Giada and her Pine Nut Cookies (which she definitely doesn't eat)

San Jose held the Wine and Pear Festival this weekend (side note: what kind of lame festival is that? At least Louisiana has better themes, like Shrimp, Petroleum or Rice. Way to live up to your snobby rep, NorCal.) Jokes aside though, it was pretty cool because Giada DeLaurentiis spoke and signed books. Giada's talk was good, she's really cute and personable just like on TV. And she really is THAT skinny. The woman just had a baby! She eats pasta all the time! And she's like, a size negative 2? I don't get it. Life is cruel.

Giada's Q&A wasn't terribly cooking intesive, but she talked about how she got into cooking and about being on the Food Network (she did mention that she LOVES Paula Deen, and that she is one of the nicest people she's ever met. That made me really happy. Has anyone read Paula's autobiography? It's so great. She's a fabulous Southern Lady.) As for cooking, she did mention that lemon juice can be substituted for wine in most recipes if you don't have any booze around or if you don't drink (yeah I know, that really applies to all of us. Y'all can stop laughing now). I have better photos on my camera, but can't seem to locate the USB cable. So for now I'm just putting up the picture I took with my phone, even thought you can't see much.

The line for books was around the block, and to get in for that I would have had to skip her Q&A. Plus I didn't have a book to get signed. Oh well.

In addition to Giada, there were lots of food booths, wine tasting ($20 for 6 tastes? Not in my price range) and the weekly Farmer's Market. I think I'm going to go back to that every weekend because the produce was amazing. And it was cheap too! I ended up buying some local honey because my allergies have been bugging me out here, and some candied ginger (really yummy with fruit or in pies). Plus I ate a meal's worth of samples, including some crazy good Afghani spinach bread. Not a bad day at all.

In preparation for my Giada encounter, I made her Pine Nut Cookies. I've been eyeing the recipe for awhile now because I love pine nuts. Luckily, I can get them really cheap at Trader Joe's, much cheaper than back home. Its about $4 for half a pound, instead of $5 for a little 1 oz. jar. (Trader Joe's is a foodie's dream. Anyone want me to ship them some? Jk) But for the cookies you only need a handful of pine nuts, so its not too bad.

The recipe calls for fennel seed, but after consulting with our resident Pasta Queen and Italy Expert Erin Parker, I decided to nix that. I don't really like that taste of fennel (does anyone?) and it seemed like it might give the cookies a weird texture. But that's up to you. The dough need to stay cold for you to slice it, or the cookies will just fall apart. Put the log of dough back in the fridge in between batches. On a whim, I also sprinkled some turbinado sugar (the "sugar in the raw" that you see at Starbucks?) on top of the cookies along with the pine nuts.

Other than that, just follow Giada's directions:
Giada's Pine Nut Cookies

Here are the finished cookies after my friends got to them. I forgot to take a picture, and only a few survived...

What is your favorite Giada DeLaurentiis recipe?