Which sounds crazy to me. I know a lot of kids already have headed back to school, but Parker doesn’t until Tuesday.
So to celebrate summer’s final hurrah, we have a big weekend at the lake planned. Tomorrow, friends are coming over for a pulled pork and gazpacho fest. On Sunday, a family barbecue.
And on Monday… I think we’re going to come home early and get our lives in order. I’m actually looking forward to a return to routine. So we’ll come home, clean up, get squared away for Tuesday.
Who knows… Maybe I’ll even have time to do some grocery shopping so Parker can bring a decent lunch for the first day of school!
For today’s lunch, I kept things simple. I made a turkey and asiago panini, which he inhaled, then asked for more. I paired it with some blackberries and a couple mini bell peppers.
By the way, I firmly believe the secret to making great panini is not some expensive panini press. The presses are handy, but they are a real pain to clean. Especially when all you really need is a good cast-iron skillet.
Pop the skillet over a medium-low heat and let it get hot slowly. Then drop in some butter or oil. Now add your sandwich and balance something heavy on top of it (I used a cast-iron saucepan). Now reduce the heat to low and walk away.
Check it every once in a while, but do nothing else. After about 5 minutes, flip the sandwich, add the weight again, then walk away for another 5 minutes. That’s eat.
The slow, low, even heat delivered by the cast-iron skillet will gently brown and crisp your bread while giving the sandwich fillings plenty of time to heat up.
And by the way, that’s the sort of crispy exterior you want for toasted sandwiches that you plan to pack for lunch. The fat and the thorough toasting help keep the bread from getting soggy.
Now, in other news. Remember the banana ketchup chicken recipe I raved about a while back? It was inspired by my friend, chef Daisy Martinez. Here’s the recipe. You will want to make this.
Also, yesterday I posted an essay over on Rachael Ray’s site about my philosophy regarding involving kids in lunch packing. I called it, “Lunch is not a Democracy.” Let me know what you think.
Finally, next week I’ll be doing a Twitter group chat with the folks from Family Fun magazine. Details below. Be sure to join in the conversation about packing good, healthy lunches kids will love.