Wow, here we already are at day 11! One more canapé recipe for tomorrow and then… well actually, then I am going to be taking a few weeks off from here. It is not like posting everyday for 12 days was gruelling or anything but it just so happens that I am going with my sweet family to Mexico for Christmas until the end of the year.
My Mom and Dad have a little house by the beach in a very small town and have been spending their winters down there for the past 13 years or so. We spend every second Christmas with them (to make it fair for Glen’s family) and being down there turns the whole Christmas thing into a very low key and relaxing affair. Don’t get me wrong I love having a huge Christmassy holiday here with the tree and the lights and the presents and the cookies and the eggnog and the shopping at the mall (ok maybe not the shopping at the mall part). It is nice, however, to shake it up every second year.
In Mexico we don’t do presents (although Santa always manages to figure out where Max is at and delivers one special gift) and we actually go out and have a turkey dinner on Christmas day which further reduces any stress or strain. My Mom and I will probably make some Christmas cookies and we may host a holiday cocktail party for their friends but otherwise it is all about reading books, hanging out with family, going to the beach and eating tacos at the corner taco stand and maybe even drinking a margarita or two.
But before we leave on Wednesday I still have a couple of posts left to do here. So, back to our canapé of the day.
Almost everyone I know loves a grilled cheese sandwich. I have a real affection for the most basic version with some slices of orange cheddar between two pieces of white bread alongside a bowl of tomato soup, but I am also open to the endless variations on the theme.
I made these two or three bite-size sandwiches using a panini maker but of course you could just butter the outsides of the bread and grill them in a pan.
I have noticed that people always gravitate to these at a party and I think it may be because they conjure up happy childhood food memories. Once people have tried a taste they love the slightly more complex flavours that are going on here. Sharp, aged cheddar and some crunchy Granny Smith apples and a bit of honey and Dijon. You could absolutely use plain white bread or sourdough or walnut or raisin bread. Feel free to experiment. I used a pecan fruit loaf from Terra Breads in Vancouver and it is so very good here. I cut my loaf lengthwise so that I can just grill 5 or 6 big paninis and then just slice them into finger sandwiches. Perfect for an informal gathering with friends…
Aged Cheddar and Apple Paninis with Honey and Dijon on Pecan and Fruit Bread
You can assemble these sandwiches earlier in the day and then just grill them off as needed. Let them rest and cool down a bit before you slice them to keep the melted cheese from going everywhere.
1 500 g loaf of pecan and fruit bread (or the bread of your choice) sliced lengthwise
200 g aged, sharp cheddar, thinly sliced
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/8 of a cup of honey
1/8 of a cup of Dijon mustard
Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl mix together the honey and the mustard. Combine well and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
On a work surface place two slices on bread. Spread approximately 2 teaspoons of the honey mustard mixture on one of the slices of bread. Layer on some apple slices and some cheddar slices. Season with salt and pepper and place on a preheated panini grill. Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes or so until the bread is grilled and the cheese is melted. Repeat with the remaining bread, cheese, Dijon/honey mixture and apples.
Allow to cool down a bit before slicing the paninis. The bread can be sliced into 6 or so finger size slices or into triangle wedges. Serve warm.
Makes approximately 36 mini paninis.