Turkey, Bacon Lattice and Havarti Panini

Believe it or not, these Turkey, Bacon Lattice and Havarti Panini are the first sandwiches I’ve grilled in more than 7 months. I have been waiting for the right inspiration, and I got it this weekend when a fabulous new bakery, Manresa Bread (the first retail outpost for the two-Michelin starred restaurant Manresa), opened near me. I want to devote a whole post to Manresa Bread soon, but in the meantime, just gaze at the gorgeous levain I bought there on Saturday morning:

Levain from Manresa BreadThis levain was better than any I’d ever tasted. It’s my favorite type of bread for panini, because of its chewy density and crusty exterior. I felt like the time had come for me to pull out the ol’ panini press and grill something with this incredible bread.

And there was one more ingredient I was eager to try out on a sandwich…

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Nancy Silverton and Kathy Strahs at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food ShowSo many booths, so many dreams! Imagine the world’s largest Whole Foods on a Friday evening…plus sales reps…and speed dating. At the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco on Monday, I was overwhelmed — dizzied, even — by the sheer volume of specialty food products and people looking to buy, sell, package and promote them.

Meeting Nancy Silverton (see above) was definitely a highlight of the show for me. I’ve long admired her success as a chef and businesswoman and was extra proud to let her know that I used La Brea Bakery bread throughout much of The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook. She actually was at the show to debut a new venture: gelato! I had the chance to try out four flavors of Nancy’s Fancy — my favorite was the Coconut Stracciatella with Bittersweet Chocolate Strands, which is actually a dairy-free sorbetto. The coconut flavor, from coconut milk, was so pronounced and refreshing!

Nancy’s Fancy shared a booth with L.A. Creamery, which had one of the most decadent treats I have dared to taste in recent memory: salted caramel cheesecake sandwiched between two cinnamon-sugar dusted sugar cookies, aka Cheesecake Sammies. Ohhhh my goodness. I took three bites (ok, big bites) of this insanely delightful sandwich before I had to move it away from my own reach. I still had a lot of tasting to do!

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Diving Into Butter

November 3, 2014

My butter experience has changed, and I’ve been telling everyone about it. The initial shift happened during my 40th birthday dinner at Coi, in San Francisco. When it was time for the bread course, about an hour into our tasting menu, our server bothered to mention that the little individual loaves of Japanese milk bread he […]

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Those Cuban Sandwiches from the “Chef” Movie!

October 13, 2014

There’s a memorable scene in Chef — if you saw the movie this summer, you know the one — where John Leguizamo sways to Cuban music, massaging mojo marinade into a pork shoulder in a manner that probably deserves some privacy. When it’s falling-off-the-bone roasted, Jon Favreau, like a surgeon, shaves off a few test […]

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Why You Need This Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

October 1, 2014
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Because I’ve made them many times over the years and they’re the best pumpkin muffins I’ve tasted — fluffy, flavorful, unfussy, nice doming. Because even though baking with pumpkin can be kind of a seasonal fad, it’s a delicious one, so pumpkin on! Because now that it’s October you’re undoubtedly going to need to bring […]

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Smoked Sausage, Fig and Manchego Skewers plus Win a $100 Visa Gift Card from Johnsonville Sausage

September 29, 2014

To me, appetizers are the ultimate comfort food. They’re a treat – party food, or something to share when my husband and I are out at a restaurant. With just a few bites through which to deliver something delicious and memorable – the flavors and textures of appetizers can be bolder, more intense, maybe even […]

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A Surprisingly Good Apple Cake

September 23, 2014
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BOOM — the moment I came through the doors of the preschool my proud little boy shoved the little ziploc bag containing that day’s project right up to my face so I’d be sure to see it. “We made apple cake!!” Big grin, eyes wide and twinkling, legs jumping up and down — you can […]

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Well, hello!

September 8, 2014
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That’s me, smile-screaming on the kiddie coaster at Happy Hollow this summer. My little girl insisted we sit in the front row, for maximum thrills. I am so not a roller coaster person! But my kids got me on them at least four times over the past few months. And I have to admit, I […]

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Moving House

June 10, 2014
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An intermittent little eyebrow twitch reminds me that our departure from San Diego and move back to the Bay Area is a little more than two weeks away. I’ve been a giant ball of stress for the past few months and I have a feeling that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Selling our house […]

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Mac ‘n Cheese Grilled Cheese

April 30, 2014
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It’s the last day of April, which means that National Grilled Cheese Month is drawing to a close. We’ve got one last guest blogger today, Stefani Pollack from Cupcake Project, and she’s sharing just about the cheesiest grilled cheese sandwich possible: Mac ‘n Cheese Grilled Cheese. The mac ‘n cheese isn’t on the inside, like […]

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