Sunday, March 6, 2011
Hey everyone! We've been quiet here recently because home renovations have completely taken over our lives. I was hoping to post some new home updates in this space, but as those of you who have had construction done in your living spaces know, things almost never go according to plan. And in recent weeks, we've almost completely lost use of our bathroom and kitchen, which is a minor tragedy in our household. With very little counter space, we've been coping by sticking to one-pot meals and/or fleeing for the weekends. This week, we did both with a theme that stayed with us from breakfast to dinner.
It's been a super cold and just pretty awful winter here in New England, and amidst the mess that is our house, bakerbiker and I were at our wit's end trying to figure out what to cook for dinner that didn't involve leaving the house to brave the snow, sleet, or whatever else seems to be out there all the time. And then we looked in the fridge and lo and behold: the perfect ingredients for stick-to-your ribs gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches were staring us in the face.
We've taste-tested many different grilled-cheese combos, and have really come to like a mix of melty cheeses rather than just one kind. For this meal, we used gruyere, manchego, and cheddar. We shredded even amounts of each, piled them between two slices of Fornax bread (which in our opinion is really the best for grilled cheese), and grilled them in three generous pats of butter.
And to make things interesting, we happened to have some homemade pickled green tomatoes in the fridge - a layer of that spread on top of the cheese adds a little zip that's really tasty. You can pickle or preserve your own green tomatoes - we really like Martha Stewart's green tomato chutney recipe - or, if you're in the Boston area, City Feed and Supply also sells their own version of pickled green tomatoes that are very good.
To make things just a little bit healthy, we tossed together some roasted beets and arugula with olive oil and salt for a salad on the side. At least SOMETHING is finally melting in our lives, even if it's not all the snow.
You all have heard me rave about Portland, Maine and its amazing food scene, so I won't rehash too much here again. But part II of our home renovation escape involved a trip to visit our dear friends in Portland. And just when we thought we had created the perfect grilled cheese, we discovered the brunch menu at Blue Spoon, an amazing little spot that offers grilled cheese (among many other tasty dishes) for breakfast!
This was not your everyday grilled cheese, served with taleggio cheese, which really is a wonder, apricot jam, and arugula. You can guess that we just had to try this sweeter version of heaven and it was AMAZING - sweet and salty and perfectly melty. The apricot/taleggio combo is really pure genius. I think we've permanently added a new grilled cheese to our repertoire.
Do you have grilled cheese ingredients that you like? Please share!
Green Tomato Chutney from Martha Stewart Living
Servings: 1 1/2 quarts
4 pounds green tomatoes (about 12 medium), diced
2 yellow bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
2 Vidalia or other sweet onions, finely diced
1 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 sticks cinnamon (each 3 inches long)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Set over high heat; bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer until mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 hour.
Using a slotted spoon, remove cinnamon sticks. At this point, chutney can be cooled and served, or canned: Ladle chutney into clean canning jars, and wipe excess from rims; screw on lids.
Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Using canning tongs, gently place jars in boiling water, making sure the water covers the jars (if not, add additional water to cover). Let jars sit in gently simmering water for 10 minutes. Remove; let cool slightly. Check seal by pressing in center of lid. If it doesn't pop back, it is properly sealed. If it does, return jars to water for 10 more minutes. Let sealed jars cool completely.
Let pickled tomatoes stand until flavors have melded, at least 2 weeks. Store unopened jars in a cool, dark place up to 6 months. Once opened, jars will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.