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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

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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Pestos and Tapenades

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It’s a meat-free day today at my house. Anything you can spread over grilled and/or toasted bread is delicious.

Pesto doesn’t have to be made with just basil anymore. You can substitute arugula or spinach, you can add walnuts or pistachios. The possibilities are endless.

The difference between a Pesto and a Tapenade is generally Tapenades are olive-based… yes there are olives in certain Pestos.

In the pictures above I’ve made a Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto, a Pea With Fresh Mint Pesto, and Artichoke Pesto, and a Kalamata Olive With Cannellini Bean Tapenade.

I love to shake things up by using different kinds of ingredients. For example; roasted red peppers, artichokes, peas, Cannellini beans, Kalamata olives, or Ricotta cheese, mix in nuts and fresh herbs.

Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, fresh lemon juice, and a great Extra Virgin Olive Oil are key in making a great pesto or Tapenade. Let’s not forget about the nuts. Traditionally pine nuts are what’s used, not today, it’s pistachios. I even used a variety of herbs like basil, chives, mint, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. I say let your imagination go wild!  Then spread it on grilled bread.

In the next section, is my recipe for the Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto. Recipes may vary from one pesto to another, some tend to be thicker than others. A secret I use to thicken certain Pesto recipes is by adding a small amount of Cannellini Beans. They add creaminess and give great texture to the Pesto or Tapenade.

Roasted Red Peppers

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Ciabatta

Toasted Ciabatta Bread

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Pestos And Tapenades

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 10-cup food Processor, rimmed baking sheet pan, chef’s knife, small and large mixing bowls

Ingredients For RoastedPiquilloPepper Pesto:
1 12-ounce jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, drained (substitute roasted red peppers)
1/4 cup of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of Pistachios
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 small clove of peeled garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 loaf of Ciabatta (substitute baguette)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Slice the 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 pan. 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.

Start processing the nuts ( Pistachios) garlic and the herb of choice first. You can see this in the pictures above. Once this has been processed, add in the main ingredients. In this case, the drained and rinsed roasted Piquillo peppers, Cannellini beans, fresh lemon juice, Kosher salt, and pepper.

Next, through the feed tube, at the top, drizzle in the *E.V.O.O. slowly. This will allow you to control the consistency of the pesto as it’s being processed, and you can adjust the amount accordingly.

Finally, add the grated cheese. The reason I do it this way, is so the cheese doesn’t get too hot from that blade doing all this processing and change the integrity of the cheese. I only pulse the cheese through the mix just until it’s mixed through.

This is the method I use when making any type of pesto. I also want to mention, using Cannellini beans gives extra body to the pesto without changing the flavor.

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Braised Boneless Short Ribs And Root Vegetables In A Red Wine Reduction Over Cheddar Grits

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This has to be one of the coldest days we’ve had in Orlando in a really long time, so I needed to bring out the big guns for dinner tonight. Steve’s been working on roofs all day and I know he’d want a comforting dish to warm him up. I went to our local Farmers’ Market and decided on short ribs. They offer boneless short ribs which I’ve never seen anywhere else before, so I bought them.

The name of my dish, Braised Short Ribs With Root Vegetables In A Red Wine Reduction Over Cheddar Grits sounds super fancy but really it’s not.

I should tell you that our local Farmers’ Market is called Freshfields Farm. I posted a link at the bottom of this post in case you’d like to click and visit.

I definitely needed good white cheddar for my grits, and Freshfields Farm also offers a variety of cheeses, so this worked out perfectly.

Next, I was onto the produce side of Freshfields Farm to check out the root vegetables available for my dish tonight. I found a beautiful butternut squash and some leaf top carrots. Those are going to be perfect for my Braised Boneless Short Ribs.

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To start this dish, the vegetables need to be prepped. It’s important that they all be approximately the same size so they cook evenly. Besides the butternut squash, carrots, onions, and minced garlic using a food processor purèe the Piquillo peppers.

This is what the boneless short ribs look like. You can see they have great marbling throughout the meat, which will make for a tender and flavorful dish.

Instead of browning the meat off in batches, in my Dutch oven, I’m going to sear the meat all at one time by roasting the short ribs in the oven at a very high temperature. I love this method instead of browning them off in batches on top of the stove. Also, I can start cooking the vegetables off on top of the stove while the meat is searing.

