Friday, December 31, 2010

HodgePodge

Since I've been back in Florida for about a week and a half now, I've come to a startling realization - Florida thrift stores are RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. You'd think that by living in Brooklyn I'd be spoiled by all the secondhand stores that litter lower Manhattan, but nope - not true.  Most of the thrift stores in NYC are overpriced, over-picked, and just sort of sad because I can't afford anything blahhhhh.  In Florida however, the exact opposite is true.  The low cost of living and the elderly population here in FL really makes for an awesome thrift market and I just can't stop buying (and having allergy attacks for that matter, F U dust).  But anyways, because I have already filled my suitcase to the brim, I thought I'd focus my energy on something else and make a new grilled cheese that's inspired by all the vintage and retro things that I've found in the good ole' Sunshine State.


When I was thinking about which ingredients to use, I wanted to pick foods that reminded me of the old days but also were making a reemergence in the hip restaurants of my neighborhood in Williamsburg. So I decided to use kale, beets, and 'shrooms, because let's be honest they're on almost every menu in the 'burg...


Ingredients:
-2 slices of white mountain bread
-1/2 cup of goat cheese
-2 tabs of real salted butter
-2 tbs sauteed kale
-2 tbs sauteed oyster, portabello, shitake mushrooms
-2 tbs diced roasted beets
*I didn't include the exact recipes for the kale and 'shrooms on this post, but feel free to refer to the hyperlinks that I've connected above if you're unfamiliar.*

After you've got all your ingredients ready, go ahead and dice up a few slices of the roasted beets. I only had red on hand, but it would be absolutely beautiful if you had some yellow beets as well. After you've cut them up, stir them in with the goat cheese. I chose this sort of geometric cut because I think it sort of gives a fun vibe and the mixture sort of resembles those old retro jello salad dishes that were so hip in the 60's and 70's.


Once you've got the beets evenly stirred up,  spread the goat cheese and beat mixture evenly onto both of the slices of bread.


Then put a layer of the sauteed mushrooms on top of one of the pieces of bread. I love mushrooms so it was hard to pick just one to use, so I just said eff it and used a mixture of oyster, shitake, and portabello mushrooms and sauteed them in butter with salt and pepper over medium/high heat for about five minutes.


After that, you'll want to put on the kale.  This was my first time cooking kale and it was actually really easy and super delicious.  I basically used a recipe I found on the food network and modified it by chopping up some organic bacon, frying it for a minute, and then drained some of the fat but left a little for the kale to soak up for flavor.  Once the kale was in the bacon grease (I bought a bag of the pre-cut/pre-rinsed stuff), I stirred it up, salted, peppered, and vinegar-ed it, and added some chicken stock, covered it and let it cook down for like 15 minutes, and it turned out really swell!


At this point, all the ingredients of the sandwich have been used so it's time to put on the top piece of bread, OH BOY!


Like some of the grilled cheese's before, this sandwich is pretty big so you'll want to follow the "big grilled cheese rule".  Add a pad of to the pan, start to melt it on medium heat and put the sandwich on top of the melted butter.  Then place another pad of butter on the top of the sandwich to let the heat start to melt it.


Then when it's ready to be flipped (once that pretty golden brown crust develops) you'll want to smear the melted pad of butter that was on the top and flip it carefully.  I didn't have a problem with the ingredients falling out because the goat cheese sort of glued everything together but if you do - just basically reassemble and keep going!


When it's like that on both sides, it's time to take it off the skillet and eat it!


If you're feeling nostalgic for a time that myself and probably most of my readers weren't even alive for where Elvis was the only king that mattered, greasers and screamers were the bee's knees, and a hipster wasn't defined by riding a fixie or for one's taste for Pabst Blue Ribbon then this is the perfect treat for you!

xoxo,

GCS

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Homebody

So it's been a while since I did a post thanks to finals week, Christmas shopping, and traveling back to Florida.  I haven't been home in FOREVER (8 months I think?) so I'm completely taking advantage of the opportunity to be lazy and avoid real life.  My holiday mantra is totally reflected in this grilled cheese.  I basically dug through my parent's fridge, pulled out some food, sat on the porch, cracked a cold one, shot some photos, and built this new sandwich for GCS, all while looking at the beautiful beach in front of my parents house in New Smyrna.  Relaxing, right?


