This one was special for a few reasons…The chief of which is that it gave me an excuse to use my mom’s old panini press. She had such a passion for food (heck…she built The Food Timeline!)…and whenever she’d do research to answer a question that came into her email box, she’d get curious and try to cook with that ingredient or make that food. It was her curiosity and adventurousness that sparked such a love of food in me.
While growing up, I mostly stuck to enjoying the scrumptiousness she’d put on our plates, I now find it endlessly fascinating how different cultures have used (mostly) similar ingredients to define their cuisines…and yet have so many culinary combinations that can be made! It’s what draws me to experimental cooking and what captivates me about Fusion Food.
We lost her a few years ago, and it still feels like yesterday that she and I were hanging out talking, going on a Tuesday afternoon adventure to a historical site (and lunch), taking Samuel to the dog park. I miss her more than words can touch the surface of communicating to you, and so cooking in her wok or with her panini press is just an unspeakably special experience for me, as I feel her right there with me.
Time: 30 Minutes
- Roasted Red Pepper (or fresh bell pepper to roast yourself)
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Smoked Mozzarella
- If using fresh bell pepper, slice it in half, and press it as flat as you can. Then, heat up a pan, and put your pepper in. Press flat with a spatula, and cook (without oil or butter) for 5 or so minutes per side.
- As your pepper cooks, wash and slice your mushrooms. Then, heat up another pan with a little olive oil, and add your mushrooms. Sauté until they start to soften, and then splash in a little balsamic vinegar to finish.
- As your veggies cook, slice your smoked mozzarella, and set aside.
- Grab two slices of bread per panini, and butter one side of each slice.
- Place the buttered side of your bottom sandwich slice down, and start building with a layer of raw spinach followed by your cheese…and when finished, your red pepper and mushrooms.
- Then, put the top slice of your sandwich on with the buttered side facing up on the outside of the sandwich.
- Heat your panini press, and when it’s hot, add your sandwich.
- Cook for a few minutes until the bread is golden brown.
- Plate, devour, and enjoy!