Last month was National American Cheese Month (omg! yay!) and I had the pleasure of receiving some really awesome American-made Cheeses to play around with. So instead of doing pilates and going on a run – like I said I would… whoops – I avoided the cold weather at all costs and only hung out at Whole Foods Brooklyn and my apartment, spending my time concocting some brain melting sandwiches. Because hey – work/sandwich life is important this time of year, ok? Anyways, this ooey gooey breakfast sandwich features Alpha Tolman, one of my favorite cheeses from The Cellars at Jasper Hill, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, chives, and a ton of Melinda’s garlic habanero hot sauce between two crisp, buttery slices of Texas Toast. It may be sort of heavy for the mornings, but it will definitely make waking up at the crack of dawn not suck. I swearz.
When I was “planning” my trip to Europe, I forgot to actually figure out anything for my week in Berlin. I didn’t realize this until, well, 1 day before I was about to leave Hamburg. You see, I’m not much of a planner and I can usually get away with it, but since I had been snug as a bug with my friends in Hamburg, I sort of panicked. I had never been to Berlin, nor had any connections there. It was weird going to a place that I didn’t know one single soul but it was also kind of exciting. I imagined that I’d stay at some cheap hotel, spend a lot of time
alone “blogging”, explore the city solo style, and hopefully meet a random group of friends that would adopt me into their clique and take me to some raves.
Then all of a sudden in the middle of my daydream, I got a facebook message from one of my best college friends that said “girl, you have to stay with Vik, she’s just like you and I think you will be best friends”. And then a few minutes later, a message from Vik appeared and she told me I could crash at her pad. This was one of those moments where I felt completely in awe of the world and wanted to give the internet a big ole hug.
After a 2.5 hour train ride from Hamburg to Berlin, I got a text from Vik saying that she was waiting for me at the train station. HOW F*CKING NICE. Could you imagine anybody doing that in NYC? hhahah NEVER. That would never happen here… But guess what? It really happened there. She scooped me in a car that she rented from a car sharing service (it was a BMW… so fancy omg!) and we headed to her house. In the quick 10 minute ride, I discovered that she was in the food biz as well and was in the process of opening a restaurant called Industry Standard with her boyfriend, Ramses, a super dank and extremely knowledgable chef that had trained all over the world and had a sense of humor that could be summed up by one joke – The Aristocrats . I instantly loved them.
Then things got even weirder. When I got to their apartment, I met Bongo. As soon as I saw this lil guy I almost cried. He looked exactly like my pup, Pippy, but all white! See what I’m talking about here – Pip vs. Bongo. Instant love. Then later that night, I learned that her mom grew up in Tallahassee and went to the same high school as my mom… Of course, I went on what’s app and asked my mom if she knew and and well, not only did she know her, but she dated her brother for 3 years! HOW FRICKIN WEIRD!? So yeah, to say we all connected would be an understatement. Vik is seriously my soul sister and my trip to Berlin would have sucked if I had not met her, her man, and her pup. They showed me the city, stayed out all night with me… a lot, and went out of their way to be hospitable. Vik and Ramses, if you’re reading this, please come stay with me in NYC. I’ll show you the best time ever and will make you all the sandwiches, including this one.
- 3 oz Westminster Royal Addition 1 year cheddar
- 1.5 tbsp Mama O’s kimchi
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut rice
- 1 fried egg
- 2 pats salted butter
- 2 slices sourdough
So to begin, let’s start by smearing on some gochujang on the bread. This is probably my new favorite condiment of 2014 and it’s also absolutely essential to bibimbap. It’s a Korean sauce made of fermented chiles and soy beans. It’s sweet, spicy and packed full of umami-ness.
Next, add on some of the 1 year cheddar. This baby was given to me by my friends at Whole Foods and I totally dug it. Not only does it melt super nicely but for being a one year cheddar, its also super flavorful and sharp. After that, I added some leftover coconut rice that I had. To make this yourself, basically just plop a tablespoon of some really nice coconut oil into your rice before you make it. It totally transforms the rice and gives this sandwich a cool texture.
