Category Archives: Cheese

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsRemember those Cornmeal Biscuits I made earlier this year? They’re the perfect solution for when you can’t decide between biscuits and cornbread—the absolute best of both worlds! They’re super-tender too, thanks to the addition of naturally gluten-free cornmeal. If you haven’t checked them out, go do so, and then click back over here to see what happens when biscuits meet cornbread meets pimento cheese!

Hint: it’s this 👇 Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsFor those of you wondering what the heck pimento cheese is, it’s a creamy spread made of shredded cheddar, mayonnaise, sweet pimento peppers, and freshly-cracked black pepper. It’s incredibly popular in the southern U.S.—you’ll see it at every baby shower, cookout and picnic. You can buy the stuff in tubs in the grocery stores down there, but it’s next to impossible to find here, so I make my own and eat copious amounts with celery. You know, for balance 😉Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsHere, I’ve taken the basic ingredients of that southern staple (minus the mayo) and folded them into a batch of cornmeal biscuit dough. The results are cheesy, spicy, sweet-pepper studded magic!Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsThese are the cheese biscuits of my summertime dreams, and soon, yours. And those of your family and friends too, permitting you take a batch to your Fourth of July festivities tomorrow. You can serve them plain or with butter…Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits…but maybe crisp up some bacon and grab some tomatoes and arugula because these happen to make the best BLT on the planet.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsCAN. NOT. BE. BEAT.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsOh, and these aren’t pictured, but if you dice your leftover biscuits and sauté them in butter and olive oil, you’ll get some insane croutons. I ate these on salads for five days after I took these photos and I still want more.

You should probably go ahead and make a double batch.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsHappy Fourth of July, y’all! If you’re looking for cookout appropriate beverages, see here and here. For snacks, here and here. And for dessert…here, here, here, here, and here.

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits
makes about 14 biscuits

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2 4-ounce jars pimentos, well-drained and minced
2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold

For finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For serving:
butter
bacon, lettuce & tomato

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, black pepper, optional cayenne, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender (or two forks or very clean fingertips) to break it down until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in cheddar and pimentos, followed by buttermilk. Dough will be soft.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and pat until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Make sure to cut directly down—do not twist. Place cut biscuits a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Chill dough/baking sheet if anything becomes too warm/sticky at anytime in this process.

Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Let biscuits cool until you can handle them. Serve with butter, or make yourself a BLT, if desired.

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits

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Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion SconesI don’t know how exactly this began, but somewhere along the line, I got it in my mind that there is no combination that says “casual-but-classy spring lunch” quite like a savory scone with a big green salad.

(Yes, these are the sorts of very specific things I spend ample time thinking about.)Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

I sincerely don’t know where I got this idea or why I believe it, but…like…I’m not wrong. I can absolutely see Ina Garten serving this exact combination (plus a bundt cake) in a room stuffed to the gills with hydrangeas, and receiving zero complaints.* It’s pretty hard not to like a cheesy scone studded with bacon and scallions alongside a crunchy, fresh salad.

*I haven’t watched Ina in years, but there is a very real chance she did this exact thing and I tucked the idea so deep in my mind that I am just now addressing it. That’s probably it. Mystery solved. I know you’re all relieved.Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

My Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones are perfect for this application. They’re golden-topped, fluffy-centered and nubbly-edged—perfect for pulling apart while they’re still warm. Their flavor is mostly salty and savory, but they get a little sweetness and heat from honey and cayenne, too. Yum.Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion SconesBacon, Cheddar & Scallion SconesBacon, Cheddar & Scallion SconesBacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

Like all of my scone recipes, these are really easy to make. Once the bacon is crisped, cooled, and crumbled, the scones come together in about 25 minutes. As with pie dough, biscuits, and rough puff, the key to excellent scones is to keep everything cold and to work the dough *just* until it comes together. Overdo it or let ‘em get sticky and you’ll have bacon, cheddar & scallion hockey pucks—probably not the worst things in the world, but not what we’re going for here.Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

No, we’re going for airy, buttery, light-centered scones with bits of smoky bacon and sharp scallion, and a little funk from the cheese. Yesssss. I like these by their lonesome when they’re still warm, but a swipe of butter never hurt anything.Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

They’re also very good split and toasted in the days that follow, if you’re the sort of person who likes to have leftover scones around. (I am.)Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones
makes 8 scones

2/3 cup whole milk + more for brushing, very cold
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup crumbled crispy bacon (about 8 slices)
1 cup freshly-grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green scallion tops
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Make the scones. Pour 2/3 cup whole milk into a measuring cup. Whisk in honey and mustard. Chill while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, optional cayenne, baking powder, and salt. Stir in bacon, cheddar, and scallions. Use a pastry blender to cut in cold butter until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in milk mixture with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Use your fingertips to shape dough into a 1-inch thick circle. Slice into eight wedges with a large chef’s knife. Remove cut scones to prepared baking sheet. Brush with additional whole milk. Bake scones for 14-15 minutes, rotating the pan back-to -front at the 7 minute mark. Let scones cool on the pan for ten minutes before serving.

