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Happy Grilled Cheese-ter!

Get it? Because

Cheese

+ Easter

= Cheese-ter! Right???

Aaaaanyway. For those of you that may not have been aware, this past Wednesday was a day very near and dear to my heart: National Grilled Cheese Day!

Of all the foods I love to eat, grilled cheese holds a special place near and dear to my heart. I can recall eating grilled cheeses as far back as I can remember; they were always my go-to snack when I was growing up. They’re super easy to make, there’s an unlimited number of variations you can do, and come on now, it’s buttery toasted bread with gooey melted cheese–where can you possibly go wrong with that?

And so in honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, I thought I’d give you some inspiration to make your own cheesy grilled concoction! And the bonus? It’s the perfect meal to whip up for any picky little eaters you might have on Easter (like my nephew, oh boy).

  • Comte with Anna Mae’s Smoky Mustard
  • Gruyere, caramelized onions, & mushrooms
  • Smoked Cheddar with honey mustard & cornichons
  • Swiss with prosciutto & pickles
  • Mozzarella, tomato, basil, & a touch of balsamic vinegar
  • Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing cheese, fresh jalapenos, & pulled chicken
  • Gouda with apple slices
  • Brie with Raspberry Preserves
  • Brie, bacon, & apricot

As you can see from just those few combinations, there are so many ways you can go with this! Grilled cheese is so fun because you can pretty much just take whatever you love to eat and press it between two slices of crispy buttery bread. Excuse me for a moment, my mouth is watering…

To top it all off, ladies and gents, I’m also going to share with you a recipe that my friend Karen sent to me the other day that really got me excited to do this post


Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Casserole

What you’ll need:

  • For Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
    • 16 slices sourdough bread
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • one 5.2-ounce container of Boursin cheese (or other soft, spreadable cheese)
    • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 8 thick pieces
      • try Lioni Fresh Mozzarella
  • For Tomato Soup
    • One 14-ounce can tomato sauce
    • ⅓ cup tomato paste
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 eggs
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To Finish
    • ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese

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How to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. MAKE THE SANDWICHES: Butter one side of each slice of bread with ½ tablespoon soft butter. Flips the slices over and spread 1 tablespoon Boursin on 8 pieces of the bread. Place 1 slice of mozzarella on top of the Boursin and then finish with one more piece of bread, butter side up, to close the sandwiches.
  3. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the sandwiches on the hot griddle and cook until both sides are toasted, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the sandwiches aside.
  4. MAKE THE SOUP: In a medium pot, whisk the tomato sauce with the tomato paste until smooth. Heat over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Stir in the cream and thyme.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Pour about a third of the hot tomato mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to combine.
  6. Return the mixture to the pot and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. MAKE THE CASSEROLE: Pour half of the tomato mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Arrange the sandwiches inside the dish and then pour the remaining tomato mixture on top.
  8. Sprinkle the cheddar evenly over the casserole. Bake until the tomato mixture is bubbly and the cheese is melted, 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving warm.

** Recipe from HERE


What’s your favorite way to make grilled cheese?

Terrapin Ridge Focaccia Pizza

Have I ever mentioned that I have a big family?

Big as in, mom & dad, 6 kids, 2 brother-in-laws, and another 4 boyfriends/girlfriends. So you can imagine the craziness it is when we all manage to get together.

Like today! Today is actually one of my sisters’ birthdays, and tonight we’re planning on surprising her by getting the whole family together at her house while my brother-in-law distracts her. Hopefully she doesn’t read this blog…

Anyways. I’ve learned over the years that it can be very hard to make enough food for
everyone when there are so many of us. And I’ve also learned that pizza is always a fantastic go-to IMG_8858option.

It’s easy to make, you can easily customize it, & it can generally feed a lot of people.

SO I was very excited when I got an email a couple of weeks ago from our Vineyard Market lead in Morris Plains, Karen, giving me a recipe for some amazing-looking pizza.

I mean, COME ON. LOOK AT IT.

So folks, if you want to find out how you can serve up this mouthwatering pizza, then just keep on reading below!

What you’ll need:

  • Terrapin Ridge Farms Creamy Chipotle Pepper dip
  • About  ½ of a 4 oz. Montchevre plain goat cheese log, crumbled
  • About ½ cup Manchego cheese shredded
  • Il Forno Focaccia bread
  • About  ¾ cup Shredded Rotisserie chicken
  • 1 small onion, sliced and caramelized
  • Olive oil

Karen Pizza

How to do it:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place Focaccia on a sheet pan.
  • Dollop small amounts of goat cheese all around the focaccia bread.
  • Evenly drizzle Chipotle pepper dip over bread and goat cheese.
  • Sprinkle chicken over bread then top with shredded Manchego cheese.
  • Dollop a little more chipotle dip for good measure and drizzle entire pizza with olive oil.
  • Place sheet pan in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  • Ingredient amounts are very forgiving and easily interchangeable with other things. Make what you like!
    • Use pulled pork instead of chicken.
    • Add cooked bacon or pancetta.
    • Brisket would be great with sautéed mushrooms instead of onions

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Get your spread on

Some of you may already know this, but I think the mass majority is unaware

that I am, in fact,

a nerd.

