Celebrating YOU!… Paninis Margherita and A Surprise Giveaway!

Milestones are fun to celebrate and The Café reached a big one yesterday! A hundred followers!…………
Wow, when I began The Café Sucré Farine, almost six months ago I never dreamed that I’d have even twenty followers at this point, much less one hundred!  And another hundred that have The Café posts delivered to their inbox each day. I am stunned with these numbers and that there have been well over thirty thousand visitors – from just about every country around the world! So I just want to shout out A HUGE THANK YOU to each of you! My husband, Scott and I love doing this and it’s been an incredible, mind expanding, super fun experience for both of us!

I’m celebrating this amazing milestone in two ways. First I am offering a wonderful giveaway;   A YEAR SUPPLY OF MALDON SEA SALT! – one of my very favorite cooking splurges! I’ve attended a number of cooking classes taught by professional chefs and they’ve always raved about Maldon Sea Salt. I decided several years ago to make the investment and I’ve been hooked ever since! There are a ton of sea salts on the market but Maldon definitely “takes the cake”! Cooks Illustrated did a blind taste test and Maldon came up as the best of the best sea salts. You can read some reviews by Amazon customers here; they really sum up the great qualities of Maldon Sea Salt. Check out the end of this post to see how you can be included in the random drawing for this great prize!

The other way I’m celebrating this occasion is through sharing one of my simplest, but most delicious recipes. You might be thinking that, because I have this recipe blog I cook elaborate meals every day………….NOT!

I do love to cook and often will wake up in the morning dreaming up new recipes! On those days I can hardly wait to get into the kitchen and put my ideas into action. (That’s why my house often looks like a schweinerei!) But there are other days when I’m consumed with a myriad of other activities and concerns. When dinner time draws near, I don’t have a clue as far as what I’ll be serving. That’s when I love to pull out one of my go-to recipes; easy meals that can be put together quickly with minimal time and effort.

Last night was one of those nights. I had a busy day yesterday and half way through the afternoon, while running errands, I decided it would be a “paninis to the rescue” dinner.  I had some lovely vine-ripe tomatoes and a bit of fresh mozzarella left over from my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Melting Bocconcini which I blogged about last week. I knew I had some tiny jars of pesto* in my freezer and I picked up some thinly shaved dry Italian salami and a fresh loaf of rustic bread while I was out. I snitched a bit of my crazy growing basil from our deck herb garden and dinner was a breeze to prepare, taking only fifteen minutes from start to delicious finish!

TO ENTER THE MALDON SEA SALT GIVEAWAY

Choose one of these three ways to enter

1. Become a Follower and leave me a comment that you did. (see Followers on the side column)
2. Sign up to receive daily posts from The Café in your inbox and leave a comment regarding this (see Email Subscriptions in side column).

3. If you’re already a Follower or receive The Café posts each day, leave a comment sharing your favorite post or a recipe you made from The Café.

That’s it! If you’ve never left a comment on a blog, it’s really super simple. Just click the Comment button at the bottom of the post. It will lead you to a new page where you can leave your first name, your email and your comment. Don’t worry about leaving a URL – this throws some people off – this option is just there for people who want to leave a link to their blog, but it’s not necessary at all.

A random giveaway winner will be chosen and revealed on Saturday, September 3rd!

Paninis Margherita

4 teaspoons pesto*
8 slices rustic white bread (I used LaBrea)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and patted dry if in brine solution

2-3 tomatoes (depending on size), sliced 1/4 inch thick and placed between several thicknesses of paper towels to drain – press gently to remove as much juice as possibe
2-3 ounces dry Italian salami, sliced paper thin, you can find this in most grocery store delis. It is coated with Italian herbs and coarse ground pepper, delicious!
sea salt (I love Maldon!) and freshly ground black pepper
16 medium-size fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil

1. Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto each on 4 of the bread slices.

