Strawberry Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Though currently on hiatus, Cynthia Furey’s foodie blog, FureyandtheFeast, still features some of her most treasured dishes.  That’s where I found a recipe for Strawberry Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, a sweet variation of the all-american grilled cheese classic .  Brie takes the place of American cheddar cheese, balsamic strawberries sweeten the deal and angel food cake stands in for regular bread.  Now you know I’m all about cooking short cuts so save yourself some time and buy the angel food cake pre-made from your local supermarket – they’ll never know the difference.  Lol.

STRAWBERRY GRILLED CHEESE

The Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 to 16 ounces brie cheese
  • 8 slices angel food cake, about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • Optional garnish: Powdered sugar, whipped cream

The Raw Materials

  • Medium bowl
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Cutting board
  • Spatula

The Instructions

  • Rinse strawberries and pat dry, then slice in the halves or quarters, depending on size of strawberries. Place in a medium bowl with balsamic vinegar and sugar. Mix to coat, and set aside for 30 minutes, stirring once to redistribute syrup.
  • Slice rind off of brie. (This is a little tricky, given the brie can be gooey and hard to work with. Make sure the brie is chilled rather than room temperature, as will help a bit.) Once rind is removed, slice brie into 1/2-inch thick chunks.
  • Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Brush butter on one side of angel food cake slice, and position it butter-side down on a cutting board or other work surface. Arrange chunks of brie and a few balsamic strawberries on slice, then top with another slice of angel food cake, brushing the top with melted butter.
  • Grill sandwich in pan for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip sandwich over, and use spatula to press down, to flatten slightly, so all ingredients meld together. Grill for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until slice is uniformly golden brown.
  • Cut each sandwich into two triangles, and serve warm with remaining balsamic strawberries. Garnish with powdered sugar and/or whipped cream, if desired.

Experiment with different fruits or serve a medley of fruit infused grilled cheese sandwiches at your next brunch, baby shower, or tea party.  Bon apetit!

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Barbecue Sundaes

You know you’re on to something good when the words Barbecue and Sundae are included in the same sentence but let me warn you, this deliciousness is not for kitchen newbies.  Of course, that sort of applies to me but there’s absolutely no way these won’t be on the menu of my next summer soiree.  I just might be taking the short cut – ie, a trip to my local barbecue rib shack and supermarket – and recommend that you do the same if you’re short on time (Trust me, they’ll NEVER know the difference) but if you’re the more adventurous (also known as SHOW OFF) kitchen type, below are the recipes for pork, slaw, and beans as published on myrecipes.com

THE INGREDIENTS

Shredded Barbecue Pork Roast

  • 1 (6-pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt)
  • 1 cup Barbecue Rub
  • Hickory wood chunks
  • Apple juice

 

Barbecue Rub

  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Cole Slaw

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

 

Baked Beans

  • 3 bacon slices
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans pork and beans
  • 1/2 cup root beer (not diet)
  • 1/4 cup hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

 

 

THE INSTRUCTIONS

Shredded Barbecue Pork Roast

  • Trim fat on pork shoulder roast to about 1/8 inch thick.
  • Sprinkle pork evenly with Barbecue Rub; rub thoroughly into meat. Wrap pork tightly with plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours.
  • Discard plastic wrap. Let pork stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  • Soak hickory chunks in water 1 hour.
  • Prepare smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions, bringing internal temperature to 225° to 250°; maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Drain wood chunks, and place on coals. Place pork on lower cooking grate, fat side up.
  • Spritz pork with apple juice each time charcoal or wood chunks are added to the smoker.
  • Smoke pork roast, maintaining the temperature inside smoker between 225° and 250°, for 6 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted horizontally into thickest portion of pork registers 170°. Remove pork from smoker, and place on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil; spritz with apple juice. Wrap tightly, and return to smoker, and smoke 2 hours or until thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest portion of pork registers 190°. Remove pork from smoker, and let stand 15 minutes. Remove bone, and chop pork

Barbecue Rub

  • Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

 

Cole Slaw

  • Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together sugar and next 7 ingredients until blended; toss with vegetables. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving

 

Baked Beans

  • Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
  • Sauté diced onion in hot bacon drippings in skillet over high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir together onion, crumbled bacon, beans, and remaining ingredients in a lightly greased 1-quart baking dish.
  • Bake beans, uncovered, at 400° for 55 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Divide 2 cups warm baked beans evenly among 4 Mason jars or large heat-proof cups; top each with 1/2 cup coleslaw, 1/4 pound warm shredded barbecued pork, and 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce.  Serve with dill pickle wedge, if desired.

