This is a great quick summer toast, combining brie, bread, and tomatoes for the perfect morning flavor combination. Might have to try this before heading out the door for work in the morning here while we’ve still got good tomatoes. 

Heirloom Tomato and Buttered Brie Toast with Thyme and Honey

Ingredients

  • Slices of crusty bread of choice (sourdough, roasted garlic, whichever you like best!)
  • 2 T butter
  • brie, sliced to taste (or in these cute little brie bite sizes that I got from Trader Joe’s)
  • fresh thyme if you have it, otherwise, dried thyme to taste
  • heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, sliced thin
  • honey and olive oil, to drizze
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450. Rub the slices of bread with butter, and place in the oven for three to five minutes, until lightly toasted. Layer on the brie and tomato slices, and then return to the oven to cook for five minutes, until the brie is melted and the tomatoes wrinkle slightly. Turn on the broiler for one minute after the brie is melted to crisp it up a bit. 

Then, add your thyme (and oregano, if you’re me), and drizzle with honey and olive oil, and a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And then, enjoy your quick summer breakfast!

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This is an amazing summer dish that I can’t recommend enough, especially now that we’re at the height of tomato season. I originally paired California black figs with this, but now that I’ve tried some more figs, I think that tiger figs might actually have gone better. (I’ve never tried figs before this summer. I’m still learning.)  Throw these roasted tomatoes in with burrata, and the end result is goddamn amazing. 

Marinated Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast

Ingredients

  • .25 c olive oil
  • 2.5 c cherry tomatoes of various types, halved
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • dash of thyme (fresh if you have it, dried if you don’t)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • dried Greek oregano to taste
  • fresh figs, halved, to taste
  • 2-3 balls burrata
  • slices of sourdough, roasted garlic, or crusty bread of choice
  • olive oil and garlic clove for the toast

Preheat your oven to 225, and half your cherry tomatoes. drizzling with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Slow roast the tomatoes for three hours, until they’re nice and wrinkly and juicy. Then, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, basil, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, and greek oregano. Add in your tomatoes, toss to coat, and marinate for 2-4 hours at room temperature, or just toss them in the fridge to absorb the flavors. 

When you’re ready to eat them, take your slices of bread, rub them in olive oil and a halved garlic clove. Hold your toast over an open flame, or in a grill pan, and heat until it’s lightly charred on each side, about 2-3 minutes a side. 

Slice your figs, layer them in a bowl with the burrata ball, layer the cherry tomatoes on top, and have a piece of toast on the side to dip into all the various juices, and enjoy the resulting amazingness!

I was able to find this roast for $.99/lb quite a while ago, and it’s just been hanging out in the freezer waiting for the perfect recipe. This is definitely it. I would’ve never thought of using lemon zest in a rub, but as it turns out, it goes really well, especially with all the spices mentioned here. Definitely going on the keeper list.

Roast Chicken with Plums

Ingredients

Roast Chicken

  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 T ground sumac
  • 4 t sea salt
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t allspice
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated or minced (I went minced)
  • whole chicken (original recipe recommended 2 4ish lb chickens, I went with one big almost 10 lb one)
  • 1 bunch thyme (or ground, if you’re me and don’t want to get the fresh herbs)
  • 1 T lemon juice (fresh squeezed ideal)

Plums

  • 2.5 lbs plums, halved, quartered if on the larger side
  • (original recipe mentions shallots, I omitted them, didn’t want to make the grocery run)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • 1 bay leaf torn in half
  • 2 T water

Take your lemon zest, and mix in the sumac, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, the minced garlic, and 3 T of the olive oil. The resulting mixture should feel like wet sand. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, including the insides. Take your thyme bunch and rest it inside the cavity (or if you’re me, just sprinkle a bunch of thyme in the cavity). Let the rubbed chicken marinate in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, or up to 24 hours. 

Either way, once you’re ready to roast the chicken, take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature, letting it sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450.

While the chicken sits and the oven preheats, take the plums, honey, water, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaf, and toss together in a roasting pan. Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the roasting pan. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, resting it on top of the plums, and roast for 30 minutes to start.

