Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Spicy Gravenstein Chowder with Crumbled Bacon

Okay, you HAVE to make this.  It’s not a request, it’s a requirement.  M and I ate two big bowls full each.  EACH.  We left maybe a cup and a half in the pot.  That’s ridiculous.  I can barely move.

I found the original recipe today in the local newspaper, but I didn’t have about half the ingredients.  So I’m going to copy & paste the original and add notes to what I substituted.  And make no mistake:  my version is GOOD.
Spicy Gravenstein Chowder with Crumbled Bacon

Makes 4 to 6 servings

3 to 4 bacon slices (I used turkey bacon)

  • 1 shallot, minced (I used a small Walla Walla onion and one garlic clove)
  • 5 large Gravenstein apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 3/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper (I used 1 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • 4 cups smoked poultry or meat stock, see Note below (I didn’t have smoked stock)
  • 4 ounces naturally-smoked cheddar or smoked goat cheese, grated (I just used regular ol’ cheddar, and M had his dairy-soy-free cheese-like-stuff)
  • 6 tablespoons creme fraiche, stirred until smooth (I had low fat sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives or minced Italian parsley (I had garlic chives from my garden)

Fry the bacon in a medium pot, such as a Dutch oven, until it is fully crisp. Transfer the bacon to absorbent paper and pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Return the pan to medium low heat, add the shallot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 6 to 7 minutes; do not let it brown. Add the apples and potatoes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until they just begin to soften and take on a bit of color. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the chipotle powder.

Pour in the stock, increase the heat to high and when the stock boils, reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Cook until the apples and potatoes are completely tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and puree with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, pass the soup through a food mill fitted with the small blade.

Return the soup to very low heat. If it is too thick, thin with a water until the desired consistency is reached and heat through. Add the cheese and stir until it is incorporated into the soup. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Chop or crumbled the bacon.

To serve, ladle into soup plates and top each portion with a spoonful of creme fraiche. Sprinkle chives or parsley on top, followed by crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.


  • DO NOT SKIP THE CHEESE!  Even if you have to find the dairy-soy-free cheese-like-stuff.  It’s necessary.
  • It was a little on the runny side.  I like my blended soups to be thick.  Next time I’m going to add another small potato and another apple.



Beat & Bean Salad with Feta

I don’t know why I kept putting off posting this recipe.  It’s one of the ones I wasn’t sure I would like, but quickly turned into a favorite.

Bean and Beet Salad with Feta

from Food and Wine magazine

4 servings


  • 1 pound golden or red beets, scrubbed (golden beets won’t turn your salad fuchsia)
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup black currant vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • salt (I omit the salt when using feta cheese)
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the beets in a baking dish and fill with 1/4 inch of water. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool, then peel beets and cut them into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.

2) In a very large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans over high heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain well and pat dry.

3) In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar until blended. In a large bowl, toss the beans with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and transfer to a platter. In the same large bowl, toss the beets and chives with the remaining 1/4 cup of vinaigrette and spoon over the beans. Season with salt, sprinkle the feta on top and serve.

For the lactose intolerant or vegan, you can omit the feta or find a faux feta.  M did, and he said it wasn’t bad…

Cheesy Baked Squash

This is comfort food that doesn’t have to be nearly as fatty as you think.  I use reduced fat sour cream, 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese, and turkey bacon instead of pork (which is about 80% less fat).

Cheesy Baked Squash


  • 6 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 8 strips turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs

What I do:

  • Instead of following the original recipe and cooking the squash first THEN slicing it, I slice it then put it into a large pot, cover it with water, and cook it on medium heat from 20-30 minutes depending on how crisp I want it.  I highly suggest you do the same.  🙂  Make sure to drain it VERY well or you’ll end up with a watery-bottomed casserole.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form
  • Fold in yolks, sour cream, and flour
  • In a lightly greased baking dish, put down a layer of half the squash
  • Smear half the egg/sour cream mixture over it
  • Sprinkle half the cheese on top
  • Cover it with the crumbled bacon
  • Add the other half of the squash
  • Add the other half of the egg mixture
  • Add the other half of the cheese
  • Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top
  • Bake for 25 minutes

This is really great comfort food.

