on April 11, 2012
My 14-month update. I STILL use this amazing panini grill nearly every day. Sometimes twice. I use it for so many things that I would find it hard to be without now. It is very easy to keep clean, it still looks new, and I still love it.
Update October, 2012: I know, it is hard to believe. I still use this nearly every day, and often, twice a day. Some of the further uses I have found: quickly re-heat pancakes or waffles...just pre-heat, put the lid right down on them, set the timer for a minute or two, and they are done. I make instant French toast by dunking a thick slice of home-made raisin bread into fork-whipped egg, soak both sides, put the bread on the pre-heated surface, pour any leftover egg over the top, put the lid down...and one minute later...PERFECT. I have also been using it to "bake" frozen fish filets (you know....Gorton or whatever....) I do put foil on the bottom, spray some PAM on it, spray PAM on another piece of foil, lay that ON the frozen fish, then put the lid all the way down. I give it about four minutes. The fish is a bit oily (the guts get a little squished out of the "crust,") but it is hot clear through and totally delicious...and saves you about 40 minutes of oven time too!
Update end of June, 2012: I am still using my Panini Duo nearly every day. This morning I tried pancakes. I wasn't sure how that would work, only doing two pancakes at a time. Still, there are only two of us, so I gave it a try. Check out the pictures and you can see the result. I made blueberry/coconut pancakes (kind of an improvised recipe). I found that 1/3 cup of batter, lid put down but not touching the pancakes, and 4 minutes per side, worked perfectly. Unlike my stove-top griddle, the Breville surface heats up uniformly. That is the best thing about making them on the Panini maker. I am pretty sure I couldn't have burned these if I tried. They are probably too light for some, but so incredibly perfectly cooked inside...you should try it.
Most Recent Update: I am still using this appliance nearly every day. It is so easy to use, and I keep it right on my counter (locked and standing on end - takes up virtually no space.) It still preheats in 3-4 minutes, and then cooks whatever I am cooking quickly. I just put up a picture of French toast....truly divine.
I have had my Breville Panini Duo for a few weeks now. I think I have used it every day. There is always something different to try. So here are some of the many uses I have found for it, most of which have saved me 30-45 minutes of the oven being on (especially nice now that it is summer-like weather.) Reheated leftover home-made pizza; heated the chips for bean dip (pre-heated the machine, laid a piece of foil on the surface, put on the pizza (or chips), put the lid down so it was not touching the food...and presto. Two minutes for chips, about 10 minutes for the pizza. I have made garlic bread, oven-fried potato slices, potato pancakes, tuna patties, turkey patties, French toast, grilled bagels, and of course, panini sandwiches. I LOVE this machine, and no, I do not work for Breville! I am a self-employed composer (among other things) who really loves kitchen "gadgets."
There seems to be a concern among reviewers about the "plug" "unplug" versus an on/off button. You should know, if you are letting this issue stop you from purchasing, that it is not a "toaster plug." It is a large, very insulated plug with a "handle" on it....incredibly safe, solid and very easy to plug and unplug.
I researched for days and days, reading hundreds of comments, and then finally decided on the Breville Panini Duo. When I purchased it at Amazon, it was $57.99....and with Prime shipping it was an extra bargain. It came today...and I won't have any bread in my house until Sunday! But I was eager to try it out, so I decided to see what else I might use it for. We love oven fries. Oven fries involve 15 minutes of pre-heating the oven to 425. Then baking the fresh-cut potatoes for a half an hour, turning once. We do not do this at all in the summer, for obvious (heat) reasons.
After wiping down my Breville, I plugged it in, then got out one large potato. I sliced it in approximately quarter inch wide slices, plunked them into cold water, and by the time I had done that, the grill was saying it had pre-heated. So I quick drained and patted dry the potato slices, poured a little olive oil in the bowl and stirred it around, then carefully put all of the potatoe slices on the grill and closed the lid. 12 minutes later (after approximately two minutes of pre-heating time) I had the most delicious potatoes ever. Crispy on the outside, nice and done on the inside....machine already unplugged. Fabulous. Probably wouldn't have needed the olive oil, but I am not used to cooking without it. Maybe next time I will try without.
I have never had a panini sandwich, so I am looking forward to MANY of those, even if we never get fancier than smoked turkey and swiss cheese on whole wheat bread. But I am thinking I will be using this machine for many, many other things as well. Cooking for two...it is a perfect size.
So today, (2nd day,) still having no bread, I decided to further experiment. I made tuna patties (simple....a can of good tuna, some chopped onions, oat bran (I had no bread crumbs either), a spritz of lemmon juice and some chopped up cabbage (I often use broccoli instead, and normally stir in an egg, which I did not do this time.) Anyway....less than 5 minutes to heat the grill, and 6 minutes to cook the tuna patties. While they were cooking, I whipped up the "potato cakes" I make with leftover mashed potatoes and egg. Took out the tuna, put on the "lumps" of potato....they were done in 4 minutes, thoroughly cooked, crispy on the outside, lovely on the inside. If you miss the buttery taste (normally I would fry each of these items in skillets or griddle with olive oil and a little butter) you can spread some butter on after. I am not sure yet how to use olive oil when I want to. I am afraid it will get too hot while the thing is heating up...and I am afraid to put it on WHILE the griddle is hot.....so I guess I will do some experimenting about that.
I love this machine so much, thought I would do another update. For my third use....I did another version, using the leftover tuna patties, stirred them into mashed potatos with an egg and cheddar cheese, all together. This time when the grill was preheated I did pour a bit of olive oil on the flat plate and spread it with a spatula, there was no sizzling or popping or anything dangerous, although I tend to wear an oven mitt because I am not used to the machine yet and am afraid of getting burned bumping into the top grid. Anyway, I spooned my concoction on, closed the lid, set the timer for 5 minutes, and that was all it took. Delicious. And by the way....there is no reason on earth to have removable plates...this is SO easy to wipe down when it is cool.