My first panini press

28 Jul

Old age has not only brought me crows feet, forgetfulness and a few grays hairs. It’s also brought procrastination. My sister bought me this beautiful Hamilton Beach Panini Press for Christmas….ie. back in December of 2010.

Last week, I finally took it out of the box. I don’t know what took me so long-maybe it was because I knew I was going to move and didn’t want to clean the press then pack it up again or just intimidation. I took it out of the box and was entranced by it’s shininess. So silver, so clean, so unfamiliar.

And how small it was, do I even have to insert a twss? Yes, I will anyways—TWSS! I say go with the notion, go big or go home and from the size of the packaging, I thought the panini press would be bigger. And now all of a sudden I have Girls Talk by TLC in my head

I swear,you can’t take me or my ADD anywhere.

But back to the panini….I haven’t had a panini in awhile so I wasn’t sure what my first creation was going to be. Plus we didn’t have that much on hand at home so for my first panini I kept it simple-ham, muenster cheese, brown mustard and baby spinach. I made the sandwich then put on the griddle, closed the lid and let it do it’s magic for about four minutes.

Very tasty and definitely a fun way to change up mundane sandwiches. However, summer wasn’t the right time to try this out for the first time, I should have tried it in the fall or winter.

I decided to get a little more ambitious with my second panini, thanks to the help of TJ’s Red Pepper Spread.

I love this stuff so much and am now regretting the fact that I’m back in FL where the closest TJ’s is eight hours away-oi. Anyways, if you haven’t tried this stuff and are fortunate enough to have a TJ’s near you-please go out and buy it-you won’t regret it. I’ve used it on sandwiches and dips in the past and Caitie mentioned that she mixed it with sour cream and used as a pasta sauce so that is next on the agenda.

The other add-ins were thin slices of leftover bbq chicken, spinach, tomato and onion. I think the combination of overloading plus having a less hearty type of bread and the spread were my downfall because after a couple of minutes on the press the panini looked like this

I tried to fix it but there was no use in make it pretty. Sometimes you have to take things for what they are and look beyond the exterior. This was a Quasimodo of panini’s.

Bad looks aside, I still tore this thing apart. The red pepper spread was a great sauce to add and didn’t even need cheese (maybe that was another problem?)

Do you own a panini press? 

What’s your favorite panini combination?

Any panini press tips?

How many frickin times can I say panini?!!?

21 Responses to “My first panini press”

  1. Kelly July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I think a Panini might be the best sandwich ever!! Love them!

  2. Amy @ Second City Randomness July 28, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    I’d be all over that second panini. BBQ is one of my favorite things right now. Which is ironic because the grill Mon gave us for a housewarming present is still very much in it’s box…

  3. Monique July 28, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Yeah I would definitely be in trouble with a panini press… although I have discovered tht my george forman grill does one hell of a panini job!

  4. diana@mymarblerye July 28, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    dude I’ve been eyeing this 30 dollar pannini press at work!!! but then I think “is it worth it”? I just have a feeling that if I get it I won’t use it…but your delicious paninni makes me drool!

  5. loftyappetite July 28, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    omg that looks so good, i want one!! i use my george foreman sometimes for grilled cheese or panini style sandwiches but they do not look as pretty and crunchy (i’m assuming… 🙂 as yours!!

  6. Carly July 28, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Oh I am down with a panini press. I need to look into getting one of those…

  7. Vix @ LittleMissEverything July 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Wow looks good, I want one!

  8. miriam July 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    I used to have a sandwich “toaster” – some weird British thing. Basically, you put in the bread and the fillings and it made two neat, nice triangles. However, the bread would usually stick to the maker-thing and be a pain to scrape off.

    This, and your sandwiches, look awesome. That red pepper spread rocks too. If you ever want any, I’ll mail some down 🙂

  9. Chelsea Talks Smack July 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    OH MAN, I want one so bad. I’m jealous!

  10. Monique July 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    you let it do its magic in 4 minutes? That’s what she said. haha, I love panini presses though! I really like putting pear slices or figs in there 🙂 And brie! So good. Although, I use a Foreman grill haha bc I’m too cheap to have a panini press.

    • simplyshaka July 29, 2011 at 12:03 am #

      Some could say four minutes is a long time…..and now I have that Madonna song in my head, oi. Really diggin the pear slice and brie concoction! I will have to add that to the list.

  11. Autumn @ Good Eats Girl July 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    I have deep love for paninis. My post tomorrow is going to be about them…I just started writing it after we had dinner of paninis tonight! Great minds think alike! 🙂

    Oh…and I must find that spread at TJ’s. It seems like it could be my new obsession!

    • simplyshaka July 29, 2011 at 12:02 am #

      The spread is life changing-trust me 🙂

      I look forward to reading about your paninis!

  12. Katie @ Legally Fit July 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I don’t own a panini press but damn, now I want to! We have a bunch of wedding gifts that are just coming out of storage and I can’t wait to use them- it’s been 16 months!

    • simplyshaka July 29, 2011 at 12:01 am #

      Thats awesome–it’s like opening them up all over again!

  13. sophia July 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Dear Lord. Love, love love the ridges. There is this blog that only features panini recipes called Panini Happy, and the author’s name is Kathy. She has a huge collection of awesome panini recipes. I suggest to check her site out! 🙂

    • simplyshaka July 29, 2011 at 12:00 am #

      Ohhhh, I love it–thanks for sharing!!

  14. Rach @ This Italian Family July 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    I don’t own a panini maker, but you might just have me sold on getting one, haha! Looks delish!

  15. Jayme @ Runner-n-Spice July 29, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    I’m jealous! I cant imagine the stuff I’d come up with if I had a press in my house! Yum!!

    Also – I wish we had TJ in Canada, ugh!

  16. Laura July 29, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Yes I have a press too. My favorite sandwich…there are two:

    1. thick artisan bread spread with my homemade pesto, slices of fresh mozzerella cheese, fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced fresh tomato

    2. (this is the crazy one but it is oh so good you’ll have to trust me) thick artisan bread spread with Bavarian sweet mustard, thin slices of cheddar cheese, thin (but many) slices of red onion and thin slices of apple (I like Fuji apples)

    I’m a new follower of your blog. Can’t recall exactly how I found you but I am glad I did.

    • simplyshaka July 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I seriously need to try both of these…..#2 sounds absolutely tasty!

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