Now add some of Mama O’s Premium kimchi and a diced green onion. I’m such a fan of this brand and Kheedim Oh, the founder, hooked me up with a gallon of the good stuff so I wanted to feature it. You can use your own but it won’t be the same without some of Mama O’s goodness.
Now heat your Breville panini press (or pan, but this method is the easiest) to medium-high and let this sucker cook. After a few minutes, it will be golden brown and the cheese will be all melty and irresistible.
Take it off the heat and let it sit for a minute or two. After the cheese has thickened a bit, gently open the sandwich up and add the fried egg. Carefully close it up and give the sandwich a little press and cut it down the middle so the egg yolk splooges. Sorry, I had to use that word, there was nothing else to describe it.
So if you ever go to Berlin, you must check out Industry Standard which is opening in the next month or so. Everyone that is going to work there is going to be at the top of their gang. And oh! if you meet Vik, give her a hug for me.
Ah man. So I just spent the last month outside of the US and let me tell you something – Damn, does Europe got it going on! I started my travels in Hamburg, Germany, where I ate all the food that could possibly fit in my body… and then some. And after eating to the point where all I could wear were my leggings, I decided to give back and do a pop-up at my friends super swank sandwich shop, Luncheonette, which as you can imagine, was super fucking fun.
You see the idea of a gourmet sandwich doesn’t really exist over there so my friends started their shop to basically show them what they’re missing. Most of Hamburg’s sandwich creations are pre-made window displays that cost like 3 euros and consist of a small baguette, cheese, and some sort of ham product. Unlike here in the good ole US of A, there’s not really a booming sandwich scene. No crazy innovations like putting potato chips on sandwiches (!!!) or swapping ramen for bread (ok, so I did have a ramenburger in Berlin… but still) or melting cheese over anything and everything that’s imaginable. But they do have one local sandwich that’s totally blowing up… and that is, you guessed it, THE HAMBURGER!
I don’t know if I’m correct but I bet there’s more speciality hamburger stores in Hamburg than anywhere else in the world. And ya know what, surprisingly, this trend is NEW! Who would have thunk it? I mean you’d guess that a city whose name resembles one of the best sandwiches in the world would have had the lead on this… but nope. It’s a recent thing! So before I keep talking more about my time in Hamburg and ruin all the fun stuff for my Hamburg travel post, I’ll get to the point. With a little help and inspiration from my hamburger homie, Dane DiLiegro, professional hottie/basketball star and creator of MidnightSnackBeast.com, We created an oozey, gooey, crispy, crunchy, sweet, and spicy grilled cheese burger that will make you cream your jeans. It’s got chipotle and cranberry cheddar from Wisconsin, a grass fed beef patty, homemade pickled shishitos, Sir Kensington’s ketchup, and crispy fried shallots on a buttery onion bun. Let’s get it on.
- 1 onion roll
- 1/3 pound beef patty (I’ll tell you how I made mine below)
- 3 ounces of cranberry chipotle cheddar
- 1 tbsp pickled shishitos (recipe below)
- 1/2 tbsp Sir Kensington’s Ketchup
- 2 pats salted butter
- 2 tbsp crispy fried shallots
So to begin, you’ll want to start by finding the biggest onion bun you can. Once you’ve got it in your hand, stare at it until you feel like a real weirdo. This will create an everlasting bond. Then take a serrated knife and basically shave off the top crust and the bottom crust. Now treat it real good and smear some of Sir Kensington’s finest all over one side.
Now it’s time to get serious and lay some of the cranberry chipotle cheddar. It’s a rich and creamy Wisconsin Cheese, made by Carr Valley, that’s got sweet dried cranberry chunks and spicy little veins of chipotle. It’s basically amazeballs.
