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#cheeseface

Starting the week off in the cheesiest way imaginable.

I put this recipe together based off of a trip I took to Saxelby Cheesemonger. An adorable cheese shop in the Lower East Side that has a fantastic assortment of seasonal, sustainable, cheese, butter, milk, yogurt etc. produced in Northeastern united states…pretty much their dairy products rock. They have a grilled cheese menu that featured a cheese curd grilled cheese and I was like…hell YEAH!!! I am making me one of those!

Cheese curds are basically what cheddar is before it gets pressed together and aged. it is fresh, lightly salty and when melted gets stringy and perfect for a grilled cheese (these guys are insane deep-fried…Wisconsin style).

Below is a couple of cheeses I was playing around with while grilled cheese recipe testing. The curds are the cheese nuggets in the plastic container. The top right cheese is like a fontina and the cheese underneath it is a 2 year aged cheddar. All of these would be perfect in the grilled cheese but the cheese curds to me just seemed like such a fun twist (the cheese curds and the fontina together are also amaze). 

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Sage, honey, cheese curd grilled cheese

4 pieces of bread- I love A white pullman or sourdough

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 sage leaves-kept whole or chiffonade

1/4 lb cheese curds 

honey to drizzle

finishing salt (only use if you are using the cheese curds as your cheese, since they are the most mild)

Directions-

Lightly brush one side of the bread with the melted butter and set aside.

Place a cast iron pan on the stove and heat on medium heat for 5 minutes. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add in the the sage leaves. (if you are keeping them whole then place them close together if you are chopping them then just scatter them in). Place one piece of bread in butter side down (if the sage leaves are whole place the bread directly on top of them) and them place a nice amount of cheese curds on top. Lay the second piece of bread on top, butter side up. Place a pan and a weight on top (i use my kettle). Let toast for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. When the bottom is golden flip over and place the pan and the weight back on top. Let golden on the other side for a couple of minutes. When the grilled cheese is completely golden, flattened and the cheese is all melted, remove from the pan. Cut into 4 pieces, drizzle with a nice amount of honey and sprinkle with some finishing salt. Serve right away.

This is a pic of the grilled cheese with the whole sage before it is cut up. Looks so cool right?!

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this is when you chiffonade the sage instead of keeping it whole. I love the way this looks too. You simply cant go wrong.

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A Match Made In Heaven

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I love these flavors together. 

Peaches, cardamom and coconut…they just seem to be doing it for me this summer. It started out with a fruit salad then a lassi and now a crumble. The sweet floral notes from the peach pair so well with the floral aromatic cardamom and the nutty coconut.

You usually buy cardamom in pods but I recently found the ground cardamom and it is a game changer. I really became obsessed with cardamom when I went backpacking through India. It is one of the major spices found in Chai Masala and I would down at least 5 a day…it was my fuel! 

I am completely drawn to flavors that remind me of a special time or bring me back to a great memory…cardamom and coconut are definitely some of those flavors. Plus… crumbles are just so bloody comforting and delicious! Sweet meaty fruit (especially when in season like these peaches) topped with crunchy buttery goodness…dreamy.

If you cant find cardamom than just replace it with cinnamon. This is a great crumble recipe and is an easy/delicious go-to for any occasion.

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Peach-Coconut and Cardamom crumble

crumble topping-

1 plus 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter-really cold, cut into chunks

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup oats

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unrefined sugar

1 tsp cardamom powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch of kosher salt

fruit filling-

10 peaches, skin on, chopped into medium chunks-make sure they are on the firmer side

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 lemon zested

1/2 lemon juiced

1/2 cup of sugar (I used unrefined sugar)

1 tsp cardamom powder

directions-

In a blender place the unsalted butter, with the flour, coconut, oats, brown sugar, unrefined sugar, salt and cardamom, pulse until it looks like wet sand. Place in the fridge until you are ready to use.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

butter up a 9 by 12 inch baking dish that has high walls and set aside.

Toss the peaches with the flour, zest, lemon juice, cardamom powder and sugar. Place in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the crumble on top…spread all over trying to cover all the fruit. Place in the oven and let bake for 40 minutes until golden and the fruit is bubbly. If it is getting too dark before it is fully baked then loosely cover the top with tin foil.

Serve hot with coconut ice cream….trust me…it is the best!

Babaganoushy! 

Made this last night… And I just had to share this easy and delicious recipe with you. 

Probably one of my favorite ways to cook eggplant. The roasting and blackening of the skin of the eggplant imparts so much smokiness into the meat and since you are whole roasting you don’t even need any oil. You are actually steaming the meat inside the skin of the eggplant….cool.
I grew up eating eggplant like this and it is always so much fun being able to create childhood favorites in my own kitchen. Hope you love it! 

