First Panini, hot of the press

I’m currently drinking my morning coffee in front of snow-capped, Colorado mountains, but I’m thinking about my panini press back in Arizona and deliberating how tasty a breakfast panini would be. It would be delicious, of course, as most paninis are. I find it difficult to resist toasted bread, melted cheese, and everything in between.

For Christmas, I found us a panini press. Serendipitously, Casey received hard Italian salami in his stocking. Add a trip to the grocers for fresh baked bread, spicy whole grain mustard, and fresh arugula..and you have the start to a perfect Sunday lunch. The act of unpacking fresh groceries and immediately preparing them into a meal feels wonderful. The ingredients are fresh, rather than dug out of the bottom of the fridge on a hectic weeknight. And the time is a plenty, so even when making something as easy as paninis, I can take my time.

1 whole grain french baguette

2 generous handfuls fresh arugula

four slices Swiss cheese (cut from a wheel)

1/4 pound of sliced, hard Italian salami

1 to 2 teaspoons off whole grain spicy mustard, split between each sandwich

Garlic infused olive oil, enough to coat one side of each sandwhich

Special equipment used: Cuisine Art Gridler, set on panini press high heat.

1. Slice the baguette into two sandwich sized portions, about 5 to 6 inches. Slice horizontally, making two sandwich pieces. Coat one side of each sandwich (on the soft bread side) with olive oil and the other side with the whole grain mustard.

2. Arrange the cheese on the olive oil side, and the salami on the mustard side. Pile arugula atop and press both sides firmly together.

3. Place each sandwich, one at a time, on the panini press and cook until the cheese is melting and the bread flattens significantly.*honestly, until you think it looks good, but melted cheese is usually a good sign.

4. Serve with fresh fruit, chips (as pictured above), both, or whatever side dish you prefer. The sandwich is perfectly edible on its own as well.

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