I Got A New Kitchen Toy! - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at Allrecipes.com - 296641

Put the Kettle on....

I Got a New Kitchen Toy! 
Feb. 3, 2013 7:48 am 
Updated: Feb. 17, 2013 5:36 pm
A few weeks ago my daughter, younger sister, and I went on a winery-hopping tour in a nearby "town".  We knew there were a few wineries there, but we discovered there was a new winery that was dog-themed and had great wines all named for the owners' and/or their friends' dogs.  We also discovered that one of the other wineries had great food as well as great wine.  We ate lunch at that winery.  I chose an apple, bacon, cheddar panini.  It was so good I have replicated it at home twice since then. 

I don't have a panini press so I had to improvise by just cooking in a skillet and pressing down firmly.  It worked, but me being me - I LOVE kitchen gadgets.  I had an itch to go shopping and get a panini press! 

I did some looking on the internet to see what all is out there in the panini press department.  I wanted something that would be versatile, but not real expensive.  I love gadgets - but I want my gadgets to be multi-taskers!  

Yesterday my younger sister was hosting a small family "party" to watch her daughter (my niece) on national TV.  Shannon, my niece, had gone to Florida to see my older sister who had been invited to participate in the Eukanuba National Championship Dog Show.  Deb (older sister), and Shannon, along with Jeani (Shannon's mom, my younger sister) all raise and show Spinone Italiano dogs - a sporting breed that has only been recognized by the AKC about 12 years or so.  They are originally from Italy and are large, wiry-haired dogs.  Anyways - back to how Shannon was going to be on TV....   Partito - Deb's spinone who had been invited to participate in this dog show, won Best of Breed so was going back in the ring for Group (Sporting Group, where all sporting breeds' winners would show against one another and one would move on toward winning Best of Show).  Deb decided that it would be a once in a lifetime experience for Shannon to show Partito; so into the ring Shannon was going with Partito aka Party Kid.  Shannon and Partito made the "cut" - which means they were pulled out with several other sporting breeds to get another look and possibly be picked to move on! This is exciting stuff - especially for a 17 year old kid to be a part of!

The show was being aired yesterday at 2:00 pm so we all arrived to watch the show. Jeani had a pretty good spread of munchies to keep our mouths busy so we could hear the show! She made a pepperoni stromboli, pumpkin dip with dog-boned shaped graham cracker cookies, cupcakes, vegetable pizza, mini hot dogs wrapped in biscuit, olives, and of course - the wine offered was from the dog-themed winery.   Shannon and Party Kid were only shown very briefly on TV, but it was exciting to see them, if only for a brief second or two.   As you can see by the picture, my dad held story time for Shannon's spinone and lab.  I'm not sure if they found the story as captivating as his plate of food, but he sure had their attention!

When we left the party we had some errands to run and decided to stop off at a store or two and see if I could find a panini press.  I found one!  I always have been pretty good at finding what I want, so that was no surprise to me.  Or to Jon.   I ended up buying a Cuisinart Griddle/Grill/Panini Press.  It has multi-functions, as the name suggests. 

After we finished our errands, and unnecessary shopping for kitchen gadgets, we headed over to our favorite local winery.  They had offered a great Groupon.com deal that I had purchased.  For $10 we had a cheese, meat, and cracker plate appetizer; a panini sandwich each (we both chose roast beef and swiss cheese); and we each had an almond crescent cookie dipped in white chocolate on one half and milk chocolate on the other.  Not a bad deal at all!  We also shared a bottle of our favorite dry red wine.  Since it is a local winery - we knew several of the people there so had a nice time visiting with old friends.

This morning I could not wait any longer to try out my new gadget.  I used it as a griddle and we had applewood smoked bacon, blueberry pancakes and eggs over easy.  For lunch I plan to make these sandwiches but turning them into paninis instead.

