Thursday, April 23, 2009

Perfecto Pita Panini!

Peter might have picked a peck of pickled peppers, but Paula will please your palate with a perfecto pita panini! How’s that for a lip loosener? Today’s recipe originally started out to be a pizzazzzy pita pizza, which satisfied my son’s lunch craving, but I just was in the mood for something different. Enter Perfecto Pita Panini ... mmmm, yummy. I used the thick flatbread style pita rounds that you fold in half instead of splitting into a pocket.These are so easy to make, and you can use whatever your little tummy cries out for as the filling. I wanted to use up some odds and ends, so mine is a lovely combo of leftover pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, crisped pepperoni, shaved roast turkey, and roasted red pepper strips. It was sooooo good. I made this on my new little George, which I find myself using quite a bit these days.Significantly more affordable than a panini press, this little powerhouse of a counter-top grill has made everything from grilled cheese to sausage to lamb chops to shrimp to French toast in my house. The non-stick surface makes clean-up a snap. I’m really pleased with it. ANYWAY ....

Here’s all you need:

Flatbread style pita rounds (these are the thick ones that you fold in half instead of split in half)
1 tablespoon of pizza sauce (you could use a nice ranch dressing or cream cheese instead)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (shred yourself – it melts and tastes better)
5 thin strips of roasted red peppers (you could leave out or substitute with something else like tomatoes or pickles or spinach, etc.)
1 teaspoon chopped fine red onion
1 serving of thinly sliced roast turkey (use whatever you like ... chicken, roast beef, etc.)
4-6 slices of pepperoni – crisped up in the microwave (gets rid of the grease that way)

Warm up your George or oven or grill pan. Lay out your flatbread, and assemble the ingredients.Spread the sauce over the entire surface of the bread. Sprinkle with just a couple tablespoons of cheese. The rest of the ingredients will only be placed on half of the pita. Layer the pepperoni, onion, red peppers, and turkey. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.Fold over and place on hot grill. Close the lid and cook for about 3 ½ minutes or until heated through.This happens pretty fast when using George. I suspect it would take about 10 minutes in the oven, or 3-5 minutes per side in a grill pan.Serve immediately. Yummilicious! I loved this sandwich served with a lovely green salad on the side.Can you hear the crunch of the crust? You know, those flatbread style pita breads are so versatile. They make great open face pizzas, wonderful wraps for breakfast sandwiches, hold meatball sandwiches beautifully, and are wonderful cut into triangles and toasted for dippers! And, of course, they are awesome with gyros and falafel!Do you have a favorite flatbread recipe?

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Garden Update #1

Spring is here ... I think! Living in the Pacific Northwest, Mother Nature likes to tease us with glimpses of Spring and Sunshine, but I think we may have turned a corner. I hope so, anyway. I was riding in an elevator earlier this week and was engaged in small talk with another woman on board. (Folks in Oregon are very friendly and often make small talk such as this.) This woman started the conversation with the usual safe subject ... the weather. She inquired of me if I knew if it was going to be hot and sunny as it was the previous day. I cheerfully replied that the forecast called for warm temperatures and bright sunshine. My elevator mate was truly dismayed. She said she missed the rain already; she doesn’t tolerate heat well. I gave her a look of sympathy, but confided to her that I was so happy to see the sun that I was suppressing doing a happy dance. Oh well, she gets to enjoy the clouds for most of the year here ... I’ll gladly take the sun for the couple of months that it toasts us.

I haven’t started my garden yet this year, but I’ve finished my plans for it. As a novice gardener, I did an experiment last year, leaving some of the herbs and plants in place to see what would survive the soggy wet and slushy snow. I spied closely all winter long, and thought that some of them were toast. To my utter surprise, Mother Nature has come through in spades.The parsley, sage, and rosemary that I thought were goners for sure, are now vibrant and healthy.The Greek Oregano is downright abundant and needs harvesting.I had cut the chives down to earth level, and, um, forgot about them. I can’t forget them now, though, as they are absolutely thriving and doubled in bounty.And, the best surprise is that the strawberry plants not only survived, they spread out and are already loaded with flowers. Thank you, Mother Nature, for your glorious gifts! How's your garden?