After 30 minutes, take 1 T of lemon juice and the remaining 1 T olive oil from earlier, mix it together, and drizzle over the chicken. Put the chicken back in the oven, and continue to roast for another 45 minutes, until cooked all the way through. 

Let your chicken rest under a foil blanket for 10 minutes once it’s been removed from the oven, and then enjoy!

This is one of the more interesting flavor combinations I’ve ever tried. Caramelized pears and blue cheese makes perfect logical sense to me, but as a cream based soup?? (It works way better than you’d think.)  

I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling it at the moment, but honestly, worst comes to worst I try this again in a while. (Plus, we’re still in pear season at the farmer’s market for a good long while, this will probably be even better come fall.)

Parts of the original recipe are a bit vague/contradicting, so I’ve clarified where I can and honestly just guessed where I can’t. Kevin also recommends crispy prosciutto as a garnish for this, and I’d agree with that – however, this was made for vegetarians on this initial round, so I’ll try that in the future. 

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used most of a small bag of Asian pears from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • .5 t thyme (ideally fresh and chopped, but ground works just fine if you don’t have any)
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • .5 lbs potato, peeled and diced (I used some small red potatoes)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola per recipe recommendations)
  • .5 c milk (half and half and heavy whipping cream are also options)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • (optional: diced crispy proscuitto or bacon or pancetta if making it not vegetarian!)

Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the brown sugar, and cook until the butter and sugar starts to bubble (see pic 1). Add in your pear pieces, and cook until lightly browned and tender (this took about 5 to 7 minutes, should look like pic 2). 

Then, add your onion, and cook until tender, about another three to five minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute) , then add in the broth, milk, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the potato is tender (about ten to fifteen minutes, I went for ten because one of the people I was cooking for had to leave soon). 

If you have a stick blender, take it and puree the soup until you’ve got a nice silky soup. If you don’t, put it in the blender in batches, and puree until smooth.  Turn off your heat, return the soup to the pot, and then take your blue cheese crumbles and stir them in in small batches until melted, tasting after each batch to make sure that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the caramelized pears too much. Once you’ve got it at the perfect balance for your tastes, add in the sea salt and pepper, give it a last stir, and serve! (The recipe mentions stirring in the milk again here, I chose not to, and it still came out well.) (If you would want to add in the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon, this is where you’d do it.)

As of right now, this was one of the last new recipes that I ever cooked in my old place. My kitchen is now reduced to a few cups, mugs, what is left of my pantry that I’m taking with me, and whatever I have left in my fridge. It’s a real weird feeling right now, but I’m ready for what’s to come. 

I’ve been wanting to make this tart since Deb first put it up, and since it’s pretty easy and cheap to make, I decided to go for it. I could’ve made the tart shell, but as I was at the tail end of packing everything when I made this, I just decided to buy a pie shell and go from there, and didn’t really have the time or patience to make a pretty concentric overlapping circle with the potato slices. Still turned out damn good. 

Blue Cheese and Potato Tart
lasts about a week as a main

Ingredients

  • 1 savory tart shell (or, if you’re lazy like me, one pre-made pie crust), ready to fill
  • 1 lb small red potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • .25 lb (about .75 c) blue cheese of choice, crumbled (I took my hunk of Hook’s Blue Paradise, and crumbled it using a knife)
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 T chopped herbs of choice (I used dried rosemary and thyme per Deb’s suggestion)

Take your potatoes, slice them thin, and then put them in a pot covered by about two inches of water, bringing the pot to a boil and then reducing to a simmer, uncovered, until the slices are tender, about ten minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 while they simmer.

Take your potato slices and attempt to arrange them in overlapping concentric circles around the pan. However, if you have been attempting to arrange a move down to Chicago in a little over two weeks and have been packing for most of the preceding week, take the potato slices and dump them in in a slightly artsy looking fashion. Take your crumbled blue cheese and toss it over the potatoes in a similarly artsy looking fashion. Don’t worry, it’ll look like you meant it. And probably rustic. 

Whisk together the yolk and heavy cream until combined, and then pour it over your potatoes and cheese. Sprinkle the top of the tart with sea salt, and your herbs of choice.  