BURGER TIME. Ok, so I am one of the girls that like the men to do the grilling so learning how to make a burger took me a few tries but I really think I found the trick. After about a million disgusting mishaps, I discovered it’s all about the smash method.
So, follow my lead and pack your burger into a perfect circle. I had really awesome beef so I only added salt and pepper to the outside. I heated up my cast iron skillet for a few minutes on high and basically just plopped my burger ball down right in the middle. I let it sizzle and fry for a few minutes until it developed a little crusty area. Then I flipped the burger and mashed it down to the size of the patty that I wanted. The little crispy zone helps the entire burger stay together and is vital to the process. Once the other side looked pretty, I flipped it back over and let the first side cook for a few minutes, until it passed the palm-of-the-hand doneness test. Then I plopped it on top of the bread, ketchup, and cheese.
Then I added some of my ho-made quick pickled shishitos. I don’t know why you don’t find more pickled shishitos because they’re really effing good and super easy to make! I basically just got some shishitos at the farmers market, tossed them in sugar and a little bit of salt and then hit them with some ricewine vinegar, water, a juniper berry and 3 peppercorns. I let them sit for 2 hours because I was antsy but they could totally chill in the pickling liquid for a few weeks…. I think? Don’t necessarily quote me on that.
Now add the rest of the cheese and the other piece of bread. Butter that bad boy and set it aside.
I cooked this on my Breville panini press (pick one up here) because it’s the only thing that I use these days, but you could do it old school in a frying pan or cast iron skillet. Just turn your heat to medium, the perfect temp for grilled cheese, and let let your sandwich cook one side at a time until it’s golden brown and the cheese is melting just like my heart after watching this video. Take it off the heat when it’s crispy and after it sits for a minute, open it up and top it with some of the crispy fried shallots. To make these, just chop some shallots into rings, soak ‘em in buttermilk and then coat them in seasoned flour. Fry for a few minutes at like 360 until they’re the desired crispiness.
Close the sandwich back up and then invite your crush over to join you. I bet you guys will totally make out afterwards.
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.
– 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Grilled Cheese Social
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 a
nd 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…
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.
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:
-Grilled Balsamic Strawberries (recipe below)
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!
I feel like I talk about college a lot on this blog. I swear I’m not one of those people who like dream about the good ole days or anything like that (because hey let’s be real my life is pretty effing sweet right now) but one of my besties from FSU is visiting and I’m feeling nostalgic. Owen, who was once the nicest young ruffian you could imagine, is now a real live man! He has the biggest heart of any guy I know but back in the day, the way he displayed his feelings of passion were, well… hilarious and most of the time didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Let me share the incidents of one special night…
On one beautiful winter night in Tallahassee, my drunken friends and I stumbled to my neighbors house for a little bonfire dance party. The Chocolate House, where the party was taking place, was known for their insane ragers. Their old yellow bungalow looked like a porn den from the 70s but was filled with about three million music instruments and about 1 zillion watts of sound… which helped take away the creep factor. These boys always threw the most outrageous parties and some of my fondest memories (that I can remember, sheesh) were formed there. Anyways, on this particular night of bopping around in the woods and groovin’ my ass off to their DJ set, we all settled by the bonfire, red sweaty solo cups in hand, happily recounting the nights events.
All of a sudden, one rando drunk kid was dancing a little bit too close to the fire and we were all automatically concerned. Where were all his friends? Why wasn’t someone telling him to not stand so close to the pit? Was this boy about to trip and fall into the fire and one of us were going to have to save his inebriated ass? I sure as hell knew it wasn’t going to be me but Owen, who took it upon himself, decided that he was going to be the one who rescued the kid from his potential fiery death. Very gentlemanly like, he kindly warned the kid to move away from the fire. The kid swayed his head like some doped up housewife on valium and white wine and mumbled, just barely audible, “Fuck off, dude.”
