Hamburg, Germany POP-UP!

BROOKLYN HAMBURG 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omg guess what?! I’m having my first ever pop-up in Europe this weekend! This Saturday from 6-???, I’ll be slanging some of my most favorite Brooklyn-inspired grilled cheese at Luncheonette, a super awesome spot in Altona, Hamburg. If you know anybody over here, send ‘em over and let me feed them! We’ll also have beer pairings and some sweet tunes so you should just probably suck it up and fly over yourself. The flight’s only like 7 hours from New York so it’s no real biggie ;) So ummm should I go ahead and make enough for you?

The Fry Baby – Chicken and Waffle Grilled Cheese with Pickled Cherries + Okra

Fried CHicken and waffle grilled cheese by grilled cheese social

To say that it’s been a while since I posted would an understatement. In fact, I don’t think I’ve done one single grilled cheese post since I’ve turned the ole’ grand age of 28. Yeah, I’m 28. Yeah, that DOES mean I’m almost 30. And well, yeah, it feels super weird to realize that I’m not going to be in my 20s forever. I don’t mind it though. As I’m looking up the 30s under 30 list, daydreaming of getting in it before the time runs out,  I’ve decided that I actually really like being almost-30… It’s like this weird age where all of a sudden people take you more seriously and you actually start feeling like a real live worthwhile human being.

For some reason, when I think about the things that I wanted when I was growing up, I always go back to this memory  of being a bummed out 15 year old at a punk rock show. I was standing in the corner watching this super cool girl with blue hair smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer while chatting it up with a band. Let’s be real, it was probably just the merch guy that she was chatting with, but damn she looked cool! She was so casual, confident, and hot that I automatically idolized her… Alllll I wanted was to be her – to just able to walk up to anybody and be able to share a convo and a stupid joke about a one eyed witch that made everyone laugh. I used to wonder if I would be like that when I got older or if I was destined to forever remain a square in the back corner of a bar creepily staring at the outgoing girls that I obsessed over.

But ya know what? Eff that. It wasn’t up to destiny or anything like that. All I knew was that I had to become that girl or I would live a life of regret, envy, and mad creepiness. And to be brutally honest, all the years leading up to my 28th have been hella hard . Sure, they’ve been really fun, like a lot of fun I’m lucky I’m still alive sort of thing, but they’ve been really seriously tough. I was confused, obsessed, and lost.  But things have changed as I’ve matured into a old young lady  (is that a thing?). Within this last month of becoming 28, I’ve been feeling like I’ve finally become that chick that I’d idolized at The Orpheum in Tampa that one random night of my teenhood. I’ve been feeling really fortunate and confident in myself… And it feels, well, weird as fuck and I’m not too sure if I like it.

I’m used to whining about being poor and not knowing what I’m doing with myself, but for some reason, within the last 6 months, I’ve had more opportunities than I’ve ever had, EVER, combined. I’ve become a spokesperson for something (eh hem Wisconsin Cheese! doi!).  I’ve got do do food styling for a few huge brand’s national ad campaigns. I’ve had a cooking segment on National TV. I’ve got my own brunch menu up and running at a super swank restaurant/bar in Williamsburg called Sugarburg. And I’ve got a month long Berlin/Hamburg/??? pop-up grilled cheese tour coming up in about two weeks. And I don’t mean to sound braggy or anything but what the heck? Is my life PERFECT right now? When did all this happen? Am I a real girl now? What?!

But dang, that reminds me – Do I need to get a one bedroom apartment and start living without roommates like a real adult? Should I have paid off all my medical debt from that one time I broke my arm and shoved all the bills in a drawer and never once looked at them? Should I have a savings account? Should I start exercising so that I don’t become a fat old ball of cholesterol that no one thinks is hot? Shit there’s that whole significant other thing that I should be on top of, too. I should probably be settling down and start dating one person (yikes) who will maybe one day become my husband who will hopefully one day knock me up before my ovaries shrivel and turn into weird gross dust  or whatever. Sorry for that visual but ugh! Yuck. I take it back. Growing up is hard and I don’t feel on top of things anymore. Sure, I’ll go up and talk to anybody that I want to, but I don’t want to think about it anymore. I’m just going to live in the moment for a little bit.

