Tag Archives: cheese

Cheddar Cheese Ball in Everything Bagel Spice

6 Jan

Sometimes, ya just gotta throw a party and I did exactly that. An appetizer party, specifically. What inspired this? Mostly, the party issue of Bon Appetit. I vacillated wildly between wanting to host a huge shindig for everyone I know to having just a few people over for something fancy. I’ve done both and enjoy them equally, if differently. Eventually, I settled on a not-too-big appetizer party based on a couple of recipes from the BA magazine. The runaway hit of the dishes I made was the giant, creamy cheese ball coated in salty, savoury everything bagel spice. I doubled the original recipe – a good call considering how little was left at the end of the night. Because it was such a large ball o’ cheese, I found it was a lot easier to make a dome than a ball but with the original recipe, it should be much easier to shape. Also, I skipped the pancetta step for two reasons: 1. there were vegetarians coming to the party and I wanted them to be able to try this out and, 2. I had enough to do already, thank you very much. I have no doubt the pancetta is fantastic when included, but I was a busy girl.

Ingredients

2 oz pancetta, finely chopped
1⅓finely grated extra sharp cheddar
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tb unsalted butter, room temperature
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 ts Worcestershire sauce
2 ts black pepper
kosher salt
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 ts poppy seeds
1 ts sesame seeds, toasted

Directions

1. Crisp pancetta in a sauce pan over medium heat for roughly 5-8 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
2. Blend together (in a food processor, with beaters, whatever you’ve got) the cheddar, cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the green onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper.
3. Scrape the mixture into a small, plastic-lined bowl. Form into a ball and chill in the fridge until it’s firm. (3-12 hours)
4. Just before you are ready to serve, cook the garlic in a small pan over medium, stirring often, until crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
5. Add the shallots to the pan and, like the garlic, cook until golden brown, which will take 5-8 minutes. Make sure you stir often. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool.
6. Mix the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, shallots & garlic in shallow dish and roll the cheese ball until it’s coated. Serve with crackers and eat too much!

cheese

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Cheese Muffins

2 Feb

Makes 12.

Ingredients

2 1/2c all-purpose flour
1tb baking powder
1tb sugar
1ts salt
1c Cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/4c milk
1 egg
1/4c butter, melted

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line or butter a muffin tin.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Add the cheese, milk, egg and butter to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine but do not overmix.
4. Spoon equal amounts into the 12 muffin cups and bake 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.
5. Allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!

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Making Couscous a Little More Interesting…

3 Feb

I quite like couscous for a number of reasons, but I especially love how versatile it can be and how quick it is to make. I got into a discussion with a coworker the other day about this and started coming up with different ways to cook it aside from the standard water with some salt. Here are a few options we talked about…

Cooking liquid:

  • Orange Juice
  • Apple Juice
  • Vegetable/Chicken broth

Extra goodies:

  • Chopped almonds
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Currants
  • Chopped apricots
  • Fresh herbs – cilantro, parsley, thyme, mint
  • Veggies – frozen/fresh peas or corn (use a little more cooking liquid and add these in with the couscous)
  • Spices – cumin, paprika, chili powder, curry powder
  • Feta cheese

Really, you can try just about anything with couscous. Like quinoa and rice, you can adapt it to fit whatever flavor profile you’d like. What do you, fine readers, do with your couscous?

How Much Could I *Possibly* Eat at the Delicious Food Show?

24 Oct

So, it wasn’t the Toronto Underground Market that I checked out this Saturday, but the Delicious Food Show which I won tickets to back in September.  Since I’d been to TUM last month, I figured it would be okay to miss one in favour of something a little different. While it didn’t have that same, fun, camaraderie-inducing spirit, it was still an interesting show that featured a lot of higher end food and products.

Our first stop was to Cosmo’s Smoked Meats Ltd., who’s fantastic array of meat and cheese was staggering – and attracted quite a crowd. After sampling several yummy kielbasas and various cheeses, we walked away with a rich 4-year old cheddar and a 3-pack of hot sausages. Can’t wait to dive into those tout de suite!

Giant brick of cheese & sausages? Yes, please!

Continuing on our meanderings, we came across the fine folks who were giving out sumptuous veal meatballs stuffed with chevre. Oh, my. Next to them was the vendor we affectionately referred to as, “the goat cheese lady.” She had several kinds of cheese to sample, but we couldn’t say no to the triple cream goat’s milk brie. Served in a little condiment cup, this cheese was the epitome of luxury. Soft, creamy, just slightly tangy, it’s a good thing they didn’t have more – and that there was an impressive barrier between me and the rest of that cheese. I would  have done bad things to get more.

Rounding the corner, we found a Rodney’s outpost! There is a special place in my heart for Rodney’s oysters as they were the first I ever had. We bought half a dozen to split between the two of us and happily slurped up the briny treats. The sweet seafood sauce was particularly good on them (I’m not a big Tobasco fan) and we were very happy to see Marie Sharp’s hot sauce on the table. Not only is it our favourite brand of hot sauce on the planet, it’s from Belize! (My husband’s family is from Belize and we just took our first trip there together last year. We loved it so much that we’re returning this winter.)

Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce

Oysters downed, we tried a few other hot sauce booths but weren’t terrifically blown away by any. Then, lo and behold, we found the Marie Sharp’s booth! We already have several at home, but they were featuring some new flavours that were on the sweeter side…and then the insanely hot side. We chatted with the lovely folks for a while and, naturally, the lady who imports the sauce knows my husband’s family. Small country, small world. (Awesome hot sauce.)