2. Divide the mozzarella, followed by the tomatoes on top of the bread slices that have been spread with pesto. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and pepper.  Divide the salami evenly on top of the tomatoes and top with another bread slice. Brush both outer sides of each sandwich with the extra-virgin olive oil.

3. Heat a large grill pan or non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Grill the sandwiches until the bread is golden brown and the cheese melts, pressing down gently with a metal spatula or grill press, about 3-4 minutes per side.
4. Remove from pan to plates, lift top slice of bread and tuck fresh basil leaves on top of the salami. Serve immediately – oh, and pretend you are sitting in lovely café in Tuscany, overlooking beautiful olive groves with gentle winds blowing and handsome Italian tenors serenading your meal! 🙂 Buon appetito!!
Makes 4 delicious panini
*I love to make my own pesto but it’s very expensive with the price of good parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil. I really like the pesto that you can buy at both Costco and Sams. When I get it home, I immediately divide it into small glass jars (baby food jars are great) and freeze it. When I need some, I just remove it from the freezer, microwave it for 20-30 seconds, remove what I need and re-freeze any that’s left.


32 thoughts on “Celebrating YOU!… Paninis Margherita and A Surprise Giveaway!”

  • HI Chris! I have loved reading your daily blog and looking over your incredible recipes. Although there are many I could write about that I’ve tried, Tom and I really loved the Chicken Marbella! I didn’t have the prunes but did have dried cranberries which I used….yummy! Thanks so much for your love of cooking/baking as I am getting a great benefit from it!.

  • Chris, I’ve followed your blog for about a month now & have tried several of the recipes. I’ve felt inspired to try new things. We love the Healthy Granola & are having a hard time keeping it around!!

  • Chris, I’ve followed your blog for about a month now & have tried several of the recipes. We love the Healthy Granola. We are having trouble keeping it around!

  • I LOVE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER BROUGHT TO WORK FOR US TO SAMPLE AND OVER THE YEARS HAVE TRIED MANY RECIPES YOU HAVE SHARED WITH ME. THEY ALL TURN OUT WONDERFUL AND QUICKLY BECOME MY HUSBANDS FAVORITES. MY FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS LOVED THE STRAWBERRY PIZZA I MADE OVER THE WEEKEND AND THE POUND CAKE WITH CARAMEL ICING HAS BEEN OUR FAVORITE(CHRISCAKE) FOR YEARS. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND FOR THE REST OF US THAT YOU STARTED THIS BLOG. THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT ADVICE AND IDEAS.

  • How to pick a favorite entry!? Every one is pictured so beautifully and described irresistibly! Your Roasted Tomato and Chicken Pasta was a huge hit with my family, and I am looking forward to making your Grilled Peach Salad tonight. Each morning I look forward to seeing what delectable treat you are offering that day. Please enter me in the salt giveaway, even though I went out and bought some Maldin salt yesterday.

  • Hi Chris! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!!! I like you on FB and subscribe to your email updates. 🙂 Hope you’re having a phenomenal summer!

  • Yummy!

    I’ve been a follower for months via RSS feed. I bet you have a lot more followers than you think via RSS since you don’t “see” those.

    My fave posts so far were the ones in England with your grandkids. How I cherish time in the kitchen with my grandmother!

  • I am so enjoying reading your blog every day and was glad to see I could have updates emailed directly to me. Thanks for the culinary inspiration!

  • I have especially enjoyed recipes using basil… have had an abundance of the herb myself so have welcomed new ideas! I also think it is neat that you are a member of my church, a normal person! Doing a terrific job on a really fun, classy blog! Go girl! Congrats regarding the 100 followers!

  • YOur tomato basil soup was great! I was short on the amount of chicken broth, but I liked the thickness. Tonight I made the leftovers into a red sauce for pasta with portabellas and a bit of sauteed zucchini by adding a bit of tomato paste, garlic and Italian herbs. Was great! Love your blog. Still smiling over the wedding cake and I will make the poppy seed cake this weekend for my son’s birthday.Thank you!