Baba ganoush-
1 eggplant, lightly scored all over
1/4 cup raw tahini 
1 garlic grated
1/2 lemon, squeezed 
Salt to taste

 Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 425 d F or if you are grilling, get the grill very hot. Score the eggplant all over and place in the oven to roast or on the grill. Depending on how hot your oven or grill is keep  rotating it for 30-45 minutes until the skin on the eggplant is black all over and almost hard. Don’t be afraid of it looking burnt on the outside, this just means that the eggplant is soft and smoky on the inside…yum. 
Remove from the heat and place in a strainer while it cools down. The juice that will run out is a little bitter. Once cooled place in a bowl and mix in the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Check for seasoning. When serving make a little well on the middle and pour a little olive oil on top and serve with my last minute zaatar pita- preheat the oven to 325 d F and take a coupe pitas- mix equal parts zaatar and olive oil and shmear all over the pitas, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and roast for 5 minutes. Serve right away. 
Enjoy! X

Babaganoushy!

Made this last night… And I just had to share this easy and delicious recipe with you.

Probably one of my favorite ways to cook eggplant. The roasting and blackening of the skin of the eggplant imparts so much smokiness into the meat and since you are whole roasting you don’t even need any oil. You are actually steaming the meat inside the skin of the eggplant….cool.
I grew up eating eggplant like this and it is always so much fun being able to create childhood favorites in my own kitchen. Hope you love it!

Baba ganoush-
1 eggplant, lightly scored all over
1/4 cup raw tahini
1 garlic grated
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Salt to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 d F or if you are grilling, get the grill very hot. Score the eggplant all over and place in the oven to roast or on the grill. Depending on how hot your oven or grill is keep rotating it for 30-45 minutes until the skin on the eggplant is black all over and almost hard. Don’t be afraid of it looking burnt on the outside, this just means that the eggplant is soft and smoky on the inside…yum.
Remove from the heat and place in a strainer while it cools down. The juice that will run out is a little bitter. Once cooled place in a bowl and mix in the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Check for seasoning. When serving make a little well on the middle and pour a little olive oil on top and serve with my last minute zaatar pita- preheat the oven to 325 d F and take a coupe pitas- mix equal parts zaatar and olive oil and shmear all over the pitas, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and roast for 5 minutes. Serve right away.
Enjoy! X

Sunshine On A Plate

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photo cred- Quinn Cooper Style

I love this dish! SO easy and a real crowd-pleaser. It really is all about assembly and great quality produce. I got together again with Quinn Cooper Style  and we were so inspired by this beautiful weather that we wanted to make dishes that were flavorful, light, bright and had a little decadence (keeping it sexy people!). The beets are so meaty and satisfying you could even prepare this dish with a side salad and keep it strictly vegetarian. For a lighter option, substitute the creme fraiche with a low-fat Greek yogurt. Both ways are seriously delicious! 

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Yellow beets with lemony creme fraiche, fresh basil and toasted hazelnuts
4 yellow beets
 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup creme fraiche (you can substitute with greek yogurt)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed.
1 lemon, zested
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt to tast
1 garlic, grated
directions-
preheat the oven to 350 dregrees f
wrap each beet in tin foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes until a knife runs through it easily.
Remove from the oven, let cool a bit and then peel the skin off. (I use paper towel…it wipes it clean and gives me a good grip), then cut the beets into 1/4 inch slices.
In a bowl mix the creme fraiche with the grated garlic, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
In a wide serving bowl arrange the beets in a pretty way drizzle the beets with the remaining olive oil and squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of them as well. season with a little salt, place a nice dollop of the creme fraiche in the middle of the beets. Scatter the toasted hazelnuts and fresh basil all over. 

Make it a lamby one!

Shakshuka could possibly be one of my favorite breakfast dishes….eggs poached in a tangy, sweet, tomato and red pepper sauce served with fresh herbs and other ingredients like feta, meatballs or eggplant. This spiced ground lamb dish is a twist on the classic tomato sauce approach. I LOVE the meaty, gamey, grassy flavor you get from lamb. You can obviously substitute the lamb with beef or pork, but i just love the flavor lamb brings to the dish. This dish is great anytime of the day, serve it up with some creamy labneh (Greek yogurt is a great substitute) and fresh pita. 

 I spent the day cooking, eating, laughing and taking lots of beautiful pictures with my good friend Quinn Cooper Style. Follow her blog…it is gorgeous and she is awesome! Hope you enjoy!

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photo cred- Quinn Cooper Style

Spiced ground lamb with roasted cherry tomatoes and eggs served with labneh and fresh pita

1 lb ground lamb
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cleaned
1 tablespoon olive oil
3- 4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
parsley for garnish
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 cup labneh (if you can not find it than you can use Greek yogurt instead)
fresh pita (if you do not have you can use whatever toasted bread you have on hand)
directions-
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F
On a roasting pan place the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season well with salt, pepper and the pinch of sugar. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until lightly golden and a little wrinkled. Take out of the oven and place on the side.
Heat up a large pan, place the ground lamb in and start to saute. Lots of fat will come out, so remove most of it. When it starts to get brown all over add in the cinnamon, cumin, all spice, chili powder and season well with salt and pepper. Saute for a couple minutes, pour in the pomegranate molasses with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix together and cover with a lid on medium low heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and check for seasoning. Place the roasted tomatoes in and mix. Make 3 or 4 wells in the meat and tomato mixture and place an egg into each well. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and bring to medium low heat and cover for 3-5 minutes with a lid. When the white is cooked but the yolk is still running turn off the heat. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and garnish with lots of fresh parsley. Serve with a bowl of the labneh and the fresh pitas on the side. 
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