Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is This Heaven? No - It's Iowa

Good evening everyone! It's a gorgeous day here in the Des Moines metro - a wonderful 73 degrees and sunny (for most of the day). You have to pinch yourself and be reminded that it is November Iowa. We should be feeling 32 degree days - cold and blustery winds and (gasp) SNOW.

Thankfully, summer is holding on with a death grip - keeping the warm weather here and the cold weather...well, I don't know where they are keeping the cold weather, but as long as it is not here, I don't care! Now, if only we could do something about this 'dark at 5:30 PM' thing.

Tonight, Maggie took to the kitchen once again, this time taking inspiration from Italian cuisine. In fact, Maggie's recipe tonight goes to show that you don't always have to have incredibly complex ingredients or concepts to have a 'exotic' meal. In essence, Maggie's recipe this evening is nothing more than grilled ham and cheese. However, by changing the key components of the dish - plain ol' ham and cheese turns into a prosciutto and provolone panini that screams Italy.

I'll turn the keyboard over to Maggie so she can reveal the secrets of tonight's dish.

The Recipe: Prosciutto Provolone Panini
Original Recipe Found In: Taste Of Home: Ultimate Five Ingredient Recipes

What You'll Need:

(Serves 4)

8 Slices White Bread (We opted for fresh Italian bread instead)
8 Slices Provolone Cheese
4 Thin Slices Prosciutto
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Fresh Sage (Optional)

Sandwich: Some assembly required 

Good evening everyone!  As I was thinking about my recipe tonight, I felt like it was a glorified grilled cheese sandwich, if one were bored of the normal bread and Velveta cheese.  Granted these aren't normal ingredients that one would pick up in the grocery store every week, it's definitely work to pick up and try.  Also, as Tyler mentioned, this recipe has simple ingredients that play on each other very well.  Not only that, but this is a very simple dish to create.  Armed with only a couple of pans in the kitchen, one could create this recipe too.  

Start by layering a piece of cheese, then a slice of prosciutto, and another slice of cheese on a slice of bread.  Top with another slice of bread.  Brush both sides with olive oil.  Now, the recipe calls to "cook in a panini maker or indoor grill."  We have neither, but we do have a grill pan and you could even use a non stick pan.  Heat on medium-high heat and place the sandwich on the pan.  To make some really cool grill marks, place another heavy pan on top of the sandwich.  Not only with this make grill marks, but it will cook the sandwich throughout and make the cheese melty.  Once the one side is toasty, flip with a pair of tongs.  Reset the heavy pan on top of the sandwich until the other side is toasty.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Result:

Jealous? You should was tasty! 

The ingredients blend almost harmoniously and the Italian bread gives it a super crunchy outside.  I could have put a little pizzazz into the sandwich by adding a veggie (tomato, lettuce, etc.) or sprinkled an herb or two into the sandwich, but the true essence of the sandwich was the meat and the cheese, which was insanely good.  Also, as I previously mentioned, this recipe is SUPER simple to create and will make you into an Italian bistro chef in no time.

Thanks Maggie. Tonight's recipe is simplicity defined. A few ingredients, a couple of steps and POW a fantastic dish. Add a thin slice of tomato, maybe a little light mayo and sprinkle of basil would truly make this sandwich pop. Or, get creative and add your own elements to the dish - that's what makes cooking so much fun!

That's all we have for you this evening. I'm taking the kitchen over tomorrow night for a breakfast bonanza...after dark. It should be a pretty lengthy blog tomorrow as I'm throwing a product review in there too (Two blogs for the price of one tomorrow!) Be sure to stop back tomorrow evening to see what I've got cooking. Until then,


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