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How to fix vegetables, mac and cheese and panini sandwiches

.TITLE: The Glorious Vegetables of Italy by Domenica Marchetti (Chronical Books, $30, 271 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Sometimes when you think of vegetables, you think of sides. One might think the recipes are all for side dishes, but there are a few entree recipes too.

FOR: Vegetarians and everybody who likes vegetables.

NEED TO MENTION: Some of these ingredients may not be in your pantry or fridge. You may need to make a trip to a specialty store for ingredients like zucchini blossoms, semolina flour, scamorza, cardoon and other items. Some of the recipes are a bit intimidating, so start with the easier, less involved dishes so you aren't overwhelmed.

RECIPES: Zuppa di farro alla Garfagnana, minestrone verde, potato croquettes, chickpea salad with red onions and lemon zest, sweet-and-sour eggplant salad, warm citrus-scented olives with ricotta salata, winter cauliflower salad, capricci with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and cream, vegetable lasagna, summer risotto with zucchini blossoms, cherry tomato and onion focaccia, honey-balsamic roasted carrots, pizza bianca with roasted fennel and escarole all'antica.

.TITLE: The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs (Harvard Common Press, $19.95, 342 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: If you've always wanted a panini press but weren't quite sure what to make with it, this cookbook will ease your worries. One look at this cookbook may even inspire you to invest in a panini press. The photos are that mouth-watering and the recipes that enticing. The range of recipes is extensive, from a typical sandwich to putting a spatchcocked game hen on a panini.

FOR: Anyone can enjoy this cookbook. You don't need a panini press. Any countertop grill will work.

RECIPES: Kale, grill roasted garlic and cheddar panini, grilled eggplant parmigiana panini, grilled peach salad with toasted pecans, blue cheese and honey balsamic syrup, grilled cheese panzanella salad, pimiento cheese panini, meatloaf melt panini, cheesesteak panini, citrus-marinated grilled chicken, grilled duck breast and grilled herb vegetables.

.TITLE: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America's Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade (Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 128 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook takes this quintessential comfort food to a whole new level. Authors Arevalo and Wade have developed combinations you may have never known were possible. For even more fun, because mac and cheese is just fun and always puts a smile on your face, there are wine and beer pairings for each type. Mac and cheese grows up.

FOR: Mac and cheese lovers, but there are also non-mac and cheese side and dessert recipes. For diehard mac and cheeser's there is even a breakfast mac.

RECIPES: Trailer mac, Vermont white cheddar mac, smoky bacon mac, Mexican mac, Sriracha mac, croque-madame mac, pesto mac, Brussels sprouts with bacon and apple cider vinaigrette, minty, buttery peas, grasshopper pie with homemade chocolate sauce, and mac and blue.

>>EASY

Honey-Balsamic Roasted Carrots

1 pound carrots, cut in half crosswise, each half cut lengthwise into quarters

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon good-quality, flavorful honey

2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar, plus more for sprinkling

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the carrots in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and 2 teaspoons vinegar. Pour over the carrots. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Toss gently to combine. Roast the carrots for 10 minutes; toss, and roast for 15 minutes more, or until the carrots are tender and browned in spots.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with a few more drops of vinegar and some sea salt on top. Serve hot or warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Glorious Vegetables of Italy by Domenica Marchetti

>>EASY

Pimiento Cheese Panini

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons diced pimientos plus ¼ teaspoon of the juice from the jar

4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Pinch of cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, at room temperature

8 slices rustic white bread, sliced from a dense bakery loaf

Blend the mayonnaise, pimientos, pimiento juice, cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper in a food processor until it's generally orange in color and has a semichunky consistency.

Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.

For each sandwich: Spread butter on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Flip over one slice and spread a layer of pimiento cheese on the other side. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, butter side up.

Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts and starts to ooze out, about 3 minutes.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Source: The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs

>>Easy

Dessert Mac

1 pound dried wide egg noodles

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 cups sliced strawberries

½ cup raspberry jam

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 cups sour cream

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

For the topping:

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the egg noodles in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, granulated sugar, strawberries, jam, mascarpone, sour cream and melted butter. Add the pasta and stir to fully combine.

In a separate bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the topping.

Spoon the noodle mixture into six 5- by 5-inch ovenproof dishes and completely cover with a thin layer of topping.

Bake until the mixture is bubbly and the topping turns golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade

How to fix vegetables, mac and cheese and panini sandwiches 08/27/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 10:00am]
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