Man! Being poor kind of sucks, guys! But somehow I can still manage to scrounge something good up while still keeping an eye on “SALE” tags. Though most of my food comes from the regular cheapo grocery store, there are a few luxuries that I prefer to get at my local food co-op. (In my case, it’s the Eastside Co-op in Northeast Minneapolis.) That would include my rare purchases of meat, all of my cheeses, potatoes, and eggs.
When I was planning on making this pie, the co-op happened to have put Capriko on sale, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try that instead of Emmentaler cheese. Capriko, as it turns out, is an awesomely nutty cheese that is produced by Nordic Creamery, based in Wisconsin. It hit just the right savory notes with the spinach, mushrooms, and paprika in the dish and made it swoon-worthy.
I adapted the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, and added some things that I happened to have on hand. The crust was made from 6T local unsalted butter + 1.5C flour + 4-5T milk. I didn’t prebake the crust and it was fine. The mixture isn’t super goopy by any means, so it didn’t hurt it at all. Saute the vegetables first. You probably want about a cup-and-a-half to two cups of filling. I used mushrooms, onions, and spinach, but you can do whatever you want. Then I threw some thyme, Dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper into the mix for spice.
I shredded the capriko (you can use any similarly nutty cheese) and layered that on the bottom of the crust. The eggy part was about 3 eggs, 1.5C milk, and 2T flour. Layer the vegetables on top of the cheese and then pour the eggy stuff on top. Bake in a 375 oven for 40 minutes or so until it firms up. Finish with some smoked paprika salt
We fucking demolished the pie in two days. Definitely a record.
It’s a blustery day in Minneapolis, but I’m glad to be here and not at the farm, where all of my former coworkers are frantically harvesting every single fruit (i.e. peppers, tomatoes) in the field in preparation for tonight’s frost. To ease my transition into civilian life, I’ve been biking a lot to try to familiarize myself with the city. It’s definitely a pain in the ass with 27 mph winds farting in your face the whole time, LET ME TELL YA.
I worked up an appetite so I cranked it over to France 44, a huge cheese and wine shop in Edina. Owned by a fellow NYC transplant, it stocks lots of artisanal products from Brooklyn and also got really good reviews from Citypages and Chowhound. Like any good cheese shop, it has a really appealing repertoire of sandwiches that feature both novel and classic cheese + stuff combinations.
The girl working at the counter was really knowledgable and friendly — she’s even going to apprentice at a cheesemaking farm in Vermont! I stupidly forgot to introduce myself, but maybe next time. Is it weird to want cheese-loving friends? I just want to meet someone with whom I can munch on cheese plates! Is that so much to ask?!
The sandwich pictured above (set against a tumultuous Lake Harriet) is their house special, “The Cheesemonger.” It features sopressata salami, provolone cheese and a pepper & onion relish in a six-inch piece of baguette. And with the student discount (hehe) it was only 5 bucks with change! The verdict? Fuck yes. They’ve got it down.
Cooking under the influence is so scary, but pretty fucking fun. Plus, any food that manages to jump through the hurdles of a 40oz and pumpkin spice ale is definitely impressive, like winning a foot relay while being eaten by a shark.
After watching Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life and getting our slant on, Chris and I were super hungry. The tater tot emporium on our block had stopped serving food ages ago, so I mustered up what little resolve I had left and made grilled cheese sandwiches at home. Luckily, I was sort of anticipating this when I went grocery shopping earlier and had a good store of Gruyere cheese and sliced bread ready to go. It’s sort of tragic that I can predict the drunchies with such deadly precision these days.
My mom, being the fancy lady that she is, always makes grilled cheese sandwiches with Gruyere and caramelized onions, so that’s the kind of sandwich that I’m into. (Though if I had bacon, I’d have probably put that in too. Next time!) HERE BE THE RECIPE:
Vy’s Mom’s Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (for two)
- four slices of whole wheat bread
- Gruyere or Swiss cheese, sliced
- 1/2 of an onion, diced small
- melted butter
- salt and pepper
Caramelize the onions: throw them into a small saute pan with butter, sugar, salt and pepper and let them cook until brown.
Construct the sandwich: bread + cheese + onion
Grill it: spoon some melted butter onto the pan and put the bottom part of the sandwich in, then put the top slice of bread on. Press it down for a little bit and flip it over. Press it for like 45 seconds and you’re done!
Before you read this, you should probably check out Sandwiches You Will Like, a pretty cool (despite its tepid name) PBS documentary about the regional sandwiches of the U.S. The editing can be incomprehensible at times: Rick Sebak will flatly ask a question like, “So what’s the cheese to put on a philly cheesesteak sandwich?” and the editors will throw in 4 shots of snaggle-toothed Philadelphians exclaiming, “Cheese wiz!!” Sometimes they’ll mix things up with a “Definitely, wiz.” COOL!
Inspired by the IMDB summary of the movie, I decided to make like Slick Rick Sebak and try the Jucy Lucy on a recent trip to Minneapolis with my friend John. Is the Jucy Lucy Minneapolis’ official contribution to the regional sandwich pantheon? My dudefriend Chris, who introduced it to me, really seemed to be into the idea. In some aspects, it could serve as a somewhat snarky portrayal of Minnesotans — or at least, my stereotype-laden perception of them. The burger is, at first blush, just a straight-up burger. It’s distilled to its purest elements: a pillowy white bun, a beef patty, and maybe grilled onions if you want to be fancy. The gimmick is that the patty is filled with cheese, which, upon grilling, forms a molten core of dairy-based fat inside of the burger. There really is no other way to describe it: “molten” is a word that gets tossed around a lot in regard to this sandwich, and it fits. Biting into this sandwich hastily is like biting into Satan’s ass; it will napalm both the inside and outside of your mouth. So are Minnesotans, who are so gosh darn nice all the time, hiding a molten core of hatred for yourself and your loved ones underneath all that flannel? I wouldn’t be surprised.
In the end, this is just a burger filled with cheese. Even so, I think it’s a fitting official sandwich, given the region in question. I mean, come on, if Iowa’s bag is a pile of loose ground beef on a bun, let’s not sweat the small stuff.
Nicole Kaplan, one of the reigning pastry chefs in New York City, makes the most bang-up-the-ass gougères known to man. Her recipe, which was featured in a magazine clipping that I found in my mom’s bookcase, looked pretty flawless. And of course, I fucked it up! They’re really supposed to be round and puffy, like the balls of a calf, but I had to resort to piping the dough into a tiny muffin tin and baking them that way. What resulted was a sort of cancerous testicle of cave-aged Gruyère. Thanks to Natalie G. for sticking around while I puttered about in the kitchen like an unscrupulous English housewife.
- 1 c water
- 4 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 c flour
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 oz. grated Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring water, butter, ½ tsp salt and the cayenne to a boil in a small saucepan. Place the flour in the bowl of a mixer, add the boiling water mixture and mix with the paddle attachment, not the whisk (or use a wooden spoon in a bowl). Beat in the eggs one at a time, until the dough is smooth. Beat in the cheese and mix until the dough is thick and cheese has pretty much melted. Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment and pipe the dough in small mounds onto them. Sprinkle each with a pinch of extra grated cheese and kosher salt. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and puffed about 3 times their original size. Try not to open the oven door for the first 10-12 minutes to keep them from deflating.
Better eat them quick!