Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Holy Hock

So believe it or not, I got another job dealing with - you guessed it - cheese! I'm still at Saveur but I'm also slanging (yes, I used that word and no it's not illegal. What's pasteurized is supposed to be pasteurized. Promise.) my favorite milk-derived product at this super lovely little shop called D├ępanneur in Williamsburg. You should totes come in. Not only will I sell you some awesome cheese but I also play DJ (sometimes) and slam their coffee (always) so I have way too much energy that could use an outlet. I think you would be perfect for helping me with that. Really, I do. 

But back to the sandwich - I got all the ingredients from the shop and have, at least to my standards, perfected the grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Here it is. Say hello to your new best friend.

Made with The Dep's best...


- 5 slices of fra'mani rosemary ham
- 1/4 pound of shredded Comte cheese
- 2 pats vermont creamery cultured butter
- smoked sea salt
- Roberta's city white bread
- 2 tbs chopped fresh pineapple

To begin, you've got to get yourself some Comte. This cheese is probably one of the best melting quesos EVER. It's firm yet creamy with a mild flavor and pairs perfectly with pretty much everything. The balance between sweetness and saltiness sort of works out the same way that Jens Lekman's songs are perfect for every occasion. Sort of.

Now that I've talked you into it, go ahead and shred it up and place half of it on one slice of bread. It really doesn't take Comte long to melt, but shredding it will speed up the process and anything helps when it's this ridiculously hot outside.

Now let's talk about this ham. Holy hock. It's really good. Like really, really good.* This salty meat is baked with savory rosemary and has a delicate interlace of semi-fatty streaks that makes it melt in your mouth. Yeah, ham can do that.

And because it can do that, you'll definitely want to put some on this sandwich.

* I know say that about almost everything i put on here, and I don't mean to sound cocky, but I DO use some really great stuff.  

Now pineapple-it-up. You'll want to make a thin layer of pineapple - just enough so you can get a nice little pop of sweetness in each bite.

Now more cheese, more, MORE!

Then gently put the other piece of bread on top and squish it down. But before we move on to the next step, I need to tell you about this bread. It's from Roberta's which is probably the best restaurant in my hood. Having access to their bread is really tricky. I have to constantly distract myself from eating it. The crust is thin and a little bit burnt which contrasts beautifully to the dense, moist and nutty center. I want to eat it all the time. God help me.

Now that the sandwich is built, it's butter and salt time. Both of which, when combined, create a very unique and complex flavor profile.

The smoked salt by itself is sort of overwhelming. When I opened the container I almost gagged from the smell that bombarded my olfactory nerves. "How could anything this potent not overpower the other flavors?" I asked. I thought it was over for the salt and me. As I was on my way to toss it in the trash I began thinking about the money I spent on it so you know what I did? I tested it. I buttered a piece of bread and sprinkled some of it on and grilled it up. When the heat started to get to the salt, the smokiness seemed to fade and to my surprise, it made the underlying buttery notes even brighter. It's kind of hard to explain but it even though it was crispy, it still tasted like real-uncooked-butter. Muy delicioso.

TLDR: smoked salt is weird at first but super good when grilled with cultured butter. Do it.

Smear on some butter and add a pinch of smoked salt to each side.

Turn your skillet to medium high and place the GC inside. It should take about four minutes on each for it to crisp up and become all melty and gooey and buttery and creamy and delicious and addicting and and and.

Then take it out the skillet, let it rest for a minute so that the flavors enhance, and serve!

For those of you that don't live in the area, I'm sorry if this post is completely irrelevant to you. Using your own local ingredients will taste just as good when it's all grilled and done. I'm just stoked on the quality of the products from Depanneur and felt compelled to share.

Oh AND, my book-give-away contest ends tomorrow and I wanted to thank all of you that have entered. I've gotten some great pics and can't wait to announce the winners on my Facebook page tomorrow!

G'luck and have an awesome week!



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Little Bit

Well guys it's official, I'm super sort of old. I'm turning 25 this weekend *gulp* and I'm doing what any mature and responsible adult would do - dragging all of my friends to a water park in Long Island. Sounds fun right? I hope so. I really haven't been to one since I was in high school and I remember the lazy river being full of bandaids so I sort of swore it off for a while. However, since it's about a gazillion degrees here in the city, I'm willing to overlook it. 

But that's not all I wanted to tell you. Even though it's my birthday and I should be receiving the presents, I'm going to switch it up and give my loyal readers some super awesome gifts! That's right, I've got 5 copies of Laura Werlin's new grilled cheese, please! book and one might just have your name on it. All you have to do is make one of my sandwiches and either post a pic to to my Facebook or Twitter page or link it down below in the comments section by next week (7/21/2011). Oh and feel free to get creative with it! From there, I'll randomly pick some winners and ship you the book!

So to pay some homage to the original GC gal, Laura Werlin, I'm adapting one of my favorite recipes from her book - the Pimento Cheese grilled cheese. 

