Grilled cheese series: Blueberry brie

Blueberry brie

Hello kids, welcome back to the grilled cheese series.  This summer’s grilled cheese party starred the following sandwiches; two sweet, and two savory:

Through trial and error, I found a good way to make grilled cheese for a crowd.  You grill the bread slices individually, lay them grilled side down on a baking sheet with cheese on both slices, bake them later on when the time comes, then press together to form the sandwich.

♫ Suggested listening: Blue Funk. ♫

Click to listen: Heavy D & the Boyz – “Blue Funk” Continue reading

Grilled cheese series: roasted poblano chimichurri with avocado

Chimichurri grilled cheeseHello kids, welcome back to the grilled cheese series.  This summer’s grilled cheese party starred the following sandwiches:

This one in particular is a little more labor intensive, but the results are well worth the extra effort.

Chimichurri 2

Comments overheard:

“I don’t want to eat anything ever again besides this.”

“What even is in this sandwich?”

“WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?”

Below, I solve the mystery, and show you how to make it yourself.

Through trial and error, I found a good way to make grilled cheese for a crowd.  You grill the bread slices individually, lay them grilled side down on a baking sheet with cheese on both slices, bake them later on when the time comes, then press together to form the sandwich.

♫ Suggested listening: something unusual and Argentinian. ♫

Click to listen: Chancha Vía Circuito – “Jardines” (Feat. Lido Pimienta)

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Grilled cheese series: sourdough shallot and thyme

Shallot thyme

Welcome back to the grilled cheese series!

This sandwich, although part of a summer series, could be made year-round.  At the grilled cheese party in question, I made two savory sandwiches and two sweet, using in-season ingredients:

Here’s a “lesson learned” from this process: jarlsberg is delicious, but it will put up a fight if you try to melt it in a sandwich!  Instead, for next time I might say try gruyère, havarti, monterrey jack, etc.  I switched to mont. jack midway through and just straight up ate the jarlsberg.

Through trial and error, I found a good way to make grilled cheese for a crowd.  You grill the bread slices individually, lay them grilled side down on a baking sheet with cheese on both slices, bake them later on when the time comes, then press together to form the sandwich.

Just because I did it last time, here’s your wine idea – go riesling with this sandwich.  Why?  Not sure, I just like the idea.  I’m really not that fancy.

On the real tip, if you really want to use the jarlsberg, you’re going to have to just about light that sandwich on fire…

♫ Suggested listening: fire ♫

Click to listen: The Ohio Players – “Fire” Continue reading

Grilled cheese series: blackberry basil fontina

Blackberry GC

Ladies and gents, this is the first entry in our grilled cheese series, documenting the stars of my grilled cheese party this past weekend.  Wine, beer, grilled cheese sandwiches, and crossbreezes from the open french doors in our apartment made for a perfect Sunday evening get-together.

I made two savory sandwiches and two sweet, using in-season ingredients:

Through trial and error, I found a good way to make grilled cheese for a crowd.  You grill the bread slices individually, lay them grilled side down on a baking sheet with cheese on both slices, bake them later on when the time comes, then press together to form the sandwich.

♫ Suggested listening: Blackberry Stone. ♫

Click to listen: Laura Marling – “Blackberry Stone”

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Strawberry and tarragon salad with pecans

Strawberry arugula 2

Spring strawberries are everywhere, and we’ve been eating them every way we can think of.  Here’s a salad inspired by the matchless Martha.

Tarragon is a subtle flavor, and it did pretty well complementing the sweetness and acid from the strawberries.  Pecans rounded it out and gave it some fatty crunchiness.  Good times all around.  If I were a real chef, I’d recommend a wine pairing.  Instead, here’s another photo of the salad.

… Alright, Sauvignon blanc.  Disagree with me if you dare.

Strawberry arugula 1

♫ Suggested listening: Strawberry Letter 23. ♫

Click to listen: The Brothers Johnson – “Strawberry Letter 23″ Continue reading

Ricotta and apple cake

Ricotta apple cake 1

Behold, the resurrection of my baking confidence.

Minnie cake

Modeled by Minnie.  I mean, what else do you need?

I made this cake as part of Mommy’s Day brunch!  Last year’s was so much fun, we had to do it again this year.

Our menu:

  • Spinach and gruyère strata (side note, this time I made it with smoked gouda, and it brought the house down.  Pro tip.)
  • Salmon and new potato salad
  • Ricotta and apple cake

As you may know, I’ve had my share of baking setbacks.  This cake, however, resurrected my baking confidence and fed my happy guests and my happy mom.

♫ Suggested listening: resurrection. ♫

Click to listen: Common – “Resurrection”

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Rebellious aperol spritz

Rebellious aperol spritz

Note: this is not an aperol spritz.  Before you say,

Look at that photo.  Yes, you would like one of those.

Now friends, you may ask yourselves, why does Portia even bother looking at recipes?  By now you must know how I roll.  I start out with the best of intentions to follow a recipe that someone who knows a lot more than me painstakingly arrived at through trial and error.  But then, inevitably, I rebel and I just make sh*t up.

This is why I am not a very good baker.  Perhaps I have a problem with authority.

So what is it, and why is it not an aperol spritz?  First, I forgot the soda water.  Then, in addition to the orange, I threw in a lemon and a grapefruit, and some mint leaves.  Why not.  And then I added some limoncello because MISCELLANEOUS ITALY IN YO FACE.  And so, the “rebellious aperol spritz” was born.  Looks fun.  Tastes fun.

♫ Suggested listening: something for those who can’t be told. ♫

Click to listen: Valerie June – “You Can’t Be Told” 

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Cookie geology

Cookie rocks

Sigh.

Pop quiz, you guys: what happens when you try to make risotto and cookies at the same time, while also mentally doubling your cookie recipe?  At least one crash and burn (fun fact – my risotto was al dente and delicious and generally ON POINT).

Who screws up making cookies from their own blog?  I do.  I ended up making some delightfully fragrant rocks.  One batch was supposed to be for my proposal team at work, and one was supposed to be for my supervisor who is recovering from surgery, but I’m pretty sure that these would send her back to the hospital, or at least to the dentist.

Evidence suggests that I made a miscalculation with regards to my leavening agents.

♫ Suggested listening: harder than you think. ♫

Click to listen: Public Enemy – “Harder than you Think”

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Golden beets with tarragon and pistachios

Beets pistach 1

It’s spring, y’all.  Among other things, that means… beets!

Roast ’em, marinate ’em, garnish ’em, and put ’em in a pretty bowl.

Beets pistach 2

I mean… right?

♫ Suggested listening: beets and nuts

See what I did there?

Click to listen: Beatnuts – “Watch Out Now” Continue reading

Za’atar and preserved lemon flatbread pizza

Zaatar pizza cutterIs it a pizza, or a flatbread?  It has mozzarella and basil.  I think it qualifies.  Plus that’s a pizza cutter, right?  OK, it’s a pizza.

This combines two things that are fun and Middle Eastern/North African: za’atar and preserved lemon.  Don’t know what those are? Click the links.

Zaatar pizza closeupExtreme closeup!

Yalla, let’s make some pizza.

♫ Suggested listening: something fun and North African. ♫

Click to listen: Sherine – “Ana Fel Gharam”  Sherine is fun and Egyptian.

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