Put the pie shell on a baking sheet (or if you’re me, a pizza pan), and bake at 350 for between 45 to 50 mins, until the tart is a good golden brown like in the final picture and bubbling a bit. Cool, and nom your fantastic tart (you can serve it warm or cold).

Some days, you’ve had a real fucking long week, and you are looking for some real comfort food, but also to turn the comfort factor up to ten by adding some really, really good cheese. This is possibly my new favorite mac and cheese recipe, ever. Getting all the cheese properly grated takes some time, but the end result is so, so worth it.

I picked up most of the cheese from the farmer’s market, and for the brie, I went with a triple cream brie, because yes. I also substituted panko for bread crumbs, because panko are the best version of bread crumbs (light, airy, and they stay crispier longer). It’s also going to last me a good long while, too, because of the sheer amount this makes. 

Cheesemonger’s Mac and Cheese
Lasts a damn long time; at week two of this as a main for lunch

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c coarsely grated gruyere cheese (I used what I had leftover from making toast soldiers, which was about maybe half of a 6 oz block, and a bit of a .33 lb block to top it off)
  • 1.5 c coarsely grated aged sharp cheddar (I used a 6 year aged white from the local farmer’s market, about a third total of a pound block)
  • 1.5 c brie, rinds removed and diced (I cut the rinds off of a pound of triple cream brie and just diced it all up, probably ended up being closer to 2 c)
  • 4 T butter
  • .25 c flour
  • pinch thyme (fresh thyme leaves if you have them, otherwise ground works fine)
  • ~1 t nutmeg
  • 4 c whole milk
  • 1.75 c panko
  • 1 lb penne pasta

Mix your grated gruyere, aged sharp cheddar, and brie together in a bowl, and reserve one cup. Chill both the bowl and the reserved cup. 

Melt your butter in a large pot over medium heat, and as soon as it melts, add in your flour, whisking until the mixture turns golden brown. (You could probably also brown the butter to amp up the flavor even more.)  Add in your thyme and nutmeg, followed by your milk, whisking until it’s thickened and smooth (about four minutes). Add the 3 c of cheese mixture, and stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce, and is smooth.

In another pot, cook your penne according to the directions on the package, and preheat your oven to 375 while it cooks.  After draining the pasta, take a large glass pan and pour the cooked pasta into it.  Pour the cheese sauce over it, and toss to coat. Take that remaining 1 c you had of the cheese mixture, spread it over the top of the pasta and cheese sauce, and then spread the 1.75 c of panko over the dish. Bake for about twenty minutes until the panko start to turn golden brown and the sauce bubbles (see the difference between pictures six and seven). 

(The original recipe has you baking these in separate ramekins, but that seems a bit unecessary to me. In addition, the instructions at the end aren’t that clear as to how long you need to actually bake it – there are two sets of instructions for doing it ahead and doing it day of, and they’re not separated out – but as far as I can tell the twenty minutes at 375 is how long you’re supposed to bake it.)

I’m really, really proud of how this turned out.  This was cooked entirely in an unfamiliar kitchen, with not quite complete ingredients, and mostly a wing and a prayer, as I had no idea how the oven functioned. However? It turned out really fucking good, and actually had at least my dad going back for seconds. So, yeah. I can do a hell of a roast.

Rib Roast

Ingredients

  • 1 rib roast (boneless or bone-in)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 T tri-color peppercorns, ground
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (substituted tarragon, dried)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (substituted dried)
  • .5 c minced garlic (substituted dried, significantly less)
  • .5 c coarse sea salt (again, substituted significantly less)

Preheat oven to 500. 

Heat a large skillet with the olive oil over high, and then sear both ends of the roast, until golden brown. Strip the leaves from the rosemary and thyme, crush the peppercorns, and then mix it together with the salt and minced garlic. Set the roast in the roasting pan fat side up, pour the remaining olive oil over it, and spread the rub on it, patting it as much as possible to get it to stick. 

Put the roast in the oven, and cook at 500 for between twenty to thirty minutes. Then, reduce the heat down to 300, and cook for another twenty to thirty minutes for rare/medium rare.  The cuts above were after about twenty five minutes in the oven at 300 after twenty five at 500, and with a significant amount of cooling time. The roast will still cook a bit after putting it in the oven, though.

And then, enjoy your fantastic roast.