French Toast Sticks in Panini Press
It seems like every time I do a post for the food category here on this blog, it winds up being a panini sandwich. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Here let me do a quick mention of The Everything Panini Press Cookbook since I’m the author and now that that’s over with, lets get down to business and make a Cuban Panini.
Assemble the sandwich and put it in a pre-heated panini press that has been coated with a cooking spray. Press it for 3-5 minutes, remove and cut the panini in half. Cuban sandwiches are traditionally cut diagonally.
If you look at my social media profile pages, most of them say the same thing. There’s usually something weird like “My children were sent from the future to destroy me” and then it also says that I’m a Cookbook Author. Back in 2011 I wrote The Everything Panini Press Cookbook. I recently took a look at this blog and realized that I never added a post about my cookbook. Worst author website ever! Well, better late than never.
The story behind the book goes like this. I used to have another blog about panini sandwiches where I posted some cool recipes. You see, I’m a brown bagger and I have always brought my lunch to work. Eating regular sandwiches every single day was becoming boring and monotonous. Then I got a panini press as a gift and started experimenting with it. I’d take whatever was on hand, cold cuts, leftovers, take out and put it between some bread and press it. Some of these experiments were bad ideas that should have never been tried but a lot of them became some truly great lunches. And since I was already blogging about gardening, I thought I’d branch out and start a panini blog.
The cookbook has over 300 recipes and I really enjoyed doing it. It would have been nicer to have another 3 months to write it but that crazy deadline is behind me now. Thank goodness for the panini blog. I already had over 100 recipes figured out. I also figured out a way to pack a panini sandwich in your brown bag lunch and keep them nice and crisp even if you only have a microwave for reheating in the office. That’s all in the book by the way.
Anyway, if you’re interested in some good sandwiches, then I recommend that you check out my book. If you need to see my credentials, check my social media profiles. They say that I’m a cookbook author. Ignore the parts about my time traveling children.
Pizza is my friend. It’s a well known fact that Pizza and I have been besties for a very long time. When I was in high school, I would walk into our local pizzeria, Laura’s Pizza Den and the pizza man would say to me, “Hello Mr. Tripodi, one plain and one Sicilian coming up”. It used to amaze my friends. But I went there all the time and they got to know me.
And once during a weekend visit to Newport, Rhode Island many years ago, I ate 34 slices of pizza. Not all once, it was over the whole weekend but I’m still proud of that accomplishment. It wasn’t an eating contest or anything like that. It was just that I love pizza and I ate it for most of the meals that weekend.
So if you want to know how to reheat a slice a pizza, you’ve come to right place. Everyone knows that reheating it in the toaster oven or microwave just makes for mushy pizza. The crust kind of steams or something and it gets soggy and it’s nothing like right out of the pizza oven. Sure it’s still good enough to eat (especially if it’s late night) but doesn’t have that fresh from the pizzeria taste.
Now if you had a pizza stone and a very hot oven, you can heat up a leftover slice pretty well. But it takes too long for a pizza stone to get hot. Like at least a 1/2 hour to get optimum results with the crust. If you want a quick slice, this will not work out too well for you.
So the easiest way to reheat pizza at home is to use your panini press. Since I am the author of the Everything Panini press cookbook, I’ve tried just about everything on a panini press. And something about the hot grill plates just locks in the flavor and heats up the crust to that original pizzeria texture.
The best way to do it is to take two slices and place them on top of each other. Cheese side facing cheese side and crusts on the outside facing the panini press grill plates. 2-4 minutes later and you have a real pizza panini. The cheese and sauce are sealed inside two pizzeria quality crusts. Take a pizza wheel and slice them into strips and you can even dunk them into small bowl of pizza sauce. If you only have one slice, then fold the tip over the crust like I did in the pictures on this page. Panini pizza is just about as close as you’re going to get to reheating your leftover pizza to it’s original quality.
So if you are looking for the best way to reheat pizza, and if you don’t have a pizza stone or a backyard pizza oven, then go with the panini press.
Here’s a panini sandwich that you can easily make with ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. Well at least Italians like myself will usually have a few jars of artichokes and roasted peppers in the pantry. Or if you want to make this panini taste even better, then roast your own peppers and don’t bother stocking that pantry. Here’s how to make an Artichoke Roasted Pepper Goat Cheese Panini
Anyway, the key to this really wet and messy panini is to have a nice crusty bread to soak up the moisture. Thick Italian bread, a long french bread or what I used in these pictures is a ciabatta bread.
Cut the bread to the appropriate sandwich size and then layer on the ingredients. Roasted peppers lay pretty flat so you can start with them on the bottom. Then add the artichokes and top with goat cheese. I used goat cheese crumbles so it was hard to get it all balanced on there. It probably would have been easier to get a spreadable goat cheese and smear it on the bread.
You can carefully place the sandwich in your hot panini press but most likely some of the ingredients are going to spill out. This is a messy panini there’s no way around it.
After a few minutes, when the bread is nicely toasted and have those awesome grill marks on it, take it out of the panini press. And scoop up any of those ingredients that spilled out. They’ve been nicely grilled too so don’t waste them. Scoop them up and put them on the plate with the panini.
Variations: This panini also tastes really good with some homemade basil pesto spread onto the bread but don’t go overboard. Like I said, it’s already a messy panini.