This recipe, just on general principle, is pretty fantastic. Roasted berries, brie, and a balsamic maple vinaigrette – can’t really go wrong there. However? Do this right when you’ve got strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries at the farmer’s market concurrently, and I’m pretty sure this will blow it all out of the water. (Also be sure that your berries are cooled when you mix the brie in, the triple cream I used ended up melting into the berries and juices. Not that I’m complaining.)

A brief side note: I find both quinoa and kale to be overused and overpriced, so unless they really add something to a meal, I usually tend to omit them. This is one of those cases in which I did. If you’d like this recipe with the original kale and quinoa, click the linked recipe below!

Roasted Berry and Brie Salad

Ingredients

  • assorted berries, in whatever quantity you’d like (used a combination of strawberries (hulled and halved), blackberries, and blueberries at a 2:.5:1 ratio)
  • olive oil
  • sugar (used brown sugar to 
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 oz brie (I used a triple cream, Delice de Bourgogne)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T whole grain mustard

Preheat your oven to 400, and line a baking tray or glass pan with foil. Take your berries, toss them with olive oil and sugar to coat, and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Put them in the pan, and roast for about ten minutes, until slightly softened. LET THEM COOL. Seriously, do this, or the brie will melt into the juices (which isn’t a bad thing, per se, but if you want the cheese to remain whole, let the berries cool.)

Once your berries are cooled enough, put them into your serving or storing container, and cut your 4 oz of brie into small chunks, and put it into the berries, tossing lightly to combine. 

To make your vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and a bit of fresh cracked sea salt and pepper, and whisk together to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, toss lightly again to coat, and then enjoy your ridiculously awesome summer dish!

Notes for future: keep brie separate until the last possible moment prior to serving, make in smaller quantities. 

So, big life news here: I’m about to move down to Chicago in… a little bit over two weeks. so I’m mostly going to be focused on cooking down my fridge, and sticking to mainstay recipes rather than doing new stuff. So, this blog might go dark for a little bit while I move.

That doesn’t mean I can’t dig out an old recipe that I somehow forgot to post (derp). This was a recipe I submitted a few montsh ago to a grilled cheese contest, never heard back, so I’m gonna write this up and hope for the best for the future. Because, I’m gonna be real – this is one of the most amazing grilled cheeses I’ve had, ever.

Red Black and Blue Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

  • sourdough bread, two slices (I used a sliced loaf of Stella’s sourdough bread, fantastic)
  • deli rare roast beef (I used about 2 slices, do to your taste)
  • small handful of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • blue cheese (I used several slices off of a chunk of Hook’s Blue Paradise, crumbles or slices work fine here, do to your taste)
  • butter

First, preheat your oven to 375, take your sliced strawberries, put them in a small ramekin, sprinkle with sugar, and then roast the strawberries for about 8 minutes, until they’re soft. Remove from the oven, and let them cool a bit. 

Meanwhile, take your sourdough slices, and layer between them, in order: your deli rare roast beef on bottom, your blue cheese in the middle, and the roasted strawberries and their juices on top (so that it looks similar to the photo up there). 

Take a small pan, and melt a small pat of butter over medium heat, while buttering the outsides of the sourdough slices. Once the butter is melted, add the sandwich, and grill for about five minutes on each side, until the bread is a nice golden brown and the blue cheese melts. 

And then, enjoy the gloriousness of this grilled cheese. You could also probably add a drizzle of balsamic to make it even more amazing. 

Creme brulee.  One of the classic desserts to make, and always fun to see if you can make at home. This was my first try ever doing so, and honestly, I’d say these turned out really damn good. Creme brulee is awesome by itself, but add in a good swig of Kahlua, and it only gets even better. 

Don’t have a kitchen torch? Don’t trust your broiler to properly caramelize the crust? No problem!  Use the spoon method (which I will detail below!)

White Russian Creme Brulee
Makes 4 ramekins (mine were larger so it was 3)

Ingredients

  • 1.25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c whole milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract (or vanilla pod if you have it on hand)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • .25 c sugar
  • 1 T Kahlua (I used a bit more than this)

Preheat your oven to 325. Take your whipping cream, milk, and vanilla, and heat in a pan over medium low heat, whisking constantly. When the milk starts to steam and bubble, remove it from heat and cover it, letting it cool. 

