One of my favorite local blogs, HowChow, recently opined on the best places to buy groceries in Howard County. With respect to his list, I’m going to have to add a nondescript, completely ‘white people’ grocery store to my favorite places in the county.
I shop at a lot of stores, and I love chains like Wegman’s. But I also like going to a place that offers good variety, competitive prices, and hearty bread. Being neither far away nor always crowded is also a huge plus. That’s probably the reason I’ve been loving the recent upgrades to my local Weis Markets so much.
I’ve talked about Weis’ unique ice cream flavors in the past, but this time of the year, when I find myself craving the warming effect of hearty vegetables and the simplicity and comfort of good, crusty bread, I’ve turned to Weis’ bakery department. While Weis’ house “artisan” breads don’t quite match Wegman’s, Weis does offer Old World style loaves produced by La Brea, including a deliciously rich yet tangy Three-Cheese Semolina loaf I picked up for half price last week.
That’s one of the big advantages Weis has over Wegman’s when it comes to baked good — unlike Wegman’s, you can buy “over baked” breads, donuts, muffins, and even cake slices from Weis at half the price of their original cost. And when life gives you an already reasonable, crusty Ciabatta baguette and makes it just a buck, then you’ve got yourself a recipe — literally — for a panini.
Saturday’s are the best days for Panini’s because that’s the day God made for football and food, as protected by the Constitution, the Magna Carta, and Hammurabi’s Code. Between watching my Aggies and Mids put the smackdown on UTSA and ECU, respectively, I took a look around my fridge to see what we had. Cheese was an easy choice. Low moisture, whole milk mozzarella is something I’ve begun to really appreciate over the past few months. It melts great, obviously, but it has enough milky flavor and richness to make an underrated companion for fruits like apples and pears. Here, I pair it with an assortment of fall vegetables, including grilled butternut squash, onions, and beet greens. I also made sure to add Granny Smith apples, as well as balsamic vinegar.
After grilling the vegetables on my panini grill, I pressed everything between the thin slices of Ciabatta, grilling up the already sturdy crust until the cheese was warm and melted and the bread even crunchier than before.
Then, in the word’s of Hamilton Porter, I ‘stuffed’ it.
Not a bad way to grab gameday lunch without having to drive to either the game, or the other side of the county, amidst a fall weekend.