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Local Lunch: Mackenzie Creamery Sweet Fire Chèvre

Local Lunch: Mackenzie Creamery Sweet Fire Chèvre

Hopefully you enjoyed the Series, Free Lunch, in which I highlighted cheeses I received from both Kerrygold (Blarney Castle & Dubliner) and Cabot (Chipotle & Private Stock Cheddar). I thoroughly enjoyed researching the various cheeses and of course tasting them. Each cheese had its own 

Free Lunch: Cabot Private Stock Cheddar

Free Lunch: Cabot Private Stock Cheddar

Editor’s Note: Please make sure not to miss the other entries in the Free Lunch series. All cheese used in Free Lunch was sent for free by the creameries themselves without any knowledge of how it would be used. Cheese, in my opinion, is one 

Free Lunch: Kerrygold Dubliner

Free Lunch: Kerrygold Dubliner

Editor’s Note: Please make sure not to miss the other entries in the Free Lunch series. All cheese used in Free Lunch was sent for free by the creameries themselves without any knowledge of how it would be used.

Prior to talking about Kerrygold Dubliner, let me tell you an interesting Irish story that I don’t believe I have shared before. While in NYC last fall promoting my cookbook, I was staying at The Moderne, an amazing boutique hotel. Located within the hotel is a lounge, with free coffee and fruit. My traveling companion, aka my mom, and I loved the lounge simply for how relaxing it was. Anyway, the first time we were sitting there, an Irish couple joined us and we started talking. Yes, a couple from Ireland wanted a copy of my grilled cheese cookbook. They were so very nice and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them, regardless of the fact that they purchased a copy of my book. It was a pleasant surprise on a trip that was very enjoyable, both for the promotion and sight seeing.

Not onto the show cheese…

Free Lunch: Kerrygold Dubliner

I don’t even remember how or when I stumbled on Kerrygold Dubliner, but when I did, I knew I had found a great cheese that I would enjoy for years to come. It opened the door to what good cheese should taste like. No longer was I hesitant to try different cheeses, now I wanted to experiment as much as I could. $25/lb cheese? Sounds good to me. Trying Dubliner cheese led me to try other great cheeses such as different varieties from Cabot and so many other brands. There are still so many unique cheeses to try but I believe I am well on my way. Continue reading Free Lunch: Kerrygold Dubliner

Free Lunch: Cabot Chipotle Cheddar

Free Lunch: Cabot Chipotle Cheddar

Editor’s Note: Please make sure not to miss the other entries in the Free Lunch series. All cheese used in Free Lunch was sent for free by the creameries themselves without any knowledge of how it would be used. Since I started this blog in 

Free Lunch: Kerrygold Blarney Castle

Free Lunch: Kerrygold Blarney Castle

Recently, I was lucky enough to be sent free cheese courtesy of both Kerrygold [Instagram] and Cabot [Instagram]. In honor of this free cheese, and Grilled Cheese Month 2014, I have created the series, Free Lunch. In this series, I will be creating 4 different 

St. Patrick’s Day Kale & Potato Grilled Cheese

St. Patrick’s Day Kale & Potato Grilled Cheese

When an Irish creamery sends you a ton of free cheese and butter in late February/early March, it is their way of telling you, use their product to create a St. Patrick’s Day grilled cheese. It is a no-brainer in my opinion and that is exactly what I did.

A couple weeks ago, as evidenced by the photo below, Kerrygold not only sent me 7 different varieties of cheese, they also included 4 different varieties of butter. I had planned to make a non-holiday related grilled cheese so many different times but life simply got in the way. As the days passed, I realized we were so close to St. Patrick’s Day that I needed to make a holiday grilled cheese, just as I did last year. I needed to improve upon last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Soda Bread Grilled Cheese and make something special. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and who would have guessed that kale would be included? Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Kale & Potato Grilled Cheese

Facebook, you are dead to me.

Facebook, you are dead to me.

I think most of the world has a love/hate relationship with the social network, Facebook. You have to be a part of Facebook even though deep down you really don’t care about 95% of the items or people that show up in your news feed. 

Blueberry Scone & Jeni’s Salty Caramel Grilled Cheese

Blueberry Scone & Jeni’s Salty Caramel Grilled Cheese

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the couples out there. I hope you have a great day with your significant other. To all of the single people, I promise you, it will get better. I once felt like I would never find anyone, let alone anyone 

Cauliflower Puree & Cabot Grilled Cheese

Cauliflower Puree & Cabot Grilled Cheese

Over the past week, I had been planning to make a brand new grilled cheese featuring homemade cauliflower puree. However, there was always something that stopped me. Not enough time, too many errands, etc. It all changed on Saturday when us here in Cleveland were snowed in. With whiteout conditions, I obviously wasn’t going anywhere, but that didn’t mean ingredients weren’t coming to me. Sitting outside our garage on Saturday was a box of various cheeses courtesy of Cabot Cheese. (I am now a member of Cabot’s Cheese Board. Go me.) I had already purchased my previous ingredients, broccoli, cauliflower and rye bread, so I was all set to create a brand new grilled cheese creation.

ingredients:

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients: Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar

the cheese: cabot seriously sharp cheddar

When a box of free cheese lands on your doorstep during a snow storm, how do you not make a grilled cheese? It was kismet, a match made in heaven. With 4 cheeses to choose from (image below), sharp cheddar, light cheddar, pepper jack and horseradish, I had a decision to make.

