Wednesday, 30 October 2013

200 Best Panini Recipes

200 Best Panini Recipes
By Tiffany Collins
Paperback, 304 pages

Panini! Up there with pizza for favourite Italian style snacking - even more versatile!

A good panino (panini is plural) plus a salad and I am a happy camper. Meat, no meat. Cheese, no cheese. These are not your only options. This book will open up new panini worlds for your grill and your plate.

Panini is the best thing since sliced bread. And buns. And focaccia....

Contents Include:
Breakfast and Brunch Panini
Vegetarian Panini
Fish and Seafood Panini
Chicken and Turkey Panini
Beef Panini
Pork Panini
Deli Counter Panini
Leftovers Panini
Panini Just for Kids

Tiffany Collins provides great recipes that replicate the bistro experience and maximize the use of a home panini maker. Among the recipes for this vibrant, flavorful food are:

    Salami, prosciutto, mozzarella panini with roasted red peppers; Philly cheesesteak panini
    Bacon, spinach and hard-boiled egg panini; smoked salmon, red onion, cream cheese and caper panini
    Sweet Italian sausage, provolone and tomato sauce panini; hummus, red onion and Swiss cheese panini
    Pulled pork panini; Tuscan tuna and white bean panini; shrimp club panini
    Cuban panini; smores panini; sliced beef, caramelized onions and gorgonzola panini
    Smoked turkey, brie and Granny Smith apple panini; south of the border turkey panini with perfect guacamole.

This Italian tradition can now be experienced at home and enjoyed by the whole family

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Panini, page 41, Vegetarian
The combination of goat cheese and ricotta with a blending of Italian seasonings is perfect for this panini.

•    Preheat panini grill to high

1⁄4 cup    goat cheese, softened    50 mL
1⁄4 cup    ricotta cheese    50 mL
1⁄4 tsp    Italian seasoning    1 mL
4    slices sourdough bread (1⁄2-inch/1 cm thick slices)  4
1 tbsp    olive oil    15 mL
1 cup    baby spinach leaves    250 mL
1⁄4 cup    sliced drained oil-packed sun-dried     50 mL
1⁄4 cup    shaved Parmesan cheese    50 mL
Pinch    freshly ground black pepper    Pinch

1.    In a bowl, combine goat cheese, ricotta and Italian seasoning.
2.    Brush one side of each bread slice with oil. Place two slices on a work surface, oiled side down, and evenly layer with goat cheese mixture, spinach, tomatoes and Parmesan. Sprinkle with pepper. Cover with top halves, oiled side up, and press gently to pack.
3.    Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Store spinach in a plastic bag and refrigerate for no more than 3 days. Spinach has a tendency to be gritty, so make sure to rinse it thoroughly before using.
Thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes to ensure that the bread doesn’t get soggy.

Excerpted from 200 Best Panini Recipes by Tiffany Collins © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Bacon Panini, page 158, Pork
I love the savory flavor combination in this panini: white kidney beans, smashed to a spreadable consistency, layered with bacon and fresh cucumber, red onion and avocado — it will tantalize your taste buds with each delicious bite.

Serves 2


If you happen to have leftover smashed beans, spread them atop grilled bread slices and sprinkle with diced bacon and chopped onion for perfect bruschetta. Serve with a crisp wine as an easy hors d’oeuvre.

•    Preheat panini grill to high

1    can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 mL)     1
    white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp    olive oil, divided    25 mL
Pinch    salt    Pinch
Pinch    freshly ground black pepper    Pinch
Pinch    garlic powder    Pinch
2    ciabatta rolls, split    2
6    thin slices cucumber    6
4    slices bacon, cooked crisp    4
4    thin slices red onion    4
1    avocado, thinly sliced    1

1.    In a bowl, combine beans, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the
oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash the bean mixture. Set aside.
2.    Place rolls, cut side down, on a work surface and brush crusts with the remaining oil. Turn rolls over and spread bean mixture over bottom halves. Evenly layer with cucumber, bacon, onion and avocado. Cover with top halves and press gently to pack.
3.    Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Excerpted from 200 Best Panini Recipes by Tiffany Collins © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Banana Split Panini, page 222, Just for Kids
This recipe is a favorite for kids, including adult kids who love banana splits. It’s quite messy, but the exceptional flavor makes it well worth the cleanup.

Serves 2

•    Preheat panini grill to high

4    slices honey wheat bread     4
    (1⁄2-inch/1 cm thick slices)
1 tbsp    butter, melted    15 mL
2 tbsp    creamy peanut butter    25 mL
1    banana, sliced    1
1⁄2 cup    thinly sliced strawberries    125 mL
1 tbsp    liquid honey    15 mL
1 tbsp    chocolate syrup    15 mL
2 tbsp    whipped cream    25 mL
2    maraschino cherries (with stems)    2

1.    Brush one side of each bread slice with butter.
Place two slices on a work surface, buttered side down, and spread with peanut butter. Evenly layer with banana and strawberries. Drizzle with honey and chocolate syrup. Cover with top halves, buttered side up, and press gently to pack.
2.    Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with whipped cream and cherries.

Excerpted from 200 Best Panini Recipes by Tiffany Collins © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield

A Ghost Story
by Diane Setterfield
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

This is a unique story of love, loss, drive, madness, human folly and blackbirds.

An epic saga of one man's life, from thoughtless child to determined businessman with all the triumphs and sufferings along the way.

Rooted throughout the story is a dark feathery current of mystery, an invisible relationship with the rooks that populate this Victorian town. You will never look at birds the same way.

From the Back Flap:

Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed--he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business--one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave--and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William--a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black" . . .

