Hello! Right now we are swinging into gear for the second semester here at Oberlin, and everyone is navigating add/drop, reading syllabi, remembering how to do homework, figuring out where to sit in class, and what their professors are like. In addition to that, I have been working through my own journey: the quest to make the ideal panini in our dining hall. For context, we have two panini presses in our dining hall, and during the course of Winter Term I experimented, taste-tested, and evaluated many different self-made sandwiches. At this point, I should have just made my Winter Term be the expedition to making the perfect sandwich. Alas, it was just a side job. Nevertheless, I will be sharing my results on this platform! I will say, as a preface, I did not figure out the flawless sandwich. I am still on that journey, and believe me, you all will be the first to know when I do discover the Perfect Panini.
January 17, 2020
English Muffin, Cheddar Cheese, Spinach
What kickstarted me to this sandwich adventure was the arrival of English Muffins to our dining hall. Man, do I love English Muffins. And a warm, English Muffin sandwich? Incredible. Since it was my first, it was nothing experimental, just cheese and spinach. But boy was it delicious.
January 19, 2020
Rosemary and Sea-Salt Bagel, Spinach, Cheddar Cheese, Onions, Squash
There were no English Muffins on this day. But out of that struggle came an incredible win: panini pressing a bagel sandwich. Some consider it to be a hot take, but the Rosemary Sea-Salt bagels they have in the dining hall (classy, right!) are incredible. So this second day of sandwich making I tried out some new flavors. My sandwich had some veggies, spinach again, and classic cheddar cheese. Again, super super tasty. One of my best. Win.
January 20, 2020
Sesame Bagel, Arugula, Caramelized Onions and Peppers, Monterey Jack Cheese, Hummus
As I learned the day before, bagels are a vital resource. But I wanted to change it up from the day before and see what other experimental stuff I could get into. So I used a different cheese for a change! Good decision on my part, the Monterey Jack brought a new complex flavor to my bagel sandwich! In addition to that, I tried putting hummus on the sandwich! Honestly, I didn’t really taste a difference but the difference in texture was interesting. I also opted for arugula rather than spinach as another twist, and was a fan! Overall, it was a sandwich that I’d eat again, but not my favorite.
January 22, 2020
Pumpernickel Bread, Arugula, Caramelized Onions and Peppers, Monterey Jack Cheese
Now that I had had two bagels, I decided to switch up the bread and see what that did. So I recreated the Monterey Jack Cheese and caramelized veggies sandwich on pumpernickel and honestly, it was pretty good. Some have strong opinions on pumpernickel, I’m not mad at it but it’s never my first choice. In the spirit of experimentation, however, I decided to give it a whirl. Overall it was a very good sandwich, plus the added satisfaction of lots of interesting/complex flavors making me feel like someone with an elevated palate! Great experience.
January 24, 2020
White Bread, Romaine Lettuce, Cheddar Cheese
This day, I was feeling lazy. Truly wanted to go for something simple and that I knew would be good, so I went for a grilled cheese with romaine lettuce because I wanted to be trying something other than a regular grilled cheese. Overall, very very good. But it was good because it is a tried-and-true.
January 26, 2020
Mini Corn Tortilla, Shredded Cheddar Cheese
My friends and I cooked ourselves dinner the night before this, and one of the things we bought was a large amount of mini corn tortillas! So, naturally, I decided to make myself a nice cheese quesadilla and panini press it. So good, never fails to disappoint. 10/10, enough said.
January 27, 2020
Mini Corn Tortilla, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Spinach, Onions
Here, I used more of our corn tortillas to make myself a delicious vegetable quesadilla! Using the panini press, I got some nice grill lines. The shredded cheddar cheese melted well and mixed to make an overall delicious sandwich. Truly enjoyed this one.
January 28, 2020
Repeat of January 27!
As you can see, I was trying to get rid of those mini corn tortillas. So I made another great veggie quesadilla, completely satisfactory and tasty!
Oh man oh man, they brought out a lot of new cheese on this day! I think because Winter Term was winding up, they started widening their sandwich options, and boy was I excited. I decided to cheese my sandwich up, and it was a great decision. Very tasty, good flavors, nowhere to go wrong. 100% delectable.
January 31, 2020
Mini Corn Tortillas, Lots of Shredded Cheese, Onions, Mushrooms, Arugula, Roasted Butternut Squash
For my last one of January, I went all out on one of my favorites. Putting the last of our corn tortillas to good use, I made a loaded veggie quesadilla. I also inspired one of my friends, Chase, to make a great cheese quesadilla with the panini press, and he loved the classic. A grand experience overall.
Included above, I took photo documentation of all my sandwiches! They are in chronological order. And, because I used a random online collage maker, they required 12 photos so I included one of the interior of our dining hall and one of the exterior!
And there you go! My tips, tricks, and recipes for utilizing the panini press in our dining hall. I was impressed with all the different permutations I found to make, and how there are still so many to make still! Even since this original experiment, I’ve learned so much more. For instance, our dining hall sometimes has PESTO! I found some recently, and made a delicious bagel with pesto and veggies and a little bit of cream cheese. Additionally, my roommate Josie taught me to always use butter rather than non-stick spray! It makes for a more crispy and delicious sammy. I’m going to continue making sandwiches, but for now this is me signing off the chronicles of my adventure. Hope you’ve found anything useful or entertaining!