And I’m not just talking about cheese. Sure, I’m a cheese nerd, but I also consider myself a nerd in the conventional sense of the word: I love comics and video games.

So anyway, my point of bringing this up is that this weekend, I will be leaving the great state of New Jersey for a video game convention in Boston. My boyfriend and I will, of course, be staying in at a hotel for a couple nights–which means snacks are in order!

Lucky for me, we just got in a new treat to the Vineyard Market: Di Bruno Bros. cheese spreads. Here in Glen Rock, I started out by bringing in two of the three flavors they make, and I’m so excited to tell you about them.

I feel like I get asked pretty often for some sort of a beer cheese or beer dip, so ladies and gents, the first flavor by Di Bruno Bros. is Smoked Gouda & Beer. A mixture of cheddar and gouda, this spread is rich and smooth with some pieces of pimento scattered throughout. I could definitely taste the smokiness from the gouda right away on my first bite, and then the beer presents a lovely end note. I could see this great with crackers or pretzels alike, or even melted into some mac and cheese. For all you smoked gouda-lovers out there, this is certainly an item you should check out.

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Now, if you don’t know me yet, hi my name is Amber and I’m a chili-head. I love spicy food. The spicier the better really. So as you can probably guess, the other flavor I decided to bring in is a spicy one, called Abbruzze. This flavor has chili flakes, garlic, and herbs and is definitely not a spread for the fainthearted. If you really hate spicy food, this spread is probably not the one for you; however, if you can handle a little heat, I think it’s something you might really enjoy. This one is cheddar-based and has a really nice blend of spices in it making it rich and complex. The heat creeps up on you a bit, and in a range of “not spicy at all” to “it burns your tongue off”, I’d say this guy is on the medium-to-hot side.

Both spreads come in a nicely packaged resealable container, making them perfect for my mini-roadtrip this weekend. You can expect my boyfriend and I to be chowing down on these suckers before bed.

Have you tried Di Bruno Bros. spreads? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Snowed-in Snackage

Did anyone else not really believe the weatherman when he said we were going to be snowed in yesterday morning? I mean really, they’re only right about 40% of the time…

So anyway, as you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly ready for the plethora of fluffy, white snowfall that I woke up to. Whilst everyone else’s fridges were packed to the brim with milk and bread, mine was seriously lacking.

But I’ll tell you what was in my fridge: cheese.

OBVIOUSLY.

And so, this has inspired me to create this lovely little post for you on (drumroll please….) cheese fondue.

Now, let me start by saying that in my opinion, cheese fondue is one of the most highly overlooked foods. It’s such a simple concept: just melt some cheese! But I’ve certainly found myself trying to figure out the right basic ingredients to make the perfect fondue.

In the past when I’ve tried looking into this topic, I’ve always just found various recipes for different fondues, and most of them required an exorbitant number of ingredients–not what I was looking for.

But alas! I’ve finally found the secret to the perfect cheese fondue, thanks to the site Serious Eats. Basically your fondue requires 5(ish) ingredients:

  • Wine
  • Cheese
  • Cornstarch
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Pepper

I know, that’s technically 6 ingredients, but salt and pepper is really like one thing anyway.

Now, I could already tell you off the bat that a great fondue starts with a great melting cheese; my go-to favorite is the classic Gruyere. I also know that a light white wine is ideal; however, last time I made fondue I ran into some issues because I think that
A. I used too much wine and
B. my cheese and wine would not combine together, so I ended up with this weird wine-soaked cheesy blob (gross).

SO. What I’ve learned from reading is the following:

  • Keep it simple; pick 1 or 2 cheeses and make sure one of them is super melt-able
  • Use about 1 cup of wine for every 1 pound of cheese
  • Heat your wine/cheese on a very low heat setting or flame
  • Shred the cheese and then toss it with some cornstarch before trying to melt it into the wine, otherwise it probably will not incorporate nicely (and you’ll end up with a weird wine-soaked cheesy blob)
  • Use lemon juice for some added acidity & also to help stabilize your cheese fondue
    • Being “stable” means that your cheese mixture will remain smooth and mixed together. When cheese sauces are heated too much or don’t have enough of certain ingredients to help stabilize them, they “break”, meaning that the cheese solids separate from the liquids and the sauce becomes clumpy.
  • Salt and pepper are very basic but key ingredients in enhancing the flavors in your fondue

All right, so now that we have some basic tips, let’s get into a quick and easy recipe that you can make with items from our Vineyard Market the next time you’re snowed in!


Super Simple Cheese Fondue

Too many cheese fondue recipes are super complicated and ask you to throw in too many ingredients (for my preference). This recipe is nice and easy and only requires 5 ingredients (give or take). Remember, we’re cooking here, so everything doesn’t have to be perfectly exact. If you wanna throw in a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan, do it. If you have some chives on hand that you want to add in, by all means. Experiment a little bit and have fun with it!