Using an electric mixer, beat together your egg yolks and sugar until they’re well blended and light in color.  Slowly add the cooled scalded cream into the mixture, followed by the Kahlua. Once it’s well blended, strain it through a strainer. 

Fill your ramekins with the mixture, and put them in a cake pan. Boil a pot of water, and add it to the pan, so that it comes up to halfway up the dishes. Bake for 25 minutes – you’ll know when the custards are set by shaking them – if they jiggle, they’re done.  Place them in the refrigerator for a minimum of a day. 

Once you’re ready to serve them, bring them out of the fridge and bring to room temperature (usually takes about 20 minutes). Sprinkle 1-2 t of sugar on top.  Don’t have a torch?  This is where your stove comes in. Take a metal spoon, turn a flame on your gas stove to high, and heat the spoon over the flame for about 1 to 2 minutes. (Not pictured is the pot holder I had wrapped around the spoon so I didn’t burn myself.)  Take your heated spoon, and press down on the sugar for about 30 seconds so that you hear a sizzle, and maybe see a bit of smoke. 

And then behold, your awesome boozy creme brulee!

So, my friend paintboxsoapworks has been talking about this apple butter a lot recently this fall, and I finally got her to write the recipe down. Because, seriously, apple butter plus bourbon and a vanilla bean? World of yes, there. Right about the time she posted it over on her blog Butter and Eggs, one of the jam stalls at the farmer’s market offered a 6 or so pound bag of Cortland apples for $6, so the stars aligned pretty perfectly on the timing for this. And what I got out of this recipe is gonna last me a while – that’s one quart jar and two 10 oz jars on that final picture. 

The only alteration I will note on this recipe is that I did this entirely in my crockpot, as opposed to in the stove, and started the crockpot about halfway through peeling all the apples (which took about an hour total). 

Vanilla Bourbon Apple Butter
Makes at least 1 qt jar plus 2 10 oz jars apple butter

Ingredients

  • appx 5 lbs medium to large apples, peeled and chopped (I got a six pound bag of Cortlands)
  • .5 c water
  • .5 to 1 c dark brown sugar (I used 1 c, adjust based on your tastes)
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • pinch salt
  • .25 to .5 c bourbon or whiskey (I used half a cup of Bulleit)

Combine all of your ingredients in a crockpot set to high, cover, and cook for approximately two and a half to three hours.  Stir fairly frequently; the apples are ready when you can take them and smush them against the side of the pot with a spoon. The difference between pictures 1 and 2 is after approximately two hours of cooking on high. 

Turn off the heat, remove your vanilla bean, and then take a stick blender (best gift I’ve ever gotten, seriously) and blend, until you get a silky sauce similar to picture 3. Give it a few extra passes, as there might be a chunk of apple or two that it misses. (If you don’t have one, a normal blender will probably work fine, but you’ll need to do it in batches, and it will be messier.)  

Turn your crockpot back on to low, and cook for another half hour. Do a quick taste test at this point, and determine if you’d like to add more lemon, sugar, or spices. Hayley reminds you that hot apple butter is going to taste sweeter/stronger than after you’ve chilled it, but that the spices will continue to bloom once it’s chilling in the fridge.

You’ll know the butter is done once you’ve got a thick sauce that stands up in peaks when you drop it back into the pot (see: picture 3 for the beginnings of that).  Do one last taste test, spoon into jars, and let cool before putting on the lids, and refrigerate/freeze as you so choose!  

I’ll be using this on this morning’s midmorning snack – apple cherry bread from the farmer’s market. 

This is the first meatloaf I’ve ever made, and I can honestly say it’s a pretty damn good meatloaf to start out with. Would probably substitute panko for oats in the future, but otherwise? Get a good gouda, good bacon, and ground meat, all from your local farmers market if you can, and enjoy the awesomeness of this meatloaf.

