Grilled Cheese & Bacon Sandwiches with Cheese Curds

Cheese Curd Grilled Cheese. JoeBeef_FW_Oct2011
Photo Credit: Fredrika Stjärne, Food&Wine Magazine, 2011.

 

 

Cheese curds are small chunks of just-made cheese that haven’t been pressed into a shape. They’re milky and delicious in a grilled cheese sandwich like this one, which is spread with Joe Beef’s signature “chicken glace mayo,” made at the restaurant with chicken stock that Morin says has been “reduced to oblivion.” He suggests substituting beef bouillon to replicate his uniquely savory mayonnaise.

By Frédéric Morin
Food & Wine Magazine
October 2011

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Sriracha
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
12 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 slices of white sandwich bread
1/2 pound sharp cheddar, cut into 4 slices
1 cup cheddar cheese curds

Directions:
In a small bowl, crush the bouillon cube into 2 teaspoons of hot water until dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise and Sriracha and season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in another skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Set a griddle over 2 burners and turn the heat to moderate. Butter the bread slices on 1 side. Spread the other side of 4 bread slices with the spicy mayonnaise and top with the onion, cheddar, cheese curds and bacon. Close the sandwiches buttered side out and griddle over moderately low heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Cheese curds are available at specialty food shops and cheese shops.

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Heirloom Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie

 

tomato pie.jpg

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck, 2013

Southern Living Magazine raised the ante on classic tomato pie with a sour cream crust studded with bacon, layers of colorful tomatoes, and plenty of cheese and herbs to tie it all together. Nobody wants a soggy tomato pie, so for best results, seed the tomatoes and drain the slices before baking.This recipe is a bit time consuming and may take up to three hours to prepare,  but it is sure worth the effort!

RECIPE BY SOUTHERN LIVING
June 2013

Serves 6 to 8 

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
2 1/4 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour , such as White Lily®
1 cup cold butter, cut up
8 cooked bacon slices, chopped
3/4 cup sour cream

For Filling :
2 3/4 pounds assorted large heirloom tomatoes, divided (*See Cook’s Notes)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yellow cornmeal

Directions:
Prepare Crust: Place flour in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer; cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Chill 10 minutes.

Add bacon to flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Gradually add sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Spoon mixture onto a heavily floured surface; sprinkle lightly with flour, and knead 3 or 4 times, adding more flour as needed. Roll to a 13-inch round. Gently place dough in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom. Press dough into pan; trim off excess dough along edges. Chill 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Filling: Cut 2 pounds of tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir together Cheddar cheese, next 10 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl until combined.

Pat tomato slices dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom of crust. Lightly spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture onto crust; layer with half of tomato slices in slightly overlapping rows. Spread with 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers, using remaining tomato slices and cheese mixture. Cut remaining 3/4 lb. tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and arrange on top of pie.

Bake at 425° for 40 to 45 minutes, shielding edges with foil during last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1 to 2 hours before serving.

 

*Cook’s Notes:
To learn more about how to seed and drain tomatoes, please see Tori Avey’s tutorial at the following link: How to Seed Tomatoes

And a method is briefly outlined below:

  1. Place your tomato on a cutting board, stem side facing up.
  2. Roll the tomato sideways so the stem faces to the right, and cut the tomato down the center “equator” line into two halves.
  3. Use a small spoon or a quarter spoon melon baller to scoop the tomato seeds and any tough white core out of the four seed cavities. Discard the seeds.

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Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Sandwich

 

So I am back to basics……… well almost, with this sandwich. Once again, I found myself scrounging in my refrigerator. What  I found  was a few strips of bacon, a couple of cherry tomatoes, and  a slice of cheddar cheese. I also had some whole wheat bread in the pantry. But what really made this sandwich sing was the Bacon Mayonnaise…………..Enough Said!

 

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