Fried Squash Blossoms

Since my zucchini, yellow squash, and pumpkins are all flowering like crazy, I decided it was time I tried out fried squash blossoms.  My friend Carrie told me they taste a bit like abalone, and oh my goodness she was right!  These were quick, easy, and delicious!  It was also pretty fun to go outside and collect the blossoms.  Pick them earlier in the day when they’re more open and there’s less insect activity.

I recommend them as a small snack or side dish, as they aren’t very healthy at all.

Fried Squash Blossoms (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)


  • 10 to 12 fresh squash blossoms
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. grated Romano cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Approximately 1 1/2 c. flour

What to do:

Mix the garlic, salt, cheese, herbs and pepper together in a bowl.
Remove the pistils from the blossoms and stuff them with the mixture.
Twist the tops to hold them closed.

Heat about 1/2 inch of olive (not extra-virgin) or canola oil in a
heavy frying pan or cast-iron skillet. Dip the blossoms one at a time
into the beaten egg and then into the flour. Fry them three or four at
a time, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown on each
side. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve immediately with
marinara sauce for dipping.

Stuffed Artichokes

Tasty, tasty, tasty, tasty, tasty… oh, yeah, recipe… um…


  • Four artichokes (I had three and just worked with it)
  • 8 oz finely shredded cheddar cheese (I used a dairy-free cheese alternative for M’s, and sprinkled his with paprika so we’d know the difference)
  • 1/2 stalk minced green garlic (or two cloves minced garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (1/2 tablespoon dried)
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

What I did:

  • Cut all the awful spines off the artichoke with kitchen scissors.  I managed to NOT get stabbed this time, thankyouverymuch.  Eating thistles is dangerous business.
  • Steam the artichokes for about 35 minutes until tender.
  • Set them upside down on a plate to cool.
  • Mix up the cheese & herbs.
  • Gently open up the artichokes.  This was fun.  No, I don’t know why it was fun, but it was.  Scoop out the inner thistle-y stuff.
  • Smoosh the cheese mixture into the artichokes, then close them back up as best you can.  Rub the outer leaves with olive oil and squeeze lemon juice all over them.
  • Bake them in the oven at 375F for about 15 minutes, then take them out, cut them in half, and enjoy!

It’s a bit messy, and we ate ours with the aid of forks, but it was very worth it and I will definitely be making these again!

Chip Dip / Potato Topper

Spring is here and I am busying myself with gardening (we have a garden plot at work!).  I have also decided to grow some herbs indoors, hindered only by my cats and their knack for destruction.  I have managed to salvage some of the chives they so monstrously sat on.


  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup finely grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

What I did:

  • Mix it all up in a sealable container, put it in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Uh, yeah right.  I’m eating it with bagel chips right now.  It stayed in the fridge for an impressive five minutes.

This really would be divine on potatoes, or even as a topper on any mashed root vegetables!

Cheese Garlic Onion Herb Bread

I got to come home from work almost 5 hours early today.  This means I had to find a project to tackle or risk driving myself insane.  Since it was below 60F in my house when I got home, I decided a baking project would hit the spot.

I did a little research, looked over some bread recipes, then went out on my own to make something…


  • 2 cloves of garlic, charred
  • 1/4 small onion, charred
  • 1 pack (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH oregano, thyme, basil, sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

What I did:

  • Turn on the broiler and put the garlic and onion in a lightly greased baking dish.  Broil for about 10 minutes, allow to cool, peel, and mince.
  • Put the yeast, sugar, and water in your mixing bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Turn on the mixer, add 1 cup flour.
  • Add salt, pepper, and herbs, then 1 cup flour.
  • Add cheese, then 1 cup flour.
  • Switch to dough hook, add the rest of the flour and olive oil.  The dough should be firm enough to handle.  I added another 2 tablespoons during the kneading process.
  • Knead for about 10 minutes, place in a greased bowl, turn, cover, and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  • Set in/on a greased baking pan or cookie sheet and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until you think it’s done.

I’m no bread-baking genius, but I give myself some props for this.  It’s a very simple bread with a lot of good flavors in it.  The charring process made the garlic and onions soft and sweet.  The CSA herbs were a nice touch.  And my house is a lot warmer.