Homemade Nutella


The way this homemade stuff pops up and ends up in various pastries and the like, you’d think that  absolutely almost everyone loves Nutella. Almost.

I had hazelnuts on hand and I’ve been itching to use my cocoa nibs in everything, I just had to, I couldn’t resist. Combine the two and what do you get? You guessed it! Plus I figured, I was bound to get my self proclaimed vegetarian kid who won’t eat peanut butter to eat a nut, especially if it’s intertwined with chocolate and it tastes like Nutella.

Warm, buns, still steamy from the oven, homemade Nutella and some thinly sliced banana heaven…

Nope. “This taste-iss like peanut butter is in it. Are there nuts in this?”

Yes friends, I have the only known person who dislikes Nutella living under my roof and she’s a chocolate loving child.

At least they say that little tastebuds change. More for me, I guess.

COCOA NIB HAZELNUT SPREAD

1 cups Hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1/2 cup Cocoa Nibs
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 250ºF.
Toast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Give the pan a good shake about half way through to toss.
Remove the nuts from the oven and cool slightly.
Tightly wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel. Twist and rub until most of the skins have come off.
Place the nuts and the cocoa nibs in a food processor, and pulse on high until they have broken down.
Add the coconut oil and continue to blend until they become smooth and buttery; about 5 minutes.
When the nuts are liquified, add in the sugar and cocoa powder, continuing to blend.
Transfer the spread to a jar and store in the refrigerator, leaving it to come closer to room temperature just before using.

Grilled Vegetable Panini


It almost seems that all I’ve been doing lately is preparing leftovers. Thankfully everyone typically has abundant left overs. Seeing that I’m usually preparing something, I’m not often without something in my own fridge screaming out not to be forgotten.
With summer starting, I’ve been spending more time outdoors, having many salads and grilled vegetables.
Currently it’s sweet potatoes, peppers, asparagus and mushrooms waiting for rejuvenation, but I’m sure just about any flavourful set of vegetables, grilled or roasted, would be delicious. So, the plan was to take this leftover glory back outside for lunch to combat the almighty burger. I thought serving up summer with grilled sandwiches would be a nice summer escape from the ordinary.

GRILLED VEGETABLE PANINI

2 Cups Leftover Grilled or Roasted Vegetables
1 Medium Onion, Sliced
1/2 Package Medium Firm Tofu
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Vine Ripened Tomato, Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
4 Tablespoons Basil Pesto
4 Tablespoons Tampanade
4 Tablespoons Dijon
Salt & Pepper to Taste
4 Large Panini Buns

Heat a large sautée pan and add 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Peel and slice the onion the sauté until softened. (About 5 minutes.)
Cut the tofu into 1/4″ slices, lay flat and drizzle over the soy sauce.
Mince the garlic, slice the tomato and add that and the grilled vegetables to the onion, just to warm through.
Preheat the grill to medium.
Slice the panini buns lengthwise and add your desired condiments to each.
Top each with equal amounts of the heated, grilled vegetables and slices of tofu.
Lightly brush the remaining olive oil on the outside crusts of the buns.
Reduce the grill heat to low.
Lay the sandwiches in a row on the grill and weigh them down with a clean cookie sheet toped with cans, rocks or bricks – whatever is clean and handy to give them a good squish.
Allow the sandwiches to toast for about 3 – 4 minutes, checking regularly to avoid burning.
Brush oil, flip and repeat on the other side for another few minutes until the outside is lightly toasted with grill marks.

*Note: If you eat it, during the sandwich construction, thinly sliced smoked gouda or chèvre would make wonderful substitutions for the tofu.