About the Author

DIANE SETTERFIELD is a former academic specializing in twentieth-century French literature. She lives in Oxford, England. Her first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, debuted at #1 on The New York Times besteller list. The author lives in Oxford, England.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking
150 Delicious and Simple Recipes 
Anyone Can Master
by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich 
with Tanya Bastianich Manuali
Hardcover, 304 pages

What's your favourite kind of food? Italian is always at the top of the list, no matter who you talk to. It's comforting food. It's seriously delicious. And it doesn't have to be complicated.

Lidia offers up the teachings of the family table. Basic lessons and recipes that, had you a nonna or two, you would have learned in  the kitchen.

I don't know about you, but I have always wanted a nonna of my own. Now at least I have the helpful hints in this book such as How to choose an eggplant, and Polenta wisdom. I can forgive my parents for not being Italian. I have this book. 

It has 150 delicious and simple recipes and 63 full colour photographs. Plus all sorts of tips and tricks to make your time in the kitchen fun and relaxed.

So come on, let's get cooking Italian!

From Lidia's Blog: You all know I’m a teacher at heart, and my new book lays out a comprehensive curriculum of cooking tips–from the cutting board to the kitchen table.  These are lessons I learned from my mother, Erminia (above), and her mother, Nonna Rosa, and now I’m passing them on to you in the form of 150 simple, seasonal recipes.

Chapters Include:
The Wisdom of the Table
Vegetables and Sides
Pastas, Polenta, and Risottos

 Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

Photo credit: Marcus Nilsson

LIDIA MATTICCHIO BASTIANICH is the author of eight previous cookbooks, five of which have been accompanied by nationally syndicated public television series. She is the owner of the New York City restaurant Felidia, among others, and she gives lectures on Italian cuisine throughout the country. She lives on Long Island, New York.

TANYA BASTIANICH MANUALI received her PhD in Renaissance art history from Oxford University. In 1996 she started Esperienze Italiane, a travel company that arranges food, wine, and art tours to Italy. She also coauthors cookbooks with her mother, Lidia; manages Lidia's product line; and serves as the cultural and art consultant for the art series. She lives on Long Island, New York.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 3

The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks
Volume 3
All 350 Recipes from That's Trump and Aces
Hardcover, 408 pages, ring binding

All the fabulous recipes in one handy volume!

The Bridge cookbooks are a Canadian staple. They are set apart from the new, fancy cookbooks in that they deal with the kinds of food mom (or grandma) used to make for guests and on Bridge night.

You won't find any sous vide or micro gastronomy here, just lots of great recipes for classic and fun dishes. 

Contents Include:
Brunch and Lunch
Main Dishes
Muffins and Quick Breads
Starters and Sides
Munchies, Dips and Beverages
Salads and Dressings
Potatoes and Rice
Sauces, Condiments and Seasonings
Fish and Seafood
Chicken and Pheasant
Pork and Lamb
Beef and Veal
Pasta and Pizza
"Baddies" but Goodies
Cookies and Candies
Cakes, Bars and Squares
Pies and Tarts
Just Desserts

Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, page 62 (snack, appetizer, holidays, entertaining)

4 oz    sun-dried tomatoes in oil,    125 g
    finely chopped
3 to 4    cloves garlic, minced    3 to 4
6 oz    Brie cheese    175 g
2 tbsp    chopped fresh parsley    30 mL

Mix tomatoes and garlic and pile generously on cheese. Sprinkle with parsley. (it’s not necessary to remove rind from cheese.) Heat in oven at 350°F (180°C) for a few minutes until cheese is soft. Serve with bagel chips or crackers.

Excerpted from The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 3 by The Best of Bridge Ladies © 2013 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Szechuan Beef with Broccoli, page 240 (quick dinner, family fav)
Here’s a delicious way to use leftover rare beef.

1 tbsp    cornstarch    15 mL
3 tbsp    dry sherry    45 mL
1⁄2 cup    oyster sauce    125 mL
1⁄4 cup    water    60 mL
1⁄2 tsp    hot pepper flakes    2 mL
2 tbsp    vegetable oil    30 mL
1 tbsp    slivered gingerroot    15 mL
1    clove garlic, crushed    1
1    bunch broccoli, cut into florets    1
1    red bell pepper, seeded and cut    1
    into thin strips
2    celery stalks, cut diagonally    2
6    green onions, cut into    6
    11⁄2-inch (4 cm) pieces
2 cups    cooked beef, cut into strips    500 mL

Dissolve cornstarch in sherry, oyster sauce and water. Add hot pepper flakes. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add broccoli, stir-fry 3 minutes. Add red pepper, celery and green onions. Stir-fry 3 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and beef. Stir-fry 3 minutes. Serve with rice.
Serves 4.

Excerpted from The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 3 by The Best of Bridge Ladies © 2013 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Upside-Down Chocolate Fudge Pudding, page 370
A great winter dessert — the sauce ends up on the bottom and the cake on top!

1 cup    all-purpose flour    250 mL
2 tsp    baking powder    10 mL
3⁄4 cup    granulated sugar    175 mL
1⁄2 tsp    salt    2 mL
3 tbsp    unsweetened cocoa powder    45 mL
1⁄2 cup    milk    125 mL
2 tbsp    margarine, melted    30 mL
1⁄4 cup    chopped pecans (optional)    60 mL
3⁄4 cup    brown sugar    175 mL
1⁄2 cup    unsweetened cocoa powder    125 mL
2 cups    boiling water    500 mL

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and 3 tbsp (45 mL) cocoa together. Combine milk and melted margarine. Add to dry ingredients to form a stiff mixture. Add nuts if desired. Put into a greased 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Combine brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) cocoa and boiling water. Pour over batter and bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet.
Serves 4 to 6.

Excerpted from The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 3 by The Best of Bridge Ladies © 2013 Reprinted with publisher permission.