Bacon and Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf with Tomato Marmalade
Lasts an incredibly long time (about two weeks’ worth of lunches, minimum)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • .75 lb ground pork
  • 2 t grated onion
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • .25 c oats
  • .5 t garlic salt
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked
  • 1 c grated Gouda (I used smoked gouda, you could also use cheddar)

Tomato Marmalade

  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find them for a reasonable price)
  • 1.5 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • .25 t crushed red pepper

Cook your bacon to its desired doneness, and while it cooks, grate your Gouda. As soon as the bacon is done, remove it to a paper towel. Combine all ingredients for the loaf except for the bacon and gouda in a large bowl, using your hands if necessary to mash it together.

Ideally, for the loaf, you have a bread pan, but if you don’t, use a cake pan, and shape the loaf in the bottom of the pan with half the meat. Lay down half the gouda, then the bacon, then the other half of the gouda on top, and form the top part of the loaf with the other half of the meat, sealing in the bacon and cheese. Preheat your oven to 350 (325 on my oven), and put the loaf in.

Immediately after the loaf is in the oven, put your tomatoes, balsamic, dark brown sugar, and crushed red pepper in a pot and stir to combine, bringing it to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes, until reduced by about half.

Once the marmalade is done, remove the loaf from heat and pour the marmalade on top of it. After that, it should cook for about ten minutes more. I actually set mine for an additional half hour, so that it was closer to an hour in the oven instead of the overall 40 minutes the recipe recommends. My loaf is likely more well done as a result (I haven’t cut far enough in to confirm).

And then, enjoy the noms!

This is a very approximate recipe, especially as originally done by areyoutryingtodeduceme, but damn if it isn’t a great nightcap to a day of cooking, unexpected fridge cleaning, and tearing apart the lid of a sealed mason jar to unwedge it from my sink disposal. There are no particulars for this recipe; use whatever beer you want (I used a bottle I was gonna use for another recipe but ended up not), and whatever cheese you want that melts well (I went with an Irish stout Dubliner cheese).  It’s also very adaptable to whatever variation you want to put on it.

Beer Grilled Cheese
Makes one sandwich, with plenty of beer cheese left over

  • cream cheese
  • dijon
  • beer
  • (optional: garlic powder)
  • bread (definitely go thick if at all possible)
  • butter
  • cheese (I went with the Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout, because don’t you want some beer cheese with your beer cheese?)

Have both your butter and cream cheese out for at least a half hour before hand, to soften up.

Take your cream cheese, dijon, garlic powder (if you use it), and mix it together. You should have more dijon and cream cheese than beer, but not by much. This will leave you with a large amount of beer cheese, to be used for future beer grilled cheesiness.

Take your butter, spread about a third of it on the outside of the bread, leave the buttered sides face up, and melt the remaining butter in a small pan over medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted, take the non buttered side and spread beer cheese on it. Put it in the pan, and then layer the cheese on top of it (see pics two and three). Spread more beer cheese on the other non buttered side of the other piece of bread, and then sandwich it on top.  Flatten the bread, and then grill it like you would a normal cheese, until a golden brown.

And then, enjoy, for yea, you have beer and grilled cheese.  And you can drink the leftover beer with it for even more beerception.

In terms of my cookie recipes, these are the holies of holies. Four kinds of chocolate, not counting the dark cocoa powder, which makes five. Incredibly rich, absolutely chocolately, and a great way to cap off a long day.

Quintuple Chocolate Cookies (aka Chocolategasm cookies)
Makes 22 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter (1 c)
  • 1.75 c white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 t vanilla
  • .75 c extra dark cocoa pwoder
  • pinch cinnamon 
  • pinch salt
  • 2.5 c flour
  • 2.5 t baking powder
  • 1 bag Rolos
  • 3 bars Ghiradelli baking chocolate (white choc, bittersweet choc, and semi-sweet chocolate))

Take your baking chocolate bars and chop them into small pieces, throwing it in a bag and into the freezer for one hour minimum. 

Then, cream together your butter and sugar, and add the vanilla and eggs, followed by the dry ingredients (baking powder, cocoa powder, flour, spices), mixing until you have a coherent dough. Then, slowly fold in your chocolate bits and Rolos.

Preheat your oven to 375, and roll your dough into small balls.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes, and enjoy the quintuple chocolate goodness!

They are a bit sticky, so be sure to watch that as you’re rolling out the dough and baking them, as the dough can stick and get a bit melty. But man, these are all kinds of worth it.