Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grilled "Cheese" Kale and Mushroom Panini with Parsley Root Fries

It is funny sometimes how things come full circle.   Several years ago,  I was invited to go to QVC where they were doing a live broadcast  for the television show "The Apprentice". During the show two teams of hopeful winners competed in a  challenge to sell more during their segment on QVC than the other team.  I got to meet Donald Trump, hang backstage at QVC for a while and it was an all around fun evening.

One of the teams had chosen a panini press as the item they would sell. They ended up winning ( I think the other team was selling cleaner or sponges or something). Anyway, each of us in the audience was given a DeLonghi Panini Press at the end of the show (cool!).  At the time I thought I would never use it (why, I do not know) so I gave it to my Mother.  I have lamented the decision to give it away a number of times over the years but, she seems to enjoy it and for whatever reason I have not found it important enough to purchase one.

The other day I was watching the Food Network and one of the hosts made a grilled cheese sandwich on a panini press. It looked really good and really pretty so I decided to borrow my Mom's panini press to make some sort of sandwich of my own. It turned out great.  I served it with some parsley root fries (recipe below) and they were really good, too!

So, take a wild guess what I am going to be ordering this weekend? Yep! A DeLonghi Panini Press!

Grilled Cheese, Kale and Mushroom Panini

3/4 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
1/4 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
2 kale leaves
1/4 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
8 slices bread of your choice (I used seeded rye)
Vegan Butter (enough to lightly butter one side of each piece of bread)

Heat the panini press to high.

Chop the kale, mushrooms and shredded cheese together until relatively fine. Though the cheese is shredded already I find it melts more easily if chopped into smaller pieces.

Butter one side of each piece of bread.

Place 1/2 the cheese mixture onto the bread buttered side down. Top with a thin layer of red onion.  Cover with the other pice of bread, buttered side up and place on the panini press for a few minutes, until cheese is melted and the bread nicely browned and crunchy.

Parsley Root Fries

6 parsley roots, peeled, greens removed and cut into the shape of french fries
2 tbsp fresh rosemary diced very fine
Salt to taste
Olive oil to coat

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the parsley root in olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle rosemary and salt evenly and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

*Note: If you do not have a panini press you can do this on the stove top in a skillet just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.