 Here's what I found in my mom's fridge used to make this yummy little grilled cheese:


Ingredients

-2 tabs of Salted Butter
-1/4 cup shredded Gouda
-1/4 cup shredded Herrgard
-a couple sliced Petite Sweet Gherkins
-2 slice of 8 Grain Bread
-2 slices of Organic Ham
-1.5 tbs of Floridian Honey Mustard (1 tbs Stone Ground Mustard mixed with .5 tbs Tupelo Honey)



To make Floridian Honey Mustard you just need to mix some Stone Ground Mustard (1tbs) with a little bit of Tupelo Honey (.5 tbs).  If you're not from the South, you might not have had the chance to taste this delicious southern treat. Tupelo is one of the most expensive types of honey and it's quite hard to find up North. Although my mom ships me a half gallon when I run out (my roommates and I go through a lot of this stuff, seriously.) I basically pump it straight into my veins when I'm back in Florida.  Believe me, it tastes so unique and delicious I just can't get enough.

But anyways let's get back to the point, mix the mustard and honey and spread it on both slices of bread.


After you've smeared on the honey mustard and have got all the grains spread out evenly, lay one of the cheeses on top. I used gouda first for no reason at all.


Then pull apart your ham and lay it on top of the cheese. 


Now it's time for my second favorite part - the sweet petite gherkins!  I love pickles and these little guys are just so crisp, sweet, and addicting.  I probably ate half the jar before I laid them out for the this photo shoot. So after you stop snacking, slice these little guys down the center and evenly distribute them on top of the ham.


Then pile on the last of the cheese, for me, i topped it off with the Herrgard.  This cheese is similar to gouda in taste, but I feel like it also encompasses the taste of swiss cheese and sort of resembles it by the holes that are present in the herrgard wheels. 



After you've got all the ingredients on the sandwich, top it off with the other slice of bread.  I got this delicious loaf of eight grain bread at this little French Bakery - Mon Delice next to my parent's house in NSB aka shark bite capital of the world.


 When it was all ready to go, I melted a tab of butter into my mom's cast iron skillet on medium heat.  I did this because the sandwich was pretty big and I was scared to flip in.  I hate it when all the ingredients fall out all over the place, so this is a sure fire way to avoid that problem.



Once the bread was crisped and golden, I flipped it.  It took me about three minutes on each side.


When it gets like that on the other side, take it off the stove and serve immediately!


I know this time of year can be super stressful, but don't let it get to ya.  Chill out, eat some grilled cheese and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. 

As my mom just said to me while blasting some Van Morrison "Kenzie, remember, relaxxxxxxx"

xoxo,

GCS

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Team Cream

I haven't made a breakfast grilled cheese in a while and to tell you the truth, I'm quite sad about it.  We all hear how breakfast is the most important meal of the day so why the heck have I neglected this lovely mealtime for so long? In order to end this cycle of negligence I've created a super yummy and easy to eat-on-the-go breakfast themed grilled cheese! Forget about your typical breakfast and switch it up by rooting for TEAM CREAM! chhhaaaaayeaahhhh!!!!!!


Here's what I used to switch it up:


Ingredients

-1 everything bagel
-1 handful of  baby hierloom tomatoes (sliced in half)
-2 pads of real salted butter
-1 tsp of fresh thyme
-2 heaping tbs of organic cream cheese (or less if you're not obsessed with it like me)

So my beef with bagel sandwiches is that everything falls out all over the place when you try to cram it in your mouth.  Every time I eat one of these I find myself with food all over my face, hands, and clothes, and quite frankly it stresses me out.  So when I started to think about how I was going to build the perfect bagel grilled cheese I knew this was going to be the first and most important thing I had to address.  

