Friday, June 4, 2010

On Irreplaceable Books and Replaceable Panini Makers

I never should have sold my college copy of Anna Karenina back to the bookstore.

At the time, I was being frugal – trying to save a few dollars to use toward a toasty Potbelly’s tuna salad sandwich with provolone and extra pickles, please.

“I’ll never read it again.” I thought.

“It’s full of highlights and unsightly scribbles, anyway.”

“I can always get a new copy if I really and truly desire one in my future life as a wealthy career woman in fancy black business suits.”

I didn’t realize that in my future life as a struggling, Anthropologie-wearing sentimental food blogger, I would want the same exact copy I’d used in my Introduction to Russian Literature class. That the highlighted portions and notes would be something I’d actually want to refer to in my post-collegiate life because Anna Karenina is still my favorite book and that class made me want to weep little tears of joy after every session.


I still really really want to find a Levin.

The book is irreplaceable. There are no substitutions for that original, notated copy, and I will forever curse the day I sold it for a mere $3 dollars and change.

I do not, however, curse the day that I bid adieu to my former roommate’s panini maker. Even though I fancy myself a devoted eater of the hot and toasty sandwich (See: Potbelly’s tuna salad sub), and the maker in question did generate the great prosciutto, mozzarella, argula and fig jam panino of 2009, I did not get choked up over the separation. I knew that the panini maker could easily be replaced.

And I wouldn’t need to spend any of my sandwich money to do so.

Using a grill pan, a plate and an absurdly heavy book, I have made many a delicious panino sans my roommate’s fancy maker. The following recipe for an egg panino is one of my favorite creations. Of course, the innards can easily be replaced with other fillings depending on seasonability and preference.

In other words, this sandwich is no dog-eared copy of Anne Karenina.

But it’s still very tasty, and since it’s far cheaper than any of the toasty sandwiches I’d purchase out, I won’t feel tempted to sell any more of my irreplaceable books (or panini-making cookbooks) in the future.
Egg Panino w/ Havarti, Slow-roasted Tomatoes, Spinach, and Basil

3-4 inch hunk of French baguette
1 egg, scrambled
Fresh basil leaves or 2 cubes Trader Joe’s frozen basil, defrosted
1-oz Havarti cheese
Handful of spinach, cooked and drained of excess liquid
*Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes
Salt, pepper

Slice bread in half. Spread defrosted frozen basil on each side, if using.

Scramble egg according to preferred method. Place hot egg on the bottom half of the bread. Season with salt and pepper and then top with warm spinach, tomatoes, basil leaves (if not using frozen basil) and havarti cheese. Cover with other half of bread.

Heat grill pan over medium high heat. Place the sandwich in the middle of the pan and place the plate directly on top of it. Press down in the middle of the plate to flatten the sandwich, then top with a heavy book. Keep a close watch to make sure it doesn’t burn. Flip the sandwich after a minute or two so the other half is grilled as well. Serve immediately.

*For Slow-roasted tomatoes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place halved cherry tomatoes in oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and then roast approximately 45 minutes or until shriveled in appearance.


Esi said...

LOL, I love that you use a heavy book. I guess you don't have any bricks laying around...

Anna A. said...

I remember seeing this book! Hah way to make good use of it. That panino looks scrumptious... now if only we can track down that book...

bagnatic said...

hahaha, very innovative there diana! i started reading anna karenina in high school and sadly, is the ONLY book in my life that i never finished reading.

Kung Food Panda said...

Nice! Great idea! :)

Gastronomer said...

Genius! Almost as brilliant as using the Vogue September issue to drain tofu ;-)

Diana said...

Esi - Haha, nope, no bricks!

Anna - I love that cook book! Useful in more ways than one. ;)

Amy - I probably would have had a hard time with it in hs also. It was really the class I took that made it so great. My prof did an amazing job of teaching it.

Danny - Thank you! :)

Cathy - haha, seriously???

H. C. said...

I still have my copy of Anna Karenina -- and I actually relate more to the pleasure-seeking but and occasionally turmoiled character of Anna than the hardworking but generally depressing Levin (classic Old World emo boy?)

Of course, I'm not about to jump in front of a train anytime soon!

And yeah, I don't have room in my kitchen for another one-trick pony device... if anything, I want a mixer! These elbows are starting to get too old to whip egg whites and cream by hand!

Jenn said...

I used to do that for grilled cheese sandwich before I had gotten my George Foreman. N0ow I can't live without the thing. hahaha...