someone gave me one of those electric sandwich makers as a gift--not a panini grill but one of those dorm room appliances that is subject to a pretty awesome informercial or two (albeit this one is from a relatively respected company). i could've returned it at the shops for something more useful but it's shiny, and i started thinking of all the inappropriate things i could shove in between two slices of bread then call it a "meal"--condiments? a whole frozen dinner? a can of soup? o, the non-possibilities.
my folks get a lot of food gifts. i generally do not. don't ask me why, you'd think people would know i would appreciate them. although, admittedly, i get a lot of cash. people know i REALLY appreciate cash. however, my parents get pretty nice coffee, chocolates, fruit baskets and even a ham or two. and panettone, an italian sweet bread, rich with eggs and butter, and usually flavoured with orange and dried fruit. they get lots of panettone. one of the family faves is one from williams-sonoma, which is studded throughout with whole glazed chestnuts.
so, i've been playin' around with the bread and the machine, making some fabulous if stupefyingly rich sandwiches of thin slices of panettone with a schmear of mascarpone cheese and a little orange marmalade, or sometimes chestnut cream. or try a thin bar of dark chocolate pressed in there. i have yet to try something more savoury, although i imagine a little parma or prosciutto and a good cheese would produce some mighty tasty results.
the only other thing has been french toast. which you know how to make, but you guys, here's something different!
fiori di sicilia, a baking flavouring that tastes a little orange blossom-y, with orange oil and vanilla essence. a couple drops of this and it enhances the existing citrus notes in the bread, and the very light vanilla touch complements the buttery sweetness. just don't overdo it or you'll have something like a cleaning product.
panettone french toast
2 thick slices of panettone
1/2 c milk (scant cup)
pinch of salt
a couple drops of fiori di sicilia (this is optional, or you can use a drop of vanilla extract and/or a drop of orange extract) or a 1/2 tsp of orange zest
beat egg, combine well with milk, add salt and extracts. soak panettone slices in egg mixture. fry in pan or use cheap christmas present sandwich maker thing, in a tablespoon or so of melted butter, until golden.