Scones are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.Bacon, Cheddar & Scallion SconesBacon, Cheddar & Scallion SconesBacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseWhen I first moved to New York and was in grad school, I spent a lot of time on student film sets. It didn’t take long for me to get bored with that situation because it turns out that I find the repetitive hurry-up-and-wait of being on set to be utterly dull. I like screenwriting and production design, but with the way the course (and life) worked, I couldn’t be in charge of those things on every shoot.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseUnfortunately though, I’m not gifted with much else in that realm. I’m not confident enough to direct. I like to act, but was/am too timid to pursue it in any real way. My hearing is terrible, so sound is out. My arms aren’t strong enough to hold the boom mic for very long. Editing is just a “no.” The list of disqualifications goes on and on, save for one notable exception: I can cook. And so it was that the majority of my production course credits came from being craft services, a.k.a. the on-set caterer.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseNow, being “crafty” for a student film isn’t the same as what you see when you spot film shoots on the streets of New York. Not even close. I didn’t have a truck or a crew; there was no oven or microwave. I was limited to what I could make in my Upper West Side apartment and transport in a cooler and what I could prepare on-set on a single electric burner. Oh, and it had to be cheap. Options were extremely limited—there were a lot of prepared salads and sandwiches—but my 15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese was always a crowd pleaser.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseI mean, what’s not to love? This macaroni & cheese has all the cheesy flavor and creamy texture you want, but is less than half the work of most traditional recipes. Where those often require a pot, a pan, a roux, making a mornay sauce, and probably an oven, this recipe requires almost none of that…but it still delivers big-time.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseIt also requires just six ingredients (seven, if you want to garnish with parsley) and two of them are salt and pepper. Whaaaaat. Since 15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese is a from-scratch recipe, it will cost a few dollars more than the stuff in the blue box, but it’s also infinitely tastier. I’ll take real melted cheese over reconstituted powdered cheese any day. It’s not even a contest.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseThis recipe really does comes together in fifteen minutes, so it’s ideal for busy weeknights or filling a craving or feeding a bunch of student filmmakers on the fly.

  • Set a pot of water to boil.
  • Grate the cheddar and cut the cream cheese into pieces.
  • Boil and strain the macaroni. Return it to the pot.
  • Stir in the cheeses, a touch of dijon mustard, and salt & pepper. Loosen the sauce up with a little pasta water if you like.

That’s literally it. The entire recipe. Boom. Done. Finito.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseRight now, you’re just one pot, four steps, six ingredients, and fifteen minutes away from diving fork-first into a bowl of creamy, cheesy magic. What are you waiting for?!15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese
makes 6-8 servings

16 ounces (1 pound or 4 cups) dry elbow macaroni noodles
12 ounces freshly grated cheese of choice (I like extra sharp cheddar)
6 ounces (3/4 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
1/2-1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
parsley, to garnish (optional)

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Season well with salt. Prepare elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking liquid.

Return cooked macaroni to the pot. Fold in grated cheese. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Add splashes of reserved starchy pasta cooking liquid until desired consistency is reached. Stir in dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve.

Mac & Cheese is best fresh, but leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsIf you go back and look at the order of recipes on this blog, you can clearly see my train of culinary thought. Last week, I posted three pies back-to-back. Last month, I posted a cake per week. Earlier in the year, I was making doughnuts right and left. I can’t help that my inspiration is so obviously linear.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsThis week, I’m caramelizing everything. On Wednesday, it was Brussels sprouts. Today, it’s onions. But they’re not just any old caramelized onions. Nope. These are nestled with a wheel of brie, wrapped in buttery pastry, and baked into a puffy, golden appetizer worthy of any Thanksgiving spread!Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked brie is always a holiday hit—what’s not to love about the combination of melty cheese and flaky pastry?!—but I am all about the sweet addition of caramelized onions here. They’re cooked low and slow until they’re soft, sweet, and deeply browned. I like to add some minced garlic and fresh rosemary (it’s another thing I’m into right now) at the end of cooking, just for a little dimension.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsAfter the onions cool, it’s time to assemble the baked brie. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry (I use rough puff, but the frozen all-butter stuff works too) and pile the onions on top.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsSmear a little dijon on one side of a wheel of brie and place it on top of the onions. The mustard flavor isn’t too pronounced here, but it’s sharpness helps offset the richness of the cheese and pastry.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsWrap everything up tight, give it an egg wash glaze, and decorate with some little pastry leaves, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBake the brie until the pastry puffs and turns golden. Wait a few minutes before serving it with seasonal fruit and the crackers you made your roommate go get from the overpriced cell-phone-dead-zone grocery store behind your building (and you didn’t even complain when he came back with some weird flavor instead of plain because you’re an adult and someone did you a favor)…Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions…um, what was that? Oops. Back to baked brie.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsYou’re going to love this brie, y’all! It’s rich and buttery, and oozes in the best possible way. One bite of this melty, cheesy, salty-sweet treat is worth every second it takes to cook those onions, I promise. I know all your holiday guests will agree.Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
makes one 5-inch (13.4 ounce) baked brie

