Sunday, May 1, 2011

What I want/I want now/And it's a whole lot more/Than anyhow - Panini, tuna casserole and tiny pies!

Here we go with another catch up post...

A couple weeks ago my George Foreman grill, which I have loved and used thoroughly for a few years, just up and quit on me. I have relied on that grill for cooking steaks, chops, fish and more, particularly in the colder months so I had to have a replacement. I did a little amount of research and decided to look for a new grill that would be a little more versatile so I settled on a panini-maker style and found a GE model for a reasonable price. So far so good, though I've only made a couple of different sandwiches on it so far. But it does have temp control and it also opens flat to be used as a griddle or an open grill, so I'm happy.

The Boy actually requested a panini the other day (actually a Cuban sandwich, which has still to be provided - stars must align for the right ingredients to be about for a Cuban sandwich), so I finally made him one with leftover grilled chicken, tomatoes, and provolone cheese. Oh and pumpernickel bread seemed like just the ticket. Some corn on the cob on sale inspired me to make a roasted corn and tomato salad. I didn't want to fire up the grill just for the corn but the gas burners on the stove did a mighty fine job. Once the roasted corn was cool I cut it off the cob, mixed in some halved grape tomatoes, chopped onion, and drizzled on some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The corn was almost obscenely sweet; actually a bit too sweet for salad, but good.
Yesterday evening I didn't have any ideas for dinner, but was willing to make anything the Boy requested. I think he kind of hates when I ask, though I figure if I keep doing it, he will eventually get used to it and actually have a list of things he'd like me to make again. I was thinking of an evening spent in the kitchen whipping up whatever it was he wanted and what did he come up with? Tuna casserole. I have no objection to tuna casserole, but it's something I'd think of more when I'm in a hurry or out of fresh ingredients. But hey, I asked and he answered, so I felt obligated. I couldn't go the traditional route, as I don't generally have any canned cream of mushroom soup (or any other canned soup for that matter) on hand. Instead, I made a bechamel and added a quarter cup or so of grated parmesan to sub for the soup. I mixed cooked egg noodles, sweet peas, canned tuna and the sauce, and put in a baking dish, topping it with French fried onions, a little more parmesan and some jack cheese. A quick turn under the broiler in the toaster oven (have I gushed how much I LOVE my vintage $4 toaster oven?) and it was ready. I added a salad and we had a dinner that made the Boy and me happy.
Yesterday there was a rummage sale in a school just around the corner and we ran over as soon as I got home from work and supervised the mowing of the front yard (the Boy doesn't always notice growing things that are decidedly not grass). At one half hour from closing, I suspect that most stuff was sold and gone, but we managed to find a few things: four tiny pie tins, a teeny roaster (it would barely fit a whole chicken but it might work for two game hens), an apple shaped cutting board with a '60s tile inset, and a few books, including a book of Spanish fairy tales.
Since I had tiny pie pans, I had to make tiny pies, right? I happened to have a refrigerated pie crust left over from Easter quiche and today I found a container of blackberries for only a dollar, so that decided two of the pies. I love the flavor of blackberries but I cannot abide the seeds, so the Boy gets those. I also got an apple to make the other two for me. To both fruits I added lemon zest, a bit of lemon juice, nutmeg and a bit of corn starch for thickening. For the blueberry I used white sugar and for the apple I added cinnamon and brown sugar. I didn't have enough pastry to make top crusts, so I very lazily cut strips from the leftover dough to make lattice tops. They are terribly sloppy and certainly not uniform, but I never claimed that presentation is my thing. Hopefully they taste good.

5 comments:

heather said...

I really want that pumpernickel panini. Was on the prowl recently for a panini grill, just unable to commit. I'm cheap.

Cat Pick said...

This one was $50 at the Evil Empire; not so bad.

Allison said...

I love a thrifted roaster. Remember when we found my huge one?

Cat Pick said...

Oh yes! An excellent find. I get more pleasure using things I've paid a pittance for!

heather said...

Those things are so multi-functional...$50 isn't so bad. Now about that pumpernickel panini...