Cheese, Food recipes, Gourmet Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Day 3 – National Grilled Cheese Month

Didn’t I promise you I’d be back with another tasty treat this weekend?

Well, folks, patience is a virtue, for this grilled cheese may be the best yet. Traditionally I love making my grilled cheeses in a frying pan or cast-iron skillet. This time around, however, I had limited resources and opted for the toaster oven! The sandwich still gets that beautiful crisp on it AND there’s less clean-up—Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?


“Cuban”-Inspired Grilled Cheese

For those that are unfamiliar, the traditional Cuban sandwich is made up of yellow mustard, sliced roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and dill pickles. We put a spin on this classic by swapping out the yellow mustard for some more rustic dijon, the meats for delicately divine prosciutto, and the Swiss cheese for the more rich and creamy Italian Fontina. The result is a gooey masterpiece of flavors and textures that’ll make you keep coming back for more.

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What you’ll need:

  • Crusty artisan bread—I used Il Forno’s Pane di Sesamo
  • about 3 tbsp Kozlik’s Dijon Mustard
  • 1 package Creminelli Sliced Prosciutto
  • 3 to 4 Natural Harvest Half Sour Pickles, sliced
  • 3/4 lb. Italian Fontina
  • Butter

What to do:

  • Slice 8 pieces of bread, about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Butter one side of each piece of bread.
  • Preheat toaster over (or conventional) to 375F.
    • Alternatively, preheat a cast-iron skillet or pan over medium heat.
  • Begin assembling the first sandwich. On the non-buttered side, start by spreading on a layer of Kozlik’s Dijon Mustard, followed by the sliced prosciutto, then the pickles, and lastly a generous amount of Italian Fontina
  • Close off your sandwich with another piece of bread, non-buttered side down. Repeat until all 4 sandwiches are prepped and ready for cooking.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place prepped sandwiches on it.
  • Put in the oven for about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully pull the pan out and press down on all the sandwiches using another piece of foil or a grill press.
  • Put back in the oven and continue cooking until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip sandwiches and repeat until both sides of all sandwiches are golden brown and crispy.
  • Slice in half and serve immediately.
Cheese, Food recipes, Gourmet Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Day 2 – National Grilled Cheese Month

Don’t tell me you thought I forgot about what month it is?

You didn’t really think I’d leave you hanging with just one delicious grilled cheese recipe, did you?

I. Would. Never.

Fret not, my dear cheese-lovers. I’ve got some back-to-back grilled-cheesy goodness lined up for you this weekend. And today, I think I may have found my new go-to favorite.


Jalapeño & Havarti Grilled Cheese

Havarti is a traditionally Danish cheese, and it’s one of my favorite cheeses for melting. It reminds me of a slightly bolder/tangier Monterey-Jack and goes incredibly well with a huge variety of additions (try it melted over grilled chicken and sautéed mushrooms). Like all good grilled cheeses, this one is perfectly crispy and satisfyingly gooey. The addition of marinated jalapeños adds that spicy heat that I’m a huge fan of, and the vinegar they’re marinated in gives the perfect bite of acidity. Of course, if you’re not a spicy fan feel free to swap out the jalapeños for roasted red peppers or even cherry peppers to make it your “go-to.”

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What you’ll need:

  • Crusty artisan bread—I used Il Forno’s Pane di Sesamo
  • 1/2 lb. Havarti, shredded
  • Marinated jalapeños (or sub mild peppers)
  • Butter

How to do it:

  • Slice 8 pieces of bread, about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Butter one side of each piece of bread.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet or your favorite frying pan.
  • Begin assembling the first sandwich. On the non-buttered side, start by layering a generous amount of Havarti, followed by an even layer of jalapeño slices.
  • Close the sandwich with another piece of bread, non-buttered side down.
    • You want the buttered sides on the outside of the sandwich so they’re the sides touching the frying pan.
  • Repeat last two steps above until all sandwiches are ready to be cooked.
  • Begin cooking by carefully placing your assembled sandwich(es) in the hot pan over low-medium heat—you should hear a nice sizzle.
  • If you have a sandwich press, use it to press the sandwich down in the pan. This will smush everything together, letting the cheese melt more evenly and making the sandwich a bit flatter and more manageable (like a panini).
    • If you don’t have a sandwich press, you can also use a piece of aluminum foil and something else heavy—like another cast-iron skillet.
  • Check the underside of your sandwich and, when golden brown, flip it and repeat the step above, pressing the sandwich.
  • When both sides are golden brown, remove from pan.
  • Slice in half and serve immediately.
Events, Food recipes, Gourmet Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Lineup – Sweet & Savory Crostini

And we’re back for round two! You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging with just one recipe now did you?

