“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy
The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …
Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.
I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.
Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup
This recipe makes about a quart of soup.
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
- Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions
- Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
- Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.
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on Toasted Ciabatta with Melted Gouda Cheese
Today I was HUNGRY and needed something substantial. Something with protein. I briefly considered making up a BLT, but I decided I didn’t want to mess with making bacon. I needed something quick so I could get back to work.
So an egg sandwich sounded about right … But I wanted something really tasty that would satisfy my hunger AND my taste buds. Pesto rosso to the rescue! If you haven’t heard of Pesto Rosso, it’s a magical tomato pesto made with sundried tomatoes and almonds. The Foodie Physician introduced me to it. I have had this lovely red pesto several times spread on toast for a snack and reveled in the taste of it each time, but today I thought I would put it to the test in a sandwich.
A few minutes later I was munching on one of the BEST breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The lovely ciabatta and fresh garden tomato are wonderful, of course, and the sweet pepper and onion certainly pitch in along with the melted gouda cheese, but the Pesto Rosso is what really turns this sandwich from a ho-hum regular run-of-the-mill sandwich … into a sandwich to remember.
Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich
Makes 2 normal-sized breakfast sandwiches or 1 extra large one. I used Gouda cheese from Dofino, since they were so kind as to send me samples.
- 1 egg
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet bell pepper (I used yellow … red or green would work too)
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet onion
- Several slices of Gouda cheese
- Ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used my homemade ciabatta)
- Pesto Rosso (recipe here)
- Sliced fresh garden tomato
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a small spoonful of cold water till smooth (the water will help keep your egg moist and perfect). Season with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped sweet onion and bell pepper.
- Heat your frying pan to medium heat, pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat immediately to medium low. Cover the egg with gouda cheese slices, then set the cover on the pan and let cook, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is melted. I pushed in some of the edges of the egg to make it into a more manageable size for the sandwich.
- While the egg is cooking, cut 2 pieces of ciabatta about the size for half of your egg (or a large piece of ciabatta if you are making a ginormous sandwich), slice them horizontally and toast the bread, then spread the bottom half of the ciabatta with a generous amount of Pesto Rosso. Slide the egg on top of the Pesto Rosso and then add fresh tomato slices and the top half of the ciabatta bread.
This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Favorites, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Kitchen Fun Friday.
This is such an amazing sandwich. It’s really so simple. But it takes the whole concept of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato to a new level. All you have to do is add a little bit of sweet onion and some gouda cheese, get that cheese really good and melty and OMG you will be drowning in heaven when you eat your sandwich. So that’s why it’s a Sooo OMG BLT. SOMG = Sweet Onion Melted Gouda. How sweet is THAT?
The most necessary thing for this sandwich is a fresh-from-the-garden tomato. If you don’t have a garden (or a friend or relative who has a garden who will share a tomato), one from the farmer’s market will do in a pinch. If you’re going to use a grocery store tomato, just skip this whole idea. Go make something else. Because to get the true essence of a really great BLT, you need a really good fresh garden tomato.
The sweet onion and the melty gouda cheese elevate the bacon and the heavenly homegrown tomato taste and then the mixed greens come along and top it all off with their beauty and crunch. You really must have at least one of these beautiful sandwiches during tomato season … I have had two so far and I’m SO tempted to make another one … SOMG they are SO good!
Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich (SoooOMG BLT!)
For each sandwich:
- 1 nice thick slice of bread (homemade bread works the best … I used my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
- 3 slices of lower-fat, naturally smoked, thin-sliced bacon
- Thinly sliced sweet onion
- Fresh garden tomato slices
- A few slices of Gouda cheese (I used Dofino Gouda that they sent me … )
- Mixed greens
- Cook the bacon strips to your liking. I like mine a little floppy, but my sisters hate the way I make bacon. My kids love it though. (HA! For once I am validated by my kids.) Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to soak up the excess fat from the bacon.
- Set the bread on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray. Cover the bread with a layer of bacon, then several slices of the sweet onion, then make sure you cover the whole thing with fresh tomato slices. Cover the tomato with slices of gouda cheese.
- Bake at 400 for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is really good and melted and bubbly.
- Remove the sandwiches from the oven and carefully transfer each sandwich to a plate and add a good tumble of mixed greens. Then revel in the joy of a purely wonderful sandwich.
I want to thank Dofino cheese for sending me some of their wonderful Gouda cheese and my amazing friends from the BOHO tribe for helping me name this sandwich! It was Uncle Gary from Uncle Gary’s Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly that thought of this name.
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If you haven’t noticed, I have an affection (obsession) for cheese. I have a drawer in my fridge dedicated to cheese. I buy little chunks of flavorful cheeses and use them frequently in my cooking. Some sweet soul at Arla (the maker of Dofino cheeses) noticed my affinity for cheese … and sent me several “samples” of Dofino cheeses. Ironically, these “samples” are the same size as the little chunks I normally buy at the store … and there are six different kinds … some of them I can’t even find at my local stores. I’m in cheese heaven! They did ask that I share my recipes that I make with their cheeses. Are you kidding? There’s no way you could shut me up!
On to the recipe: if you’ve never had a really good chorizo with eggs and potatoes, it’s a sublime experience. Those three ingredients together are simply magical. Add a little cheese and it’s heaven on a plate. My dad makes this wonderful chorizo (one of these days I’ll get the recipe for it!) and I found some in the freezer, so I cooked some chorizo with eggs, potatoes and cheese while my sis was here. I had about 3/4 cup of the cooked chorizo left after they left, so I decided to make it into a breakfast boat, using one of those gorgeous Italian zucchini that my sister brought me. It made such a beautiful boat I was tempted to add a mast with a little sail just for fun, but I didn’t want to mess up the perfection of the melty cheese …
Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats
This filling will stuff two medium (14-inch) zucchini if you cut the tops off lengthwise, or two halves if cut in half lengthwise and both halves are stuffed … or even more if your zucchini are small!
- 3/4 cup good quality lean chorizo, cooked
- 1 cup potato, cut in small cubes, cooked
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used about 2/3 cup shredded Dofino Gouda cheese, plus about 1/3 cup Mexican fiesta blend I had in my fridge that I needed to use up … I mixed the two to make my own amazing cheesy blend)
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise to make two boats and with a grapefruit spoon (or other scooping device), scoop out the insides to make boats. (Save the seedy inside part to make Zummus.)
- Cook up the chorizo in a frying pan over medium heat, chopping it up into little crumbles as it cooks. When the chorizo is done, remove it from the pan and drain off the excess fat from the pan. Fry up the potato till it’s cooked, then add the zucchini, sweet onion and jalapeno and sautee for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the zucchini is tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water till smooth. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt.
- Add the chorizo back into the frying pan and stir to mix, then pour in the eggs, scrambling them just for a few minutes. Fold in about 1/2 of the cheese mixture as well. You want to leave the eggs very moist, not quite done, because they will finish cooking in the boats.
- Spoon this lovely mixture into your zucchini boats, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (or broil briefly) until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
- Serve hot. Plates are optional. ;)
So in case you haven’t noticed, the ingredient of the week (month?) is zucchini at my house. My sis brought me several zucchini, some beautiful stripey Italian zucchini and some plain green ones, some big, some little. I love zucchini season because it makes me get really creative in the kitchen, trying to think of different ways to use this plentiful, mild-tasting vegetable. Zucchini is so good for adding to so many dishes because it takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with, so it can be sweet or savory, and it can take on many different textures too depending on whether it’s shredded, chunked, sliced, or ribboned, raw or cooked.
For this quesadilla, I used one of the smaller green zucchini, but I think the Italian ones would be nice in a quesadilla too. I was just making a small one for me for lunch, so I didn’t want to cut into one of those big guys. Honestly I really wanted some shredded chicken on this quesadilla, but I didn’t have any on hand and was in a rush to make lunch so I went with a vegie version. I think if you had some leftover chicken around (perhaps from the grill?), you may want to toss that into the mix. Beans would be fun to put on here too. But then again, it’s nice just like this …
Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla
- 17 – 20 thin slices of a small/medium-sized zucchini
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ancho chile (or other hot chile pepper)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1/2 Tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt
- juice from a wedge of fresh lime
- fresh cilantro leaves
- shredded gouda cheese (sorry I forgot to measure how much I used! You can eyeball it, though. Enough to cover the zucchini in a thin layer.)
- 2 medium-sized tortillas (not the tiny taco-sized ones, but not the huge burrito-sized ones either … whole grain/whole wheat is good!)
- For serving: your favorite salsa!
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and lay the zucchini slices on the pan in a single layer. Spray them lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for just a few minutes more until the zucchini rounds are tender.
- While the zucchini are cooking, mash up the avocado in a bowl, then mix with the cream cheese, garlic, yogurt, and lime juice. Take one of the tortillas and spread it with this creamy green mixture, then when the zucchini are done, arrange them on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
- Top with shredded gouda cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer … I like gouda because it has a good flavor and it melts well … and then put the other tortilla on top.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slide the quesadilla carefully onto the skillet, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, checking the bottom frequently to see if it’s golden brown yet.
- When it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip it over to brown the other side. (To help you flip it, you may want to slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a flat cutting board, then flip it over and slide it back into the pan. The bottom side will be crisp, so this isn’t as hard as it may sound.)
- Once both sides are brown and the cheese is melted, slide the quesadilla onto your cutting board, cut it up and serve with salsa.
with fresh tomato, dill, garlic scapes and red onion
I needed something hot, hearty and healthy for breakfast this morning … after the big fundraiser last night, I was so exhausted, all I had for “dinner” was snack mix and beer. So I remembered I still had a bit of asparagus in my vegie drawer … what could I make with that?
I scrounged around and found half a tomato, some red onion, smoked gouda cheese, and a bit of bacon. Sounds like great omelet, right? It was perfect: just what I needed. Delicious, comforting, hot, and it gave my body all the things it needed … the only problem was I loaded it so full of good stuff, I had a hard time sliding it out of the pan. (This is a common problem with my omelets … I tend to overload my eggs!) No matter, I thoroughly enjoyed this delectable mess.
Roasted Asparagus, Bacon & Smoked Gouda Omelet
with Fresh Tomato, Dill & Garlic Scapes
- 1 egg + 1 egg white
- Several spears of fresh asparagus
- 2 slices of bacon
- Chopped red onion
- Chopped tomato
- Snipped dill
- Garlic scapes (the green part of the garlic plant), snipped into small bits
- Shredded smoked gouda cheese + shredded Italian blend of cheeses
- Prepare your chopped vegetables and shred the cheese.
- Set the asparagus on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and set in the toaster oven (or the oven) to roast at 400 for about 5 minutes or until it’s crisp tender.
- While the asparagus is cooking, in the same pan you would cook the omelet in,fry the bacon till it’s crisp, then remove the bacon to a clean towel and dab the top to soak up the extra fat. Pour the bacon fat out of the pan (save it for making things like bacon popcorn!) and wipe out the pan with a clean towel so there is just a very thin layer of bacon fat there. Crumble the bacon into bits
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg, egg white, and 1 tablespoon of water till fluffy. (Use water to keep the eggs moist without sticking to the pan.) Season with salt and freshly ground pepper (and/or my favorite: Red Robin seasoning). Add the snipped dill and garlic scapes and whisk briefly to combine.
- If you do this quickly enough, your skillet or omelet pan will still be hot. Turn the burner to medium-low heat, pour the egg into the pan and rotate it a little to spread the egg out over the bottom of the pan.
- Quickly sprinkle the herbed egg with the cheeses, chopped vegetables, and crumbled bacon. By the time I got done adding everything, the egg was cooked and the cheese was melted. Still I covered the omelet and cooked just briefly to make sure everything was cooked through. The omelet should be just lightly browned on the bottom.
- With a spatula, carefully fold over one side of the omelet onto the other, then slide it out of the pan onto a serving plate. Hopefully you’ll have better luck with that than I did … those tomatoes you see on top there? They were actually INSIDE the omelet when I started. Oh well! As long as it tastes good, right?
From the Full Belly Sisters
The truth is, ever since I saw this green grilled cheese sandwich from Full Belly Sisters, I wanted it … bad. But circumstances did not avail themselves to fulfilling my desires … until tonight.
My daughter was out with her dad. My son was busy with his game downstairs. I was pretty much left alone for the evening … and it was a gorgeous spring night … perfect for a light dinner and a glass of wine on the patio, and then a walk in the forest.
And since I had some luscious green creamy paste left from the little green toasts that I had for lunch, I looked up the recipe and noticed mine wasn’t too far from the mark. All I needed was a little cheese. I didn’t have any gouda on hand, so I used havarti. That did the trick.
My sandwiches were little because my bread is just a small baguette … and so I served my mini-grilled cheese sandwiches (to myself) with a glass of my dad’s wine and a little dish of honeydew melon (keeping with the “green” theme …) … oh it was SO good!
I am going to send you over there for the recipe. Really, mine wasn’t much different than hers. I added some garlic. And a little parmesan and shredded Havarti cheese in place of the Gouda.
This is really a grilled cheese sandwich experience you don’t want to miss. Look at all that gooey green deliciousness.