Grilled Goat Cheese Boats

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ latest post, Country Grilling in Lexington, Virginia. I hope you enjoy!

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.

Bacon Grease Chip Dip

In a past life I regularly indulged in a bacon blue cheese dip I discovered at a New-Orleans themed bakery called Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. I learned this neighborhood eatery had earned its chops in the national culinary scene led at the helm by an amazing and inspired executive chef, David Guas.

But back to the dip. It was borderline illegal.

I haven’t been back there in years, and looking at their menu online it looks like they are no longer serving it. Even more reason for me to try to recreate something similar.

One feature that made this bacon dip stand out from the rest had a lot to do with the unabashedly high level of sodium in it – you couldn’t eat too much of it at once. But I love that salt overload. It was right up my alley.

The base of the dip had to have been sour cream – probably some cream cheese too. And it was served ice cold, with kettle cooked Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips.

Mixed with hearty, thickly sliced scallions stalks, the chunkiness of the blue cheese complemented the overwhelming bacon flavor. I mean, it was overpowering.

This dip is going to make you question the extent of your love for bacon. I think this is a frontier we should all allow ourselves to explore.

Although I can’t go back for this beloved dip, I need to get my butt over there for their Muff-A-Lotta sandwich, which won a spot in Food & Wine’s nationwide search for the “20 Best Sandwiches,” and their pimento cheese dip, because I have a strong suspicion they do that r-e-a-l right.

There’s so many bacon dips out there, but this one shot to the top of my list and is likely there to stay  – what’s your favorite go-to or passed down recipe for bacon dip?

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves approximately 4 as an appetizer. This is heavy stuff!

  • 10 slices center cut bacon, small diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 2 / 3 cup crème fraiche
  • 4 stalks scallions, sliced thickly, dark green stems excluded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Hankerings’ Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips are a great accompaniment to this dip.

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cook the bacon on medium heat until the fat is rendered, browning the bacon until it is crispy. Remove 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and some of the bacon for garnish.
  2. In the same skillet, add the garlic, sautéing for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan throughout this entire process.
  3. Add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir until uniform throughout. The bacon fat will need to be stirred in slowly. It will appear separated from the cream cheese, but eventually it will incorporate into the mixture. Remove from the heat, place dip into a separate bowl, and allow to chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Once chilled through, stir in the chopped scallions. Briefly heat the bacon fat, if hardened, in the microwave until it is pourable, and pour over the dip. Garnish with bacon as well, if desired.
  5. Serve cold with kettle-cooked potato chips.

Molten ‘Shroom Burger

I applaud Shake Shack’s ‘Shroom Burger for successfully driving meat-eating customers to choose a vegetarian option. Not because these customers are trying to play off choosing the healthy option at a restaurant doling out cheeseburgers, but because they actually want it.

That’s vegetarian cooking I can get behind.

This burger copycats their signature mushroom sandwich.

The Shack knows full well that my neighborhood runs rampant with a Dual-Income-No-Kids crowd and there’s nothing stopping them from charging $13 for a burger. Cheese fries to round out the meal are a necessary extra purchase, and add a concrete to that and you might as well have sat down somewhere and ordered a filet Oscar and a mid-label bottle of Merlot.

I’m not hating on Shake Shack. And I’m exaggerating, of course.

I treated the portabella patty like a cheeseburger, complete with flavors that highlight its cheeseburger-ness, which mushrooms generally do a good job of mimicking. So white onion, pickle chips and special sauce are a necessity here.

This is a keep it simple, stupid, recipe. The cheese oozage from portobella mushroom is heavenly, and I  don’t want to detract from that.

I can’t wait for you to try this burger. Double stack those portabellas for a showstopping presentation. A photoshoot will certainly be in order.

Share your favorite ‘shroom burger recipes if you have them. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 2 ‘shroom burgers.

