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!


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.

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