Tomatoes and Panini


Tomatoes you say? Yeah — me too!

And remember, I have the little ones, grape and cherry tomatoes. Not only do I have a bowl on the table that is constantly spilling over — which everyone has strict instructions to grab handfuls from when they pass by —  but I have to keep coming up with ways to incorporate them into breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So, last night we had a party for a friend who is moving out of the neighborhood. We also learned it was another neighbor’s birthday. So we had some serious “whooping up” to do! Panini, salad and soup were on the menu after a few rounds of drinks, of course!

Panini (a grilled sandwich) is a great way to use tomatoes!


A side note: The reason it is a panini instead of a simple, grilled sandwich is because it is pressed. I happen to have an actual panini press, but a George Foreman grill would do as well as a griddle or fry pan with something you can place on top of the sandwich to push it down a little, like another, smaller frying pan. For me, the key is a have a dry, crispy outside while the meat is warm and the cheese has melted inside.


The thing I like the best about panini are that everyone can choose their own fixings — except for the tomatoes, of course, everyone has to have those! Last night I put out Black Forest ham, dry salami, turkey, mozzarella and Swiss cheese, olive spread, tomatoes, basil and mustard. My daughter likes the salami, mozzarella and tomato; I favor a Muffaletta style. Put whatever you like on it; just remember to add the tomatoes! And Julie, hope your move is easy. Carol, happy birthday! Thanks for a great night! Love you both! Janine

Janine Blackwell

Janine Blackwell

Food has always been a main focus of my family life! At 12 years old I picked berries during the summer and at 15 I started work in the local cannery. This was my summer job all through college (my father was the production manager for Norpac Foods for 30 years, so I had an in!) Each summer my mom would can and preserve fruit and vegetables so we could have "good stuff" all year long. I attended a cooking school while I lived in England for about a year, but my life took a different turn and I did not go into food professionally. My sister owns a restaurant in Colorado and my brother works for a blueberry processing plant in Silverton, OR. Like I said- a family affair! I teach video and film at Columbia River HS (love it) but I also love to cook, can and preserve. I work to use as much home grown, locally produced and organic product as I possibly can.

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