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Be sure to keep checking their progress until they look like the picture above.

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On the stove top, start softening the vegetables in the Dutch oven. It’s really important to season each layer as you go.  I’ll show the total amount of Kosher salt and pepper in the ingredients list.

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For the liquids, first, add the Cabernet Sauvignon to deglaze the pot. Using a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. After the wine has reduced, add the beef consomme and beef broth.

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Adjust the oven temperature to 325-degrees F.

Remove the short ribs from the oven.

Add the seared short ribs and their juices (the juice is extra flavor) to the pot with the vegetables.  Bring all this up to a boil then reduce to a simmer and place into the oven for 2-1/2- 2-3/4 hours. The short ribs will be fully cooked and fork tender.

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Carefully remove the short ribs from the oven. Turn the oven temperature to 350-degrees F. Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set onto a plate.

In a small bowl make a *slurry. Add the *slurry to the pot. Bring the sauce back up to a boil. Stirring everything continuously until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. You want it to be like a loose gravy, so when you ladle it over the cheese grits, the sauce will cling to the veggies and soak into the grits.

At this point, add the meat back into the pot and place the lid on. Set the pot on a back burner on very low or warm if that setting is available on your stove.

Next, onto making the cheddar grits.

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Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
In a large saucepot, I add heavy cream and water. Bring up to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Using a  whisk add the grits. As soon as the liquid is completely absorbed,  remove the grits from the heat and add the unsalted butter. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir until butter is incorporated. Next, added the grated white cheddar, stir to combine.

Next, in a 9 x 11 buttered baking dish, add the cooked grits. spread the grits evenly into the buttered casserole dish. spring white cheddar on top. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until grits are hot and bubbly.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time For Short Ribs: 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours
Cooking Time For Grits: 1 hour
Oven Temp: 325 degrees
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment, 6-quart Dutch oven, food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 9 x 11 baking dish

Ingredients For Boneless Short Ribs:

3 cups of water
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups of shredded white cheddar (reserve 1/2 a cup for the topping)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
To start this dish, the vegetables need to be prepped. It’s important that they all be approximately the same size so they cook evenly. Besides the butternut squash, carrots, onions, and minced garlic using a food processor purèe the Piquillo peppers.

In a large mixing bowl, add the short ribs, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper. Mix to combine. Lay the marinated short ribs, in one layer, spread out, onto two baking sheets. Roast for 20 minutes. Halfway through the roasting process, flip the short ribs to get a good caramelization on all sides.

Note: Oven temperatures may vary slightly. The 20 minutes roasting time for the short ribs is an approximate time.

In a Dutch oven preheated on medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onions, and carrots. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Sautè those for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the diced butternut squash minced garlic, and tomato paste.

Continue cooking adding the remaining Kosher salt and black pepper, stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes. Note: It’s important to season each layer as you go. Once the vegetables start to soften, add the purèed Piquillo peppers stirring to combine with the vegetables. Next, add the crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs, stir to combine.

For the liquids, first, add the Cabernet Sauvignon to deglaze the pot. Using a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. After the wine has reduced by half add the beef consomme and beef broth.

Remove the short ribs from the oven. Turn the oven to 325-degrees F.

Add the short ribs and their juices to the Dutch oven, stir to combine. Bring up to a boil, place the lid on and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

Set oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
Remove the pot from the oven, carefully transfer the short ribs to a dish. Add the premade *slurry to the pot, stir to combine. Bring the sauce back up to a boil until sauce has the consistency of a loose gravy. Turn the heat down to the lowest temperature or a warm setting. Add the meat back into the pot. Place a lid on to keep hot.

Tip: Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before covering the grits. The will prevent the cheese on top from sticking to the foil.

In a large saucepot, I add heavy cream and water. Bring up to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Using a  whisk add the grits. As soon as the liquid is completely absorbed,  remove the grits from the heat and add the unsalted butter. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir until butter is incorporated. Next, added the grated white cheddar, stir to combine.

Next, in a 9 x 11 buttered baking dish, add the cooked grits. spread the grits evenly into the buttered casserole dish. spring white cheddar on top. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until grits are hot and bubbly.

To Serve:

*slurry:  For each cup of liquid, you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. Add an equal amount of cold liquid and stir until smooth paste forms. Whisk the slurry into the hot simmering liquid you want to thicken.

 

Freshfields Farm

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