Bon apetit!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I tried my hand at chocolate covered strawberries a few weeks ago after deciding to include them as one of many surprises awaiting my newly married couple upon their return to their bridal suite.   Now, if you know me then you know that I am not a gourmet chef but every once in a while I get the urge to whip up something new.  Sometimes, it works out perfectly…other times, notsomuch.  Luckily, this time my curiosity landed on something so easy that I’m actually a little frustrated that I’ve been paying bakery prices all of these years.  See for yourself…

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Raw Materials:

  • 1 Heatproof medium sized bowl
  • Parchment or waxed paper

The Instructions:

  • Put the semisweet chocolate into a heatproof bowls
  • Fill a medium saucepan with about 5 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat
  • Turn off the heat then carefully set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt and stir until smooth
    • IN A HURRY? Melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power for 1 minute. Stir. Heat for another minute or until melted.
  • Remove the chocolate from the heat once it had fully melted
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper
  • Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip each on into the chocolate using a lift and twist motion.  This will allow any of the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl
  • Place the strawberries on the parchment paper and when finished let sit for 30-45 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
    • IN A HURRY? Place the strawberry lined sheet pan in the refrigerator for 15 minutes for a quick set.

Now, I didn’t try these enhancements this time around but I imagine you can follow up the first chocolate plunge with a dip into coconut, chopped nuts, or even white chocolate for a little something extra. You may even want to try other types of fruits. It’s quick, easy and simple enough to try for your next baby shower, engagement party or girls night in and since not many people are going to say no to chocolate covered strawberries, they’re certified PARTY-FRIENDLY! Bon apetit!

Trix Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore…

Seems like Trix aren’t just for kids anymore.  Just went I thought I’d seen it all in wedding cakes, Betty Crocker showcases this sugary sweet picture of dessert perfection…

It gives me both a sugar rush and a tooth ache every time I look at the picture but the recipe looks like so much fun, I’m left with no choice but to add this to my list of meals to try at home.  And while I may not recommend it for a wedding, it seems like a perfect addition to your next children’s event.

Vamos a Celebrar! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

The 1862 victory over the French army by Mexico is not only the reason for Cinco de Mayo but is a fact that is often overshadowed by the delightfully palate quenching discovery of the MARGARITA!!!  And to celebrate, we’re starting our blenders and whipping up a few batches of a homemade recipe we like to call the Sassafras – a sparkling combination of fresh mint, berries, lime juice, prosecco, and of course, tequila.  Are you ready to party?

The Ingredients (makes 1 serving):

  • 1-Cup of Crushed Ice
  • Fresh mint
  • ¼ Cup of Frozen Unsweetened Strawberries
  • ¼ Cup of Frozen Raspberries
  • ¼ Cup of Frozen Blackberries
  • 2-tbsp Lime juice
  • 1 shot (1.5-ounce) of Republic tequila
  • ¾-Cup of Prosecco or Sprite
  • Lime or Strawberry Wedge for Garnish

The Raw Materials:

  • A Blender
  • Margarita Glass

 

The Instructions:

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until consistency is uniform and slushy
  • Pour into a margarita glass
  • Adorn with lime or strawberry garnish
  • Drink up and enjoy!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

{photo credit: zoobooz.com}

Chew On This: Oreomisu

A strange phenomenon occurred during last month’s grocery trip – I bought a bag of Oreo cookies.  Needless to say, one month later they were still unopened and I needed a way to get rid of them.  A quick online search for oreo desserts led me to this recipe on Clumbsy Cookie.  It dates back to 1998 but is still deliciously appropriate for any special event you’re planning these days.