And duh, what I said is nothing new. We all know life is hard. But we also all know that grilled cheese is not and I think that’s why we all love it. It’s also why I’m reinventing one of my old classic sandwiches into a new and hipper version of a fried chicken and waffles grilled cheese. I mean you gotta keep reinventing yourself to stay relevant, right? At least that’s what Madonna taught me. Anyways, let’s get started before I have a panic attack over my future. Ok so here’s what ya need.

 

chicken-and-waffles-grilled-cheese-1

Ingredients

- 2 Belgium Waffles
- 1/2 cup  Smoked Applewood Fontina (I used Wisconsin Cheese’s Carr Valley)
- a couple grilled okra, cut in half
- 1 tbsp ranch dressing
- 1 semi-thin fried boneless chicken breast
- 1/2  tbsp pickled cherries, chopped
- 1 pat salted butter

 

So this step is easy and you probably already know what to do. Shred that cheese and plop it on!

Fried chicken and waffle grilled cheese

Now Fry up some chicken, put it on top, and don’t look back. Sure, fried chicken isn’t the best for you but either is  drinking. C’mon YOLO! Am I right? Click here if you need a fried chicken recipe.

 

Fried chicken and waffle grilled cheese by Grilled Cheese Social

Now here’s the I do what I want part. Add some ranch. Yeah, you heard me. Add that ranch! Then add some pickled cherry bits and smile. You deserve it!

If you have no idea how to make pickled cherries, don’t sweat it. I didn’t either until I got invited to a cherry canning class at Whole Foods a few weeks ago. To be real, I didn’t even make these ones! I was just handed them at the door in a nice little gift bag. I know, i know, it’s not fair but click HERE to go to Whole Foods website and get that pickled cherry recipe. They’re crazy good… especially with cheese, fried chicken, ranch , and belgium waffles.

Fried chicken and waffle grilled cheese by Grilled Cheese Social

Oh la la, so pretty!

Now it’s time to add something green because shit, I’m getting older and I’ve got to be a little more health conscious. These little stems of grilled okra are my new fav thing! They’re so easy and good that you might just start eating them on the reg… even if you’re not trying to fit into last summer’s shorts.

To make them, just split some okra down the middle and toss with olive oil and a little bit of salt. Heat up a grill pan or your panini press for a few minutes until it gets piping hot… THEN CRUSH THEM. Not like in a bully sort of way but rather, in a “I want these to be super flat and crisp” sort of way. Cook until they get little grill marks and become tender. Then devour… Or in this case, save them so you can make this sandwich.

Fried chicken and waffle grilled cheese by Grilled Cheese Social

Omg you’re almost at the finish line! Just add the rest of the cheese and the other belgium waffle and get ready to grill!

 

Fried chicken and waffle grilled cheese by Grilled Cheese Social

Since belgium waffles are full of butter and sugar, you don’t really need to butter this sandwich up before you grill it. I thought  I needed to before I made the recipe, but hey, you live and you learn. And you also gotta watch out for the grilled cheese haters that might not necessarily call this a “real live grilled cheese”. To avoid the, just tell them that they don’t get any bites. Then they’ll be sorry and not so serious about these fake rules that they made up.

Anyways, I digress! I used my Breville panini press to cook up this bad boy, but you could totally do it in a pan. Just make sure to keep the heat super low, and sort of cover the sandwich so that the steam can help the cheese melt.

chicken-and-waffles-grilled-cheese-7

After about ten minutes of cooking on each side (I know, i know, it takes a long time!) it should be done! Be sure to let it sit so that the cheese doesn’t ooze out while it’s all hot and gooey and absolutely perfect.

Fried CHicken and waffle grilled cheese by grilled cheese social

 

So if I had one word of advice, it would be to keep doin yo’ thang. As long as you’re true to yourself and do nice things for others and stay excited, everything will be amazing… Even if the future is horrifying – which it always will be. I think. You guys rule. Thanks for sticking with the blog even when i don’t come through!

 

Oh, and if you’d like to cheers with this sandwich, I’d highly recommend toasting to some of Angry Orchard’s newest concoction called MUSE. Because what’s better than bubbles with fried chicken? NOTHING!

 

xoxo,

 

Grilled Cheese Social

Limburger Macaroni + Cheese with Bratwurst

Limburger Mac and Cheese

Every single time I hear the word limburger, a certain b52′s song starts playing in my head and doesn’t leave for about a month in a half. And not to say that I’m not a big fan of this German block of funky goodness, but it’s true – Limburger has a bad reputation for being one of the stinkiest cheeses on the block shelf. It’s pungent, almost B-O like stank turns most people off and even I can even attest to that. After using it in a pop-up at Underground Butcher a few weeks ago, my fingers reeked like smelly feet for approximately 2 days. It was pretty gnarly but the sandwich was really good so it was totally worth it.

And don’t get me wrong, this bitch loves herself some stinky cheeses but I get that some people are terrified of ‘em so when I was trying to develop a limburger-based macaroni and cheese  recipe for the my buds at Wisconsin Cheese (see the original post here), I knew I had to make something that everybody could adore.

Once limburger is melted down into a thick and creamy sauce with whole grain mustard seeds, bratwursts, and caramelized onions, the distinct odor mellows out while still maintaining its rich and funky iconic goodness. And best of all, this recipe is topped with toasted rye breadcrumbs and thinly sliced red onions, which sort of mirrors the classic Wisconsin Limburger Sandwich which has been passed down from its German ancestors. So if you haven’t been a fan of limburger in the past but want to give it another go – try this Wisconsin Limburger Macaroni and Cheese recipe! I promise that you’ll dig it.

Wisconsin limburger mac n cheese

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat campanelle pasta
  • bratwursts, precooked, quartered and sliced
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter
  • small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pinch red chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 cups (12 ounces)Wisconsin limburger cheese
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  •  salt
  •  black pepper
  • 3 slices caraway rye bread
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced

Instructions

In large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Strain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
In medium skillet, pan-fry brats over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes until browned on each side. Set aside.

In saucepan over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons butter, onion, pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until onion becomes translucent and slightly caramelized. Whisk in 1 tablespoon flour and cook 2-3 minutes until tan-colored roux has developed. Whisk in heavy cream. Cook, stirring often, until mixture bubbles and begins to thicken; about 3 minutes. Add limburger, with rind still attached, and stir consistently so cheese melts into creamy and smooth sauce. Add whole grain mustard, honey, and apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper and stir.

In pot, combine cooked pasta, brats, and limburger sauce and then transfer to baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Place shaved red onions evenly across top and set aside.

Place rye bread in food processor. Pulse until tiny bread crumbs form. In small skillet over medium-high heat, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter and add bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, toast breadcrumbs until golden brown and fragrant. Pour rye breadcrumbs over macaroni and cheese and serve immediately.

 

limburger mac n cheese 2

 

Oh, oh oh! And don’t forget to enter All Things Mac and Cheese’s latest giveaway! You could win the ultimate mac n cheese prize pack that includes an All-Clad Pasta Pot, All-Clad Saucier, Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Casserole, Wooden Handled Flat Whisk, OXO Good Grips Box Grater, Selection of Wisconsin Cheese and butter. It’s pretty dope!

**This recipe was developed for All Things Mac and Cheese for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. I was paid for recipe development and photography. Opinions are my own.**

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas + Sea Salt

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Sea Salt

I’m not normally a French Toast kind of gal, but the other night something super magical happened. My friend and I had just got done catering an event and decided that we needed to go out and shake our booties and take a few tequila shots. But to our dismay, nothing was going on. We trotted around the Bedford stop, only to realize  “Shit, what happened to this area? It sucks now.” We kept walking, spirits still high, eyes set on the prize, desperately trying to find somewhere - anywhere with some good music and hot dudes.

To escape the douchetown that was once formally known as Bedford Avenue, we stumbled past McCarren Park and into Greenpoint – stopping at Manhattan Inn. This dimly lit piano bar is normally a super fun place to dance but it was so dead that we almost became skeletons. After that, we decided to make our way toward Enid’s, a notorious dance spot that also serves a non-wait-list-brunch featuring a good veggie burger with bacon and blue cheese for brunch. Funny, right?  It’s one of those places that make you feel like “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t eat a huge breakfast right here, I think I saw someone fucking in this same spot last night” type of thing. Anyways, on the way to Enids, we passed Warsaw Bakery, a neighborhood landmark that constantly pumps out starchy sweet fumes in the middle of the night that just make you want to curl up in a little ball and eat bread for the rest of your life.