  • We love the Mediterranean Pita sandwiches—almost the whole family loves me to fix them when they come over. In fact, we had them last night. Love the Greek dressing, the hummus recipes–these are all standbys for me. Congratulations and keep up the good work–both of you. Dixie

  • Keep up the hard work! I just love your site especially because my mom has such fond stories about you guys from West Bend.

  • Ha! I remember what schweinerei is and my house looks the same way at the moment. I think that was my favorite post, actually because I could relate so much.

    The panini is fantastic. Margherita pizza is my favorite, so incorporating those flavors in any dish is a win for me. Many thanks!

  • I just signed up for your e-mails! I hadn’t thought of that – now I don’t have to keep going and seeing if there is anything new – I’m afraid I’ll miss one.
    I made the granola 3 days ago and finally had to put it in a hard to get to place because I kept reaching in and eating it. Yummy!

  • Congratulations, I haven’t missed a post and have read many recipes numerous times. Your pictures are beautiful. I have tried many of your recipes and every one has been a hit. (The puff pastry pizza is a one!) But my family’s favorites are the basil salad dressing and the peanut ginger marinade. We could eat those out of the jar and there is always some in my refrigerator. Many thanks for making our meals better.

  • Congratulations, I haven’t missed a post and have read many recipes numerous times. Your pictures are beautiful. I have tried many of your recipes and every one has been a hit. (The puff pastry pizza is one!) But my family’s favorites are the basil salad dressing and the peanut ginger salad dressings. We could eat those out of the jar and there is always some of both in my refrigerator. Many thanks for making our meals better.

  • Congratulations Chris, with a blog as delicious and lovely as yours its no surprise thst you have so many followers. One of my favorite posts is the cake you did for your sister’s wedding. I was thrilled to see that in my inbox.

  • Wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed seeing you and your husband again in Georgetown. Love the blog and have already printed out many recipes to try! (Lavonn at Kudzu)

  • Loved making Nanny’s Amazing Ginger Toffee Molasses
    cookies…had fun trying to find the ginger (of all places beneath tomatoes/herbs hanging on a rack at Harris Teeter)!!
    Delicious…thanks Chris

  • I just love your beautiful website. The pictures are a delight to the eye and soooo tempting. I love seeing your post each day. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Lindsay

  • To A Very Special Sister,

    All your recipes are terrific and I have been enjoying your cooking and baking for many years but the wedding cake not only is not only beautiful it also touched my heart. I sat and cried when I read your thoughts about your older sister. So here is to Chris who I send a big hug and a kiss. Congrats on a most well thought out, beautiful, delicious and creative blog. And oh by the way add my name to the salt give a way.

    I am off today on my honeymoon. I will keep an eye open for an interesting serving piece for you.

    xoxo

    Marlene

  • To A Very Special Sister,

    All your recipes are terrific and I have been enjoying your cooking and baking for many years but the wedding cake not only is not only beautiful it also touched my heart. I sat and cried when I read your thoughts about your older sister. So here is to Chris who I send a big hug and a kiss. Congrats on a most well thought out, beautiful, delicious and creative blog. And oh by the way add my name to the salt give a way.

    I am off today on my honeymoon. I will keep an eye open for an interesting serving piece for you.

    xoxo

    Marlene

  • I’ve tried two of your recipes so far, and have LOVED both the Sweet Basil Vinaigrette (always in my fridge now!) and the Strawberry Balsamic Pizza…we have homemade pizza once a week, and enjoy trying creative new combinations. Thanks for the great recipes!

  • I just came over to your blog from Pass the Sushi. Congrats on the 100 followers… Great going! Just wanted to leave you a comment to let you know I think you have a fantastic blog with some yummy recipes! I’ve subscribed for your email updates 🙂 I look forward to visiting more often!

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