F o r  t h e  B u r g e r s

  • 2 portabella mushrooms, cut in half lengthwise, stems intact
  • 1 / 2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 sesame hamburger buns
  • 1 teaspoon butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 cube, approximately 2 oz. Velveeta cheese
  • 2 American Kraft Singles cheese slices
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 / 4 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 dill pickle chips
  • 4 tablespoons Special Sauce from Hankerings’ Cheeseburger á la Big Mac, recipe below.

F o r  t h e  S p e c i a l  S a u c e

  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pickle chips, minced finely
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco hot sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Combine all the Special Sauce ingredients and set in fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a buttered skillet, toast the buns. Set aside.
  4. Cut the portabella mushrooms in half lengthwise, keeping the stems intact, and carve out some of the flesh from the inside of the mushroom cap so there is enough room for the cheese cube when you put the halves together.
  5. Place one cube Velveeta cheese in between two portabella mushrooms halves, forming an enclosure.
  6. Dredge the mushroom package in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the panko. Secure each mushroom with 3 toothpicks, snipping the tip off each toothpick so the mushrooms are fully submergible in the oil.
  7. In a skillet, add enough oil so there is 2 inch depth. Once the oil is frying temperature (use a pinch of flour to test to the oil readiness), fry the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes until the panko is golden brown, flipping once.
  8. Smear 1 tablespoon of the special sauce on both sides of the buns. To assemble, remove the toothpicks and put a Kraft single on top to begin melting. Then place the mushroom on the bun, followed by the onion, pickle chips, and then the bun lid.
  9. Cut in half, and enjoy immediately.

Philly Cheesesteak (According to a Local)

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know the first thing about the authentic Philly cheesesteak experience.

My boyfriend, thankfully, is an expert in the topic having grown up not too far from downtown Philly in Wilmington, Delaware. And boy am I eager to learn.

He was insistent on a few things – namely that the beef must be sliced as thin as possible, and the cheese be gooey. Too much liquid would lead to soggy, undesirable buns. And the only rolls you are allowed to use are called Amoroso’s Rolls. Unable to get my hands on those rolls here in D.C., I settled for Portuguese rolls I found at the Whole Foods bakery. They have an airy, crisp crust and fluffy inside.

The exact response I received when I asked about a suitable substitute roll –

Well if it’s on an Amoroso Roll, you don’t need to worry about it getting soggy.

Alright. I get the point.

If you have a Taylor Gourmet in your vicinity, know that he ardently vouches for their Philly Cheesesteaks when he needs his fix.

To accompany the beef? Well, peppers are a no-no. Sautéed white onion, only. That, and no Cheeze Whiz – a misconception, apparently. Kraft Singles it is. And lots, lots of it.

But, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. So I added Worcestershire sauce and fresh garlic to this – I wanted their flavor profile here to up the savoriness factor.

My favorite part about this sandwich are the proportions. The sliced ribeye dominates, but the cheesy Kraft Singles glue the beef, onions and garlic together in a magical way. I couldn’t ask for a yummier, oozier sandwich.

How did he do, Philly cheesesteak aficionados? Is this as authentic as it gets? 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 2 sandwiches.

  • 2 hoagie rolls of your choosing
  • 3 / 4 pound boneless ribeye, sliced very thin
  • 1 / 2 medium onion, sliced thinly in half moons
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Kraft American Single slices (yellow or white, but white is preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onions and sautee for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat until translucent. After 10 minutes, add the garlic and continue to sautee for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set aside for later. In the same pan, add the sliced beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Brown on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and almost all of the liquid is evaporated.
  3. Off the heat, add the Kraft Singles and the onion and garlic mixture, stirring until the Kraft Singles begin to melt into the beef and vegetables. This should only take 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Distribute the beef topping evenly on the rolls, smushing down to adhere the filling to the bread.
  5. Serve hot.

 

 

 

Brie Wheel Fondue with Wacky Dippables

Who doesn’t remember their first trip to The Melting Pot?

We ordered the traditional fondue with the garlic & white wine and a separate pot with Wisconsin cheddar & beer. I remember undercooking the beef, on purpose, by an unsafe margin. That, and being so full that I felt sick for the next three days.