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

Caramelized Onions:
2 medium sweet onions, sliced into thin half-moons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

For Assembly:
1 5-inch (13.4 ounce) wheel of brie
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Serving:
seasonal fruit
bread or crackers

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Caramelize the onions. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they reduce in volume and are deeply browned (but not burnt!). Add garlic and minced rosemary and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not rush this process. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Assemble the baked brie. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 9×12-inch rectangle. Slice off a 2×9-inch strip and refrigerate it for later. Place onions in a 6-inch circle in the center of the remaining dough.

Spread mustard on one side of the brie. Place the brie, mustard-side-down, on top of onions. Fold pastry over the top, leaving no exposed cheese. Place wrapped brie, smoother-side-up, on prepared pan. Refrigerate.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Whisk with a fork until smooth.

Remove reserved strip of dough from the refrigerator. Use a knife or decorative cookie cutters to cut decorative pieces, if desired.

Remove brie from the refrigerator. Paint with egg wash. Top with decorative pieces and paint with more egg wash. Bake brie for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing to a serving platter. Serve with fruit, bread, or crackers, if desired.

Baked brie is best on the day it’s made, but may be wrapped tightly in the refrigerator for a few days.
Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws

Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsHappy Halloween! If you’re looking for holiday-appropriate recipes, see here, here, and here. If, however, you are ready to move on to Thanksgiving recipes, you’re in the right place.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the sorts of recipes I’d like to put on my holiday table. You know, the sorts of things I’d make if I came from a family that cooked on Thanksgiving.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
I don’t though, and we already have a reservation, so consider these next six or seven posts as a little teaser of what I will one day make when I get to live out my dream of making a Thanksgiving Dinner at home.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsThere is going to be a lot of pie (starting Friday!), but before we get to dessert, let’s have an appetizer: Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsThese golden, twisted beauties are perfect for any holiday cheese plate. They’re salty, flaky, cheesy, and have an aromatic hit of fresh rosemary—they’re perfect sidled up to a pile of sliced fresh pears.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsWhile these cheese straws look fancy, they are easy to make from scratch and require only eight ingredients. The base recipe is rough puff pastry dough.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsWhenever possible, I like to use rough puff in place of frozen puff pastry. Here, it’s not an option to start with pre-made pastry because minced fresh rosemary is incorporated directly into the dough. Don’t worry—this is extremely easy to make and takes about five minutes total.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsOnce you have a dough, roll it into a sheet. Scatter fine, airy shreds of fresh Parmesan over the top and fold it all together like a letter. This will give you flaky layer of dough, along with almost impossibly thin layers of cheese. Flavor allllllll over the place!Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRepeat the folding process five more times and give it one extra, cheese-less fold to lock everything in—this is to ensure that there isn’t any exposed cheese left to burn during baking. Let the dough chill for an hour, or even a couple of days.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsWhen you’re ready to bake, slice it into long, thin strips. Brush them with egg wash and give them a twist before laying them on parchment-lined baking sheets.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsBake the cheese straws for ten minutes before flipping them over and letting them go for another two minutes.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsAren’t they stunning?Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsAnd talk about delicious—layer upon layer of rosemary-speckled pastry and Parmesan.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsYes.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws

Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
makes 27-28 straws

1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into cubes
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold
4 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and rosemary. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Top with 1/6 of the grated Parmesan (about 2-3 tablespoons). Fold dough in thirds (like a letter), and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, scatter on 1/6 of the Parmesan, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, scattering, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. If anything gets warm or soft during this process, return the dough to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before continuing.

Roll and fold one more time (a 7th time); this is to seal in the last layer of cheese. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl. Whisk them together with a fork. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Slice in half width-wise, so that you have 2 10×7-inch pieces. Return one half to the fridge.

Slice the remaining piece of dough into 10×1/2-inch strips. Before separating them, brush them all with egg wash. Working with one at a time, twist strips and lay them 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Keep in mind that they will uncoil a bit during baking. If anything gets warm or soft during this process, return the dough to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before continuing.

Bake straws for 10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottoms and light golden on the tops. Flip them over and bake an additional 2 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Let straws cool on pans for 3-5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat slicing, twisting, and baking processes with remaining dough.

Cheese straws are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws