Aged Cheddar and Beer Dip

Aged Cheddar and Beer Dip
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons of butter
  2. 3 tablespoons of flour
  3. 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  4. 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  5. 1 (12 oz.) bottle lager
  6. 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 6-8 pieces
  7. 6 ounces of extra-sharp cheddar, grated (1 ½ cups)
  8. 6 ounces of Gruyere, grated (1 ½ cups)
  9. 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  10. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. ½ cup coarsely crushed pretzel rods, plus whole pretzel rods for serving
  12. Celery stalks, for serving
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, whisking about 2 minutes. Add thyme and mustard, then gradually add beer, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute more.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add cream cheese, a piece at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in cheddar and Gruyere, a handful at a time, until melted. Remove from heat. Add Worcestershire. Season the dip with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve, sprinkled with pretzel crumbs, with pretzels and celery.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Garden Bounty by Julie Szimon

I love vegetable gardening!  Well, let me rephrase that.  I love to get organic plants or seeds and plant them in my garden with organic soil, water them, weed them and see what happens.  I don’t know what the PH level of my soil is.  I don’t use any chemicals to make things grow bigger.  I just plant. 

Growing up in the city, we never had a garden.  We lived in a two-flat on the north side of Chicago.  We did have an apple tree in the back yard that took up most of the space.  Each year I was allowed to climb up the tree and pick the apples on top that no one could reach.  Those apples were then cooked down by my grandmother and made into applesauce.  She would can the applesauce in mason jars so we could enjoy it all winter long. 

When we moved to the suburbs I started a small 4’x8’ vegetable garden.  As time went on, my vegetable garden grew to a 25’x35’ enclosed area with 8 raised beds and an open space for berry bushes.  Each Spring I plan out what worked well last year and I try to add something new.  I love to see how the new plants grow and what culinary creations I can come up with when they are ready for harvest. 

I like to plant peppers and the garden always produces an abundance of them.  Some sweet ones and some hot ones.  I have used them in salsas and salads and I have even pickled them.  Last year I decided to make hot pepper jelly with them.  It was so good!  I made several batches and canned it for myself and gave some as gifts.  My favorite way to enjoy the jelly is on toasted bread or crackers along with some goat cheese.  It’s sweet and hot and delicious! It also came in handy over the winter months when friends dropped in for a glass of holiday cheer. 

This year the peppers are looking good, so another batch of hot pepper jelly will be coming.  The recipe I use is great just the way it is but don’t be afraid to be creative with the pepper mixture.  I added some red peppers for color, cracked black pepper, fresh thyme and some dried lemon peel.

Hot Pepper Jelly
Print
Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. of jalapeno (or variety of) peppers
  2. 2 cups cider vinegar, divided
  3. 6 cups of sugar
  4. 2 - 3 oz. pouches of liquid pectin
  5. 5 - 8 oz. half pint glass-preserving jars with lids and bands
Instructions
  1. Prepare/sanitize glass jars, lids and bands per manufacturers directions.
  2. Puree peppers in a food processor with 1 cup of cider vinegar until smooth. Do not strain puree.
  3. Combine puree with remaining 1 cup of cider vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add liquid pectin and continue to boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  4. Ladle hot pepper jelly into hot jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rim. Secure lid and band. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when pressed in the center.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 ounces unsalted butter (one half stick)
  2. 4 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 teaspoon each; dry mustard, white pepper, chile powder, and salt
  4. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  5. 32 ounces whole milk
  6. ½-1 pound cheese of choice, grated (I like to combine cheeses and grate myself; soft cheeses work best)
  7. 1 pound dry pasta
Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter and then add flour to make a roux. Allow the roux to cook for 3-4 minutes to cook the flour taste out and for the mixture to darken a bit. Season with dry mustard, white pepper, chile powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add milk in slowly, whisking as you go. Over medium high heat, gently stir the béchamel sauce until it begins to thicken. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Once the sauce has thickened, slowly whisk in grated cheese a handful at a time, whisking after each addition so cheese can be completely absorbed (you have now created a Mornay sauce from the béchamel base)
  3. Taste sauce and adjust with spices used earlier (dry mustard, white pepper, and salt)
  4. Turn sauce to simmer and prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and retain the pasta water.
  5. Combine pasta and sauce, at first you may not need all the sauce but as the mixture sits, the pasta will absorb more and more of the sauce. Add more as the sauce gets absorbed to achieve your desired consistency. If the sauce is too thick, thin with pasta water.
  6. Serve with breadcrumbs, bacon bits, sun-dried tomatoes, or any number of accompaniments if desired.
Notes
  1. At Ladies Night Out, Kelly used Rigatoni and equal parts Vermont White Cheddar, Baby Swiss, and Monterey Jack.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ pounds pasta (angel hair or thin spaghetti)
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  5. dash of sugar
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  7. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  8. 3/4 cups crumbled blue cheese
  9. 3/4 cups heavy cream
  10. 4 cups baby spinach
  11. half and half, for thinning
  12. extra blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and cook for a minute. Pour in drained tomatoes. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Stir in crumbled blue cheese. Add cream and stir, then a little splash of half-and-half if sauce is too thick. Cook for a minute or two, tasting and adding more seasonings as needed.
  3. At the very, very, very last minute. toss in spinach. Immediately toss in the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 T. unsalted butter
  2. 3 T. all-purpose flour
  3. 2 cups hot milk
  4. 1 t. kosher salt
  5. 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  6. pinch nutmeg
  7. 12 ounces Gruyère, grated (5 cups)
  8. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  9. 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  10. Dijon mustard
  11. 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Cucumber-Feta Toasts

Cucumber-Feta Toasts
Print
Ingredients
  1. ½ baguette
  2. 6 t. extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 3 ounces feta
  4. ½ t. fresh lemon juice
  5. coarse salt and ground pepper
  6. 1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Split baguette lengthwise and lightly brush cut sides with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bake until golden around edges, 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash together feta, 4 teaspoons oil, and lemon juice with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread feta mixture evenly over toasted baguette and top with cucumber slices. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a drizzle of oil. Cut into pieces to serve.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Appetizers
Adapted from Martha Stewart Appetizers
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Cheese-Stuffed and Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Jalapenos

Cheese-Stuffed and Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Jalapenos
Serves 8
Print
Ingredients
  1. 24 medium jalapeño chiles
  2. 8 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  3. 12 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
Instructions
  1. Using a small paring knife, make a slit in each jalapeño from the stem end to the tip, being careful to not cut the jalapeños completely in half. Spread the jalapeños open and scrape out the seeds. Stuff each jalapeño with some of the shredded cheese, wrap with a half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  2. Preheat a ribbed stovetop grill pan over medium heat. Grill the jalapeños, turning frequently, until the bacon is crisp, brown and cooked through.
  3. Transfer the jalapeños to a serving platter. Remove the toothpicks and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Stuffed Portobello with Melting Taleggio

Stuffed Portobello with Melting Taleggio
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 large portobellos (or another similar mushroom), stalks removed
  2. 6 T. California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  3. salt and black pepper
  4. 1 small onion, finely diced
  5. 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  6. 2 cups finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  7. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  8. ½ cup grated Parmesan
  9. 1 T. chopped tarragon leaves
  10. 4 T. coarsely shredded basil leaves
  11. 3 ½ oz Taleggio, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mushrooms, stalk-side up, on the baking sheet and drizzle over a little oil and some salt and pepper. Put into the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan, add the onion and celery and cook on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not brown; stir every few minutes during cooking. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down.
  3. Once cool, add the Parmesan, tarragon and half the basil to the mixture and season with pepper. (You can add a little bit of salt but not too much because Taleggio is very salty.) Pile up the filling on the whole mushrooms and top with the Taleggio slices. Return to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the mushrooms are tender.
  4. Transfer the mushrooms to serving plates and drizzle with oil. Garnish with the remaining basil and serve right away, with a green salad.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Gruyere Shallot & Thyme Grilled Cheese with Apple Salad

Gruyere Shallot & Thyme Grilled Cheese with Apple Salad
Serves 2
Best Grilled Cheese Ever!
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 T. unsalted butter
  2. 1 T. mayonnaise
  3. 3/4 cup 1/4-inch-thick sliced shallots
  4. 1 t. fresh thyme leaves
  5. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  6. 4 1/2-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
  7. 4-6 ounces Gruyère, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  8. 2 cups arugula
  9. 1/2 apple (such as Gala), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  10. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  11. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When butter begins to foam, add shallots and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula, until shallots begin to soften and caramelize, 4–5 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat a large heavy-bottomed (cast iron works great) skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and swirl in pan to melt butter and coat bottom of pan. Spread mayo on 1 side of each slice of bread. Add bread slices to pan (mayo side down) and cook until golden brown and crisp on the bottom, 2–3 minutes. Transfer bread, toasted side down, to a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Divide cheese evenly among bread slices; top cheese with reserved shallots.
  4. Place baking sheet in oven and bake until cheese is melted, 7–8 minutes.
  5. Press 2 pieces of bread together, melted cheese sides in; halve sandwich on a diagonal and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
  6. Combine arugula, apple slices, lemon juice, and oil in a large bowl; toss to coat and evenly distribute. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad between plates.
Adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen / Bon Appetit
Adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen / Bon Appetit
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/