Grilled Pear and Brie Sandwich with Arugula

Grilled cheese is something I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of, although as I’ve gotten older my grilled cheese has gotten… fancier?

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Brie is probably my favorite cheese (if I could pick a favorite child…), and it gets nice and melty in a grilled sandwich. The pear and apple butter are the perfect sweet to complement the spicy arugula, and the only complaint I have about this sandwiches that it was a bit too much for bread I used, and a thicker french-bread kind of roll would probably work better.

Ingredients and Directions:

Butter the two outsides of your bread slices, and spread a layer of apple butter on the insides. Add in thinly sliced pears (I used about 1/4 of a pear), sliced brie cheese (about 3/4 of an oz) and a large handful of arugula. Grill sandwich until cheese is melted and bread is a toasty golden brown.

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Toasted Cornbread and Black Bean Salad

The month of May seems to be passing by realllly quickly. And I don’t like it. Which is why I can’t seem to get past wanting Mexican and Tex-Mex inspired food ALL THE TIME. I’m in denial that we’re this far past Cinco de Mayo.

Not to mention that I think margaritas are always a good idea. Especially after deciding to finally start drinking the bottle of Patron I’d been “saving for a special occasion” a few weeks ago (when it actually was Cinco de Mayo). This is obviously a ridiculous thought because I never do anything exciting enough to warrant being called a “special occasion”. Whatever, I digress.

Back to this salad! I had strangely been craving cornbread for the past few days and had been sitting on this recipe and this recipe waiting to make something along the same lines, so I sort of combined ideas from the two to make a more filling meal, rather than a side dish.

Toasted cornbread and black bean salad

Looking at that picture makes me think of My Drunk Kitchen…. The key to good Mexican food is a shit ton of limes! If you have no idea what I’m talking about go watch this right now. You’re welcome in advance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT46FV64dr8

Jargaritas anyone???

Ingredients:

1 batch of your favorite cornbread recipe (I like to mix 1 c medium ground cornmeal, 1 c whole wheat flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 4 tsp baking powder, 1 c milk, 1 egg, and 1/4 c melted butter, then bake in a 9×9 greased pan for 25 minutes at 425 degrees…. but that’s just me)

1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 of a small onion, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 c frozen corn, thawed

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1/3 c crumbled queso fresco

juice of 3 limes

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and dice the cornbread into 1 inch cubes.

Bake cornbread until dry and crispy, about 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, taste and adjust seasonings.

Mix in toasted cornbread right out of the oven and serve immediately with a large margarita that has a salted rim (mandatory detail).

The Best Egg Salad

Ok, I realize that this isn’t exactly the greatest recipe title.

I feel like egg salad is a very un-glamorous and underappreciated meal. However, ask almost anyone and they ate egg salad growing up! And I’m sure they loved it! And sometimes classics are worth revisiting!

Sort of like deciding to watch all of the previous seasons of Mad Men AND Arrested Development on Netflix… At the same time… Because I like to spend my free time really productively.

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A friend of mine made egg salad last summer for me with avocado in it, and I LOVED it. But until I opened the fridge the other day and conveniently found a ripe avocado, I had completely forgot about the idea.

When I make a sandwich for myself I usually use two hard-boiled eggs, but with the addition of the avocado it definitely beefs up the amount of filling made. Feel free to eat the rest of it with a spoon. Or give it to your dog because you feel bad for working so much and not being home to snuggle with her… Whichever  you prefer.

puppy

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of fat-free Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1/4 of a large avocado

2 slices of your favorite bread

1 medium tomato

salt and pepper

Directions:

To cook the eggs, place in a medium sauce pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Let boil for 8-10 minutes.

Using a fork, mash together the hard-boiled eggs, avocado, Greek yogurt, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toast your sandwich bread and spread on the egg salad, topping with sliced tomatoes.

Now aren’t you glad you started thinking about foods you grew up eating again??

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

I have a problem.

Ok, this probably doesn’t qualify as a legitimate problem, but this photo was taken in October. OCTOBER people!

It finally started raining again in the great PNW, and all is now right with the world, but I’ve been scrambling to use up all the late-blooming vegetables in my garden  because of it. In my mind, rainy fall weather + a surplus of vegetables = soup.

Ingredients:

olive oil

2 small yellow onions, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 lbs of tomatoes, peeled (I used a mixture of plum and roma tomatoes)

2 red bell peppers, roasted

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

fresh ground pepper

4 cups of chicken stock

1 cup milk

Directions:

To roast the peppers:

Place the peppers on a cookie sheet lined with foil under a broiler (or over a gas range), turning occasionally until the skin becomes charred. While the peppers are still hot, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After the peppers cool down enough to handle, about 15-20 minutes, the skin will easily peel off. Pull out the stems, remove the ribs and seeds, and roughly chop peppers.

To peel the tomatoes:

Cut a small “x” onto the bottom of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add tomatoes. Let tomatoes soak for 45 seconds- 1 minute and then remove and place in a bowl of cold water to cool them down. Use the “x” mark to help peel the skins off and roughly chop.

To make the soup:

In a large stockpot over medium heat, drizzle in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and saute the onions until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the milk, and simmer for 20 minutes, covered.

Puree the soup using a blender. Or an immersion blender if you (or your parents….) happen to have one. Because they are really fun and you can pretend you’re cooking in Kitchen Stadium. If that’s your thing.

I like my soup to have a little texture, so I leave the soup as is, but for a super smooth soup, pour it through a fine strainer after blending.

Return the soup to the stockpot and add in the milk. I just used fat-free milk since that’s what I drink and it worked just fine, but for a really cold day when you need some soup with a little oomf, use something with some fat.

Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Sometimes using fresh tomatoes in a recipe will cause it to be more acidic than desirable, so if you feel like that happened, add in a pinch of sugar and taste again. But only add a TINY pinch at a time, nobody likes overly-sweet tomato soup- you’ve been warned!!

Nom nom nom… Eat immediately with a toasty grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee (<– best lunch ever!!)