Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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So, looking in the refrigerator, I had a motley assortment of odds and ends of ingredients, including a bag of spring greens mix with baby spinach, some Fontina cheese, some left over goat cheese, some anchovy paste, and half an avocado. There was a shallot in there too. Hmmmm. So, what is a girl to do?

So looking at the spice rack, I spied tarragon, basil, salt and pepper. So a plan was forming to make a Green Goddess Dressing for a salad. But then on second thought, I wanted something a little more filling than a salad. So I began to think why not take the green goddess herbs mixed directly into the cheeses, the spring greens and make a cheese spread for a grilled cheese sandwich?

This simple sandwich came together very quickly and very easily with the use of a food processor. You can also use a blender or a sharp knife to finely chop up the ingredients.

Not you regular, every day grilled cheese sandwich, but I can guarantee that you will like it just fine, if not more.

Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 oil-packed anchovy, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
Juice of ½ a lemon
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 cup mixed spring greens
½ Avocado, diced
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ounces goat cheese, cut into smaller cubes
½ ounces Fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8-12 slices sourdough bread
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:
Add garlic and anchovies to a food processor and pulse for a few seconds until it’s really finely chopped, almost like a paste (if you don’t have a food processor, you can always just chop the ingredients really well with a sharp knife on a cutting board).
Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil, shallot, spring greens, avocado, mustard and goat and Fontina cheeses and pulse again until well blended. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and stir in the mozzarella cheese.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat. Lightly brown the bread and then flip each slice over. Spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the green goddess mixture onto each slice of bread and press together gently. Continue to fry the sandwich until the bread is golden brown. Press down on the sandwich lightly, then flip the sandwich over and cook until second side is golden brown.

Remove for the skillet and serve immediately.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Oyster Stew

 

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With the first wave of Irish immigrants entering America in the 1700s, prior to the onset of the Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852, many brought with them their culinary traditions of eating fish and shellfish of their home country. The vast majority Irish immigrants were Roman Catholic. And like most Catholics today, they followed religious dietary customs around holidays, one of which was to abstain from eating meat during Lent and on Christmas Eve and fish was the protein of choice.

In Ireland, the Christmas Eve meal revolved around a fish called the ling where home cooks made a simple stew using dried ling, milk, butter and black pepper. However, Irish cooks could not find dried ling in America and out of necessity, they adapted to using oysters because they were similar to dried ling. Today, many families enjoy serving a most satisfying dish of Oyster Stew as part of their religious customs. Oyster stew can be enjoyed any time of the year and the most important factors in preparing oyster stew is not allow the milk to boil and do not overcook the oysters. Be careful to avoid overcooking oysters, which causes them to become tough.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 quarts whole milk, warmed
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch cayenne pepper
3 dozen fresh oysters, shucked, with liquor reserved
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ bunch fresh chives, snipped, for garnish
Oyster crackers, for serving

Directions:
Drain the oysters using a very fine strainer to remove and reserve the liquor. Set aside.

In 6 quart Dutch oven, melt about 5 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and add the onion, celery and salt. Cook slowly, until onions are translucent and the celery is softened, for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring well to blend, cooking for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the milk, heavy cream and reserved oyster liquor. Add the cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to a light simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add the oysters in a single layer, being careful not the crowd them. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and sauté until the edges of the oysters begin to curl, slightly revealing the gills.

Add the oysters to the Dutch oven and return to a gentle simmer to warm the stew through. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the stew into shallow soup bowls. Garnish with chives and serve with oyster crackers.

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Parsnip and Leek Soup

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Photo Credit:Jonny Valiant, 2011.

 

 

For those celebrating the religious calendar, Lent is upon us, and for many it is the time to give up meat in our diets. For busy home cooks, this soup can be made in ahead of time, basically because it is an uncomplicated vegetable puree. For an added touch you can dressed-up this soup with a touch of American whitefish caviar, the salty counterpoint to sweet parsnips in the mix, makes the soup plenty festive for Easter Dinner.

 

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
For the Soup:
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
3 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup whole milk

For the Black-Pepper Cream:
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 ounces whitefish or other caviar, for garnish

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Directions:
To prepare the leeks, rinsed well to remove the sand and grit. Cut the white and pale-green parts only into 1/4-inch-thick semi-circles and set aside.

To Make the soup: Cut a round of parchment to fit inside a large pot. Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, and cover with parchment round (this will help keep moisture in). Cook, lifting parchment to stir occasionally, until leeks are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in parsnips, potatoes, chicken stock, 2 1/2 cups water, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently, partially covered with lid, until parsnips are soft, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree vegetable mixture in a blender, being sure to hold lid down. Return soup to pot, and stir in milk. Reheat soup over medium heat (do not boil).

To Make the black-pepper cream: Stir 1/4 teaspoon pepper into creme fraiche.

To Serve: Ladle soup into 8 small bowls, and top each with a dollop of black-pepper cream and 1/2 teaspoon caviar.

Cook’s Notes:
Whitefish caviar is a relatively inexpensive variety and can found at Whole Foods  Markets or specialty gourmet food markets.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. Stir in milk and rewarm over medium heat just before serving. Black-pepper cream can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.