Every single time I pass by, I try to steal a loaf stick my head in and see if someone will pass me a freshly baked nugget of bread-y goodness… Which of course never works. But this time I got lucky. There was a tall, skinny man in there, all alone, just waiting for my friend and I to flash him hahah jk, we didn’t flash him… but we did beg and plead for him to toss us a hot loaf. To our surprise, he did! This is the second time in history that I’ve been lucky enough to receive the Warsaw Bakery Drunk Girl Award. And as I was holding the steaming carb baby, I started to feel like I had won the ultimate prize and I didn’t even care about trying to find someone to go home with.

No matter where we went for the rest of the night, I never let my bread baby out of sight. I hid it behind chairs, behind tables, and under newspapers – anywhere to keep my little angel safe. I even carried it home on a 20 minute walk, delicately cradling it in its ripped up brown paper bag blanket. The next morning, as I was getting up to get an advil and a glass of water, a smile grew across my face like a proud mother as i saw the disgusting brown paper bag that had been aggressively ripped open by a really hungry man-boy that tried to come home with me and my bread. The torn up bag was still protecting the half eaten remainders or whatever type of bread it was and from that moment on, I knew I had to use the remaining bits for breakfast. And since I was craving sugar and didn’t have another body to feed, I decided to pig-out on a super dank breakfast of French Toast with Salty Caramelized Bananas. I didn’t even care that I never made it home with a boy, I had my bread and my breakfast and that’s all that mattered.

 

French Toast + Salty Caramel Bananas

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices of semi-stale bread
  • 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • 1 Farm Egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • splash of bourbon
  • 2 tbsp salty butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • banana, chopped
  • sea salt flakes
  • powdered sugar

 

Instructions

1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and .5 tbsp brown sugar. Set aside.

2. Place stale bread slices in the wet mixture and let them sit for about a minute until each side has had a chance to soak up a bunch of the custard-y sauce.

3. In a frying pan, turn the heat to medium and melt a pat of butter. As soon as it heats up, gently remove the bread from the wet mixture and place it in the frying pan, Allowing it to cook on each side for a few minutes until it’s all golden brown and beautiful. When it’s done on all sides, remove from heat and put on your serving plate.

4. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the remaining butter, whiskey, and brown sugar and let it cook for a few minutes until it begins to bubble. Add in bananas and  toss to coat with the caramel. After the bananas heat up and begin to take on some of the color from the sauce, pour the banana and caramel mixture over the french toast. Finish with a few sprinkles of maldon sea salt and a dusting of powdered sugar. Serve immediately with no regrets. Yolo.

 

banana-foster-french-toast

 

 

Enter the 36 Cheese Caves – An Ode to The Cheesemonger Invitational 2014

What happens when you round up 50 of the country’s best cheesemongers in a cold store unit in Long Island City with unlimited cheese, booze, and dance music? The Cheesemonger Invitational - that’s what. It happened last night and it was probably the best night of my whole entire life. There were spliffs being passed around, a whole hog bbq, endless Sixpoint beers (my fav!), fountains and pots of melting cheese, and a mother effin’ dance party. Seriously, what could you not like about that? … Um nothing, duh.

The event started off with some Wu-Tang, and well, I got to thinking ” Hmmmm, why aren’t there more wu-tang cheese puns and why don’t I own a shirt of one of these??” So this morning when I woke up, I followed through with my ideas and made some things that I think you guys will like. Here ya go… raw-wu-tang-cheese-500

wu-tang-cheese-whey-500

cheese-rules-everything-around-me

wu-tang-cheese-raclette-500   K, so let’s get to the CMI pics! Handmade Hazelnut Cracker topped with Chiriboga Blue, Rhododendron Honey, and Edible Flowers The CMI starts with the first round of the monger’s competition – crafting the perfect bite. This one was by Halley Zelicoff and featured Handmade Hazelnut Cracker topped with Chiriboga Blue, Rhododendron Honey, and Edible Flowers. Very, very good and very beautiful. cmi2014 There were about a million more, but these two were the most stunning to me. I’m not too sure which one this one was but I think it’s by Laura Chenel’s ash-rinded buchette canape on freeze-dried strawberries with mint and graham cracker crumble. If you were there, let me know! I think I was too busy stuffing my face to remember. CHEESEMONGER INVITATIONAL And then this happened… within minutes. Ultimate sadface. Andy Hatch After speed-eating approximately 40 bites, not realizing they were running out :(,  I ran into Andy Hatch, the HCMIC (Head Cheese Maker In Charge) of Uplands – who made the Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese that I used in my last pop-up at Underground Butcher.  he’s great and I loved his shirt – THE FDA CAN SUCK IT! And I believe you can get the shirt from the peeps at The Cellars of Jasper Hill. pleasant ridge and sweetgrass dairy Then I made Andy HatchGabe Goodlett (of Sweetgrass Dairy), and Joanna Miller (Wisconsin Cheese) pose for a picture with me. Hah. Yeah, I’m totally faded in this pic. Shit. Eat Cheek meat And I know this pic is terrifying, but there was a whole hog bbq and getting down on some serious cheek meat was probably one of my favorite parts of the night. I felt ill I ate so much. Raclette They had all these amazing raclette melters and this babe would basically just heat up the cheese, and then smear it on top of your amuse-bouche which consisted of pickles, sausage, bread, grapes, and hmm I think that’s it. Raclette and Sixpoint Bengali This is what I was talking about in the last caption. It may look a little gross, but it wasn’t… like at all. Fondue and Sausage All I have to say for this one is FON-DO ME. Blue Cheese PlatterI love this pic because it kind of sums up the CMI. I mean honestly, what other party have you been to where someone has a giant platter of expensive blue cheese and is trying to shove it in random peoples mouths. Totally my kind of party. Mr Moo And lastly, here’s a pic of me and Mr. Moo… He’s the MC of the whole event and without him, it wouldn’t be happening. To be blunt, he’s a crazy mother fucker with great energy. You just have to go next near to see what I mean.

Pop-up Recap – Undergound Butcher in Madison, Wisconsin

Hi Everybody!

So last week my besties from The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, sent me out to Madison, Wisconsin to gain exactly 1 million pounds judge Grilled Cheese Academy’s Recipe Showdown. While I was there, I got to spend some time with the other judges who just so happened to be some super serious lady bloggers – foodiecrush and bell’alimento. They totally kill it in the blog-o-sphere and because of all their guidance, I’m super excited to tell y’all that GCS is about to get so much more legit. I’ll now be blogging about my pop-ups, my food tours, non-grilled cheese recipes (don’t worry, there will still be new gc recipes, too!) and of course – my adventures and totally random silly shit.

Ahh! I’m so excited – Can you tell? hahaah Ok, so to begin, welcome to my very first official post that is not a grilled cheese recipe… Omg! This entry is a recap of my latest pop-up at Underground Butcher in Madison, WI. So yeah, let’s get it goin’!

Baker Selima's Brioche

The thing I liked most about this pop-up is that I knew where every single item came from, which was The Underground Food Collective’s amazing commissary kitchen. The geniuses behind UFC also own Forequarter, which got written up as one of the top 50 best new restaurants by Bon Appetit and The Underground Butcher, which is where I had my pop-up.

This badass baker babe, who bakes for UFC, is Selima and I love her. Before the pop-up I met with her at the UFC’s commissary and decided that “Um yes, of course I’d love to use your brioche for my pop-up!” so that’s how that happened. She baked these tasty loaves from scratch, obvi, and they were everything you’d want in a brioche and more – light, buttery, sweet, and completely addictive.

MacKenzie Smith Meat Slicer

I got to relive one of my favorite parts of my old job at Depanneur - being the meat slicing master. Back in the day when I was slicing up like 20 lbs of prosciutto a day, I felt totally ripped. Now my arms are all flabby and gross but back then, my arms were perfectly toned and I could slice the thinnest piece of prosciutto without batting an eye.  Seriously, lifting weights doesn’t have N-E-THING on handling a meat slicer. As you could imagine, I was super stoked get back on it and I didn’t even get hurt while slicing up their homemade smoked ham. Score!

Beef-Fat

Jonny Hunter, the main man behind The Underground Food Collective, made me the happiest girl in all the land when he tossed me a container of beef fat and nonchalantly said “We’ll use this instead of butter”. I, of course, squealed in excitement. Beef fat is the new butter. Just so you know.

