Tag Archives | cheese

Homemade Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

Homemade cheese is easy with this simple method. Adding seasonal tomatoes and basil makes it a summer staple.

Homemade Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

The cherry tomato plants are taking over.

Deciding that their carefully placed cages are too confining, they’ve reached out their limbs in every direction, trying to make their move out of the garden box. Tomatoes, it seems, don’t realize they’re meant to be eaten.

After a few years of frustration, we now only grow cherry tomatoes in our garden. Thanks to birds and squirrels that are far more industrious than I and the years-long drought, larger tomatoes are best left to those who are experts — or at least have drip tape installed. This year, I happily pluck tomatoes from our plants nearly daily, and my only worry is how to tether the ever-lengthening branches.

We do get more tomatoes than we tend to eat in on any given day, but luckily summer is the time for tomatoes and their consort basil to shine. In particular, mixed together in this homemade cheese.

Homemade cheese is remarkably easy, and every time I make it I wonder why I don’t do it more often. This is a basic ricotta-like cheese, and it only needs milk and vinegar, plus salt to taste.

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Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausages

Make breakfast better with homemade sausages studded with apples and Kerrygold Skellig.

Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausage

Nearly three months later, kindergarten is still a transition. Amid his successes in the classroom, home life is fraught with denied exhaustion, harsh words, and frustrated tears. You could say we’re still trying to find a balance, but when you’re six years old, I’m not sure balance is even an option. Throw a baby brother into the mix, and it’s no wonder 3 out of 4 people in this house are in or near tears every night.

I can’t control what happens during the day, but the least I can do is put a good breakfast in him. We really enjoy biscuit breakfast sandwiches, but I don’t get much time to make them during the school week. Plus, even when I buy the best sausages I can, I don’t like not being in control of the ingredients. Then I remembered how easy it is to make your own.

Making sausages with chicken is as simple as getting white and dark meat (already ground if you don’t have a grinder at home) and mixing it with whatever spices and other ingredients you want. For this sausage, I added Skellig, Kerrygold’s newest cheese.

I first tasted Skellig after Maggy from Three Many Cooks hooked up my pregnant self with a lot of cheese and butter. Almost immediately it became my new favorite cheese – it’s a sweet cheddar, but not sweet-sweet in the traditional food sense. There’s also a bit of nuttiness that is in all the cheeses that I really love.

Skellig pairs really well with apple and maple syrup, so I added those into the sausage as well. With the small cubes, the cheese doesn’t make a melty mess in your pan, but adds bites of flavor within the sausage.

And the verdict? Well, when I served these up for brinner, my son said, “I wish I had one hundred of these!” Sometimes, all you need is a hug and some homemade food.

Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausage

 

Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausages
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound ground dark meat chicken
  • 1/2 pound ground white meat chicken
  • 3.5 ounces Kerrygold Skellig cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Put chicken, cheese, apple, and syrup in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix together spices, then pour into large bowl. Mix everything together until ingredients are evenly distributed.
  2. Form sausage into 12 patties and chill until ready to cook.
  3. Cook over medium-low to medium heat for about 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time. Extra cooked sausages can be stored in the freezer; reheat on the stove with a little water in the pan (just like commercial sausages).

Disclaimer: I received cheese and butter from Kerrygold to create a Skellig recipe as part of their contest for the Kerrygold Bloggers Network. All opinions are my own, and obviously, I like cheese.

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Queso Mac

Queso Mac

When I was pregnant, I often turned to comfort food when it was time to eat. For me, comfort food often involves cheese: grilled cheese sandwiches, cream cheese on a bagel, a bowl of queso dip, or maybe an entire box of macaroni and cheese.

It’s not like I didn’t know that a giant bowl of cheesy carbs wasn’t good for me. Sometimes you just gotta give baby what baby wants.

I shared a lot of my food habits with my friend Amber over Skype while I was pregnant, and I’ve continued to share the ups and downs of newborn life with her. She keeps me sane when the baby is having a bad day (or I’m having a bad day). I didn’t really have people to vent to when my first was a baby, and Amber’s friendship is priceless to me.

That’s why I can’t wait for her baby to be born in a few months. I just know our sons will be great friends. She and her husband James have been waiting a long time to meet their baby, and now we’re in the home stretch. I know from experience that the last month or two is the slowest time of your life, so luckily Amber will have plenty of recipes to cook through, thanks to her surprise shower!

We love you, Amber!

Amber's Baby Shower

Since Amber is a Texan, we all made Texas-inspired dishes to share. The last time Amber and I hung out, we attacked a big bowl of queso from Torchy’s, so I figure she would appreciate this Rotel-ish macaroni and cheese. Plus, we’ve gotta get that baby’s taste buds ready for Tex-Mex!

Queso Mac
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced (leave the seeds in if you want it hotter)
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, saute onion, jalapeño, and tomato together until onion and peppers are softened. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Stir in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses until completely melted and smooth.
  4. Once macaroni is done, drain, return to pot, and pour in the cheese sauce. Stir in the onion mixture. If desired, pour into an oven-safe dish or individual ramekins, top with crushed corn chips, and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Or, just eat as is!

