Welcome to The Pink Kitchen.....where life is fashionably delicious!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gotta Love Giada

What's not to love about Giada De Laurentiis? Not only is she adorable, but her recipes are amazing, too! I was lucky enough to meet Giada for the second time at her recent book signing at Williams-Sonoma in the  King of Prussia Mall. The signing started at 12:00 and I meant to get there at 11:00, but accidentally overslept. So by the time I got there, the line was miles long. Two and a half hours later, I got to see Giada and get my book signed. She was signing her latest cookbook, "Weeknights With Giada". I have all of Giada's cookbooks, but so far this one is my favorite. Most of the meals are quick and have short lists of ingredients. The "Ham, Gruyere, and Apple Panini" really caught my eye and is the first recipe I chose to make from the book. It's delicious! Gruyere is now my new favorite cheese. It's nutty and a little bit sharp. I would describe it as a cross between Swiss and Parmesan. YUM!

Ham, Gruyere, and Apple Panini (recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)


2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country-style white bread
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
8 (1oz.) slices Black Forest ham


1. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the apple slices and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
2. Preheat panini press or panini pan. Spread each bread slice with 1 Tbsp mustard. 
3. Arrange 1/4 cup cheese on two bread slices. 
4. Top with ham and apple slices.
5. Add remaining cheese and place bread slices on top.
6. Grill sandwiches until cheese has melted and bread is golden and crispy. (About 5-6 minutes)

***I made a few changes to this recipe. I used a sprinkle of dried thyme instead of fresh and used fresh Ciabatta bread instead of white bread. If you don't have a panini press or pan, you can use a grill pan and place a heavy pan on top of the sandwiches to press them down while they cook. 

Here's some pictures from the book signing!

Giada signing my book :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zuppa Soupa

This is hands-down my favorite soup recipe. It tastes just like the Zuppa Toscana soup served at The Olive Garden. If you've never had it, it's a broth-based soup with a touch of cream to balance out the spiciness. Sausage, bacon, potatoes, onion, and swiss chard give it LOADS of flavor. I made it last week and I'm making it again next week. That's how much I love it! I like using swiss chard rather than spinach because it holds up nicer and doesn't turn to mush the next day when you're craving leftovers. You could also substitute kale if you like. It doesn't even need salt or pepper! 

Zuppa Toscana 


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
3 strips extra thick bacon (or 6 regular slices), chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves, tough stems removed
1 cup half-n-half


1. Drizzle olive oil in a large dutch oven or sauce pan. Add onion and bacon. Cook over medium heat until onion is tender and bacon begins to brown. 
2. Add sausage and break it up with a spoon. Continue to cook until sausage is crumbled and cooked through. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 2-3 more minutes.
3. Add chicken stock, water, and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender. 
4. Add chard and let it wilt in the soup. Add half-n-half and simmer a few more minutes to heat through.