Posts Tagged seasonal recipe

Wintery Grilled Cheese (with Goat Cheese, Roasted Beets & Wilted Chard).

It’s a quiet winter Sunday and I’m puttering about the house and working on various projects (cleaning, organizing, laundry, etc). It’s freezing outside and the weather is manic; alternating between snow flurries and sunshine. I’ve got a chill in my bones that I can’t quite shake, and no amount of coffee seems to do the trick. I click back and forth between the Packers game and the Golden Globes, as I can’t decide which is more depressing.

I think it’s the perfect day to make a grilled cheese sandwich.

Why? Because grilled cheese is the perfect winter meal.

In addition, the grilled cheese sandwich is a prime example of a time-tested culinary rule: melty cheese + bread = culinary magic. (If interpreted loosely, this rule also applies to pizza, quesadillas, nachos, lasagna, mac n’ cheese, cheeseburgers, etc. You get the idea.)
So, this sandwich is essentially a dressed up version of the bread and cheese rule. I took a couple slices of quality bread and added goat cheese, roasted beets, wilted chard, caramelized onions, along with a healthy dollop of creamy horseradish.

The result? My new favorite winter meal. I’m not kidding. This sandwich is a wonderful tribute to the season, and utilizes some of my favorite winter vegetables: beets, onions, and chard. The creamy goat cheese melds together perfectly with the earthy winter veggies, and the horseradish gives the sandwich just the right amount of punch.

If this is what winter tastes like, then I hope winter lasts forever.

(OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit with that last sentence. At the very least, this sandwich makes the winter much more tolerable.)

Wintery Grilled Cheese: With Goat Cheese, Roasted Beets, and Wilted Chard.
(Inspired from a similar sandwich I consumed at Bunk Bar. Thank you, Tommy. You rule.)
Makes 4 hearty sandwiches.

8 slices quality bread (I splurged on Grand Central Bakery’s Sliced Campagnolo. So good.)
4 ounces goat cheese (Chevre), room temperature
3 cups of rainbow chard, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 medium-large beets
Horseradish, to taste

Roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets and trim off beet greens, leaving a 1/2 inch “stem”. Wrap each beet individually in tin foil. Once the oven is hot, place wrapped beets directly on the oven rack (or on a pan, if you’d rather). Roast for 40 minutes (up to an hour), until beets are soft all the way through when pricked with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, unwrap beets and remove skin. The skin should come off easily (I usually use a paper towel and gently rub off the skin). Set beets aside.

While the beets are roasting, caramelize the onions. In a medium size non-stick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the sliced onions. Allow to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and caramelized (about 30 minutes). If they begin to cook too quickly, turn the heat down to low. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet (no need to clean it, the onion flavor will just enhance the chard), heat a splash of oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped chard and allow to heat. Stir, and after a minute or two, add one tablespoon of water to the pan. Cover, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Allow the chard to cook like this for 5 minutes. Check on the chard, if the water has evaporated but the chard is still under-cooked, add a bit more water and cook for 2-3 more minutes. I like my chard leaves to be wilted, but I like the chard stems to still retain a bit of crunch. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside until ready to make your sandwiches.

Once the beets, chard, and onions have cooked, your sandwiches are ready to assemble!

I trust that you all know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, so I’m not going to go overboard with instructions. Essentially, spread a (thick) layer of goat cheese on one slice of bread. Top with beet slices, wilted chard, and caramelized onions. Spread creamy horseradish on the other slice of bread (along with a little more goat cheese, if you so desire). Butter the exterior of your bread slices, and cook your grilled cheese sandwiches on a griddle (or non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat. Cook sandwiches for 3-5 minutes on each side, until bread is golden and the goat cheese is warm and ‘melty’.

Note: goat cheese does not “melt” like other cheeses, but it will get warm, gooey, and delicious.

blood orange, escarole & hazelnut salad

Oftentimes I find that the best dishes aren’t the ones that are carefully planned out. Rather, the perfect dishes are haphazardly thrown together at the last minute. This is one of those dishes.

A few nights ago, Nich and I decided we were going to stay in, make a fabulous dinner, and watch a movie. We knew that we wanted to make risotto for dinner (more on that in my next post), but I wasn’t sure what to make alongside it. Risotto is so rich and delicious, so I wanted to pair it with something fresh and vibrant.

So, as we meandered about Pastaworks gathering supplies for our dinner, I decided to let the produce do the talking. I was thrilled to see that they had a good selection blood oranges onhand. I happen to looooooove blood oranges. So much so, that I might go out on a limb and say that they are the sexiest of all fruits (and they are in season!). In addition to the blood oranges, I picked up a head of escarole (a bitter green in the endive/frisee family) and knew that I had the beginnings of a killer salad.

With such fabulous base ingredients, I didn’t need to add much to make this salad sing. I decided to toss the escarole and blood orange segments with toasted hazelnuts and fresh grated parmesean, along with a blood orange vinaigrette. It was perfect (if I do say so myself). Each ingredient stood out on its own, while complimenting the salad as a whole. And, if you’ll excuse me while I pat myself on the back a bit more – I was also really pleased with the blood orange vinaigrette that I “invented”. Since I got all fancy and segmented the blood oranges, I was left with the peel and ‘innards’. I was struck by the gorgeous blood red color, and decided to do something about it. I soaked the orange peel and innards in olive oil for awhile, then macerated the orange bits and strained out the oil. What I was left with was essentially a blood orange infused olive oil – and it was every bit as tasty as it was pretty! I then made a relatively standard vinaigrette (with garlic, vinegar, s&p…) using the infused olive oil. It was magical.

I will now sign off and simply urge you to make this simple and seasonal salad. Come on now, try the magic out for yourself. ;)


1 head of escarole, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces. (Frisee or any other bitter salad greens would work just as well)
2 small blood oranges, peeled & segmented (*if you want to be fancy like me and make proper “suprêmes”, The Kitchn has a handy little tutorial.)
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Blood orange vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
Rinds & trimmings from the segmented blood oranges
1 small shallot, finely minced
1-2 tsps pomegranate or red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Soak the blood orange rind and peel in 1/2 cup (or more) of good quality olive oil. Let stand for 30+ minutes. After the mixture has had time to sit, macerate the orange (with the end of a wooden spoon, a mojito muddler, a potato masher – whatever you can find to beat up the orange bits and get them to release flavor!). Strain out the oil, using cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve.

Combine oil with minced shallot, vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste). (Hint: The longer you let the vinaigrette sit before you use it, the better it will taste!)

Toss escarole, hazelnuts, and blood orange segments together with the vinaigrette. Grate fresh parmesan over the salad and gently toss. Serve immediately (and of course, enjoy!).