Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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The Perfect Panini

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Well, I just bought myself a Panini press and I’m thrilled. This new toy gave me an idea, fresh Focaccia for my panini. I’m using my Homemade Focaccia With Garlic And Rosemary for The Perfect Panini.

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Prep Time: 1o minutes
Cook Time: 5 to 8 minutes
Total Time: 18  minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: Panini maker

Ingredients:
Homemade Focaccia, 4 slices (substitute Ciabatta or a good artisanal bread)
6 slice of fresh Mozzarella cheese, 1/4-inch thick slices
6 slices of Proscuitto, thinly sliced
6 slices of Capicola, thinly sliced
6 slices of Genoa salami, thinly sliced
6 slices of roasted Piquillo peppers, julienned
6 large basil leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh store-bought (Buitoni) basil pesto, divided per sandwich
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, fresh ground to taste

Directions:
Preheat the panini press according to manufacturer’s directions. Using non-stick cooking spray, liberally spray the panini press.

On a flat surface, lay two slices of focaccia to use as the bottom portion for your sandwich. Spread 2 tablespoons of the fresh store-bought basil pesto, evenly divided, on the bottom half of each piece of Foccacia. Place three slices of each of deli meats on each slice of focaccia.

Next, the sliced Mozzarella, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Finally, top with the roasted julienned peppers and fresh basil leaves. Place the tops on each sandwich and press down firmly. Place the sandwiches into the Panini press and close. Cook until the bread is golden-brown with beautiful grill marks, and the cheese is completely melted 5 to 8 minutes. This is my version of The Perfect Panini. 

To get my recipe for Homemade Focaccia With Garlic And Rosemary click the link below.

Homemade Focaccia With Rosemary And Garlic

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Panzanella Salad

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Having my daughter visit recently, I needed to make a “meat-free” dish for her. Now, in our house, Steve loves “meat-free” meals, once and a while, however; for the main course, he prefers to have some type of protein. I’m thinking what better way to do this than with a Panzanella Salad that makes everyone happy. This traditional Italian salad is basically a tomato and bread salad. Today I’m going to put a spin on tradition.

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Red Onion

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Feta

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Homemade Croutons

Genoa Salami

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Prep Time:: 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets pans, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, whisk, Chef’s knife, large serving bowl with utensils

Ingredients For Salad:
1 English cucumber, cut into half-moons then cut half-moon in half
1/2 red onion sliced into thinly sliced half-moon
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pint of red and grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested
3/4 pound of Genoa salami, diced (optional)
6 ounces of Feta cheese, diced
4 to 6 cups of Homemade Croutons
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Croutons, Oven Bake Method:
4 to 6 cups of bread cubes, 1 1/2-inch size cubes (1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta garlic loaf, or plain Ciabatta)
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 to 4 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallots, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly.

Note: The Homemade Croutons will absorb the dressing better when warm.

In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, add the diced cucumber, halved tomatoes, sliced onions, diced bell pepper, lemon zest, and chopped basil, gently toss to combine.

In a small serving bowl add the diced Genoa salami allowing the option to add it to the individual Panzanella Salad once served.

This vinaigrette can be made while the croutons are in the oven.
In a medium-size mixing bowl add 1/4 fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, grated garlic, dried oregano, Agave nectar, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the  *E.V.O.O. whisk to combine.

Once the croutons are done, immediately transfer them into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Finally, add the diced Feta cheese, gently toss to combine.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

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Crostini With Whipped Goat Cheese And Grape Tomato Salad

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We know them as crostini, an appetizer consisting of a small slice of toasted or grilled bread and toppings. Usually veggies, meats, or cheeses. To tell you the truth, I could eat these every night and never get tired of it. My Crostinis With Whipped Goat Cheese And Grape Tomato Salad.

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Tarragon

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I specifically asked the deli of my local grocery store to slice for me 2-1/2-inch thick slices of Genoa salami so I could dice it up for my salad.

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Ciabatta

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Crostini Topped With A Grape Tomato Salad

 

 

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 1 (10-cup) food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 large mixing bowl

Ingredients:
1 loaf of Tuscan Garlic Ciabatta bread, sliced (yields 16 slices) substitute plain Ciabatta or a French baguette
2 (1/2-inch) thick slices Genoa salami, 1-inch dice
2 pints grape tomatoes, yellow and red, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned

Ingredients For Whipped Goat Cheese:
8-ounces goat cheese, room temperature
4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Tuscan Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

In a large mixing bowl,  add the halved grape tomatoes, minced garlic, red wine vinegar, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, chopped tarragon, julienned basil leaves, and diced salami. Toss all the ingredients together, set aside

Directions For Whipped Goat Cheese:
In a food processor, add room temperature goat cheese and cream cheese. Pulse that for a minute. Next, add fresh lemon juice, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and *E.V.O.O. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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