What you’ll need:

  • about 8oz. Gruyere, shredded
  • about 8oz. French Emmental, shredded
  • 1 cup Santa Silvana Pinot Grigio (or any dry, white wine)
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 medium-sized lemon, juiced
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: 1 fresh garlic clove, halved
  • Your choice of dippables:
    • cubes of bread, chunks of fresh apple, baby carrots or broccoli

How to do it:

  • Pro-tip from Serious Eats: use the halved garlic clove to rub down the inside of your fondue pot before you start heating the wine to impart a nice garlicky flavor.
  • Put wine in your fondue pot (or over a very low flame or double-boiler) and begin heating it up.
  • Combine your shredded cheeses in a bowl and toss with cornstarch.
  • Little by little, begin adding the cheese mixture to your wine, stirring carefully with each addition to make sure it’s fully incorporating.
  • Once you’ve added and mixed in all the cheese and your fondue is smooth, add and mix in the lemon juice.
  • Next add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bon appetit!

Super Bowl Lineup – Day 3 – Creamy Bruschetta Bites

2 days left until the Super Bowl!!!

Anyone else as excited as I am?

I’m just such a sucker for all the game time snacks, as if you couldn’t already tell. The next snack idea I’ve got lined up is another that’s super easy, only requires 3 ingredients, and requires no cooking at all. And another perk? Following the same theme, all the ingredients you need can be picked up at your local Bottle King Vineyard Market!


Creamy Bruschetta Bites

This snack is easy to prepare and packs a punch of flavor in each bite. A unique twist on the classic mozz and tomato combination, these Creamy Bruschetta Bites have some richness from the burrata, followed by big flavor and some nice acidity from the bruschetta, all wrapped up and ready to eat on a crunchy piece of bruschettini.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 bags Asturi Bruschettini (we used the Rosemary flavor, but any variety works)
  • 1 container Santa Barbara Bruschetta
  • 1 container Bel Gioioso Burrata
  • optional: Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling

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How to do it:

  • Lay out your bruchettini on a serving dish
  • Drain burrata from its container. Using a spreader or small spoon, scoop a dollop of burrata onto each bruschettini
  • Layer a scoop of bruschetta on top of the burrata and bruschettini
  • Optional but delicious, drizzle with a little bit of balsamic

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* Recipe idea from the Vineyard Market’s very own Donna.

Super Bowl Lineup – Day 2 – Stuffed Peppadew Bites

And we’re back for another round!

Hope you all got the opportunity to test out yesterday’s quick and easy recipe and, even more importantly, I hope you loved it just as much as I do!

As I promised you, I’m not stopping there. I’ve got a few more fun and delicious snack ideas lined up for the next few days leading up to the Super Bowl. So let’s jump right in to the next one!


Stuffed Peppadew Bites

These little gems right here are an absolute classic at my store. Every time I whip these up for sampling, people LOVE them. We used two different cheeses this time around: a goat cheese for a rich creamy feel, and a blue cheese for a slightly more piquant taste–plus, And the best part is they only require a couple of ingredients and they’re so easy to prepare.

* If you already have the ingredients from yesterday’s dip recipe, you might even have some leftover goat cheese to use for these Peppadew Bites!

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 jar Peppadew Peppers (mild or hot, to preference)
  • about 8oz. softened goat cheese
  • about 8oz. creamy blue cheese (try Cambozola)

How to do it:

  • Take cheeses out of the fridge about 30 minutes ahead of time to let them soften
  • Drain Peppadew Peppers from jar & pat off with paper towels
  • One by one, begin taking a chunk of either cheese and stuffing it into each pepper
  • When you’ve gone through all the peppers, place on a serving dish and you’re done!
  • If you want to add a little extra oomph, drizzle with some balsamic vinegar

Super Bowl Line-up – Day 1 – Creamy Pineapple Habanero Dip

Okay guys, it’s February already–what happened to January?? Am I the only one that feels like the month just flew by? Anyways, I’ve decided that I’m okay with it for a few reasons:

  • February is my birthday month
  • we’re one month closer to the summer
  • Super Bowl Sunday!

Now, for the record, I’m not much of a football fan nor am I much of a fan for either of the football teams playing in the Super Bowl this year; HOWEVER, that’s not going to stop me from watching the game! Or making a whole bunch of food. Because well, come on now, who do you think I am?

SO on that note, I’m super excited to introduce a blog mini-series: each day for the next 5 days, beginning today and leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to share a recipe with you that you can make for your own Super Bowl celebration. Majority (if not all) of the ingredients for the recipes are available right here at the Bottle King Vineyard Market! And each recipe is tested and approved by yours truly and the rest of the Bottle King staff.

Let’s jump right in!


Creamy Pineapple Habanero Dip

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This first recipe is as easy as it gets & is always an instant hit! It requires only 2 ingredients (plus something to dunk in it) and has a nice creamy base with a mild hint of spice.

What you’ll need:

  • 8oz. Capricho de Cabra (or sub goat cheese log)
  • 1 jar Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple Habanero Dip

How to do it:

  • Take goat cheese out of refrigeration about 40 minutes to an hour ahead of time and allow to come to room temperature (this will make mixing SO much easier)
  • Place softened cheese in a mixing bowl or serving dish
  • Combine goat cheese well with Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple Habanero Dip
  • Serve with your choice of chips, bread, or veggies!
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