 

Be sure to check out all the blogs and recipes celebrating the arrival of Amber and James’s baby boy!

Sugarcrafter | Breakfast Tostadas
My Kitchen Addiction | Baby Texan Cookies
My Baking Addiction | Texas Sheet Cake
Simple Bites | Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Charred Corn Salsa
Stetted | Queso Mac
Food for My Family | Texas Pepper Barbecue Sauce
Dessert For Two | Frito Chocolate Chip Cookies
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen | Coconut Tres Leches Layer Cake
TidyMom | Pizza Bread Sticks
Miss in the Kitchen | Blackberry Milkshakes
Art of Gluten Free Baking | Peach-Pecan Pie, Gluten-Free
Bon Appetit Hon | Cheddar Ranch Crackers
Food Babbles | Southern Pecan Pie
Jelly Toast | Peach Iced Tea
Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle | Decorated Elephant Cookies
i am baker | Texas Brownie Cake
The Kitchen Trials | Coca-Cola Cake
Cookies & Cups | Sticky Toffee Pudding Cookies
A Farmgirl’s Dabbles | Peanut Butter Bonbons the Size of Texas
Steph Chows | Fiesta Dip

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Green Chile and Bacon Burgers {plus a Tillamook Cheese coupon!}

This post was created for Tillamook Burger Month. Read on for a recipe and a coupon for Tillamook Natural Cheese Slices!

Around here, grilling season means any day that doesn’t have a high winds warning, but there’s still something special about cooking outdoors in the warmer months. Maybe it’s the excitement of not having to turn on the stove or oven. After all, grilling doesn’t count as cooking, right?

Burgers are, of course, one of our favorite things to grill up. They provide endless opportunities for customization, and yet you can also go classic with just ketchup and cheese, and end up with a stellar meal. Using quality cheese goes a long way in making a memorable burger. Our household graduated from rubbery, processed cheese slices long ago, and I’m happily using Tillamook Natural Sliced Cheddar Cheese on my burgers and my son’s grilled cheese sandwiches. The thick slices are excellent for any sandwich, and best of all, they don’t contain any funky ingredients. It’s even created without animal rennet (rennet being a key component in most cheeses), meaning it’s a great choice for vegetarians.

Sorry about this burger, however, vegetarians.

Green chiles are a common ingredient in the Southwest, and every year food lovers in Austin go completely bonkers for the new crop of Hatch chiles. Hatch chile season isn’t until August, but most stores carry tinned roasted green chiles alongside the jalapenos and salsas. You can also swap in a fresh Anaheim or Poblano pepper and roast it yourself, if you like. Note that the heat can vary on peppers, so be sure to try a bit of it before adding to the meat in case you want more or less heat. Topping with Tillamook cheese slices, avocado, and pickled onions makes this a hot-and-cool burger full of flavor. There’s also bacon, because why not?

 

Green Chile and Bacon Burgers {plus a Tillamook Cheese coupon!}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed beef
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup roasted diced green chiles (such as Hatch variety)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tillamook Natural Medium Cheddar Cheese Slices
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Butter
  • Sliced avocado
  • Pickled onion
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Mix together beef, bacon crumbles, green chiles, salt, and pepper. Divide mixture into four equal parts and shape into patties, creating a small well in the center of each patty.
  3. Cook burgers 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. While the burgers are cooking, butter tops and bottoms of hamburger buns.
  5. In the last minute of cooking, add the buns to the grill butter-side down and grill for 1 minute. Remove buns to serving plate, and place burgers on bottom halves, topping with cheese slices immediately.
  6. Top burgers with sliced avocado and pickled onions, and enjoy!

 

 

Don’t forget to grab your coupon!

The Tillamook $1 off Natural Slices coupon will be available until May 21, 2013. It will expire within 30 days of printing, so don’t forget to use it soon! Please reach out to Tillamook directly with any questions, comments, or concerns about the coupon: Contact Tillamook

What’s your favorite kind of burger?

 

 

Disclaimer: I received a box of Tillamook goodies and Natural Cheese Slices for participating in Burger Month. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. My opinions are my own, including that you should never ever “squeeze” a burger while it’s cooking.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Dip

If you’ve been around food blogging for a while, chances are you have come across the beautiful blog My Kitchen Addiction. From promoting other bloggers in her Friday Favorites series, to helping others learn about cooking basics in the Kitchen Bootcamp, to posting beautifully shot seasonal recipes, Jen’s blog is a must.

I first met Jen last year at Big Summer Potluck, and had the chance to connect with her again at this year’s BSP. She’s just as warm and sweet as she is on her blog, which is why I am so happy to be able to help celebrate the little baby she will soon be bringing into the world.

Pregnancy is often hard, especially when it’s your first time. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding you, from your own fears about parenting to how your friends and family now treat you. When you’re a new parent, you need extra love and support, and what better way for food bloggers to show that than with a virtual baby shower!