Owen, like any young man with too much booze and testosterone in his system got up and decided to give the kid another warning. This didn’t go over well and the kid was back by the fire in like 2 seconds, dancing around the edge like some tribesman and was stumbling so close to the flames that we were all white knuckled, wondering how the fuck he wasn’t on fire yet. Unlike us, Owen didn’t find the humor in this and before we knew it, he was up in the kids face telling him to “Get the fuck out of the fire NOW or I will remove you from the fire for fucks sake!” The kid, of course, didn’t give one shit about what Owen had to say and decided to jump over the fire and show off. I don’t know how he actually made it but Owen was not impressed. So as an attempt to save this kid from the potential hellfire that could have led to his dimise, Owen then proceeded to headbutt the youngster to teach him a lesson and get him out of harms way… sort of… I guess? “BOOM BITCH!” is what Owen yelled in an almost King Kong type manner; fists pounding on his puffed up chest as the kid dizzily looked at the sky trying to understand what just happened to him. Luckily for the kid, Owen’s head-butt probably saved his life.
But now instead of head-butting all the wrong-doers in Tallahassee, Owen’s all grown up and has changed from a punk little kid into a real live adult boy! He works for a startup in San Fran and is totally killing it. I’m so proud of him and nothing makes me more happy than when I see my friends grow up into awesome individuals. It really goes to show that head-butts are the best way to show that you care about someone. Jk. But seriously, I’ve never seen a better head-butter than him and I probably never will. Ok, ok, for real though Owen is a champ and he’s here in nyc and I’m writing this blog post so he reads it and never leaves. I’m also making him this sandwich because he eats a lot of meat and the first time I had a Monte Cristo was at Bennigans about a mile from our school. So yeah, let’s give it up to old times while you enjoy my version of this insane-o sandwich.
- Wisconsin Brie
- Raspberry Jam
- Green Onion
- French Toast Batter
- French bread
To begin, smear on some raspberry jam! It’s tart, slightly sweet and has little raspberry seeds which lend some nice textural variety. It’s really pretty, too.
Then add a slice of turkey and some ham so that each bite is full of meaty awesomeness. Oh and then let your guy friends finish off the rest. They need their meat, remember?!
Now add some chopped green onion and the other slice of bread with the brie on it.
How pretty?! Now here’s the fun part. Gently take your sandwich and dip each end in a shallow bowl full of french toaster batter. Let it sit for a second so that it sops up all the goodness and then set them all aside.
Now melt some butter in a pan and turn the heat to medium. Once the b
utter begins to bubble, add your french toast soaked sandwich and let it cook for a few minutes on each side until it gets all crispy and golden and french toast-y.
When the sandwich is all good to go, take it out of your pan and let it sit for a second before dousing it in powdered sugar.
Serve with a side of honey mustard, nice glass of Chardonnay (maybe from St. Francis Winery?!), and handcuffs so your friends never leave you. Just kidding… sort of.
|Photo: Heido Larsen of Foodiecrush|
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but ehh I don’t really know about that.
Ya know that feeling that you get in the middle of a long night of partying? When that little voice in your head says “If you don’t eat right now, you’re going to
puke have the worst hangover in the whole world tomorrow”? Well yeah, I don’t ever get that desperate feeling in the morning… unless that morning has been led into from a night of weird raves in Bushwick but ummm I digress.
Anyways, since some super brilliant scientists or some marketing board figured this whole thing out, then I obviously know that they’re right about b-fast being super important so I’ll settle with this. Here’s a sandwich that I created that will not only help you power through your day but it will also save you in the middle of the night! Pretty perfect, huh?
If you can’t tell what’s going on here then let me fill you in – this bad boy takes that whole hole-in-one concept to a new level with tomato jam, thick cut bacon and most importantly some super deluxe Wisconsin Cheddar on two buttery pieces of brioche. It’s the shit if I do say so myself!
I’m just going to put this out there - I LOVE INSTAGRAM. I know, i know i know, you’re probably like “yeah, well duhhhh, who doesn’t?” I’m sure we’re all completely aware that it’s like the most awesome thing ever, but recently my love for this little app has increased by like a million percent. Here’s why:
1. It’s the best way to waste time when you need to look like you’re busy on your phone because all the other apps (eh hem Facebook) suck in comparison, ammiright?
