Tag Archives: basil

The Pizzawitch – White Pizza Grilled Cheese With Taleggio, Ricotta, Basil, Spinach and Bacon

I’ve spent my entire life horrified of the possibility of being scared but also completely obsessed with spooky things. I was the type of kid that rented Goosebumps from the library, proudly carried ’em around all week, ogling at the awesome cover art, only to return them unread because I would get paralyzingly scared of where my mind might wander. If I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I’d sprint. Taking trash out after dark? No effing way. If my mom didn’t go with me, it wasn’t happening. When I’d take off my coke-bottle lensed glasses at night, my super bad vision would create shadows and shapes that looked just like people or creatures sitting around my room, waiting to choke me out in my sleep. Maybe I have a demented mind, well… I’m pretty sure of that,  but I’ve just always felt like I was going to get murdered by a scary clown hiding in the bushes or something. I don’t know why or what made me so scared but I’ve just never been able to handle it.


It didn’t stop there though. I’ve been avoiding scary movies my entire life. I remember making the decision that I wasn’t ever going to watching anything scary again. When I was in 5th grade, My older neighbor friend made me watch Poltergeist with her and because I didn’t want to seem like a pussy, I did. What happened after? Well, I ended up sleeping on a cot in my parents room for 6 months because I was 100% sure that I was going to get swallowed up by my closet. I’m still this way. I always check my non-existent NYC  closets, under my bed, and behind the shower curtain just to make sure there’s no angry ex-boyfriends psychopaths hiding anywhere.

When I moved to NYC, something changed. Maybe it was the lack of scary bushes combined with constantly lit streets or something like that, but I was no longer scared of possible goblins with giant claws or a vampire with the need to feed. No, instead I decided that it was probably a good idea to focus my fear on real things like the possibility of getting mugged at 4am on Bushwick or some freak show pushing me into the subway tracks when I wasn’t looking. So since it’s Halloween and I’ve realized that I haven’t really felt that scared, panicky, heart beating in my throat kind of feeling in a while, I decided that it would probably be OK if I watched a scary movie… alone… without roommates or friends or a body guard.

And ya know what? I did it AND i slept soundly. I mean of course I woke up in the middle of the night a few times because it felt like someone was standing over me, but I calmly told myself “be chill girlfriend, you could seriously use some beauty rest, you’re lookin’ busted these days” and then there I went, back to sleep, without one horrifying care in the world. So because I’m super excited about this new development, I also thought it would be fun to revisit something else that I hadn’t done in a while. That’s how this pizza grilled cheese came to be. I did one a few years ago [HERE] but I wanted to make a fresh and new one so here it is – a white pizza inspired GC with taleggio, fresh ricotta, basil, spinach, BACON, and some red pepper flaked olive oil all on a sliced focaccia loaf.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:

-Taleggio
– Fresh Ricotta
– Spinach
– Basil
– Bacon
– Focaccia
– Red Pepper Flakes
– Olive Oil

I started with the fresh ricotta because if I hadn’t, I would have seriously just ate the whole thing before the sandwich was event built. I actually have an addiction problem with the fresh stuff. It’s seriously the best thing my body’s ever tasted.

So do as I do, start with the fresh ricotta, and smear on a super thick coat. Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top to make it have an extra pop of flavor.

Now it’s bacon time which I’m pretty sure is everyone’s favorite time ever in the whole wide world. Except for you veggies, I’m so sorry. Y’all should just omit it and then re-evaluate your life choices. JK sort of.

Ok, onto the next step. Basil time! Just add a few fresh basil leaves for some added herbal earthiness.

Pile on a ton of fresh spinach…

Then top with some semi-thick slices of Taleggio.

If you’re not familiar with taleggio, then let me fill you in. It’s a washed-rind cheese that has a texture similar to brie. Although mild to the taste, it packs a super strong flavor and a pretty serious aroma along with a fruity tang. It also melts perfectly and without much heat. It’s the shit.

Since that’s all of the ingredients, go ahead and top your sandwich with the other piece of bread.

Drizzle a little bit of olive over both sides of the sandwich and sprinkle on a pinch of red pepper flakes if you’d like. C’mon, you gotta do it – it’s pizza themed after all!

Now turn your burner to medium and let that baby cook. It”ll just take a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt and the the bread crisps up into an irresistible golden crust.

Once it’s done, take it out of the pan and let it sit for a sec. Because the taleggio melts pretty rapidly, you’ll need to let it sit  or else it’s all going to fall out all over the place.