I’m going to eat like a goldfish if you put a pot of boiling cheese in front of me – I will eat until I explode.

But all that aside, I loved it. I recognize that as an American food chain, the dippers are going to have to appeal to just about everyone. Enter the beef, chicken, shrimp, slices of bread, pasta, crackers, broccoli, asparagus and mushrooms. And don’t forget – you can get the ahi tuna and lobster platter for an extra $7.50!

This is dandy for a family with picky eaters, and me for that matter – but I wanted to do something unconventional here. Which was essentially an exercise in me imagining all the foods I want to, but haven’t yet smothered in cheese.

The dippers I made here are the weird cousins of the family, but each has an element that balances out the heaviness of the cheese – the char of the peppers, sharpness of the pickled shallots, crunch of the ramen noodles, acidic tang from the chips, and the hot dogs and corned beef are there because… I mean, doesn’t that sound good?

And the cheddar-fried green tomatoes are just overkill, and I know it.

A wheel of brie (or in this case, cube) is the perfect, money-saving solution for those of us who are fondue pot-less – because it comes in its own pot!

I don’t know about you, but I love wheels of cheese. I’m looking into serving pasta like they do at Cacio e Pepe in New York, where they mix the oozy pasta inside a cheese wheel.

I’d also wear a cheese wheel as a hat.

I hope you have a “fun”-due time making this – now eat up! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S  &  D I R E C T I O N S

Serves 2 – 4 as an hors d’oeuvre or light dinner.

F o r  t h e  F o n d u e

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 wheel brie
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cut into the brie wheel (or cube) around the edges, leaving the outside rind and being sure you don’t cut through the bottom of the wheel (this will ensure the melted cheese doesn’t escape).
  2. With a spoon, remove the cheese and put into a microwave-safe bowl, being sure to discard the top of the rind. This will not melt well. Fold in the minced garlic.
  3. Heat the cheese in the microwave for 1 minute and thirty seconds on high heat, immediately pouring the cheese into the brie mold. Plate the fondue wheel in the center of a large platter, circling with the dippers.
  4. Serve while the cheese is bubbling hot!

F o r  t h e  W a c k y  D i p p a b l e s

  • Charred Shishito Peppers, recipe below
  • Pickled Shallots, recipe below
  • Cheddar-Fried Green Tomatoes, recipe below
  • Corned beef, cubed
  • Cooked hot dogs, cut into pieces
  • Uncooked ramen noodles, broken into chunks
  • Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips, recipe below

F o r  t h e  C h a r r e d  S h i s h i t o  P e p p e r s

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 bunch Shishito peppers

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put the Shishito peppers in a very hot skillet. Allow peppers to char, turning a few times in the pan. The entire process should take 5 to 7 minutes.

F o r  t h e  P i c k l e d  S h a l l o t s

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 10 small shallots
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Peel the skins of the shallots, removing the ends. Cut the shallots in half and put in a bowl.
  2. Heat the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan until the salt and sugar has dissolved. Pour over the shallots, and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

F o r  t h e  C h e d d a r – F r i e d  G r e e n  T o m a t o e s

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 large green heirloom tomato
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper and put in a shallow bowl. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
  2. Shred the cheese and put in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
  3. Slice the tomato. Set aside.
  4. In a line, dip the tomatoes in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the cheese mixture, being sure to press down the cheese so it sticks to the tomato on both sides.
  5. Add olive oil to a non-stick pan, and sautee the cheesy tomatoes on medium heat until the cheese begins to brown. With a metal spatula, flip the tomato, letting the cheese brown on the other side.
  6. Remove from the pan and cut each tomato in half.

F o r  t h e  S a l t  &  V i n e g a r  P o t a t o  C h i p s

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 large Yukon gold potato
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 4 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Slice the potato with a mandoline, placing the slices in a large bowl with the vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the canola or vegetable oil in a large shallow pan. To test the oil, put a slice of the potato in the oil. When it bubbles and starts to fry, add the rest of the potato slices.
  3. Fry on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the chips are golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, and sprinkle immediately with salt.