cheese

Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Pitas 1

Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Pitas

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As the days get shorter and the evenings start to get that fall chill to them, I’m making an effort to squeeze in every last little bit of grilling that I want to do. These grilled vegetable sandwiches are an old favorite that I had forgotten about until recently. I’m really happy that I remembered them though, because they’re super simple to make and are full of fresh summertime flavors.

These sandwiches were inspired by a lunch that I had years ago at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC. It was before I really started to get interested in cooking (between work and grad school and planning my wedding I had enough to concentrate on), but I remember making the sandwich for dinner just a few nights later in my tiny little apartment kitchen — it might actually have been the first time I ever tried to recreate a restaurant meal at home! The sandwiches have evolved over the years and my memory of the original has gotten fuzzy – I only remember the portobello, pita, and fresh basil — but they are every bit as delicious as I remember them being.

Sweet Potato Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Pancetta 2

Sweet Potato Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Pancetta

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This recipe was created to satisfy a random sweet potato craving that I had a few weeks ago (I blame Heather). I wanted something more interesting than a simple baked potato or fries, but I also didn’t want something that would remind me of Thanksgiving dinner. After playing around with a few ideas, I decided to experiment with a pizza-like flatbread. It was a great decision! The thin slices of sweet potato has an amazing texture — crispy like chips around the edges but with a soft, chewy center that reminded me of fruit leather. The combination of those potatoes with sweet caramelized onion, salty pancetta, and creamy goat cheese was one of the most amazing flavor and texture combinations that I’ve ever experienced. It definitely hit the spot and satisfied my craving. The only problem is that now I crave the flatbread!

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I used the OXO Mandolin that I won at Eat, Write, Retreat to shave my sweet potato and onion into super thin (1/8-inch) rounds. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can also use the slicing blade of a box grater or a sharp knife to cut the slices as thinly as you can. Whichever way you decide to do it, just make sure to watch your fingers!

Prepared pizza dough makes this recipe super quick to pull together My favorite is Portland Pie Beer Pizza Dough, which has a slightly malty flavor and a great, chewy texture. Of course, you can use your favorite prepared dough or make your own.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad with Bacon & Havarti 3

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Bacon & Havarti

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This simple shaved asparagus salad is one of my favorite meals lately – I’ve been making it about once a week and I never seem to get tired of it!

The first time I made this dish, I had actually planned to use the ingredients in a croque madame inspired asparagus tart. However, looking at the delicate spring asparagus, it seemed like a shame to subject them to the long roasting time required by that recipe. I had seen shaved asparagus salads before and figured that I’d give that a try instead. I’m so glad that I did! Shaving the asparagus into thin ribbons and cooking it just long enough to make it tender is the perfect way to highlight asparagus at the peak of its season. Combined with salty bacon, buttery cheese, and a quick vinaigrette makes this some of the best asparagus you’ve ever tasted.