Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grilled Vegetable (Eggplant, Zucchini & Onion) Panini with Pesto - GYO 2008

Sandwiches in any form, grilled or otherwise, make for such tasty complete meals when paired with the right sides. I think I can have them everyday, albeit with slight variations. But, there was this one time a while back, when due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up having grilled cheese sandwich for 12 straight days for all the meals! Though the vendor took pity on me and threw in a tomato slice once in a while, I was off sandwiches of any kind for a long time. I think it would have been OK If I had some variables in there, but to have the exact same thing day in day out was not too exciting to say the least!

Having harvested a few eggplants, fresh from my kitchen garden, I was thinking of ways to use it without drowning it in spices of any kind. Eggplant & Zucchini Panini is what I grilled that day!
Eggplant, Onion & Zucchini Panini (Grilled Veg Panini)

2 eggplants, thick sliced
2 Zucchini, thick sliced
1 onion, thick sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 bread slices, I use my favorite Jewish Rye Bread from the local bakery
1/2 cup pesto (you can use any kind, store bought is fine too, I used walnut-coriander pesto)
salt & pepper
thick sliced Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil for grilling the veg
Butter/Oil for grilling the Panini
1. Grill the vegetables till done.
This step can be done in an oven by layering the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil & chopped garlic at 400C OR
directly on the grill, use your preferred method of roasting the vegetables.
2. Now, it is time to get the Panini assembly line ready. Line up 4 slices of bread on your work area and slather pesto on them. Arrange roasted vegetables on top. Sprinkle salt & pepper. Arrange mozzarella slices and cover with the remaining slices of bread and grill till done. Use butter on the outside of bread for a great flavor.
The grill marks make for a pretty presentation. This can be done quickly in a Panini maker, but not having one does not stop you from making a Panini anytime. Just press down the bread with a heavy saucepan and you have yourself an make-do arrangement.
3. Enjoy the grilled veg panini with chips and a chilled smoothie ;) As you can see, this is more of a method rather than a recipe, lots of variations are possible here. Can be made without pesto, just slather some butter and lots of salt & pepper. Use whatever vegetables you have at hand.

This gorgeous panini with fresh eggplant from my beautiful garden makes it's way to GYO - 2008 guest hosted by Bee.
This fits right in with AWED-Italian hosted by DK.
I also want to send this to dear Sig for her MM-Grill it.
How can I resist sending this to Sia for WBB-Summer Feast.
that's it I guess ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Decadent Chocolate & Avocado Pate, Rice Bytes for MBP - Less is More

That I *love* avocado is not a secret with my foodie friends! Be it an appetiser, a soup, a salad, an entree or even a dessert, the lovely avocado knows how to shine through :) It is a must buy on my trips to the neighborhood grocery store, yeah I don't get it at my farmer's market here. It has all the good nutrients, including the good fats required for normal body functioning :) Yes, my mind is made up on the subject and will no longer be changing my dietary outlook based on reports that come out every 13 seconds! A lil' obsessed are we ;)

Anyway, when I saw this Decadent Chocolate & Avocado Pate I knew a trip to the store was in the immediate future ;)

Decadent Chocolate Avocado Pate
7oz / 1-1/4 cups fine quality dark chocolate chopped, I used 70%
1 Avocado
2 T maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1. Melt chocolate along with maple syrup & orange juice to a nice smooth consistency. I did it in a microwave oven.
2. Add avocado and blend till smooth.
3. Line a bowl/pan with plastic wrap and pour the contents in it.
4. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Cover with plastic and then chill further overnight.
5. Next day invert it onto a plate and indulge in Choco-Avo Blisss :)

Can it be any simpler? I replicated Ricki's innovative recipe with just the omission of vanilla. For some strange reason I erred in my chocolate measurements, so i could taste the avocado, but i like it so no worries there. But if you make this do follow the measurements accurately, specially if you don't want to taste the avocado in the dish!

I also made Rice Bytes based on the talented Priya's recipe here. I liked the use of leftover rice to make this quick snack. These 'Bhaat na Muthiya' use basic ingredients like rice, besan and ground chili and they turned out so good! I used regular white rice instead of the brown rice ;)
This decadent pate & Rice Bytes with just four ingredients are off to Nupur's MBP-Less is More! Thank You Ricki & Priya for your lovely recipes.
What to do?
On another note I'm looking for some ideas from my foodie friends regarding cooking of Jasmine rice. For some strange reason I got a huge bag of Jasmine rice and am not sure how to use it. Who better than my talented chef friends to guide me in this regard :) Please, if you would leave your suggestions on how to cook Jasmine rice perfectly and what all can it be used for, including water measurements etc. Thank You dear friends, appreciate your input, what would I ever do without your guidance! Can you tell I'm a basmati junkie ;)