Recipes

Lexington, Virginia

A black billowing smoke incident didn't get in the way of a perfect grilling weekend in Shenandoah Valley. With the dogs, of course.

My parents renovated a home with 20th century bones in Lexington, Virginia, right off of Main Street.

It’s stunning – country casual and incredibly elegant at the same time. Coziness abound, and luxurious as hell. The calm, quiet vibes are in marked contrast to the almost constant siren-sounding DC, making it really easy to go there, but really hard to leave.

kitchen
Mom & Dad grilled the classics on night one.

I wanted to squeeze in some late end-of-summer grilling time while I was out there, and at the same time get feedback on fresh recipes.

After a black billowing smoke incident, which was entirely my fault, I got to work on blackening lemons and vegetables for the pasta salad. And bringing the molten cheese baguette boat of my imagination to life.

ohno1

There’s a local cheese shop on Main Street called Cheese to You that stocks local and regional cheeses. I went in there looking for a mild-enough cheese for my family’s taste, but I always try and push the envelope with them. I walked out with a Vermont-sourced cheese very similar to my favorite of all time – La Tur.

I figured grilling the cheese crotin into a molten state might give them the mental green light to try it.

They were good sports, but I knew the cheese was too much for them. Understandably – I learned my mom had had past run-ins with domesticated goats and the smell of the goat cheese triggers memories that don’t jive well with her palate. And then there’s my boyfriend, who has no excuse. I was appreciative they gave it a try, though. And no skin off my back – more for me, right?

I left the steak to my dad, a grilling master if I ever knew one. He has a baseball cap furnished with a light to see what you’re grilling in the dark. And this is the important part – he uses it. That’s a justifiable Brookstone or SkyMall purchase, in my book.

More importantly, he was better equipped to achieve the crunchy sear and pink-red inside I was going for with a black and blue presentation, which refers to a Pittsburgh-originated approach to steak preparation that sears the outside to a blackened consistency, and leaves the middle nearly raw.

dogs1

I had never grilled a lemon before and wasn’t expecting a miraculous flavor epiphany – but, I did taste a difference in the pasta salad. It’s not very subtle – it almost doubled down the bitterness of the lemon rind, if anything. I will be grilling lemons again.

Because we’re on the fence between summer and fall, at least temperature-wise, I thought a mix of stone fruit, berries and apples would be appropriate. Beware, Hankerings’ crisps are notoriously fattening. Yes, you’re eating fruit. But you might as well be eating a mud pie.

Food escapades aside, this weekend was exactly what we needed. My dog was able to see the Natural Bridge landmark nearby, and go swimming in a creek. I think it was our favorite part of the trip. Just being surrounded by trees, dirt, family and dogs.

Trip Advisor rating – a formidable 11 out of 10.

Grilled Goat Cheese Boats

Grilled Goat Cheese Boats

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetites.

  • 1 / 2 baguette (sliced lengthwise), bread removed from center to form a well
  • 1 / 2 head garlic, skins removed, minced
  • 1 / 3 cup olive oil
  • 1 / 2 lb. non-crumbly, fresh goat cheese, of your choosing
  • Parsley, torn, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-low heat (approximately 250 to 300*).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and add the garlic. Saute on low heat until the oil is infused with the garlic, about 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the garlic does not burn.
  3. With a brush, spread the garlic oil across all of the bread, being sure to coat the sides.
  4. Cut the goat cheese into slices or crumble into large pieces, layering inside the bread so that when it melts, the cheese will ooze into the center of the well.
  5. Create a makeshift holding dish for the baguette using aluminum foil. Place the baguette on the grill, enclosing the baguette so the heat from the grill melts the cheese inside. Open the foil to check on the cheese every 5 or so minutes. When you see the cheese has melted, remove the baguette from the foil, and plate it. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, cut into serving pieces, and serve hot.

Grilled Lemon & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

Grilled Lemon & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 4.

  • 1 lb. short pasta, of your choosing
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • 1 / 2 red onion, skins removed
  • 1 / 2 head garlic, skins removed, minced
  • 1 / 4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1 / 4 cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1 / 2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz. chevre, crumbled
  • 1 / 3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-low heat (approximately 250 to 300*).
  2. Place the lemons, fruit side down, red onion, and red bell peppers on the grill. Grill for 20 minutes or so, turning the peppers and onions every 3 to 4 minutes, checking to make sure the vegetables are charred in some places, but not fully burnt, before you remove them from the grill. Grill the lemons fruit side down until they are charred, but not fully burnt.
  3. Place the red peppers in a plastic bag to steam while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain, and set aside.
  5. To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk the Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, pepper, capers, and the lemon juice from the grilled lemons, adding olive oil slowly to create an emulsion. Set aside.
  6. After 15 minutes or so, remove the red peppers from the plastic bag. Cut the tops off the peppers, and carefully slice into the peppers so they are butterflied open. Remove the seeds with the back of a knife. Slice the peppers into large, bite-sized cubes. Do the same with the red onion.
  7. In a large bowl, add the drained pasta, chevre, red onion, red peppers, crumbled goat cheese, herbs and vinaigrette. Stir until the ingredients are incorporated, and the goat cheese begins to melt. Top with extra chopped herbs, if desired. Serve room temperature.

Black & Blue Cheese Filet Mignon Burgers

Black & Blue Cheese Filet Mignon Burgers

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 4.

  • 2 6 to 8 oz. beef filets, cut lengthwise
  • 4 brioche rolls, or other rolls of your choosing
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 / 4 cup sour cream
  • 1 / 4 cup crumbled blue cheese, of your choosing
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon garlic powder

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Heat the grill to medium heat – about 350*. Coat the grate with olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle the filets with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the filets on the grill, cooking them for 4 minutes on each side, until rare. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Toast buns, if desired, on the cool part of the grill while the filets are grilling. Remove once toasted.
  5. To make the blue cheese sauce, combine the sour cream, blue cheese crumbles, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  6. Place the filets on the rolls. Top with the blue cheese sauce, and additional blue cheese crumbles if desired.

Apple, White Peach & Blackberry Fruit Crisp

Apple, White Peach & Blackberry Fruit Crisp

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 4.

  • 2 large firm apples, of your choosing, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 4 white peaches, cored and cut into slices
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 1 / 2 sticks room temperature butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 / 2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 / 4 cup
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 / 4 cup almond paste
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, plus 1 teaspoon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla bean ice cream, if desired

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to *350.
  2. Combine the fruit in a large mixing bowl. To the fruit, add the flour, 1 / 4 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour into a large baking dish.
  3. To make the crumble, combine the butter, oats, brown sugar, 1 / 2 cup granulated sugar, salt, almond extract, almond paste, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Smush with your hands until large chunks are formed. If the topping is too tacky from the butter interacting with the heat of your hands, add more oats.
  4. Evenly distribute large chunks of the crumble topping across the dish. Flatten the topping with your hands to facilitate even browning.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling.
  6. Serve hot with vanilla bean ice cream, if desired.

8 comments on “Lexington, Virginia

  1. Oh that food looks good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Recipe for Grilled Goat Cheese Boats | Hankerings

  3. Pingback: Recipe for Grilled Lemon & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad | Hankerings

  4. Pingback: Recipe for Black & Blue Cheese Filet Mignon Burgers | Hankerings

  5. Your recipes look amazing! We are from Virginia too!

    Liked by 1 person

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