Hole-in-One Style Grilled Cheese

This badboy (girl?) is a hole-in-one grilled cheese (it’s definitely a girl) and was featured the first day of my popup. It’s got Carr Valley’s Caso Bolo Mellage which is a mixed milk cheese that’s super buttery and melts like a charm. I paired it with some Clem’s hot pepper mustard and fried a farm egg right in the middle. This was made on Selima’s insanely good brioche… doi.

To see a recipe for this type of sandwich, click HERE. FYI the ingredients are a little different, but the method is the same!

grilled-cheese

Next, I made this Pleasant Ridge Reserve grilled cheese on some whole wheat loaves that Selima specially made for me. This sandwich has some of my homemade candied garlic, Underground Butcher’s smoked ham, and their tomato jam. Jonny’s brother even picked me some edible flowers to make my sandwiches even more fun… which I died over. Only in Wisconisn, am I right?

To see how to make the candied garlic, click here  for now – soon it’ll be be on its own page under the other recipes tab. Ah!

Unground-Butcher-grilled-cheese

To save the best for last – here’s my “Ode to Wisconsin” grilled cheese. It’s got Underground Butcher’s amazing Brats (which I’m still dreaming about), some Wisconsin limburger and swiss, caramelized onions and some of Underground’s Cranberry Mustard on Selima’s wholewheat. To tell you the truth, I haven’t stopped thinking about this sandwich and I’m sad that my fingers don’t smell like limburger anymore. Jk. Sort of.

Hanner-Reunion

One of my childhood BFF’s and her sissy even drove a few hours to come and see me… I ALMOST CRIED. Ok, I did cry a little but I blamed it on the onions.

Josh Fadem, Jonny Pemberton and MacKenzie Smith

Johnny Pemberton and Josh Fadem, who are two of my favorite comedian friends, were also in Madison for their tour – Summer Boys Do It.  They stopped by my pop-up and I hooked ‘em up with some grilled cheese and they surprised me  with a seat at their show which was effing hilarious. I love trades and I love them.

Sixpoint-Rad

After two days of reeking of beef fat and burnt cheese, my time popping up ended. My buddy Pete, who has become my official bestie of Madison, and I then shared a Rad (think - grapefruit shandy) by one of my favorite Brooklyn Breweries – Sixpoint. I think it could have used a splash of tequila or gin… but I didn’t complain. I was just happy to be off my feet.

Naked-Bikes

And to make my pop-up even more memorable (and I know this is totally NSFW… sorry) I had to document the flock of amazing naked bicyclists that drove by and made everyone horny crack up.

I had such an amazing time on this adventure and I can’t wait to go back to Madison. Everyone that I met was/is fucking awesome and I’m totally inspired by their passion for food and their undying creativity. I couldn’t have done it without my Wisconsin Cheese sponsorship and I wish they were a person so i could marry them. Thanks for reading and I hope y’all like my new features!

Oh! And if you want more info on Underground Butcher or if you want to treat yourself to one of these sammie’s (UB still has the brat one on their menu!) then click below!

 