Oreomisu

The Ingredients:

  • 6 Oreo cookies
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk

The Raw Materials:

  • 1 Medium sized mixing bowl
  • Small wisk

The Instructions:

  • Break apart the oreo cookies and scrape the filling to a bowl and set aside the wafers.
  • To the Oreo fillings add the mascarpone and icing sugar and mix well with a small whisk.
  • Mix the milk and the vanilla extract and make crumbs out of two wafers (you can do this with your fingers or press them with the bottom of a glass or rolling pin).
  • In small serving plates arrange alternatively the chocolate wafers dipped in the milk and the mascarpone cream. Start with a wafer and use five for each Oreomisu.
  • finish with mascarpone cream.
  • Top with the wafer crumbs and refrigerate.

Sweet and simple and better yet, there’s no baking involved which makes this the perfect recipe for a spring or summer bachelorette party, girls night in or midnight nightcap for wedding guests with sweettooths.  This recipe serves two but ingredients can be doubled to accommodate more.

{Photo Credit: theartoftwotarts.com}

April is Mouthwatering at Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma just released their April calendar and it is absolutely mouthwatering!  They’re certainly kicking off spring with a month-long schedule of FREE, fun technique classes and food demonstrations which are sure to have you and your honey deliciously feeding your way into each others hearts.

You’ll enjoy 10% “student” savings on same day purchases from the store following your completion of a TECHNIQUE Class and you’re encouraged to contact your local store to reserve a space for all of the TECHNIQUE Classes as space is limited. Each hour-long class is dedicated to a specific topic led by one of their culinary experts and an overview of the classes are as follows:

From Scratch – Sausage (Sunday, April 3 )

Our next series of technique classes will have you excited about rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty in the kitchen. Our first class uncovers the art of sausage making, a basic charcuterie skill easy to master at home! Learn how to select different meats, how to flavor and season, make delicious sausage blends for everything from breakfast sausage to classic Italian sausage and peppers for dinner.

From Scratch – Fresh Pasta (Sunday, April 10)

Pasta fresca (fresh pasta), pasta fatta in casa (pasta made at home), pasta fatta a mano (pasta made by hand), sfoglia (“thin sheets” of pasta), and pasta all’uovo (egg pasta) are all terms Italians use when referring to homemade pasta. Although the dough calls for just a handful of ingredients and the method is simple, making fresh pasta takes time. There is, however, nothing more satisfying than enjoying the delicate results of your labor at the dinner table. This class will walk through all the steps, equipment needed and some delicious ways to serve fresh pasta.

Sunday, April 17 – Eggs: Sweet & Savory

Packed with creative recipes and ideas, eggs are one of the most versatile foods. Prepared both sweet and savory – they can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner, even snacks in between! Eggs are a great entertaining item for both casual meals and elegant occasions. We’ll teach you some of our sweet and savory favorites as we celebrate the egg!

The DEMONSTRATION classes  focus on seasonal foods and entertaining – perfect for the couple who loves to host in-home social events.  They do not require reservation and are held at 11:00 AM; unless otherwise noted.

In the event you’re looking for a great gift to surprise your newly married or homeowner friends with, we’re LOVING these ideas from Williams-Sonoma:

Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker

Meet the Pixie: an eye-catching new single-cup machine that combines a super-compact silhouette with superb espresso-making abilities. The smallest Nespresso machine ever, this stylish little dynamo is easy to use and is the ideal size for small kitchens, apartments and offices. $249.95

SodaStream Fizz Sparkling Water Maker

Do away with the waste of plastic bottles while enjoying sparkling water, homemade cocktails and sodas carbonated to whatever “fizziness” you prefer with this eco-friendly water carbonator. Operation is easy and requires no electrical power. $149.95

If you attend one of the classes let us know how it went and what you applied your 10% towards.  Happy Cooking!