. :-)

South-of-the-Border Sandwiches (Lion House Entertaining, p.42)

8 Sandwich roll, split open, or a loaf of french bread sliced
1/2 cup Olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Green Onions, chopped
3/4 to 1 pound Cooked Turkey, thinly sliced (I bought Peppered Turkey Breast from the Deli)
2 medium Tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 ripe Avocados, sliced
3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3/4 cup Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I used Monterey Jack)

In a bowl, combine olives, chili powder, cumin, and salt; set aside 2 Tablespoons of this mixture (for garnishing). Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and green onions to the remaining olive mixture.

Place bread on a ungreased baking sheet and spread 1 Tablespoon of the mayonnaise mixture on each slice or roll. Top with slices of turkey and tomatoes. Spread with another Tablespoon of mayonnaise mixture. Top with sliced avocados and cheese. Sprinkle with the reserved 2 Tablespoons of olive mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through. Makes 8 to 10 Servings.

*Note these are an open face sandwich. I used small hard rolls because I was offering more than one type of sandwich for lunch (The other was a quick simple and Mozzarella and Ham Panini from Martha Stewart's magazine I got years ago.) I wanted the guest to feel welcome to try both if they wanted too. So I was trying to keep the portions reasonable.

Served it with a variety of green salads and brownie ice cream sundaes