So now that I ain’t scared of nothin’…except creepy babies, mean boys, psycho girls, spiders in my shoes, running out of fresh ricotta, the mad hatter from alice in wonderland, sharks, big snakes, getting frostbit, being trapped in a walk-in freezer, maggots, any bug that eats dead things, tiny cockroaches, big cockroaches, humans dressed up as clowns, people that put a slit in their tongue, zombies, vampires… wait I actually like vampires, never mind, alligators, crocodiles, mean bears, being alone when I grow up, being abandoned when I actually like someone, and the like…. let me know what scary movies I’ve been missing out on!

Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN BABIES!

xoxo,

GCS

The Stamford Sweethearts – Goat Brie, Blueberries, Apricots, Basil and Honey Grilled Cheese

Before I dive in, let me just begin by saying how last weekend might have just been the most magical time of my life.  My friends, Scott and Lauren were having their “love celebration” which was sort of like a wedding but only about 500 times better. 120 of us crazy kids (which included a ton of burners, of course) were camped out at the most eccentric barn that has ever existed in the entirety of the world. I’m serious. There were crystals hanging from all the trees, insane psychedelic paintings covering the walls, an abandoned corn silo that was perfect for sneaking off into. There hidden bonfires and luscious plant-filled labyrinths that led to giant animal skin throws and exotic pillows – all hidden in barren parts of the woods while over looking the greenest mountains you’ve ever seen.

As you could imagine, when you combine booze, dancing, and some questionable practices, it got pretty nuts. We were basically like little fairy hippie children running naked through the woods with total freedom and no restraints. When it got too hot, we’d run down to the creek and splash around in crawfish-filled waters. In the afternoons we’d take the dogs to go run in the cornfields (leashless of course) and by the time the sun set, we were dancing under the stars and gazing up and as they shot across the sky. I don’t even know how to describe it besides saying how incredibly wondrous it was. The experience really just makes me want to move out to the country and forget about life in this stupid city.  I just need to find a boyfriend to drag out there with me first. (Boys?!?)

When it came time for feeding, I thought what better way to show my love for this super sweet couple than by helping to feed the crew. And as with all camping weddings (not sure how many of these actual exist) there was no running water or electricity so we made due with what we had and it the results were way better than I could have ever hoped for! We were very excited about that. But anyways, now that I’m back in an apartment that probably uses too much electricity, I wanted to make a sweet little sandwich to symbolize everything that I’ve experienced through these two happy people.

Lauren and Scott, you two are truly an inspiration to me and I hope that one day I can be in such a loving, trusting, and everlasting relationship as y’all have created for each other. So to symbolize L+S’s dynamic here’s what this sandwich has and holds FOREVER – For Lauren’s quick wit, undying cleverness, and her unabashed truthfulness this tangy and sharp goat’s brie does the trick. For Scott’s unstoppable sweetness, fun-loving attitude, and childlike playfulness – apricots and blueberries. And to show their organic chemistry and natural bond – fresh basil leaves. Finally, to symbolize their mutual support and adoration for each other the slices of french bread hold everything together. It’s basically just a super tasty love sandwich, guys.

Even if you don’t know Lauren and Scott, which I’m guessing you don’t, you can still appreciate and enjoy this super tasty sandwich that’s perfect for a hot summer afternoon spent drinking spiked sweet tea.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:



Ingredients:

– goat brie
– basil
– apricots
– blueberries
– honey
– french bread, sliced thin
– salted butter

Like any good romance, start out by adding some tangy goats cheese to the mix. If you’ve never had goats brie – go buy some right now. Straight from France, it’s got the creaminess that brie holds but instead of being rather mild, it’s got a sharp, slightly sweet lemony floral finish that is amazing with fresh fruit. It’s a match made in heaven… sort of like two people i know!

Next, add a basil leaf and if you can, make it so it’s like a little cup. If not, no biggie, the cheese will hold everything together when it gets all melty and good.

Now add the fruit! Before I put them in here, I tossed ’em with a little bit of honey to bring out the sweetness just a little more. It probably didn’t need it but I’m obsessed with tupelo honey so if there’s ever an opportunity to use it, i will. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

Then add another layer of goat brie and the other piece of bread and take a look at that finished product. So pretty, right?!

Here’s the most important part – because goats brie melts super quickly, just like with any other type of brie, you’ll want to turn your burner to medium high. After you butter both sides of the bread, you can add the sandwich and cook for a few minutes – watching carefully as it becomes crispy.

But be warned – you’ll def want to keep your eyes on it because you don’t want all the cheese to melt out and then have nothing left in the sandwich. That would be devastating. I might cry.

After it’s all crispy and golden and delicious and you can’t wait to grab it up and put it in your mouth as fast as humanly possible, resist those urgest
and let it sit for a sec to tighten up.

Now that it’s finished and I can’t stop day dreaming about the incredible time that L+S gave us, I just want to say cheers to everyone and everything and all that good stuff. When you’re with the right person, the world can be a magical place and that’s really effing exciting. So Lauren and Scott, thank you for being amazing, loving, adorable, and inspirational. I hope you guys know how sweet it was for all of us to see. Oh, and I’m not crying I just got something in my eye,

xoxo,

GCS

Blueberry Baby – Mascarpone, Brie, Basil and Blistered Blueberries Bagel Grilled Cheese

OMG, OMG! Today is National Grilled Cheese Day! Aren’t you so very, very excited? So much so that you kind of might pee your pants a little? No? That’s just me? Ok, that makes sense. Anyways! I’ve been waiting all year month for this very special day which sort of feels like Christmas to me and I’m the happiest kid around. All month, endless amounts of meltable cheese, freshly baked bread, and tricked out stay-cold coolers have been waiting for me at my front door each day in order to make this day the best it can be. Unfortunately, it’s rainy, cold, completely disgusting, and no one’s home but that’s OK. I’ll get through National Grilled Cheese Day with the power of my internet friends. RIGHT GUYS?! I just wish you all could come over and cook with me and help me eat all the food that’s been sent my way.


But I don’t mean to brag about all my cheesy goodness without giving you guys something in return! Yeah, sure here’s a tasty new recipe, but I also wanted to let you know that my favorite babes from Wisconsin Cheese and I have paired up to do a super awesome National Grilled Cheese Day GIVEAWAY…today! We’ve been working super hard on their awesome online magazine Grate. Pair. Share. (with recipes from yours truly, of course) so if you’d be so kind to check it out and comment as to what your favorite recipe is (in my comments section) you are automatically entered to win a giant shipment of Wisconsin cheese, fresh baked bread from La Brea Bakery – perfect for grilling, and a ton of other goodies that will help all your grilled cheese dreams come true. You should totally do it. The magazine is embedded in the bottom of this very post…How convenient! You’re welcome.

In the meantime, here’s a tasty new little grilled cheese that I thought is perfect for a sweet day like today – creamy brie, luscious mascarpone, sweet and tart blistered blueberries, and fresh earthy basil come together between a crispy buttery bagel. I think it’s the perfect way to start a grilled cheese day.

Get you some of thisssss

Ingredients

-1 cinnamon sugar bagel, cut in half and scooped out
– 1 small wedge of Wisconsin Brie
– 2 tbsp of BelGioioso Mascarpone Cheese
– 2 tbsp of blistered blueberries (recipe below)
– a few basil leaves, torn
– 2 pats of salted butter

So this is the most important part. It’s totally hard to eat a bagel grilled cheese without taking the necessary steps to ultimate perfection. First, cut your bagel in half and scoop out the interior of both sides. This will create the perfect little nook to keep your fillings inside the sandwich. Then, with a very sharp serrated knife, very carefully cut off the outside off the bagel so that the nice bready interior can be used to create a super crispy crust on your sandwich at the end.

Next, fill the nook of one half of your bagel with brie. Try to keep it all in the grilled cheese canyon or mote as I like to think of it. After all, it is guarding your face from getting burnt by molten cheese.
Then, lay your blistered blueberries on top of the Brie.
To make these sweet and tart treats, all you need to do is melt a pat of salted butter in your skillet and add a cup of blueberries. Turn your heat to high and let them cook up. Add a tablespoon of brown sugar once you start to see them pop and stir until evenly coated. Allow to cook for a few more minutes until the juices release and start to thicken.
And if you don’t want to go through all that, you could totally just use some sort of blueberry preserves. Those will work perfectly, they just won’t be as much fun as making them yourself!

Next, lay some torn basil leaves on top of your blueberries. I think this earthy herbal contrast is so nice against the creamy brie and the bright blueberries. Fresh mint would also be super dope.

Almost done! Just smear on some of that sweet mascarpone into the other bagel half’s canal and really pack it in there. It’s so good. If you’ve never had it before, it’s like sweet cream cheese mixed with ricotta mixed with whatever kisses the hottest person in the world gives. Yeah, it’s like that.

Combine the two halves together and awe in their glory.

Now that this insane sandwich is built, turn your burner to medium high and butter both sides of your soon-to-be grilled cheese. Place it in your skillet and allow to cook for a few minutes until the bagel turns golden and crispy. Flip and repeat. Remember, both of these cheeses melt super
fast so they don’t need to be on the burner for long. Just a few minutes will do.

Then once it’s all done, you will definitely want to let this little baby sit for a minute or two. Those cheeses need to thicken up and soak in all the flavors from the blueberries and the basil. Or if you can’t wait, who cares, you’ll just have to lick your plate to make sure nothing goes to waste.

Dig in babes!

Don’t forget to check out Grate. Pair. Share. below and leave a comment for a chance to win some awesome prizes!

xoxo,

GCS