Today I’m back with another fantastic snack for your Super Bowl party. Another easy-to-whip-up, minimal ingredients, short-amount-of-time kinda food. Today, I give you: Sweet & Savory Crostini.

We start out by slicing a baguette into about 3/4 inch pieces and then drizzling with our favorite olive oil (this is also a fantastic way to utilize that hardened leftover bread you’ve got laying around!). Then we took a nice chunk of Ricotta Salata and layering that on top. To really spice things up, we used Rao’s Roasted Red Peppers–these babies are marinated in olive oil and mixed with golden raisins and pine nuts.

Lay one of those bad boys on top of your ricotta salata and top it all off with a golden raisin and pine nut or two, pop it in the toaster oven, and you’ve got yourself a touchdown!

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Sweet & Savory Crostini

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Il Forno Baguette
  • 1 jar Rao’s Roasted Red Peppers
  • about 1/2 lb. Ricotta Salata, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • Izaro Olive Oil
  • optional: Creminelli Sliced Prosciutto

How to do it:

  • Slice baguette into even slices, about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Drizzle slices generously with Izaro Olive Oil and line them on a baking sheet.
  • Lay a slice of Ricotta Salata on each slice of coated bread, followed by a roasted pepper and a couple raisins and pine nuts.
  • Toast in toaster oven (or conventional oven on 350) for about 5 – 10 minutes, just until the bread is toasted and crispy.
    * Note that the Ricotta Salata is not intended to melt.
  • Optional: Top wih a thin slice of prosciutto.
  • Serve immediately.
Events, Food recipes, Gourmet Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Lineup – Amber’s Antipasto Bites

Anddddddddddddd we’re back with another Super Bowl Lineup! It’s that time of year again where we get to watch two teams face off in the ultimate showdown in the NFL–and eat a whole ton of food while we do it, of course!

As usual, let’s start off with something quick and easy. First up is a nice bite-sized appetizer that’s simple to put together, requires no cooking time, but tastes delicious. My coworkers here can certainly attest to that last part–they ate all the bites as soon as I finished taking pictures of them!

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I give you a spin on a classic. I started out envisioning the traditional mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, but we amp up the flavors by using marinated mozzarella balls that have been infused with a variety of herbs.

Then we kick it up another notch by also throwing in one of my favorite secret ingredients: Peppadew peppers. So many people still don’t know about these little beauties; they’re little mildly spicy piquanté peppers that almost resemble cherry peppers, but man are these things packed with flavor. Wrap it all together in a thin slice of prosciutto and stick in a toothpick in it and you’ve got some simple and tasty finger food for the game!


Amber’s Antipasto Bites

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package Creminelli Prosciutto
  • 1 jar Peppadew Peppers, halved
  • 1 container Formaggio Marinated Mozzarella Balls
  • toothpicks

How to do it:

  • Slice prosciutto into pieces about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long–large enough for you to wrap it around the mozz and peppers.
  • Begin assembling your “bites” by placing 1 mozzarella ball in the center of a piece of prosciutto.
  • Top mozzarella with a slice of Peppadew pepper.
  • Fold prosciutto around the mozzarella and pepper & stick a toothpick through the center to secure it.
  • Repeat until you have the desired number of antipasto bites.blog1
Food recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Pumpkin Spice Mac & Cheese

IT’S PUMPKIN SPICE TIME EVERYBODY.

Now I know you’ve read the title of this post, and you’re thinking, “Amber, come on now, you can’t put pumpkin spice into macaroni and cheese.” And I’m here to tell you that, yes you absolutely can!–and it’s delicious. This is for all my pumpkin lovers out there, as well as my sweet and savory fans; think butternut squash soup and sweet potato fries.

This recipe I’m about to share blends some sweet but hearty butternut squash with some rich and robust Beemster XO as well as their Pumpkin Spice Gouda. The end result is a cheesy and luxuriously creamy and complex macaroni and cheese that you won’t soon forget.