I don’t know about other people, but when I’m at parties I gravitate toward dips. So simple, so innocent… so easy to put a whole bunch in my belly without even noticing. I had a dip similar to this one back at our holiday party for the ATX Swappers, and even after all those months I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Being a food blogger, though, I couldn’t help but tinker with it, resulting in the creamy dip you see below.

When you mix up the dip, it might seem like there are too many vegetables, but trust me on this. You want a sweet bite of pepper and onion in every scoop.

Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Dip

1/2 pound red bell pepper (about 2 peppers)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced onion
8 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre – not crumbles)
4 ounces neufchatel cheese
1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to broil. Halve peppers and remove stem and seeds, then place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until skin is blistered and blackened.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. This will take 20-30 minutes.

When the peppers are done, remove them from the oven and place in a ziplock bag or a bowl with cover. Let the peppers cool until they are cool enough to handle, then peel off the skins and discard. If you have roasted the peppers long enough, the skin should peel easily. If it doesn’t come off, don’t worry, just proceed.

Chop the peppers coarsely, and when the onions are nicely browned, add the peppers to the saucepan and mix well. Remove pan from heat. Add the cheeses and stir to melt. (You can return the pan to the heat if the cheese isn’t melting, but you don’t want it soupy.) Once the cheese is melted, season to taste.

Spoon into a serving dish, scatter the chives on top, and serve warm with thick tortilla chips, crostini, or pita chips. This is equally delicious at room temperature or even cold – just note that when cold, you’ll need a knife to spread.

 


Be sure to check out all the other recipes for Jen’s shower!

Bluebonnets & Brownies | Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip
Sugarcrafter | Sweet Potato Cake with Honey Buttercream
My Baking Addiction | Mini Pumpkin Pies
Simple Bites | English Eccles Cakes
Stetted | Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Dip
Food for my Family | Homemade Pear Italian Sodas with Cardamom Cream
eat. live. travel. write. | Goat Cheese and Tomato Tartlettes
Gimme Some Oven | Creamy Caramel Apple Dippers
Dessert For Two | Caramel Apple Cookie Cups
Bake at 350 | Soft Sugar Cookies for a Baby Shower
A Thought For Food | Fingerling Potato Salad
TidyMom | Apple Pomegranate Spritzers
i am baker | Advice to a New Mommy
Healthy Green Kitchen | Guacamole with Pistachios
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures | Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Spread
What Megan’s Making | Apple Spice Muffins
Cookin’ Canuck | Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Pear & Hazelnut Salad
Bellalimento | Frozen Berry Shortcake
Shugary Sweets | Caramel Apple Truffles
GoodLife Eats | Coconut Lemon Banana Bread

 

Happy Virtual Baby Shower, Jen! I can’t wait to see your beautiful baby!

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Ricotta Crostata

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of learning how to make ricotta cheese from scratch, along with a few other Austin food writers. The class leader was Margaret Christine of From Maggie’s Farm. I first met her at our first ATX Swappers event back in December 2010, and I could help but be smitten with her bubbly personality. For me, Maggie is exactly what you think a Southern woman is going to be like: charming, funny, and always ready to give you a big hug and a mouthful of something good.

When I got home with my brand-new ricotta, I thought I was going to make stuffed pasta shells with it, but I spied a package of beautiful, early season grape tomatoes and I knew I had to pair them up for a date.

And, since I always have lard on hand, it seemed like as good of a time as any to practice my pie crust technique. But as I’m never one to leave well enough alone, this pie had to be outside of the box. Literally. It’s crostata time!

Crostatas are so much more fun than pies. See the evidence:

1. The word crostata just sounds cooler. Ricotta pie? Boring. Ricotta crostata? Get me a jingle writer, stat.

2. Crostatas don’t require the use of pie plates, which is useful for poor college students who don’t have bakeware or lazy people who don’t like doing dishes.

3. Free form, baby. Crostatas don’t have to be relegated to the confines of a circle or rectangle. A crostata rises whichever way it damn well pleases.

4. If some of your filling leaks out an edge, that’s OK. Because crostatas are rustic, and if I’ve learned anything from reading food blogs, rustic = messy.

Ricotta Crostata

1 pie crust

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

½ pint grape tomatoes

Olive oil

1 egg, beaten

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400.

2. Roll out pie crust to about 1/8-inch thick and transfer to baking sheet. Patch the holes you made in the dough from moving it.

3. Mix ricotta, herbes de Provence, and salt together and spread onto crust, leaving a wide rim around the dough.

4. Halve or quarter your tomatoes, depending on the size. (Let’s not get into a size argument here, but my tomatoes were pretty small to begin with, and I halved them because I’m a crazy food blogger. You might not be.) Either way, pile your cut-or-uncut tomatoes on top of the ricotta.

5. Fold over the dough. Sprinkle salt and olive oil over the top of the crostata, or don’t, because who am I to tell you what to do? Brush folded-over dough with beaten egg.

6. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

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