I finally solved this problem by hollowing out my bagel! I found that it kept everything nice and neat and afterward, my clothes didn't reflect the image of one of the regulars of Tompkins Square Park.  To do this, I cut the bagel in half and placed it on my cutting board flat side down.  From there, I took a serrated grapefruit spoon and started scooping out the top and bottom of the bagel. 


Once I removed all the excess bits of bagel, I smeared a ton of cream cheese into the crevices.  I am absolutely obsessed with cream cheese and I completely admit that I'm one of those gross people that pile it on super thick and then lick the rest off the knife. Gross, i know.  But anyways, if you're still reading this and not on the same page as me, put on as much cream cheese as you can handle and start slicing your tomatoes in half.


Now gently push the halved baby tomatoes into the crevices of one side of the bagel.  The more snug you can get them, the better.  You don't want the front of your shirt covered in tomato seeds, now do you?!


For the other half of the bagel, evenly sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves.


Since the cream cheese acts like a glue onto the other ingredients, basically just pick up both halves of the bagel and mash them together!


At this point you'll want to put a pad of butter into the pan and turn the heat to medium high.  Once the butter starts to melt and spread out, lay your bagel in and sort of rub it around in the pan.  This will help the butter to spread evenly onto your bagel.


After about 2 minutes on each side the bagel should start to form a golden brown crust. Once it's like this take it off the stove-top and eat it!  If you're in a rush, simply wrap this guy in some tinfoil and take off. It actually keeps pretty well for a grilled cheese. YAY!


So do yourself a favor and start your day by enjoying a wonderful breakfast. And remember, mornings suck less if you involve some tasty food. If you start your day like this (as Midlake put it) "mornings will be kind to you in the future". Go team cream!

xoxo,

GCS

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Mother Teresa

Guest Blogger Alert! Wooooooo!! I've never done this before so I'm super stoked to introduce my first guest blogger - Jordan Kinley.  I met Jordan a few weeks ago through my good buddy Andrew.  Although Jordan lives in Portland, he was in New York working with his film company Into The Woods. Within the first five minutes of meeting, we started talking about grilled cheese sandwiches (typical, i know) and Jordan proceeded to blow my mind with a little concoction he invented one late and bent night. I knew this ridiculous GC needed to be on my blog so Jordan and his friend Miliken (both of Into the Woods) came over and taught me how to make it.  Watch the magic happen...


When explaining the sandwich, Jordan said "i don't know what else to say except that i first made it at 2am one night and it was one of those things that was either going to be really good or really bad. The first prototype was just Pop-Tarts and bacon. and that was good but i thought it was a little bit white-trash so i decided to class it up with brie and pear. The first few people i made it for were totally disgusted by the idea of it and laughed at me up until the first bite"

Class it up, was right.



Ingredients

- 2 cinnamon sugar Pop-Tarts
- 2 slices of pear
- 4 pieces of organic maple bacon
- 4 slices of brie






The way you make this grilled cheese is just as unique as the ingredients he chose.  The first thing you'll want to do is to start to pan-fry the bacon.  Put your heat on medium-low and lay the bacon in there. 


You'll want to crisp the bacon up on both sides but right before it' done you'll want to lay the Pop-Tarts on top (frosting side up) of the cooked bacon.  Jordan recommends flipping the Pop-Tarts onto the frosting side at the very last moment and grilling it for about 30 seconds because of how quickly it melts. 


After you've grilled both sides, you'll want to add the sliced brie onto the frosting side of the Pop-Tarts.  Because brie is such a soft cheese, it melts pretty quickly so it should only take about another minute or two before you'll need to take everything out of the pan.


After you've scooped out the 'tarts, it'll be time to add the sliced pear to one side of the sandwich. 

Then add the bacon!

Look here's Jordan!

And now top it off with the other poptart, frosting side down.


Crazy, right??  Believe me, it's in your best interest to try this glorious creation.

Here's the video that Jordan & Miliken of into the woods shot after leaving my kitchen and blog sesh. Check it out - featuring the young prisms!


Special Thanks to Jordan Kinley & Miliken Gardner for wasting their morning and lugging all their gear over to my place.  Make sure to check them out their website http://intothewoods.tv/  and you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter too!

xoxo,

GCS