Tag Archives: italian

Cool Dude Cappy – Goat Cheese, Eggplant Caponata and Mint Grilled Cheese

Guys, I am so excited! It’s finally cooling down. It feels as if the gates of hell have lifted from my kitchen. Because of this, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my out-dated and temperamental lovely “vintage” appliances. I sure missed them. When the highs were hitting around a thousand degrees, making anything that required more than fifteen minutes in the kitchen was off-limits. I just couldn’t do it, the heat was excruciating and exhausting. I even had a weak moment where I thought about taking a break from GCS. I’m not being a baby, either. Sure, i miss central AC and all the wonderful times we had together. But it got to the point that every time i whipped up a new sandwich for a post, my entire apartment ended up feeling like a gigantic blow-dryer with a heat-seeker had gotten out of control.

So yeah, now that it doesn’t feel like an exhaust pipe from the L train (do they even have those?) is funneling into my house, I’m finally taking a stab at all the recipes I’ve been hoarding saving over summer. One of the first on the list – eggplant caponata. Oh yes.

Of course I ended up with way too much, so here’s a teaser to what I did with those leftovers: Deep, rich, and sweet caponata jam balanced out by creamy and tart goat cheese. Fresh mint is hanging out in the mix as well, to give a nice pop of herbal brightness that refreshes and cleanses the palette. Oh and I can’t forget the super nutty and hearty whole wheat bread that acts as a crispy buttery case that encapsulates all this warm goodness.

THE GOODS:

Ingredients

• about 2 heaping tbs of Sweet Grass Dairy Goat Chevre
• 2 pats of salted butter
• 5-10 fresh mint leaves
• 2 slices Balthazaar’s multigrain bread
• 2 tbs of Caponata Jam
  (combine 1 tbs of eggplant caponata
   with 1 tbs fig butter or preserves)

There are so many varieties of goat cheese. I really like this chevre from Sweet Grass Dairy (I mean, let’s get real, I like EVERYTHING from them) though. Like a lot. It’s creamy, tart, and smears on really well. It’s not very chalky and I found that it works really well for grillin’.

Sooo anyways, back to the point, MacKenzie.

Smear on some of that good stuff. About a giant heaping tbs for each side.*

*obvs more or less depending on your bread size. You want just a nice thick and delicious layer and that’s all that matters. Smear your heart out*

Now for the Caponata Jam. I had some of this delightfully sour and sweet eggplant dish left over and I thought it could be an interesting ingredient for a GC. As i was dreaming up some concoction, I began to think about the played out classic pairing of caponata and goat cheese. And although I feel like this combo is boringly delicious, it’s been overdone. You probably even had the combo smeared on top of some dried out crostini at your little brother’s basketball banquet. Or some other cutting edge event like that.

But ya know what? I couldn’t let this routine pair make an appearance on one of my sandwiches. No way. Ick. So ya know what I did? I made a jam out of it. Not the fancy go-all-out-and-can-it-jam but rather a simple combination of sweet fig butter and tart, slightly tomato-y caponata spread.

So follow my lead and smear on about 2 tbs of this bright and sweet spread which will balance out the lip-puckering goat cheese.

After that comes the mint leaves. There’s nothing like fresh mint. It’s bright, citrus-y, and has the ability to balance out rich dishes by leaving a cool and refreshing aftertaste.

You’ll want to just place a couple of the little green leaves on top of the caponata.  Or if you’re like me and have a mild case of OCD, well then arrange them in beautiful little straight lines.  Now do this four more times until they are absolutely perfect. 

Then place the other piece of bread on top and smear some salted butter on it. I always use salted butter because…well…because i like it.

OK? Is that so wrong?

Unsalted butter is boring. 

Now heat your skillet up to medium high and place your sandwich in. Butter the other side and grill for about 4 minutes (or until it gets that nice golden crust) and flip it. Repeat for the other side.

SEE? This is what’s up. F’real.

After it’s all beautiful and bronzed (Not bronze as in Snooki bronze, but yeah, the above kind of bronze) take it off the heat and let it sit for about a minute or at least until it’s cool enough so that your fingers don’t burn off when you are trying to feed your face. 

Stay tuned for next week, because I’m beginning my AWESOME WAYS TO MAKE GRILLED CHEESE SERIES which will feature…well… awesome (and innovative!) ways to grill-up your all time favorite sandwich, the grilled cheese.

xoxo,

GCS

The Bee Sting (remix) – Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with Hot Sopressata, and Basil Infused Honey

I’ve got to get this off of my chest. I care about bees. Like a lot. So much so, that when I have to write up the Links We Love at work each week I try to throw in one story about what’s going on in the world of bees. It’s gotten a little much though. I know. I know. People don’t want to be depressed and sad thinking about these poor little fuzzy insects that are living on the brink of their demise. They just want to think of them as cute little furry things that fly around and pollinate flowers and produce sweet liquid gold with their other bee friends. They have a matriarchic system for cryin’ out loud! They’re even raw enough for Wu-Tang to care about. So yeah, they’re rad.