2. The ability to tell your story through pictures is way more inspiring and accessible than most other portals AND you can personally curate whose pictures you get to see – which rules.
3. Most importantly – it’s become this amazing outlet that has allowed me to find other cool and inspiring peeps, which has then led to a bunch of new friendships that have gone from internet-only to IRL.
As my Mom’s reading this, she’s probably all like “OMG WHAT?! You have actually met strangers through instagram?!” And I mean I totally get her concern, but it’s not like the creepy days of meeting someone through an AOL chat room or anything like that. I mean, I haven’t been catfished from this app yet… luckily. But seriously, it’s so rad. A few months ago I started seeing likes from @wildtropicsclub so I checked them out and was instantly totally obsessed with their account. Their chill vibes, beautiful greenery, dope ass swag, and tropical goodness spoke directly to my heart and I just knew that I’d be friends with these babes once we met. A few messages back and forth and then BOOM! What do you know? We’re teaming up and drinking brainstorming at a local bar, making plans for an awesome collab. So that’s where this sandwich comes in.
Tied together by our mutual obsession for pineapple and cheese – this tropical pizza grilled cheese was birthed. Oh and we also made this baby as an honorary sandwich to celebrate the greatest holiday of the year… And no it isn’t Easter and if I have to spell it out, then let’s just move on and act like I never said anything about it in the first place. *wink wink i love you*.
So to begin, let’s pile on some of that super deluxe Wisconsin mozzarella. We’re not using the fresh kind today because it doesn’t really melt that good on sandwiches. The processed kind, however, works wonders for grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, and the like.
Next, throw on your bucket hat, light a spliff tiki torch, and turn up the reggae because it’s PINEAPPLE TIME. Add a few pieces and get tropical.
Now it’s time for some heat because you can’t be tropical unless you’re sweating. So throw on some pickled jalapenos and rub your sunscreen in.
Now it’s time to bring in the pizza vibes. Add some sauce and step back. Damn son, lookin’ good.
Add the rest of your cheese and take a deep breath. Let the sandwich melt your mind as you get ready to grill it. And acknowledge , out loud of course, that you’re about to make the perfect snack to cure the munchies. Oh, and be sure to admire this amazing banner that my home girls at Wild Tropics Club made for me.
Now I know I usually talk about grillin’ your GCs in a cast iron skillet at this point, but ya know what, this method is way, way, way easier and much more legit. So let me share my new little secret with y’all:
I started using this Breville panini press for my pop-ups and I’m totes obsessed. It cooks GC sandwiches evenly on both sides at the SAME TIME – so not only is your cooking time cut in half, but your cheese melts perfectly and it just makes this whole process a lot easier. It’s literally the best $169 that I’ve ever spent.
So anyways, as soon as you hear the cheese bubbling, you know that the sandwich is ready to be taken out of the press!
Once you take it out, just let it sit for a second so that all that melty cheesy goodness doesn’t ooze out all over your place when you cut into it. Cool down though, it should only take a minute or so – the perfect amount of time to blow up a beach ball or dig out a Bud Light Lime or ya know… whatever you like to do at the beach.
Ahhh isn’t it good looking?! Now get ready because this is all you’ll want to eat on Sunday. It’s the perfect recipe to end the munchies… fo’real.
Happy early 420 guys!
When I was in high school I was bad news. But not bad as in like that one crazy bitch that cursed out her teachers and then tried to make out them OR that one hot mess that keyed your car when you pissed her off - Nah, I was bad in the sense that I would constantly take advantage of my poor sweet Momma… like ALL THE TIME. You see, my mom is what I like to refer to as a food-pusher She gets joy out of feeding people and more than anything, she absolutely loves to make you something if you tell her you’re hungry. I totally used this to my advantage and so did all of my high school homies.