21 comments:

Lynda said...

Paula, this panini looks so yummy and what an easy treat it is!Perfect for our upcoming busy summer.
The only thing to survive in my garden was chives and thyme, but they are thriving. Today it was 86 here, rather warm. Hopefully it will cool back a little so that we have enough of spring!

Cheryl said...

You are a genius! I never thought of using Pitas for a Panini, I buy those same ones (Pitas)! My Rosemary, Thyme and Chives survived! Hurray!

Marjie said...

So, you're into alliteration with Test 140 on the way, eh? Ryan would have been soooo happy to have someone to study with...hey, I hear the house across the street is for sale...

I'm going to try the garden by the square foot this year.I'm thinking spinach in plentitude, tomatoes, cukes, lettuce in many varieties, zucchini, chives, onions, radishes (one square foot only!), lemon balm, I don't know what else...make me suggestions, please!

Lisa said...

Love the pitanini! Your herbs are gorgeous.

Noodlegirl said...

OMG that is too delicious for words I am so jealous of your family lol!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i like to use greek pita bread in similar ways - i often use them to make very quick pizza for the kids.

your garden is looking fabulous - ours is just springing into gear too

Mickle in NZ said...

That looks so delicious. Aren't George grills great (unintended alliteration)!

I love that just 7 minutes after turning the grill on I can be munching into a toasted delite of bread and oozy, gooey hot cheese.

Lovely suprises for you in the garden. Here in Autumn I'm very happy with the self seeded flat leaf parsley and crinkly parsel plants that have popped up.

happy eating and gradening, Mickle

Jan said...

I am now hungry! That pita panini looks deelish! Great idea to use a pita bread!
Lovely herbs in your garden too.

Manggy said...

Perfecto indeed! I love the gooey, grilled goodness. (Hm, more tongue twisters.) I wonder if we can call this a piadina already?

Hee hee! I think your chives are begging to be used :) The woman's reaction was kind of unusual, I gotta say! At least for an American. Here, news of rain brings sighs of relief. (Not that it's rare, heh :)

Pam said...

I've never thought to use pita in my panini maker - you clever girl! This sandwich is calling my name.

Your herbs look amazing!

The Blonde Duck said...

That's SUCH a good idea! I love the idea of pita paninis!

Aggie said...

Not only am I loving your panini pictures but I'm really loving your garden pictures!! I just got mine started in the last few weeks...my herbs have survived and I recently planted lots of veggies!!

Your sandwich is making me hungry!!!

OhioMom said...

Oh man those herbs are fantastic! My oregano didn't survive our NEOhio winter ... sigh.

The sandwich is pretty tempting too, with that cheese oozing out.

Juliana said...

Your panini looks so good! The pictures of your garden are so pretty. Thanks for sharing it.

noble pig said...

Oh my gawd I did hear the crunch...yum!

Grace said...

first of all, congratulations on your green thumb--i'm jealous! secondly, what a sandwich! i've been meaning to get a panini press for a long time, but now i may just invest in a little grill like that--it worked wonders!

oh, and that's some excellent alliteration. :)

Kevin said...

You know a panini is good when you see the melted cheese oozing out the sides. It looks great!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I haven't thought of using pitas on a pannini press either. I'd love these for dinner during the weeks. The kids could actually build their own to to ehir own taste. Great idea Paula!

Bridgett said...

It has been so warm here lately that I cannot believe how my garden has taken off. Ah, this pita looks amazing! You can't beat a fantastic and gooey panini.

dp said...

I'm always surprised by what comes back, especially after this last winter. The seem to always do well. I had a strawberry plant sprout up out of nowhere on a dirt patch, even though last year I had them in containers. So I dug it up to put back in a container, but it didn't survive that transplant.

I've got all the plants into the beds, but I'm finding I need more room! need my FIL to build another container!

Mary said...

Your pannini looks wonderful. It's always great to see what makes it through the winter. The surprises are best of all.