Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

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. There you have it my version of The Perfect Panini. 

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

Homemade Focaccia With Garlic And Rosemary

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Antipasto Platters Made Easy

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Whenever I’m doing an Antipasto Platter, start with great quality ingredients. I like to assemble a few and dress of few.

For example, the artichokes can be tossed with strips of roasted red peppers. The cantaloupe and breadsticks wrap  with delicious cured meats.

Keeping the same items together gives a more uniform look to the platter. I also always try to utilize herbs in my garden. Here I’m using fresh basil as a garnish for the platters.

Simple dress the grape tomatoes with *E.V.O.O. and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

What’s great about this is all the ingredients are store-bought. This makes these platters quick and easy to put together. For the seasoned Bocconcini, my recipe is really simple. I doubled the recipe below for my platters in the pictures you see above.

Antipasto Platters

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Sweet Basil (2)

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Dried Basil

Dried Oregano

Dried Parsley Flakes

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 12 to 16 servings
Equipment: 2 large serving platters, chef’s knife, medium-size mixing bowl

Ingredients For Marinated Bocconcini:
1 tub (18 to 20 ct.)  Bocconcini drained and dried
2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Separate all the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Using a spoon, gently mix together.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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Homemade Meatloaf

Homemade Meatloaf

Growing up in the ’70s, I remember one of the most traditionally made dinners was meatloaf. My mom had her version #tastethelove, my friends’ moms had their version, and my grandmother had her version. They were all delicious but so very different. I think that’s what makes this dish so common throughout many households but so individually unique is meatloaf is a blank canvas. You can add ingredients you like making your meatloaf specifically to your liking. Traditionally meatloaf is made with ground beef, but that’s not the case anymore, ground pork, chicken, or turkey can be used to make meatloaf today.

My Homemade Meatloaf is a family favorite. Let me show you what goes into my Homemade Meatloaf, starting with the roasted garlic.

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Roasted Red Peppers

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Prep Time: 15 minutes (prep the vegetable while roasting the garlic)
Cook Time:  2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (3-quart) saucepot

Ingredients:
1-pound of lean ground sirloin (90% lean)
2-pounds of ground pork
1 bulb of garlic, 4 roasted garlic cloves, minced, 2 raw cloves, minced
1 1/2 onions, small dice
3 ribs of celery, small dice
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup roasted Piquillo peppers, finely diced
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups breadcrumbs, Italian-style
1/4 cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Ingredients For Brown Gravy:
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Kitchen Boquet, browning, and seasoning sauce
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of chicken broth, unsalted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Peel and discard the papery out layer of the garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to 1/2-inch from the top of the cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

Set the garlic on top of a piece of foil. Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves. Sprinkle each head with a pinch of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Wrap the garlic bulbs up in the foil. Place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed. Remove from the oven, carefully open the foil packet, and set aside to cool.

While garlic is roasting prep all the vegetables.

In the meantime, in a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, diced onions, diced celery, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and minced garlic. As the veggies start to soften, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and freshly chopped thyme leaves, stir to combine. Sauté the vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes. Turn off and remove from the heat to let cool.

Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.

In the large mixing bowl, with the diced roasted red peppers, add the roasted minced garlic, beaten eggs, Italian-style bread crumbs, half and half, fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, dried oregano, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and the cooled vegetable mixture, mix to combine.

Next, it’s time to add the meat to the bowl with all the other ingredients. Using your hands, mix in the meat until it’s all just combined, do not overmix. After everything is combined and all that goodness is mix throughout, form the meatloaf and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the meatloaf delicately into a pretty looking loaf. Refer to the picture above. There’s no need to do anything else to the meat. The oven will take care of making it look all nice, beautiful, crispy, and brown. Trust me!

While the meatloaf is in the oven make start the Lumpy Mashed Potatoes, Click the link below for the recipe.

I bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 155-degrees F. Transfer the meatloaf to the counter, cover with foil and allow to rest for another 15 minutes. There will be some carryover cooking time.

Directions For Brown Gravy:
In a saucepot on medium heat, melt the butter, add the fresh thyme leaves. Next, the flour and whisk together making sure to get all visible lumps. Add Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, continuously whisking until mixture turns light brown in color. Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add Kitchen Boquet and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat back up to medium. Continue whisking until gravy boils and thickens for 3 to 5 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Asparagus 

Lumpy Mashed Potatoes

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