Beemster Pumpkin Spice Mac-n-Cheese

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups Beemster Pumpkin Spice, shredded and divided 2cup/1cup
  • 1 cup Beemster XO, grated
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 16 oz pasta (I like shells or fusilli so it traps some of the cheese inside!)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Optional: roughly chopped flat leaf parsley, to garnish

Beemster Pumpkin Spice & X-O Mac-n-Cheese

How to do it:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Toss butternut squash with olive oil, season with salt & pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Puree half the squash.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions & drain.
  • Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for one minute. Pour in the milk, continue whisking until sauce is thick & coats the back of a spoon, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Remove the sauce from heat, whisk in 2 cups Beemster Pumpkin Spice, Beemster XO, mustard, and squash puree. Stir until cheese is melted.
  • Preheat broiler. Add the pasta and remaining butternut squash cubes, toss to coat. Pour into a greased baking dish, top with remaining 1 cup Beemster Pumpkin Spice.
  • Place pasta under broiler & broil until top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

 

  • Original recipe from here.
Cheese, Food recipes, Gourmet Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Labor Day Lineup – Day 1

Anyone else a little bit shook that Labor Day is just around the corner? I mean really, when I was growing up I remember summer feeling so much longer and now it just seems to fly by! Goodbye hot summer nights, hello cool autumn days–but before all that, we’ve got a holiday to get through! And I’ve got just the right snacks to share with you if you’re entertaining this weekend. Join me over the next couple days for some easy, cheese-inspired creations that will make everyone’s mouth water.

First up is a super simple and incredibly customizable appetizer/snack. Basically a sweet and savory taste in each bite, spiced up with some mild and delicious Peppedew peppers. Feel free to swap out the Gouda for your favorite Cheddar or Jack, or the Sopressata for your favorite Pepperoni or Sausage.

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App-on-a-Stick

What you’ll need:

  • 1 jar Peppadew Peppers
  • about 1 lb. Red Wax Gouda
  • 1 chub Daniele Sopressata
  • toothpicks

 

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How to do it:

  • Pat off Peppadew Peppers on paper towel.
  • Cut Gouda into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Slice Sopressata into about 1/2 inch thick chunks, then quarter them.
  • Begin assembling: a piece each Gouda, Peppadew, Sopressata on each toothpick.

Have you made this snack at home? Show us a picture of your creation in the comments section!

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Cheese, Food recipes, Gourmet Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

The Blues are back in town!

Anyone remember when we did that big feature on Roquefort blue cheese a while back? If not, I can certainly refresh your memory! Roquefort was our cheese of the month some November ago.

The biggest, baddest blue in our arsenal, Roquefort is a classic French cheese made from raw sheep’s milk and has been made using the same traditions for hundreds of years. With a big, rich mouthfeel and an intensely complex blue flavor, this cheese is surely one for my blue-lovers.

Don’t let its pungency scare you away, though, as this cheese is also quite versatile. While its heartiness might be presumed to be enjoyed mostly during the cold months, there are quite a few ways to enjoy you some Roquefort during the warmer months as well.

  • Slathered on a cracker with Flo’s Grows Raw Honey
  • Mixed with some Cheddar and pulled chicken to make a Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • To make a refreshing snack: Little Blue Bites
  • As the blue cheese component in blue cheese dressing
  • Mixed with cream cheese for dunking raw vegetables

And my favorite way: on pizza!! & what a better time for pizza than now, when the weather is just right to grill it outside.

Now you may have realized at this point that my friend Karen has been sending me quite the blog-spiration lately–and she’s still going! Check out the latest mouthwatering recipe she sent my way!


Maple Bacon Roquefort Pizza

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What you’ll need:

  • Store-bought or homemade pizza dough
    • Pro tip: ask your favorite local pizzeria to buy some of their pizza dough! 
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup real maple syrup
  • 12 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese
    • make it yourself with equal parts Mozzarella, Provolone, & Parm
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • ¼  cup roasted garlic cloves, cut into small pieces
  • 3 ounces crumbled Roquefort

How to do it

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Place the sliced apples in a small bowl and pour the maple syrup on the sliced apples and set aside.
  3. Line baking sheet with foil and sprinkle with corn meal or spray with cooking spray. Divide the pizza dough ball into 4 sections, reserving half of the dough for another use. Stretch the dough and place on baking sheet, working the dough into a rectangle. If the dough springs back, let it rest for a few minutes then continue to spread it into the corners of the baking sheet.
  4. Layer each of your pizzas with half of the shredded Italian cheese, then top with slices of apple, the bacon, the garlic cloves and finally the chunks of Roquefort.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Drizzle with additional maple syrup, cut and serve immediately.