Adapted from grilled cheese, please! by Laura Werlin
- 2 pats of salted butter
- 8 slices of a small baguette
- sriracha 
- 4 heaping tbs of pimento cheese
   -combine 1/2 cup shredded aged gouda, 1/2 cup
   shredded cheddar, 2 tbs whipped cream cheese,
   1 tbs mayo, 3 spicy peppers finely chopped,
   salt pepper

Now I know you're supposed to use mostly mayo in pimento cheese but I couldn't bring myself to it. I don't know why, but I have this stupid fear of the stuff. So because of this, I ended up substituting cream cheese and I actually LOVED it. It reminds me of my absolute favorite GC in Brooklyn - The Adult Grilled Cheese from The Commodore.

So once you've got your pimento cheese mixed up, plop one huge tablespoon of the mixture onto 4 slices of bread.

I don't think I've ever used sriracha in one of my grilled cheeses, and what a mistake that was!  I eat this stuff on everything I possibly can. Red rooster sauce, I love you. Anyways, depending on your spiciness threshold, squirt on as much as you like. 

Now put the top piece of bread on each cheesed up piece and smear some butter on the outside.

At this point it's important that you crank up your heat super high. Pimento cheese takes about .2 seconds to melt so you'll want to brown the bread as quickly as possible. 

Mine were only in the pan for about a minute or two until the bread started to sear and develop a nice crispy golden crust. As soon as the cheese starts to ooze out the sides, it should be done. 

Now just remove them from heat and let them sit for a minute or two so the cheese can get a chance to firm up a bit. Then go for it (and sing me happy birthday)!

This post would have been so much better if I had a candle in the sandwiches. I think that would be appropriate, right?  Happy Birthday to me.

But before I go, good luck on the contest and I can't wait to see what you guys come up with! 



Friday, July 1, 2011

Marco Polo

Alright I'm gonna make this quick, I've got a crowded train to catch and a sixer of bud to slam. I felt bad that I left my vegetarian buds out with my previous 4th of July post, especially since I just wrote about the plethora of opportunities for vegetarian BBQ. Because of this, I decided to get real and make something that's veg-head friendly. For this grilled cheese, I combine grilled corn on the cob, manchego cheese, and pickled jalapenos.  I grill it between two hearty slices of Texas toast that are smeared in smokey chile butter. And for the zinger (literally), fresh lime juice is squeezed on top for the perfect little splash of citrus. And errr, I know how what my state of mind is going to be this weekend (or lack thereof) so I'll try to make this as drunk-friendly as possible, just in case, ya know... 

So liquid diets are cool and all but waking up with the worst hangover of your life sucks, so it's probably a good idea to eat.


-2 slices of Texas toast
-1 cup of shredded manchego
-1 lime wedge
-1 tbs of pickled jalapenos
-1 ear of roasted corn
-1 tbs of smoked chile butter
  (combine 2 pats of unsalted butter, a pinch garlic
   salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, & 1 heaping tsp chile

Alright everyone, to begin, get a grater out and carefully grate up a cup of manchego. I know this can be tricky and it's super important that you don't get your fingers too close to the metal. It can get pretty gnarly considering how thin your blood will be at this point. If there's any kids in the room or sober people, forcibly give them this responsibility.

Once it's grated, you can step back in and fumble some cheese onto the bread. Use half, or as much as you can pile on without it getting ridiculous.

Now THIS is probably the most dangerous part. Abandon ship. Give this to job to someone else. Seriously. Hand them a corn cob and shrug your shoulders. I found it helps if you make a whiny noise combined with a sad frightened face to let them realize how much of a bad idea it would be for you to use a knife right now.

After they help you out, stack it on. Kiss them on the face.

Now this next part - you can totes do it yourself. Just scoop out a spoonful of pickled jalapenos, let the excess juice drip off and put a few on. If you're a bad ass you should probably use real jalapenos but I'm too much of a wuss, especially when I'm drinking and people are already probably annoyed with me.

With the remainder of the cheese, carefully plop it on and press down. 

Now take that second piece of bread and put it on top. Then smear some of that yummy smoked chile butter on top.  

Alright time for the kids to take over again. Have them crank up the heat to medium and gently place the sandwich in - butter side down. Don't get too close to the flames, although you probably won't care because your sense of feel has diminished, you'll regret the burn in the morning. Hangover and burnt hands? No bueno.

And because you'll probably have no concept of time, just keep checking the belly of the sandwich with a spatula. Once it's crusty and golden and the cheese has started to melt, flip it.  Repeat.

When it's done take it out of the pan,  let it sit for another minute so the butter absorbs and the cheese thickens, then squeeze a lime wedge on top and chow down.  You should probably give the person who made this for you a bite too.  They'll appreciate it.

Wipe your mouth. Blast some Tennis and some Harlem. Do some cannon balls. DON'T FORGET TO REAPPLY SUNSCREEN. Have fun!