Paninis with Rosemary Ham, Cheddar, and Pears
I love working from home, especially on a rainy day like today. It's nice to get up, make a cup of coffee, put on some music (usually the amazing new Young Oceans album) and start my workday without braving the elements or battling crowded subway cars. Because I've been on the road traveling recently (New Jersey, then Nashville) and freelancing at Garden Design, this is the first day in weeks that I've actually had a work day at home! With a cat snuggled in my lap, Brandon on the couch, and the rain pouring down outside, I am content.
But one of my favorite things about working from home is being able to make my own lunch. When I'm working in midtown, picking up lunch and eating at my computer is so utterly uninspiring. But at home, I can get creative and healthy.
Leftover quinoa gets turned into a yummy salad with roasted butternut squash and red onions or mixed with kale, carrots, and red cabbage. Spinach salad with grilled chicken, oranges, and chickpeas is a favorite. Some days I'll make open-face avocado sandwiches with grated veggies. But my favorite lunchtime treat is a hot, crispy, cheese-oozing panini. Our panini press was the one kitchen contribution Brandon made to our marriage, and it has been immensely enjoyed by both of us.
I usually base my panini concoctions on the season and my mood, using whatever is in the fridge. In the summertime, I love fresh tomatoes, prosciutto, mozzarella and basil. This time of year, pre-tomatoes, I get creative with other flavor combos. Lately, I've been loving rosemary ham, white cheddar, whole grain mustard, and thinly sliced pears. These sandwiches are the perfect blend of salty-gooey-crispy, with a hint of sweet from the pears and a bit of spice from the Dijon mustard. Delish. I make them on whole wheat organic sandwich rounds from Ozery Bakery (you can usually find these at Whole Foods), which crisp up really nicely in the panini press. With a little arugula salad on the side, this is lunch at its finest!
I know, I know...not everyone has the luxury of making lunch at home. Fine – make these for dinner! Or for lunch on the weekends. They're super-versatile: if you don't have pears, swap out Granny smith apples. And if you don't have a panini press, use a nonstick pan and a cast iron skillet (or something else heavy) to press the sandwich down while cooking. No more excuses, it's time to make a delicious sandwich!![recipe:best-paninis-rosemary-ham-cheddar-pears-recipe]