It is snowy and cold here today so Jon won't be working outside on our house.  Instead we're going to sit by the roaring fire and watch a movie or two.  A day of doing nothing but relaxing together is well over-due. 
Story Time!
Photo Detail
Feb. 3, 2013 9:15 am
I have that same panini press, Mother Ann, and I used it frequently. Right now, it is packed and stored in anticipation of the kitchen remodel. Here's a hint for you. I use the grill plates to cook bacon. You get the cruchy dark stripes as well as the juicy softer pink- just awesome!
Feb. 3, 2013 9:17 am
Mike - I must have read your mind - I used the grill plates for the bacon. It WAS awesome!
Feb. 3, 2013 9:53 am
I've been wanting that model for a while and have been perusing Amazon occasionally tempted to buy it. Hoped I would get it for Christmas from someone as I had been dropping a lot of hints- after reading your post I'm just gonna get it! Where in Ohio are these wineries?Sounds fun.
Feb. 3, 2013 9:58 am
Boy would I like to drop by your house for any meal you were whipping up! I don't have a press yet and like you have resorted to other methods. Your sandwiches sound great!
Feb. 3, 2013 10:34 am
irayd8 - I got mine at Kohl's. It was on sale, I had a 15% off coupon and $30 Kohl's cash so it was a pretty good deal. Ohio is loaded with wineries, but these particular ones are in Lake Milton which is NE Ohio, Mahoning County.
Feb. 3, 2013 10:40 am
Cat - You're welcome anytime! But you'd have to bring some of your blackberry brandy or vodka (if you have any left....)
Feb. 3, 2013 4:18 pm
Keep us posted on your panini recipes!!!
Feb. 3, 2013 5:29 pm
Hi Maggi! Will do, and I'll take anybody else's suggestions, too!
Feb. 4, 2013 5:38 am
Always exciting to see our kiddos on TV. If I know ahead I'll tape the show and rewind again a few times. I've been eyeballing a Cast Iron Panini Press that you can use over the campfire or grill. Saw them last summer at BB and Beyond.
Feb. 4, 2013 11:33 am
Hope you enjoy the toy, Mother Ann! I gave serious thought to one for quite a while but since my kitchen is small and space is limited, I decided to just stick with my trusty iron skillets to improvise. : ) And staying in on a cold and snowy day to watch movies with the hubby sounds like a nice idea!
Deb C 
Feb. 4, 2013 11:44 am
Don't you just love new kitchen toys? I love my Panini press which is a little different than yours. (I think yours is a better one.) I use mine all the time and just love it! Enjoy. We're all coming over for a Panini!
Feb. 4, 2013 1:25 pm
Sherri, a panini press for the campfire sounds really cool! We are campers so we might enjoy that!
Feb. 4, 2013 1:26 pm
wisweetp, I have a spare room with a closet that is full of nothing but kitchen toys! Hubby put shelves in the closet for me so they're all easily accesible and I can see what I have (what I still need that means!).
Feb. 4, 2013 1:27 pm
Deb C - Bring your press and we'll be all set to have a panini cook-off!! ;)
Deb C 
Feb. 4, 2013 1:39 pm
Awesome! I'm in!
Feb. 4, 2013 2:16 pm
I had been dropping hints that I wanted that same press for almost a year. I did get one for Christmas, but not the one I wanted. I must have been more disappointed than I realized because I haven't used it yet. I'll look for you to provide tips and tricks. Have fun.
Feb. 4, 2013 3:35 pm
BSM: Today at work while I was telling one co-worker about it, another one walked in the room and said "Oh! You got The Griddler??!!" I had no idea I was picking out such a good one! It is versatile and that's what I like about it!
Feb. 5, 2013 3:56 am
Love panini! We have enjoyed our press. I like to use it in the summer when it's too hot for the oven or even the grill outside. You can use it for "chic-sicles" and salmon!
Feb. 5, 2013 5:41 am
Love paninis, all dogs, dog shows and wine!!! That must have been so exciting for your niece, what an opportunity! Those dogs are gorgeous, I've seen them on dog shows but have yet to meet one in person, beautiful creatures for sure. Let us know how you like the panini press...I've thought about one for quite some time but due to space constraints I use my grill pan and a brick wrapped in foil as my panini press.
Feb. 5, 2013 2:27 pm
Bibi - salmon is a great idea! "chicsicles"?
Feb. 5, 2013 2:28 pm
Wyattdogster - They are definitely an interesting breed! I like your innovative panini press! :)
Feb. 6, 2013 9:15 am
Jut another person who has it, and the smaller one...I use the smaller one about 5 times a week at least (just me and my husband most days, but a Christmas time the bigger size was on sale at Costco, so I bought two as gifts, and a new bigger one for me (Unbelievable, all three cost about $150,total). Trying to wear out the little one, but it's well over 15 mo. old, and won't die, so I can use the new one. I love,love love them, they are so versatile....
Feb. 7, 2013 2:57 am
NancyE - glad you like yours! As I read everyone's comments, I'm deciding I really made a good buy this time! And, glad to hear they're hard to wear out! LOL
Feb. 7, 2013 5:52 am
Hello, Mother Ann! How wonderful that your niece and Partito did so well in the dog show. Is Partito an Italian word and how did your niece's Partito get his name? Now I am hungry for one of those Tuna Melt panini sandwiches! I think I hear a panini press calling my name and the words buy me, buy me.
Feb. 7, 2013 7:10 am
I just bought one too...love it! I've made quesadillas, paninis, subs, etc. Love that I can grill mushrooms and peppers for the sandwiches. I think I made 2 meals per week on it...lol.
Feb. 7, 2013 7:57 am
I just got one from a family member who never used it and I've been trying to decide what to make with it til now and intend to use it for supper tonight. We are neighbors! I live by the KSU golf course!
Feb. 7, 2013 1:34 pm
Lela - Partito means party in Italian. Here's a link to the article from our local paper all about it: http://www.recordpub.com/news%20local/2013/01/29/dog-handler-with-portage-county-ties-get-big-win-at-akc-national-championship Partito is actually my sister's dog from South Dakota. You definitely need a panini press!! LOL
Feb. 7, 2013 1:35 pm
Karen Scully - Hadn't thought about quesadillas - great idea!
Feb. 7, 2013 1:36 pm
mamaderis - we are practically neighbors! We live about 15-20 minutes from the KSU golf course. We take our animals to the vet just down the road from there: Animal Memorial Hospital. We've probably run into one another at Walmart or somewhere! Haha!
Feb. 8, 2013 9:27 am
I don't have a panini press, really don't have room to store another fun toy so I just use my George Forman grill, It works great!
Feb. 8, 2013 11:28 am
Best for gluten-free breads (or any bread, really)! I love using mine!
Feb. 8, 2013 2:11 pm
I LOVE mine. Bacon, burgers, chicken and panini - so FAST. Ranch up chicken breast and throw them on - fabulous! and the kids love it.
Feb. 9, 2013 4:21 am
barbcooks - I'm lucky that I have a whole spare room with a big closet to keep my "toys" in! And, the best part - I can get to them easy enough that I actually use them. ;)
Feb. 9, 2013 4:22 am
I've found I like using ciabatta bread in mine. I liked how the bacon cooked, too!
Feb. 9, 2013 3:44 pm
All you have to do is go to the Dollar Store and purchase a electric grill like the George Foreman...they have them for between $10-$20. They do the same job, and you will save a lot of money. I was a chef for years, for the huge South Texas Ranches...they always had to have the best. This way everyone can afford them and they do the same job. Enjoy all!
Feb. 10, 2013 5:09 am
Sherry - That is a good alternative.
Mary Lou 
Feb. 11, 2013 7:18 am
Sherry, we have several Dollar Stores; Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar. Also, we live in the south - but northern Louisiana. Can you share which Dollar Store you found the electric grill?
Feb. 11, 2013 6:33 pm
mother Ann...are you near Morrow, ohio...friends there have a winery or did have a few years back
Feb. 12, 2013 3:09 am
Gramsand - No, I am not near Morrow. What is the name of their winery - I may have been there! If I'm thinking correctly (without looking it up) - Morrow is near Cincinnati?
Feb. 16, 2013 5:22 am
Hi Mother Ann- I haven't been on AR as much as I'd like but checked in today and saw you are Cook of the Week! Congrats! We love our panini press too, and we also use it for quesadillas. Where is the winery you mentioned, with the dog theme? My husband and I are dog lovers, and wine lovers, and are interested in checking it out. Is it in Ashtabula?
Feb. 16, 2013 10:44 am
Hi Loves2Cook! I'll have to try quesadillas in mine! The dog-themed winery is called Lil Paws and is in Lake Milton, right on Rte. 18 just before you cross over the lake. I believe Lake Milton is in Mahoning County. I just got an e-mail from them that their dry wines are now available. I have to get out there and get some - they have a gewurztraminer wine named Missy - which was the name of my chocolate lab that died last March. There are 4 other wineries in that area so it could be worth your trip!
Feb. 17, 2013 5:36 pm
Thanks for the info Mother Ann! I think my husband and I are going to have to plan a trip to check it out.
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

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About Me
I've been married for 33 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have two black labs that get to go duck hunting with dad and two cats. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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