Challah and Cherry Panini with Goat Cheese and Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

IMG_4345I always thought it was a beautiful idea to support local businesses and I do.  It’s just that convenience is so….convenient. I always have the best intentions to go to the farmers market here in the city and grab some really cool produce, fruits, honeys, breads and an arm full of flowers and come home and have the perfect kitchen going making an awesome meal.  Then I think, I have to go all the way down to Union Square, fight a crowd and then lug everything back on the train to get home.  Then I think, you know, there’s a grocery store near by or the deli where Mario works.  That’s where convenience kills me.  I’m getting better though because when I shop locally, I feel in control.  This may not be the reason to shop locally but it’s how I think.  Here’s why.  If you’re a dick, I’m not buying from you anymore and I’m going to let everyone know.  If you’re super cool, even if you’re over priced, I’m buying and I’ll let everyone know how awesome you are.  I like to support good people, not assholes.  That’s why I refuse to eat at any Bobby Flay restaurants or watch his shows.

Currently its summer in New York and it couldn’t be more beautiful.  We got a good three months before it goes back to grey and depressing, so I like to hop out of bed by 9 and be in the city by 11 and just wander all day.  I like to check out small coffee shops, local pastry shops, do some shopping at a cool little store, grab a churro down on the subway platform, lay in the park eating a plum or peach that I find from a local stand and then maybe hit up a place for happy hour and get some cool refreshing cocktails.  Now that’s a good day right there.  If I happen to make a friend along the way.  Well then, even better.  Mom always said “Strangers are friends waiting to happen.”  Maybe she was trying to get rid of my brothers and I?  Either way it worked out and life is grand.

Again, the Challah and cherry panini with goat cheese and hazelnut spread is kinda a cross between panini and grilled cheese sandwich and I have no idea how it came to me but I thought it would be cool that it be provided by as many local or independent places as possible.  There are numerous bakeries down in Union Square for the farmers market.  There is one in particular I refuse to go to because the owner turns my stomach.  This is where my passive aggressiveness comes in.  I mean absolutely nothing to him nor ever will but in my screwed up mind, he’s hurting.  If I tell myself this, I feel good.  I won’t say the name but I go to a different one.  Then I moved on and got some goat cheese.  The goat cheese is a vanilla and cardamom flavored.  Though this stuff has an amazing texture and flavor I really didn’t get any cardamom.   A little vanilla came through giving it a little pick me up sweetness but that’s about it.  You could use regular goat cheese, obviously.  I bought cherries from the local market here in Queens where I live.  Queens tends to be way cheaper than the city and cherries are not cheap to begin with and hey, it’s the local market.  The chocolate hazelnut spread is from Justin’s that you can find in any supermarket nowadays I believe.  It’s like three times more expensive than Nutella but hundred times better.  If you taste this against Nutella you’ll wonder why you fell in love with Nutella.  Justin’s has a great chocolatey flavor and it’s not icky sweet.  It tastes real.  Enough said.

Do I have to tell you how I made a sandwich?

OK, I smeared Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread on one side, Goat Cheese spread on the other, laid pitted cherries in between.  Closed the two pieces together making a sandwich.  There’s more…. Then I lightly buttered the two outsides and laid it in a hot skillet.  I have like a panini press like skillet.  If you don’t I understand.  I wouldn’t have one either if it weren’t for strangers that I made friends with.  Anyway, let it get a nice golden on one side, flip that thing over and get golden on the other side.  Tah-dah!!!

I loved this sandwich.  Good crispy, sweet and nice textures.  The chocolate and cherry are great combinations and then you get a little tang of the goat cheese.  I bought local, whole, real good food and I felt like I supported good people and in my mind I feel like I stuck it to some assholes.  My life coach would be pissed about my anger but damn I feel good.

It’s going to be a good day!!


I like this shot


Purchased at Union Square Farmer’s Market. Great stuff!


Another purchase at the Farmer’s Market Union Square. Great loaf of bread at a reasonable price.


Anything named Justin has got to be awesome. This stuff is amazing!! Why haven’t tried sooner I don’t know. I’m sorry Justin.

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