Gearhead Files #1.1: The Panini Press

A friend recently called me a kitchen gearhead. I wouldn’t have necessarily classified myself as such (my cupboards are full of mismatched pots and pans and garage-sale knives, for instance). But I will admit that my heart quickens its pace a bit if I happen to come across a particularly shiny and eccentric gadget. The cuisinart I got before Thanksgiving pretty much made my month. So, ok, maybe I am a gearhead. So be it. Now you know what to get me for Christmas.

Melissa was getting rid of her panini press and offered it to me, though it had never crossed my mind that I’d need one. But now I’m hooked. Now, I hardly want to look at a sandwich that hasn’t been toasted and warmed until its insides are delicious melted goo. Panini are sandwiches 2.0.

I’ve been experimenting with it a bit this weekend, and have realized this machine will be my new best friend on lazy weekends when I have a good book, no desire to face the winter outside, and just myself to feed. This is the ultimate comfort food machine.

And what better to make with the ultimate comfort food machine than the THE CLASSIC: Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey
2 slices of sourdough bread
2 tbsp. chunky peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
1 tbsp. honey

Spread peanut butter thickly on one side of bread. Stack banana slices. Drizzle honey. Top with the other slice of bread. Smear butter on both sides and pop in the panini grill until gooey and golden.

And a twist on a classic: Turkey & Blue Cheese Club
2 slices of sourdough bread
2 slices of deli turkey
a few ounces of danish blue cheese, thinly sliced
handful of arugula
1/2 pear, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. walnuts, crushed
1 tbsp. honey

Build the sandwich on top of one slice of bread. Cheese should go on the bottom so it will melt, then pears, walnuts, honey, arugula, and turkey. Top with the other slice of bread and then smear butter on the outer sides of the bread. Pop in the panini grill until cheese is melty.

If you don’t have a panini press (but don’t you think you should?) you can just grill these in a skillet.

So, gearheads unite. Just check out Julia Child’s kitchen and know you’re in good company.


About Kate Soto

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