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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 :)

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