"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
Oh, that feeling that comes around at different points each day. What’s for lunch? Translation, is there any food in the refrigerator? Any good leftovers still lingering from dinner last night…what will I do to stave off starvation?
A few months ago, on a whim really, we purchased a panini press. I figured it would be a fun thing to own but wondered if it would pay off in terms of usage within the family. Four months later, and I can say that it’s one of the best investments we ever made, appliance wise, for the whole family. Everyone can operate it – it only has an on and off switch – and in 5 minutes, lunch is ready.
Thing is, toast and cheese, while always a perfect combination, can become a tad old. We’ve played with the standard list of additions – cheeses of all kinds, sliced olives, roasted peppers, various spreads of interest from mayo and garlic butter to humus and mustard and one novel addition of Natan’s, sliced hard boiled egg which adds a nice ‘soft’ note to the palate as well as a nice bit of protein. We’ve slipped in sliced, cooked tofu when it was available in the house and have worked with tuna, both salad style and smoked, which was rather swishy and added a nice punch of salt.
Today we looked in the refrigerator for inspiration and after lining up the usual suspects came up with today’s recipe.
Sliced Bread – we used an excellent, whole-grain, pain de mie, baked in long oblong pullman pans to create these huge rectangular breads. The slices are satisfyingly large, although my husband said he would have preferred a softer textured bread for his panini, even though he liked the flavor of the bread. We told him that was because the bread was from the freezer (in the time that it took us to decide what kind of panini to make, it defrosted nicely, even if the texture wasn’t perfect).
Grainy Mustard – we slathered it, but use it to your own taste on ONE of the slices.
Quark Cheese or some other soft, spreadable cheese. Here, in Israel, that means labne, which is a lightly, soured cheese that comes in both goat and cow’s milk versions, in lower and higher fat varieties as well. We spread this on the OTHER slice of the bread.
1/2 firm pear, sliced thinly (peeling optional).
Baby greens, with some rocket/arugula mixed in.
Some slices of crumbly, lightly aged, goat cheese. Our
variety, had some peppercorns mixed in for a nice, peppery bite.