I had already made a pepper jack grilled cheese last week so the pepper jack was out. I am not one to use light cheese when I have other options so that was out.

I noticed the horseradish cheese, oddly enough, is marked as artificially flavored so that was out at the time. (I prefer my cheeses all natural.) I have since learned so much from Cabot personally and their web site that my view has changed and the next chance I get, I will be eating some Cabot Horseradish Cheddar:

We earnestly tried to use real horseradish in our Cheddar, but over time, real horseradish negatively impacted the integrity of our cheese. The flavor used in our Horseradish Cheddar is an all-natural combination of oils, mustard, and other spices, which we add to our natural Cabot cheese.

After all that my choice was made for me: Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. It was an amazing cheese at that.

Seriously Sharp will turn a cheddar lover into a cheddar enthusiast. Brace yourself for the intensely tangy, nutty and complex flavor that this cheddar has to offer. Simply put, this cheese is not messing around. It has a dense and slightly crumbly texture and a milky white color. Redolent of the grassy, clover covered fields of the North Country, we like to savor it with full-flavored ingredients like smoked meat and spiced chutney. This is the cheese that will make a box of macaroni weep with joy or your fondue pot go weak in the knees. It is the cheddar that bites back. (Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar)

Yes, this cheese was sent to me at no charge. But trust me when I say, this cheese is most definitely “seriously sharp.” For some reason, upon first bite, I tasted Swiss. (Yes, I am odd.) On subsequent bites, that is when I tasted the true bite of the Sharp Cheddar mixed with a delicious creaminess. I love Cheddar cheese, but only when they are sharp, and Cabot’s version did not disappoint in the least. I would highly recommend Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar to all. Even if you have to pay for it.

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients:

the ingredient: homemade cauliflower puree

I have made a grilled cheese featuring broccoli and cauliflower previously and while it wasn’t bad, it was not exactly what I expected. The mixture was more on the mild side and lacking in true flavor. It was not what I was hoping for. With this grilled cheese, I set out to make a better and more tasty version of the original. I started by creating, for the first time, cauliflower puree. This mixture seems to be the ingredient everyone is talking about when trying to create a healthy diet. Cauliflower puree instead of mashed potatoes. Cauliflower puree pizza crust. So many options. Google was awash with so many recipes that I took inspiration from a few different options that you should look through (1, 2, 3, 4).

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients: Steaming Cauliflower/Broccoli

Using a steamer that the sous chef seemed to just have lying around, I steamed both the cauliflower and broccoli for 10 minutes or so just to get them soft to the touch. Then, I separated the broccoli and cauliflower. Set aside the steaming liquid.

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients: Cauliflower Puree Ingredients

Now this is where I used a little bit of liberty with the few recipes I found online. Most of them said to use some sort of liquid such as heavy cream, buttermilk or just plain milk. However, I didn’t have heavy cream or buttermilk and was unsure about using milk. I had some egg nog that I could have used but I still wasn’t sure. I decided to use some of the steaming liquid simply because it smelled delicious. In addition to the liquid, I added some butter, garlic (probably way too much but more on that at the end), fresh chili powder and salt and pepper. Of course, the ingredients included are all personal preference. I just happened to have (and love) fresh chili powder so that is why I added it. If you would prefer something more mild, leave it and the garlic out. Have fun with your cauliflower puree and I have no doubt it will be delicious.

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients: Cauliflower Puree

Mix this with just a hand blender and you will be all set. I added the steaming liquid slowly as I was blending, using only enough to help with the blending process. I didn’t want the cauliflower puree too runny in my sandwich.

Once I tasted the cauliflower puree, I truly realized how much the puree resembled mashed potatoes. And how much this grilled cheese resembles another favorite sandwich of mine, Garlic & Green Onion Mashed Potato Grilled Cheese. This won’t be the last time I make cauliflower puree.

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients: Broccoli

the other ingredient: broccoli

I probably could have included the broccoli in the cauliflower puree but since that is what I did in my previous attempt at this sandwich, I wanted to switch it up just a little. Instead, after steaming the broccoli with the cauliflower, I simply put them on a cookie sheet, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked them for about 5 minutes or so at 350*. I just wanted to give them a little bit of something.

Cauliflower Purée & Cabot Grilled Cheese Ingredients: Rye Bread

the bread: fresh rye

Considering there was a whiteout when I wanted to make this sandwich, I went with what bread we had in the house. It was delicious, fresh rye from the local market so why not?

cauliflower puree & cabot grilled cheese: A

Kick. This grilled cheese had a kick. This grilled cheese really had a kick.

My dad tried this grilled cheese and he said he liked it but it had too much of a kick. My mom tried a sample of the cauliflower puree and immediately went for water.

I reveled in the heat (although there truly was a lot of it).

I either added too much garlic (1 1/2 cloves) or too much fresh chili powder (two nice sized pinches) or too much Sharp Cheddar. Regardless, this grilled cheese had a kick and it was oh so gloriously delicious. The broccoli may have been unnecessary overall but I do believe it added some texture.

If you like heat, make this grilled cheese as hot as you can take it. If you don’t like heat, well then tone down the garlic and exclude the chili powder.  Either way, you will have yourself a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Promoting The Super Bowl Grilled Cheese

Promoting The Super Bowl Grilled Cheese

In 2011, I created the “Nachos & Cheese Super Bowl Grilled Cheese” and then just kind of forgot about it. I let it sit out there in Internet World for people to find on their own. Super Bowl 46 passed. Super Bowl 47 passed. No