Basil, Mozzarella and Tomato Panini – in a Waffle Iron!

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After making a list of crazy things to make in a waffle iron, I decided to “have at it” myself. But what to make? And how much of a mess do I want to make in a waffle iron? Lucky for me, I had a snow day to experiment. Every once in awhile, we make BMT paninis for lunch to satisfy some cravings. BMT meaning basil, tomato, and mozzarella. We make ours with pesto instead of basil. Anyway, I made the typical BMT sandwich and threw it in a waffle iron to make the panini.

The key to this recipe is the bread. A crusty bread is a must when it comes to shoving it into the waffle iron. If you pick a slice of bread that is soft, you will just end up with a big, gooey mess in the waffle iron. We used ciabatta. With the waffle iron bringing heat to both sides of the sandwich, there is no need to flip, and the hit gets to the cheese much quicker. Try it out for yourself!

BMT: Basil, Mozzarella and Tomato Panini…in a Waffle Iron

Ingredients

  • Crusty bread
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Basil pesto
  • Tomato

Recipe

  • Get out the waffle iron and grease well
  • Build your sandwich
  • Put it in your waffle iron and hold it down with force You may have to rotate your sandwich to evenly flatten it

Easy enough?

Yes, You Can Have Soup for Summer: Chilled Tomato Soup with Guacamole

Chilled Tomato Soup with Guacamole 3 copy

Tomato soup has got to be the only food that is equally as warming in winter as it is refreshing in summer…when served as a cold gazpacho, of course. If you’re ready to kick your summer soup up a notch, why not top it with guacamole? (I mean, why not top everything with guacamole, really)…but in this case, it takes soup up a serious level. Enjoy Francois Payard‘s chilled tomato soup with guacamole recipe.

Chilled Tomato Soup with Guacamole

Makes Enough for 20 Small Glasses

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Cocktail O’Clock: A Greener Bloody Mary

(Photo courtesy of Noah Fecks)

(Photo courtesy of Noah Fecks)

When you’re in your 20s you spend the week before New Year’s planning out your drinking schedule for the big night.

When you’re in your 30s you’re more concerned with how you’ll treat the hangover the next day.

Fortunately, we’ve got that one solved for you. Putting a Southern spin on America’s favorite brunch cocktail, the Green Bloody Mary mixes up Ole Smokey Moonshine corn whiskey with tomatillos, pickles, and plenty of spice for a New Year’s Day drink that will kick your 2015 into high gear.

Green Bloody Mary

6 tomatillos
1 dill pickle
3 garlic cloves
2 yellow heirloom tomatoes
1 serrano chili (seeds remove)
1 oz. Ole Smoky Original Moonshine
1 1?2 tablespoon preserved lemon
1?2 teaspoon each sugar, salt and pepper
Juice of 1?2 lime
3 dashes Tabasco

In a blender, puree ingredients. Fill glass with ice and strain in blended mixture.

To salt rim of glass: Put 1 tablespoon each salt, pepper, sugar and Aleppo pepper (optional) in a saucer. Wet rim with lime wedge, dab in saucer.

*Cocktail recipe courtesy of Distilled NYC

Honeyed Strawberry Avocado Salad with Almonds

Honeyed Strawberry, Avocado, and Almond Salad

Honeyed Strawberry Avocado Salad with Almonds

At this point I feel like I’m getting a reputation among my friends… a reputation for being the person who always brings the salad to the dinner party or cookout. Here’s the thing, though: salads are not boring if you do ’em right. I like to load mine with all sorts of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and nice cheese. I’m also a fan of making my own dressing, which, on top of being better for you, adds so much more flavor and depth than your usual store-bought variety. (But if you are using a store-bought, my favorite brand is Briannas, which I’ve mentioned before in a similar recipe.)

I threw together one of my huge salads when I hosted our Bachelorette League at my place last week. Since I was making a big amount and I was a little crunched for time after work, I had my man help me out. And by “my man” I don’t mean my boyfriend Rob. I mean my man Joe. My man TRADER JOE. I got everything I needed from him for this dinner (including a bunch of cheap yet delicious wine, not pictured). Love u forever, TJs.

Honeyed Strawberry, Avocado, and Almond Salad

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Not-so-Heavy Apps: Tomato and Sweet Onion Bruschetta Topping

When I’m having people over, I often like to serve a bunch of fancy-ish snacks (or as we would call it in the events world, “heavy apps,” but I’ve always thought that sounded gross) rather than a full meal. It’s less intimidating for you as a host and your guests as… well, guests. Unless you’re specifically throwing a full-on dinner party, a big plated meal can be kind of hard to stomach—no pun intended—compared to grazing on some indulgent snacks and sipping wine while watching a movie or whatever.

It is in this mindset that I present my 100% easiest bruschetta recipe ever. Have a loaf of nice bread and want to put more than butter on top of it? Done and done. This one almost isn’t a full-blown recipe… it’s that simple. But don’t tell your friends that, and they’ll never be the wiser.

Homemade Bruschetta Topping

Sweet Onion & Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

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Po’boy 2.0: Shrimp Po’boy Pizza

This post is going to look like a lot of words.  Don’t let that deter you. Here’s some incentive to keep reading—breaded shrimp, tangy/spicy sauce, melty cheese.  Seriously, what could be more awesome?

This pizza was, of course, inspired by the shrimp po’boy sandwich, but it takes it to a new level.  It’s a Poboy 2.0, if you will. Ok, I’m just gonna get to it, because I can sense that you are drooling.

Shrimp Poboy Pizza

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Eyes Before Taste Buds: Panzanella Salad

Sure, it’s great when food tastes good, but any food blogger will tell you that what’s really important is presentation. Colorful, vibrant food is instantly appealing. Looking at a wall of penny candy or a heaping bowl of fruit, you are mesmerized by the abundance of color. If it’s appealing to the eye, it must be appealing to your taste buds, right? We felt this way when we first created this summery, visually enticing side dish. Panzanella salad, a classic Tuscan summer dish, celebrates fresh garden produce.

Classic panzanella incorporates stale, unsalted Tuscan bread. Since we do not keep stale bread on hand (who doesn’t finish bread before it goes stale?) we decided to char a fresh French baguette. The toasted baguette inside the dish absorbs the vinaigrette while maintaining its crunch alongside the fresh cubed vegetables. The married flavors are a kaleidoscope of color and texture.

Panzanella Salad

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