And with what does one follow up oysters and hot sauce samples? Why, Belgian waffles of course! For my money, the Belgian waffle from The Wafflebar was the best thing I ate all night. Hot and fluffy on the inside and a little bit crispy on the outside, this thing was pure evil in the best way possible. Drizzled with caramel AND chocolate sauce and topped off with a dollop of whipped cream, the hubby and I were no doubt a site to see eating these things while attempting not to look like three-year olds. Whether or not that mission was accomplished, the waffles were wonderful and I highly recommend that you seek these fine wafflemakers out.

We also stopped by The Nutty Chocolatier and I sampled the red velvet fudge. I gather this is a new addition to their already large array of products and I suspect it will be very, very successful. I may just pop down to the one in the Beaches and buy out their entire supply.

“Okay…I think we’ve had enough samples,” I said. “Yeah, maybe you’re right.” That was the conversation we had four minutes before happening upon Hank Daddy’s BBQ booth. Oh, hello. While we opted not to have the pulled pork parfait – though there was temptation -we did get the pulled pork sandwich and a smoked sausage with sauteed onions and mustard. You know you’re getting a good sausage in a bun when it snaps when you bite into it. Really, really good.

“Okay, now we’re REALLY done. Let’s go wash our hands and head out.” Oh, but wait! Bunner’s bakery is giving away free cupcakes? Well, let’s not be silly. We definitely need one of those. I generally find vegan and gluten-free products pretty lacking in..um…everything, but I must say that these cupcakes were pretty damn good. We both had the red velvet and chocolate variety and not a crumb was left.

I was impressed by the variety of products – food and otherwise – that were available at the Delicious Food Show. I don’t know that Liberty Grand needed to have such a clubby presence, though. The music wasn’t bad but I often found that it was in competition with other vendors and it felt a little…out of place to me. Overall, though, I’m glad I went and tried just about every food under the sun.

Roasted Poblanos w/ Chicken & Cheese

14 Mar

So many things about our trip to Belize made a lasting impression, not the least of which was the food.  I am seriously missing the flavours of Central America! I stumbled across a recipe for stuffed peppers a while back and, since I had some leftover roasted chicken in the fridge, it was clearly time to bust this one out!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

4 poblano/cubanelle peppers
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 ts dried oregano
1 ts cumin
1 ts cinnamon
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1 tb olive oil
2 c shredded chicken
1 1/2 c cooked rice
2 c cheddar, grated
1/4 cilantro, chopped
1 tb lime juice

Directions

1. Position oven rack 4 inches from broiler. Line sheet with foil.
2. Slit peppers from step to tip. Place on the sheet and broil, turning several times, until they are blackened.
3. Let the peppers cool then peel the skins, cut out the cores and return to the baking sheet.
4. Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes on medium-high heat until all the liquid evaporates.
5.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the chicken, rice, 1 cup of the cheese, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt to taste.
6. Divide filling among the four peppers. (This gets a little messy – don’t worry if some spills out.) Broil for 4 minutes.
7. Top the peppers with the remaining cup of cheese and then broil 2 more minutes.

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Huevos Diablos

8 Oct

Translated as “devil eggs” this breakfast dish is not to be missed.  It’s our go-to breakfast dish whether just for ourselves or for guests. Easy, not too many ingredients, incredibly flavourful. Also, an excellent hangover brekkie. 🙂

Eggs poached in salsa (you can choose your level of heat), served on a crispy tortilla with avocado, topped with cheese, cilantro and green onion. Satisfying, simple & scrumptious!!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

4 eggs
2 cups salsa
4 tostadas
1 avocado, sliced
1 1/2 c cheese (cheddar, marble, cotilla, feta will all work), shredded
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped

Directions

1. Pour the salsa into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer at medium-low heat.
2. Carefully crack the eggs into the salsa & poach the eggs until the whites are cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes.
3. In the meantime, heat the tostadas in the oven/microwave oven. They burn quickly, so keep an eye on them. 20 seconds in the toaster oven usually does it.
4. Place two tostadas on each plate. Cover with the avocado slices.
5. Gently remove the eggs from the salsa and place over the avocado slices. (A slotted spoon will work, as will a wide spatula.) Pour the salsa over the eggs.
6. Sprinkle with the cheese, then cilantro & green onion.


Picnic!

5 Oct

Picnics are always, always fun. For the first couple of years that J & I dated,  we planned picnics on several different occasions, only for the weather to take a turn for the worse. Finally, we decided that it didn’t necessarily need to be outside: we could have a perfectly good picnic indoors. In December. Off to the market we went, picking up all sorts of goodies. We spread out a blanket on the floor, arranged the various meats, cheeses, fruit, bread & infused olive oil that J created on the stove. We tucked in to a helluva good meal and have continued this tradition ever since.

For our anniversary this week, we decided this would be an excellent dinner. We had corned beef, sliced roast beef & Calabrese salami; St. Agur blue cheese, double-creme brie & jalapeno havarti; apples & grapes; a raisin & walnut ciabatta; and a garlic/basil/chili flake-infused olive oil that we kept warm with a little chocolate fondue pot.

It’s such a fun way to eat, experimenting with different flavour combinations and textures. The apple & brie were especially delicious, as was the bread-blue cheese-salami combo. Difficult to go wrong, though, when you’ve good ingredients, good wine and good company!

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