I was a few years younger than most of my besties so I always had the earliest curfew. To me, it was fine because getting home at midnight was never an issue, especially when everyone knew how much my mom loved feeding them. The rule was, when I got home I’d have to walk upstairs and give her a little kiss goodnight (which I now refer to as the breathalyzer of death). But honestly, I wasn’t really into drinking back then and instead I partook in a little puff-puff-pass activity that totally made me and all my friends hungry as the lost boys in that one scene of peter pan.
When I’d go upstairs to let her know I was home, she was ALWAYS waiting up for me awake. 2/3 times she would walk downstairs in her pajamas and would give everyone a hug and ask them “Hey y’all, are you kids hungry?!” WELL DUH MOM, of course we were hungry! We’re growing teens and we just spent the last few hours in some crappy little punk rock venue, with cored-out apples and tinfoil sculptures by our sides, complaining how we had no money and nowhere to eat. My mom was (and still is) the shit! She’d totally fulfill our deepest desires and would make giant bowls of homemade mac n cheese, super stuffed omelets, and of course, some insane-o grilled cheese sandwiches. Most of the food she prepared was southern breakfast themed which is awesome because what’s more fun than breakfast for dinner… the second time around?
Dudes, I’m being seriously when I say she really knew how to make us happy.
And I don’t think she ever really knew how high excited to see her we were, but I’m so lucky that I had the nicest mom on the block. Whenever I visit FL, I still hear stories from people about her late night cuban sandwiches and her biscuits and gravy. It was truly amazing and I like to think that this is where I developed my “need to feed”. And now that I’m 27 and can bring my own special friends back to my place at all hours, I still like to partake and make insane midnight meals. This little sweet and savory breakfast sandwich was inspired by her. It’s got maple glazed ham, Wisconsin’s famous Marieke fenugreek gouda and soft scrambled eggs all grilled between two buttery slices of sourdough. You gotta do it next time you’re up really late. Believe me.
-Wisconsin’s Fenugreek Gouda (by Marieke, duh)
-Honey Glazed Ham
-Soft Scrambled Eggs
So if you’re like what the hell is fenugreek gouda, let me share! Ya know that fake maple syrup that’s like $20 cheaper than the real stuff? Yeah? Well, the fenugreek seed is used to make that! See those little seeds? Well they look and smell just like maple syrup and they act as little bursts of maple flavor. Ever had a McGriddle? Well Instead of little pockets of maple syrup – this Wisconsin cheese has little clusters of syrup-y goodness that’ way better and way less disgusting than whatever the hell McDonald’s tried to do.
So now that I’ve talked you into this issue – pile some onto a slice of bread!
Now add some scrambled eggs. I tried to keep mine pretty soft so they didn’t get tough when I grilled the sandwich at the end… So yeah, I’d recommend doing that.
Now add some maple glazed ham! To make this – I just took some sliced honey ham, started to fry it up in a cast iron skillet, added some REAL maple syrup and basically just cooked it down until it was all absorbed into the ham. It’s sweet and salty and oh so fucking good!
Now add some more of the gouda and the top piece of bread. Butter that baby up while you’re at it!
Place your sandwich in the frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook this GC for a few minutes on each side until it looks like a grilled cheese. Try to flip it minimally, it’ll help it stay together better!
After a few minutes, it’ll look all familiar and you’ll be like “OMG can i just eat it now?” and I’ll be like “Nah dog, you gotta let it rest for a minute so that the cheese has a change to breathe and everything gets glued all together and it won’t fall out all over the place!”
Then we’ll grab some wine glasses and we’ll pour ourselves some of that good good stuff from St. Francis Vineyards. Maybe a zin since it’s the morning and it’s sort of sweet like juice? Just an idea…?
So next time you want to impress a new buddy the morning after or in the middle of the night, whip up this bad boy. It’s sweet and savory and is like a grown-up non-gross version of a McGriddle. Yeah, I said it. Whatever.