Underground Butcher

811 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703
(608) 338-3421

Girl’d Cheese – Which One Are You?

~~~Originally appearing on ProfressionGal.com~~~
 
It’s really weird to think that my love of the grilled cheese sandwich has helped launch a legit career for myself. Sheesh, it actually blows my mind. Just a few years ago I was in grad school at Columbia University for psychology, and I was completely miserable. Like so sad, mad, and bent out of shape that even my parents were on board for me dipping out early. But I didn’t quit because eff that. The cost of that ridiculous tuition was way too pricey for a student like me to leave after just one year. So like some chick with a death wish, I stuck through it.

The Shiny Shiny – Gruyere, Jamon Serrano, Candied Garlic and Tomato Chutney Grilled Cheese

This week will forever go down in history as one of the BEST WEEKS EVER. Why is that you ask? Well, yesterday I flew to my favorite food-land in the whole country – Wisconsin (doiiii) – for a week of cheese life. As you know, I’m a huge fan of American made cheeses and the people of Wisconsin have been so welcoming and generous and um, to be honest, they feed me really, really well so I love them. I’m also pretty much obsessed with Madison, WI and will move here when I get too sick of subways, rats, and cramped living.


But the reason I came out here wasn’t to gorge myself on cheese or to drown my NYC sorrows in locally crafted beer -which to be totally honest is my favorite tradition of my Wisco trips. I came out here because over the last few months, I’ve been a spokesperson for Wisconsin Cheese and a promoter of Grilled Cheese Academy’s recipe contest that just went down today. It was amazing and if you’ve been following my instagram, you already know that a few grilled cheese fiends and I tasted a bunch of insane gc’s this morning and rated them for taste, look, incorporation of cheese, and creativity. And even though you might think that tasting the grilled cheese was the best part, we’re actually going to reward some lucky lad with TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for their recipe which is so amazing. That’s a whole lot of money and I would literally die if I won it – so just sayin’ if you entered I HOPE YOU WON and I’ll give you mouth to mouth if you die of excitement!

Oh and I must do a shameless plug here, because this trip also incorporates one of my other favorite things to do in the world …. eh hem POP-UPS. Whoo!!! So if you live in Madison or even like 5 hours away and have a car, then you must come to one of my grilled cheese pop-ups at Underground Butcher this Saturday and Sunday from 11-3 (here’s an invite!). It’s going to be amazing and I’m going to be grillin’ up this original recipe that features ho’made candied garlic and tomato chutney, Switzerlands’s own Emmi Gruyere, jamon serrano (I’ll be using their house made ham and bread for the pop-up just FYI) and rosemary sourdough.

So before I blab anymore about the awesomeness that is Wisconsin Cheese, let’s get started on the blog post. After eating 100 bites of grilled cheese, I have a lot of exercising exploring and walking to do…

Ingredients:

3 oz Emmi Gruyere
1.5 tbsp candied garlic and tomato chutney (more or less depending on your bread size)
  (recipe below ft: roasted garlic cloves, campari
    tomatoes, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, red
    pepper flakes, powdered ginger, salt + pepper)
2 slices of rosemary sourdough
5 thin slices of jamon serrano (or speck)
2 pats of salty butter

Ok, so to begin, I started by grating some of my favorite Gruyere by Emmi Switzerland. It’s nutty, rich, a lil sweet and its got these perfect little crystals that just make you keep eating it until you have to give all your clothes away because they don’t fit anymore. But I digress and that’s totally a projection of my current problems – SO, anyways – you def need to try this American made cheese because it will blow your mind. And if you can’t find Emmi Gruyere, then it’s probably a good idea to search for their  American counterpart Roth’s Grand Cru… which is pretty much the same thing.

Oh, and to make it clear – to begin, you’ll only pile on half (about 1.5 oz) the cheese on one slice of bread.

Next comes the candied garlic and tomato chutney which might just be my new favorite sandwich condiment EVER. It takes about an hour to make but believe me, once you make it that hour will become the most beautiful hour of your day because this stuff is totally insane and oh so good!

RECIPE: In a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 a cup of roasted garlic cloves, 1.5 cup of diced campari tomatoes (or any other sweet tomato), 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 3 tbs of brown sugar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a pinch of dried ginger powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Over a low flame, cook the mixture for about an hour or until its thickened and looks like it’s about to burn. As soon as it reaches this point, take it off the heat and give it a few pulses in a food processor so that there’s nice, consistently sized chunks of garlic and tomatoes. Let it cool for a few minutes before putting it on the sandwich. 

Ok now it’s time for the meat! When I was buying ingredients, I went EVERYWHERE trying to get my paws on some speck aka juniper smoked prosciutto. Well, it turns out that I couldn’t find it anywhere and i didn’t have time to hike over to Depanneur, my old stomping grounds, to get some so I went with my second option – jamon serrano. It’s salty, fatty, and it melts in your mouth which makes it perfect for grilled cheesin’. After making this sandwich, I think it turned out to be an even better choice than the speck. I’m an accidental genius… jk jk jk.

