Tag Archives: Cheese

Buttermilk Biscuits with Havarti and Dill

Buttermilk Biscuits with Havarti and Dill

Who doesn’t love a nice biscuit?  A good biscuit, one that is buttery, tender inside, and crisp outside makes a great addition to any meal (or snack).  Even better are biscuits made with buttermilk.  There is just something about the subtle twang of buttermilk and the tenderness that it brings to baked goods that make it indispensable in our kitchen.    

The Dry Ingredients and The Cheese

Fresh buttermilk is great to have around, but if you find it goes bad before you can use it, you can also buy good quality dried buttermilk.  The taste is pretty good and all you need to do is mix with the appropriate amount of water.  But I digress… these are your classic drop biscuits with the delicious addition of Havarti and dill.  The cheese and herbs bring lots of flavor to your biscuit and also keep everything nice and moist.  However, don’t feel you have to use this particular combination of cheese and herbage.  Use whatever is in your fridge, the combinations are endless.  For example, cheddar and chives would be tasty, or how about Gruyère and tarragon.  Any cheese you can grate will work well so use your imagination and make lots of different batches. 

Biscuits Ready for Baking

Buttermilk Biscuits with Harvarti and Dill 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 

3/4 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground (not coarsely ground) 

4 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp baking soda 

1 tsp salt 

4 tbls (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces 

6 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded Havarti cheese 

1 tsp dried dill 

1 1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk 

To Make: 

Put a rack into the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 450F.  Butter a large baking sheet. 

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dried dill in a bowl.  Use a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the whole thing resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cheese.  Add the buttermilk and stir until well combined. 

Drop dough in equal mounds about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Our dough mounds were about 3 inches in diameter and we made 9 biscuits.  Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.  If you make your biscuits smaller, make sure to keep an eye on the cooking time as they may bake faster.  Transfer to a rack and cool for about 10 minutes. 

To Serve: 

Serve warm with butter.  Yum.


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Filed under Add-ons, Baked goods, Bread, Recipes, Vegetarian

Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

Do you live in the Northeastern US?  Are you tired of the rain?  Tired of being wet and cold?  There is still enough time to make one last hot soup before the onset of spring.  Lately, we all needed something that would warm us up a bit more.  This soup does just that.  It combines the classic flavors of roasted garlic, roasted potatoes, and cheese in a comfy and tasty soup. 

The Garlic, Onions and Potatoes - Before

 The idea behind the soup was to cross several classic potatoes sides, namely, French Fries, garlic mashed potatoes and a baked potato and serve it up in a soup form.  The essence of the French Fries come from oven roasting the potatoes.  The roasted garlic brings in flavors reminiscent of garlic mashed potatoes.  The baked potato served as our muse for the final garnish toppings.  Feel free to add some bacon here.  It would be delicious.   We, unfortunately, were out.

The Garlic, Onions, and Potatoes - After

 Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup


 2 heads of garlic

 2 lbs baking potatoes

 2 medium onions

 3 tbls olive oil

 1 tbls dijon mustard

1 tbls dried oregano

1 tbls water

2 tbls butter

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk or half-and-half

2-3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped for garnish

4 oz colby jack cheese, shredded

2 tablespoon dry vermouth (optional)

salt and peppper to taste

To Make:

First, roast the garlic.  Remove  the cloves from two heads of garlic, but leave the paper-like-peel on the cloves.  Scatter the unpeeled cloves on a baking sheet with a rim.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt.  Place in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes.  The cloves are ready when they are tender to the touch.  When cool enough to handle, take off the peels and set the garlic cloves aside.

 Meanwhile, roast the potatoes.  Scrub the potatoes well under running water.  Cut the potatoes into 1″ cubes.  Toss the cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the cubes on a baking sheet.  Roast in a 425 oven for 45 minutes, flipping them all between 20 and 25 minutes.

 While the potatoes are roasting, caramelize the onions.  In a 10″ skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Peel and cut the onions in half.  Cut slices from each half.  Add the onions to the melted butter, season with salt and pepper.  Cook low and slow for at least one hour (I let these go almost 3 hours).  If the onions look like they are drying out too much, turn down the heat and add some liquid (a tablespoon or two) to plump up the onions a little bit.  Liquids such as a dry white wine, dry sherry, or dry vermouth bring a nice flavor to onions.  If you’re opposed to alcohol, use some chicken stock or water.

