Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fig and Brie Panini

Happy Halloweenie! (save those pumpkin seeds because tomorrow, Frida's going to tell you where to stick 'em!*)

Bitchmother can find herself getting a bit hypoglycemic when she's trudging along the streets of brownstone Brooklyn, wondering when one of her ramped-up young is going to get knocked off a neighbor's stoop into the flames of a glowing Jack o' Lantern. It leads to much barking and purloining of fun-sized Snickers. My old friend, Grandma Waistband's been harping at me to lay off the chocolate covered caramel calories so I blow all my equity on things that count. Ergo, this afternoon, while Inky, Milo, and their friend Moie are fulfilling Inky's dream of doling out candy to fellow trick or treaters before heading out to collect several pillow cases' worth themselves, I will be chowing down on Fig and Brie panini, to fortify myself for the revels ahead.

Fig and Brie Panini

Let me start off by saying that I know not everyone is so fortunate as to have snagged a "Krups sandwich maker" for 15 bucks at the Salvation Army, so fresh in its original box that it could have gone right back under the Christmas tree and none would have been the wiser. In fact, that's exactly where I put it, but the dang kids, usually so desparate to cook or help cook, wouldn't bite. They must have sensed my big plans for slipping apples, pears, spinach, bananas, and other genuine nutrients into the little toasties I'd envisioned us gaily whipping together out of Nutella or cheese and whatever fast-aging loaf of 15-grains we happened to have on hand. One bite and that sandwich maker was dead to them. Fucker's been taking up valuable real estate in the cabinet over the stove for ten months now. I was just about ready to give it the old heave ho when I got inspired to get jiggy with the figgy. The results were so tasty, I guess it's mine for life. (Why is it that the blender, the electric mixer and the sewing machine croak if you look at them funny but things like sandwich makers are in for the long haul?) Anyways, this is a winning combination even if you have no way to compact it between sizzling metal plates. They're just so autumnal and fortifying when molten that if you can, you should.

Saw the top and bottom off a baguette to expose a toastable surface, then carefully bisect it lengthwise.

Slather the bottom half with fig jam. I got my fig jam at Fairway for slightly less than it costs to fly to Spain, but it's worth every Euro. It makes me feel like a pampered lady of rarified and expensive tastes.

Back to reality, cut some long skinny slices off your supermarket Brie and lay them atop the fig jam. Don't cut the white stuff off! That's where the nutrients are, or maybe the bacteria, I forget which.

Now wash and dry some watercress, and distribute a goodly portion of its tender leaves over the brie. Not so much that your sandwich maker won't close, but you don't want to be skimpy, either. Let's say about as much as you'd feed to a hungry goat.

Put the lid on, and cut it in such a way that it sort of fits in the sandwich maker. You may have to use some muscle to get the latch closed, but as long as you don't pinch the holy infant Christ child out of your finger like I did on Christmas morning of ought-six, everything's going to be okay. Yes, even if you see liquid brie oozing down the sides of your appliance.

You know to oil up your sandwich maker first, right, before you plug it in? I broke the bank at Fairway again, springing for some extra-nice-quality olive oil, and I like to think it makes a difference. (Of course, if we're playing by those rules, I should be fairly convinced that those lemon-scented paper towels Greg brought home, will give us all tumors before the week is out.)

Having tossed the instruction booklet the original owner had been kind enough to include, I don't know what the lights on my sandwich maker mean, so I just kept peeking and praying that the red one doesn't mean danger. After a couple of minutes, the sandwich had been transformed into a panini and hot damn, it were good!

* don't be afeared. It's just the oven.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those look really yummy. Sort of like grilled cheese for grown-ups.

There is a bakery in Kingston, Ontario called Pan Chancho that makes heavenly fig bread. A toasted slice with brie is delish.

Fig jam? I'll have to look for that here.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Hi--I'm a bit new at this blogging idea...yours is really awesome! Panini is heaven and a half. Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!
And your costume is magnificent.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

OMG! If you like that fig jam, you should buy some cotognata. It is an Italian quince jam that is to effing die for. It costs me $7 a jar and is now as essential as oxygen. I'll bet Balducci's has it. Try it with some goat brie. I'm salivating right now.

It was so great to meet you in Austin, btw.
I'm the one who hooked up Krispy & Sinda with scrips to Inky.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Krispy said...

YOU make an awesome Frida!

6:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Oh, I forgot to say you look awesome as Frida.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You look more frida than frida!

I just bought a jar of fig and olive tapenade (more figgy than olive) and ate it up with some brie... but this grilled cheese sounds perfect for my new condiment.

I love crispy food with the daylights squished out of it!

12:14 PM  

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