Now pile on the rest of the cheese and top it with the other piece of rosemary sourdough. Butter this baby up and get it ready for grillin’. If you can’t find rosemary sourdough, just mix some chopped rosemary in your butter – it’ll taste the same!


My homies at Emmi Switzerland sent me a super dope Cuisinart Griddler so I used that to grill up this bad boy but you can totally grill it on a stove top. In both circumstances, just put the heat to medium and let it cook for a few minutes until both sides are crispy and golden brown and of course until the cheese has melted!

Before you dig in and pig out, make sure to let it sit for a second so that the cheese doesn’t ooze out of the sandwich. I mean, don’t get me wrong, licking the plate is a way of life in my book but you def want the cheese to stay on the sandwich so you get a perfect bite each time. And if you need like to pair this with some booze, I’d recommend pairing this super fancy ham and cheese grilled cheese with a super crisp and delicious cider like Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple which is super fruity and clean and will help cut through the richness of the sandwich perfectly. K, gotta dip. Love you, bye.

xoxo,

GCS

The Pogo Stick – Burrata, Grilled Strawberries, Pistachios and Mint Pistou Grilled Cheese

I am so stressed out. Like I literally don’t know what to do with myself… I totally shouldn’t even be writing this blog post but I need some cathartic release, and well GCS – you’re my outlet today. So instead of crossing things off on my checklist, I’m going to share this little grilled cheese with you. It’s sweet, savory, and summer-y and it’s perfect… And it sort of makes me forget about the one million things that I have left to do.

If you follow me on Facebook, twitter, or instagram, you’ve probably heard that I’m having a grilled cheese + wine pairing event on Thursday at my favorite place ever – ACME Studio! Well, I’ve never done anything like this before, and this 40 person tasting has turned into some ominous stress cloud that is eating away at my sunny soul. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited about doing it and I can’t wait to perform on the big night, but the preparation part, well that’s making me feel like I’m about to pull a Britney. I just wish there was some magical being to answer all my questions while I just day dream about recipes and figure out how I can get more people to try my sandwiches.

But obviously that’s not going to happen so I must TCOB myself. And I don’t want to bore you with my anxieties so I’ll just focus on the positive and talk about how awesome this event is going to be. OK, so first of all, I got all the wine donated from St. Francis Winery and the cheese is coming from Wisconsin. Awesome. SCORE. I’ve already sold half my tickets so I’m feeling good (and if you want to come, you should reserve your spot HERE)! The sandwiches are going to be fucking awesome. I’m doing 4 courses based off of brunch, lunch/dinner, dessert and of course finishing with the middle of the night munchie sandwich. And since the event is at the coolest wackiest space in Williamsburg – ACME and I’m having my hot girlfriends help me with the guests, I know it’s all going to look SO DOPE. Ok, phew I feel better. Thanks for listening.

Anyways, let’s get on with this sandwich before I actually shave my head and make some bad decisions. So This little guy features creamy Wisconsin Burrata, grilled balsamic strawberries, toasted pistachios and a mint pistou on fluffy foccacia bread.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:

-Wisconsin Burrata
-Grilled Balsamic Strawberries (recipe below)
-Toasted Pistachios
-Mint Pistou
-Focaccia bread

Let’s begin by talking about this cheese. If you’ve never had burrata before or need a little refresher – imagine a creamy, fresh-ricotta-filled ball of mozzarella. On the outside, the taste and texture is just like what you’d imagine from a regular ball of fresh mozz. But the center though, man… It’s what makes this cheese so amazing. It’s creamy, rich, airy, and all the other good things you could possibly imagine. It’s one of my favorite cheeses and I can’t believe this is my first time using it in a recipe!

Now it’s time for the mint pistou. This stuff is super flavorful and best of all it’s super easy to make – it’s basically like a pesto but without cheese. Just combine basil, mint, a teeny bit of garlic, lemon juice, a few pre-shelled pistachios, salt, pepper, and some olive oil and then puree until it looks like the pic below.

Now top with the balsamic strawberries and add a few more pistachios. To make the strawberries, just dice up some fresh berries, let them soak in balsamic vinegar for like 30 minutes and then quickly grill them so that they retain their color but also begin to caramelize a little bit.

Add a little more burratta…

… And then add the remaining piece of bread. Next butter both sides of your sandwich and place it in a hot frying pan so that the bread can become all toasty and delicious. Don’t worry about the cheese melting, because it never really will, but once the bread is golden and irresistible looking – then you know it’s time to take it out the skillet and chow down.

So pretty, right?!

Alright so I gotta run and take care of my 4 page checklist. Wish me luck and I hope to see all of your pretty faces at the event!

xoxo,

GCS