So to talk about bees without being a total drag, I’ve made a new sandwich to showcase their sweet, sweet nectar. It’s inspired by one of my favorite pizzas OF ALL TIME. The Bee Sting. It’s from this place Roberta’s and it is the best thing I’ve ever had. It’s sweet, spicy and absolutely divine. It’s got fresh mozzarella paired spicy sopressata, basil, and red pepper flakes. Then it’s finished with a touch of honey that just makes your taste buds go “WTF was that? GIVE ME MORE.” Well, at least that’s what happened to me.

So here’s my spin…

Ingredients:

– about 4 slices fresh mozzarella
– 2 hearty slices of a Bâtard
– 5 slices of sopressata picante
– 1 tbs of red pepper flaked butter
  (combine 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
   with one tablespoon of real salted butter, MIX)
– 1 tbs of basil infused honey
  (fresh basil leaves and tupelo honey, OF  
   COURSE)

Ok, so I’m totally obsessed with tupelo honey (and it doesn’t have anything to do with my obsession for Van Morrison either. I swear.). It’s the only honey I’ll eat and you might remember it from the Floridian honey mustard that so deliciously starred in The Homebody. I even get my mom (love you mom!) to ship it to to me, because sadly, I can’t find it ANYWHERE in NYC. It’s a bummer. If you don’t have any, you should buy some. Seriously.

To make the basil infused honey, julienne about ten small basil leaves and stir them into a tablespoon of honey. I let the mixture sit overnight to let the flavors of the basil steep into the honey. When I was searching for a basil laced honey recipe, I found that a lot of people said to heat them together but I didn’t think it was necessary. I found that covering the mixture and letting it sit overnight worked wonderfully. After you’ve got your mixture ready, just spoon on about a 1/2 teaspoon (or more, depending on the size of your bread) onto each slice of the bâtard.

Then add a layer of mozzarella. Fresh mozz won’t melt but it will get super stretchy and warm and delicious.

Then add some spicy sopressata. This salty dry meat pairs perfectly with fresh mozzarella because of how moist and mild it is.

And now add on the last layer of mozz.

Then the top piece of bread… AND THEN…

IT’S TIME FOR THE RED PEPPER FLAKE BUTTER. This stuff is for real. It’s super spicy and it balances perfectly with the sweetness from the honey infused basil.

Then turn your burner up to medium and set your sandwich in. The lower the heat, the better. You’ll want to cook it at a lower temperature so the red pepper flakes don’t burn and have a chance to infuse the butter.

Cook it for about three minutes on each side or until it gets golden brown. WATCH OUT though, you don’t want to burn the pepper flakes because they get nasty and bitter and no one wants that.

Before you chow down, let the sandwich rest for a minute so that the cheese isn’t super stretchy and doesn’t slip out when you try to cut it.

So there ya have it. And even though you might not be thinking about bees like I had originally intended, at least I got to talk about them without making people cry. For that, I’m thrilled. Enjoy!

xoxo,

GCS

The Meatwad – Meatball Grilled Cheese with Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago and Onion Bread

I saw something somewhere about a danklicious smashed meatball grilled cheese and I thought it was an awesome idea.  I totally forgot about it for a little while until yesterday when I was at Trader Joe’s.  They had this amazing looking Asiago that’s flavored with rosemary and olive oil. YUM, right? So anyways, I had to buy it and make this little meatwad baby for you guys.  I would normally give a shout out here to the recipe that inspired it, but I can’t remember 🙁 meep.

So to make this little baby you’re going to use :

Ingredients

-2 slices of Eli’s onion bread
-2 pads of real salted butter
-1/2 cup of shredded rosemary and olive oil Asiago
-2 cheese stuffed meatballs

I guess I should begin by telling you about the meatballs.  I used trader joe’s grass fed beef, an egg, some panko, finely diced onions, garlic, and basil, salt, pepper, and this awesome seasoning that I use on about everything…. and it’s called Instant Gourmet.  I combined everything and rolled ’em into little balls and shoved a small chunk of the asiago in the middle.  Once they were shaped, I sprayed some pam into the pan and cooked the meatballs, turning occasionally until the cheese started to ooze out.

Oh, and if you don’t wanna try to wing it with my vague recipe, use this cute little recipe from my good friend Ashley at Lovely Little Vices.

But once you have them on hand, go ahead and pile half of the cheese onto one slice of bread.

NOW SMASH YOUR MEATWAD!

Then center it on top of the cheese.

Now pile on the remaining bit of Asiago.

And put on the top piece of bread.

BUTTER.

At this point you’ll want to melt the other pad of butter in the pan because it’s way tooooo hard to try and flip it before it’s melted.  Once it’s creamy go ahead and put the sammie on the butter and put the press on top.  If you don’t have a metal press, you can use a heavy pan or a tinfoil wrapped brick or something.

Once it gets nice and puuuuuurdy, flip it and put the press back on top!

When it’ equally golden on both sides, take it out of the skillet and slice it!

Although this is a really flavorful grilled cheese, I thought it would be even better dipped in some marinara sauce… and i was right! So pair it with some delicious sauce and have a super fun party time and gobble up this meatwad of a grilled cheese.

Oh, and keep livin’ large, boy, keep living large.

xoxo,

GCS