 To Make Soup

 In a stock pot, bring the stock to a simmer, add in the roasted garlic, the caramelized onions and most of the roasted potatoes (reserve about 1 cup of the roasted potatoes).  Return the soup to a simmer and let the ingredients warm through, about 10-20 minutes.  Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.  If you don’t have a stick blender, working in the small batches, add to a blender and blend until smooth.  Return the soup to low heat and add the half-and-half, stir and heat through. 

 To Serve:

Ladle the soup into soup bowls.  Garnish each bowl with some of the reserved roasted potatoes, the chopped green onion, and shredded cheese.  

 This soup may seem like a lot of work, but much of it can be made in advance.  The garlic and potatoes can be roasted and the onions can be caramelized and set aside in the fridge.  Simply add them to the stock and heat through.  Serves 4 as a hearty first course.

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“Juicy Lucy” Burgers

Juicy Lucy Burger

When we are sitting around in the evening, after Thing 1 and 2 have gone to bed, we often find ourselves watching television shows about food.  While daytime food TV is usually about cooking, nighttime seems to be more about competition.  Who can cook the best food under time pressure?  Can that guy really eat 7 lbs of beef in under 2o minutes? 

Assembling the burgers

One evening, while watching Man vs. Food, we saw a yummy looking burger called the Juicy Lucy.  Instead of topping a hamburger with cheese, the Juicy Lucy has a slice of cheese sandwiched between two thin burger patties.  We were intrigued.  Cheeseburgers are generally awesome, but put the cheese inside the burger so when you bite into it, you get a mouthful of molten cheese, sign me up. 

Ready to cook

There isn’t much of a recipe here, more of a technique.  Basically, you take really thin hamburger patties and crimp them together around some cheese.  Cook them however you like and bam, you have a delicious cheesy burger.

Fry 'em up

Juicy Lucy Burgers


1 lb ground beef

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

4 oz colby jack cheese, thinly sliced

To Make:

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Divide the beef into eight equal portions.  Using your hands, form each portion into a very thin pattie.  Top four of the patties with about one ounce of the thinly sliced cheese.  Place the cheese in the center of the pattie, leaving an edge all around.    Top with the remaining four patties.  Using your fingers, tightly crimp the stacked hamburger patties together, sealing the cheese inside.

Cook ’em the way that you like ’em…. grill, broil, pan fry, your choice.  

To Serve:

 Top them with whatever suits your fancy or enjoy them as is.  As far as we are concerned, anything goes when it comes to burgers.  Makes 4, 1/4 lb burgers.

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Baked Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac & Cheese

How do you like your maccaroni and cheese?  Do you like it baked with a crunchy bread crumb layer and stiff enough to slice?  How about from the stove top with a creamy cheese sauce?  Or even (gasp) from the box?  Regardless of how you like it, I highly recommend you give this version a try. 

Spices and onions

This mac and cheese is extra cheesy and has a crunchy panko bread crumb topping.  Whole wheat elbows adds a light nutty flavor (and some extra fiber).  This is the ultimate in comfort food and is ripe for modifications.  I could see additions of bacon or some wilted spinach.  Alternatively, you could throw in some blue or goat cheese for an interesting flavor option.

Making the cheese sauce

This is great right out of the oven or eaten cold out of the fridge the next day.  The perfect dinner for a cold winter Sunday night.

30 minutes to heaven

Baked Mac & Cheese

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking 


8 oz whole wheat elbow pasta

5 oz mild cheddar, shredded

4 oz Monterey jack, shredded

1 small onion, diced

3 tbls tablespoons butter, divided

2 tbls flour

1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp paprika

1 bay leaf

 2 cups milk (2%)

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

To Make:

Shred the cheeses and set aside. 

Fill a large stock pot with water and cook the pasta until just tender, according to the packaged instructions.  Drain and set aside.

Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and preheat the oven to 350F.

Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, over medium heat, melt 2 tbls of butter.  Add the diced onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add in the flour, dry mustard, and paprika and whisk to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes to get the raw flour taste out.  Slowly stream the milk into the pot, whisking constantly to incorporate.  Add the bay leaf.  Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove the cheese sauce from the heat and stir in about two-thirds of the shredded cheese until melted.  Stir in the maccaroni.  Empty about half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Layer with half of the remaining cheese.  Empty the rest of the mac into the baking dish. 

In a small skillet, melt 1 tbls of butter.  Add the bread crumbs and stir until lightly browned.  Top the mac and cheese with the remaining cheese and finally the toasted bread crumbs. 

Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

To Serve:

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 6 as a main course.

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Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

When do you find yourself reaching for comfort food?  Is it when you are tired or stressed, when the weather is cold and gray, when you aren’t feeling well?  For us, it is really all of the above.  This past week has been a little stressful and rather tiring.  The weather hasn’t been the greatest and I have been fighting a cold.  Luckily, when all of those unfortunate things converge in the space of one week, there is this casserole to make things seem much brighter.

Simple but good quality ingredients

There is nothing fancy about this dish.  It doesn’t use any fancy ingredients, nothing special in the prep, and it doesn’t really even look all that pretty.  However, it tastes really, really good.  It is warm and hearty fare that is great for any time of day.  It makes a nice brunch dish, since much of it can be prepared ahead of time, great as left overs for lunch, and of course, the best comfort food ever for dinner.

Bake sans parmesan and panko layers

To really make this dish stand out, make sure to use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on.  Choose really good ham, flavorful cheese, and potatoes as fresh as you can get them.  When the casserole comes out of the oven all brown and crunchy on top, loaded with ham, and dripping with melted cheese, you won’t be sorry.

Golden brown and delicious

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

Recipe adapted from Marc’s Italian neighbor growing up, Maria Paolucci


1 1/2 lb all purpose potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

1 tbls bacon fat (or butter or cooking oil)

8 oz smoked ham steak

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 small sweet onion, finely diced

8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

4 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded

1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

To Make:

Scrub potatoes and quarter them (if you have potatoes with tender skins, leave them on, otherwise peel them).  Place potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover by about an inch and bring to a boil.  Boil until tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and melt the bacon fat.  Add the ham steak and heat until cooked through.  Remove the ham steak from the pan and transfer to a cutting board to cut into bite size pieces.  Add the onions to the juices left in the pan and cook on low until lightly browned (or turn off the heat in the pan and let the onion brown from the residual heat).

Preheat the oven to 450F.  When the potatoes are ready, strain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter and mash until very smooth.  Fold in the Monterey Jack and Gruyère cheeses, along with the ham, onion, and eggs.  Grease a 2-qt baking dish (lard works well) and spread the mixture evenly in the dish.  Top with bread crumbs in one layer and then parmesan in a second layer.  Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese bubbles up on the sides. 

To Serve:

Serve hot and enjoy.  Serves 3-4 as a main course, 6-8 as a side.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Recipes, Side Dish

Gougeres (aka French Cheese and Bacon Puffs)

Gougeres (aka French Cheese and Bacon Puffs)

The weekend is almost here.  Do you have any big plans?  If you are doing any entertaining and need something that is both easy and impressive, look no further than these delicious appetizers.  

Golden and delicious butter

These cheesy, crispy puffs are French so they add instant panache to your appetizer spread.  Plus, they have bacon and everything is better with bacon.  They are light and airy with fluffy insides and, the best part, they are really easy to pull together.

Dough ball

Boil (yes, boil) some butter and water, stir in flour until you get a dough ball that somewhat resembles a thick roux, and then beat in eggs until you get the most beautiful and glossy batter you have ever seen.  Fold in grated Gruyere cheese and crispy hunks of  bacon and you are nearing appetizer nirvana.

Batter after beating the eggs in

Once these beauties come out of oven, all golden and crispy, do your best to wait until your guests arrive before you devour them.

Unbaked puffs

Gougeres (aka French Cheese and Bacon Puffs)

Adapted from The Bacon Cookbook


1 cup water

8 tbls (1 stick) butter

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

1/2 pound slab bacon, rind removed, finely diced

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

To Make:

In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, butter, and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, add the flour, and beat with a wooden spoon till a ball of dough forms.  Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating with an electric mixer on high speed till the batter is just thick enough to hold soft peaks.  Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill briefly.

In a large skillet, fry the bacon dice over moderate heat till crisp and drain on paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Butter a large baking dish.  Fold the cheese and bacon into the prepared batter till well blended, then drop by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake the puffs for 30 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the stand till they are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.  Serve the puffs warm.

To Serve:

Makes about 36 puffs.  Serves 8-10 as appetizers (or 2 people who can’t stop eating the bacon-y deliciousness).

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Winter Squash Lasagna

Winter Squash Lasagna

 When we blog, we post recipes that we make that are yummy.  Obviously, we don’t post everything we make, we look for dishes that have something interesting or special about them.  This dish is very, very special.  After dinner tonight, we both agreed that this twist on the classic lasagna is one of the most delicious things we have made in quite a while.

Squash ready for roasting

We got the idea for this dish while browsing through one of our Thanksgiving-themed cookbooks.  The author shared a recipe for a pumpkin and sage lasagna that sounded tasty, but was pretty fussy and complicated.  It called for frying sage leaves and for thickly slicing a seeded and peeled pumpkin and sauteing it before making the lasagna.  With two small children in the house, we don’t really have time for that kind of work.

Mashed squash and ricotta

So we decided to go rogue with the recipe and make it our way.  Our way includes a roasted winter squash whose flesh is folded with whole milk ricotta and flavored with dried sage.  Things get simplified with no-bake lasagna noodles.  It also adds mozzarella cheese to the mix and tops the whole dish with a creamy bechamel sauce that is flavored with bay, thyme, parsley, and black pepper.  Once baked, the lasagna is rich and creamy with balanced sweetness from the squash and savory from the cheeses and herbs. 


Middle layers


Ready for the oven

Fresh out of the oven




 We recommend that you head immediately to your nearest market and purchase one of the many delicious in-season winter squashes currently available and make this dish tonight.  I think I might have to go look for leftovers.

Winter Squash Lasagna


2lbs winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut (do not use spaghetti squash), cut in half and seeded

1 lb ricotta cheese

2 tsp dried sage

2 tsp kosher salt

3 cups milk

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp dried parsley

6 whole peppercorns

3 tbls butter

1 large clove of garlic, minced

3 tbls flour

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

To Make:

Roast the winter squash in a 400 degree until tender, about 50-60 minutes (depending on the type of squash).  Remove and let cool.  Meanwhile, pour 3 cups of milk in a saucepan.  Cut a square of cheesecloth (about 8 inches) and place the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and parsley inside.  Gather up the corners to make a packet and tie tightly with twine.  Add the herb packet to the milk and heat over medium heat until gently simmering.  Simmer for 2 minutes (do not let it boil), remove from heat, and let the milk steep for 30 minutes.

Once the squash is cool, scoop out the flesh and place it in a large bowl.  Mash the squash with a potato masher.  Add the ricotta cheese, sage, 1 tsp of salt, and ground pepper to taste.  Fold the mixture together and set aside. 

To make the bechamel sauce, use a 3-4 quart saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and saute until just beginning to brown (about 2 minutes) stirring constantly.  Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the raw flour taste is cooked out, about another 2 minutes.  Remove the herb packet from the milk (discard it).  Slowly pour the milk into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly.  Once all the milk has been added, continue to whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with remaining tsp of salt and ground nutmeg.

To Assemble:

In a 9×13 casserole, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Place three lasagna noodles crosswise on top of the sauce.  Top with 1/3 of the squash ricotta mixture and 2 ounces of the mozzarella.  Place three more noodles in the dish.  Top with 1/3 of the squash ricotta mixture, 2 ounces of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the bechamel sauce.  Repeat the second layer (noodles, the remaining squash, mozzarella).  Top with remaining three noodles, the rest of the bechamel sauce, the rest of the mozzarella cheese, and the grated parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes and the top is browned and bubbly.

To Serve:

Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.  Garnish with chopped fresh sage leaves with desired.  Serves 8.

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Filed under Dinner, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian