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Sandwich of the Week: Baguette Box's Pork Loin Baguette

Sandwich of the Week: Baguette Box's Pork Loin Baguette

An Asian-inspired sandwich from Seattle, Wash.

Molly Aronica

Baguette

The atmosphere at the Capitol Hill location of Baguette Box is warm and inviting. Customers are encouraged to dine-in with their dogs while rubbing elbows with fellow sandwich lovers at large communal tables. The fare is primarily Asian, with an influence of Western European flavors. Each Bahn-mi style sandwich comes on a half-loaf of crusty French baguette and is topped with shredded carrots and fresh cilantro.

The bread that flanks the roasted pork loin baguette is slathered with a sweet and tangy apricot aioli — which balances delightfully alongside the white wine-marinated pork. The meat is sourced from Carlton Farms, located in the Yamhill Valley of Oregon. Because the pork is extra juicy, make sure to grab extra napkins when ordering this sandwich. The sandwich makers top off their creation with sweet caramelized onions, carrots, and cilantro.

In addition to the menu of sandwiches (including options such as drunken chicken; crispy tofu; and lemongrass steak), both locations of Baguette Box offer a variety of sides as well. Their specialty, truffle fries, are hand-cut shoestring style and topped with truffle salt and Parmesan cheese.

Know another great sandwich that should be featured? Tell us! Click here for other featured sandwiches.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.


My name is Katie, and I am a cheese pusher. Not in the sense that I sell exotic cheeses on the black market (all in due time), but in that I push cheese upon others. Being someone who cooks frequently, it’s not hard to do. And the fact that my fridge is consistently stocked with a minimum of 7 kinds of cheeses—that makes it easier. These are my recipes.

27 May  4 notes

Mexican Caesar Salad

I&rsquom excited to say that this week&rsquos post features a &ldquochoose your own adventure&rdquo sort of scenario. The recipe is an old but fantastic one of my mother&rsquos known as Mexican Caesar salad, which calls for either feta or cotija cheese. Both are equally delicious in their own right, so it really comes down to what direction you want your salad to take&ndashdo you want the tangy freshness of feta, or the smooth creaminess of cotija? Luckily, with this adventure, it&rsquos impossible to go wrong.

Mexican Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cilantro dressing:
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic
3 oz salad oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp cotija or feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp crumbled cotija or feta cheese
¼ cup pepitas
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed

For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds, or until dressing is smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary, then salt and pepper. Place in a jar and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken if it&rsquos too thick, add a bit of cold water and shake to combine until it&rsquos the right consistency.

To assemble the salad, simply toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Or, if you&rsquod prefer a more composed salad, drizzle the dressing over the greens and sprinkle with cheese, pepitas and crushed tortilla chips. Serve, savoring every last bite.

17 May  3 notes

Burrata Pesto Pizza

This will be the second time I praise Trader Joe&rsquos for their wonderful selection (and with good reason). I recently discovered that they sell my favorite cheese in the world: burrata. It&rsquos essentially fresh mozzarella sealed with cream inside. It&rsquos kind of amazing, and by kind of, I mean incredibly.

Burrata can be substituted for regular fresh mozzarella in practically any dish, which is why I decided to put it atop some homemade pizza. Here, its rich creaminess nicely offsets the tangy pesto and smooth basil. For just a few bucks, you can bring your pizza to a whole new level&ndashwhat have you got to lose?

Burrata Pesto Pizza
Makes one pizza

1 16oz package pizza dough (or make your own!)
¼ cup flour
4 tbsp pesto
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 &ldquobulb&rdquo burrata mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the flour out on a cutting board, then roll the pizza dough in it. Knead the dough for several minutes, or until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Continue to roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the desired size. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray.

Spread the pesto onto the pizza dough, using a bit less than you would with regular tomato sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the pesto until it is covered.

Next, slice the burrata thinly. (It will fall apart at this point don&rsquot worry, it&rsquos supposed to do that.) Arrange the pieces of burrata over the shredded mozzarella, keeping the pieces at least ¼" apart. (They will melt and expand.) Top the pizza with the chopped basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Slice and serve, though you&rsquoll want the whole thing for yourself.

3 May  6 notes

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches

Normally I&rsquom not one to post two sandwiches in a row&ndashI like to mix it up and keep things interesting&ndashbut this recipe was way too good to save for later.

Hopefully you&rsquove jumped on the pork belly wagon at this point, and if you haven&rsquot, it&rsquos time you did. Now that it&rsquos sold at Trader Joe&rsquos, pork belly is both accessible and affordable to everyday cooks. Because it is essentially a meatier bacon, this stuff is extremely rich&ndashand it makes a hell of a sandwich.

I tried to keep everything on the same page as the pork belly, sticking to equally savory ingredients. The brie melts fantastically over the pork belly and is accented by the creamy avocado and garlicky mayo. Together, I can&rsquot even describe how decadent and hearty the sandwich tasted. You&rsquoll just have to try it to believe it.

Pork Belly and Brie Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings

1 12oz package fully cooked pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ciabatta rolls/loafs, halved and toasted
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 wedge brie cheese
1 avocado
1 cup mixed greens

Remove the pork belly from its package and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Bring a pan with the olive oil to medium-high heat and add the pork belly. Flip the pieces occasionally until they start to turn golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.

While the pork belly cooks, mix the minced garlic in with the mayonnaise and spread on the insides of the halved ciabatta.

When the pork belly is done, take it off the heat to cool slightly. Using tongs, carefully layer the pork belly onto the ciabatta. Next cut the brie and avocado into slices, adding them on top of the pork belly. Top these with the mixed greens and replace the top ciabatta halves. Eat in euphoric disbelief.

4 Apr  7 notes

Gouda Grilled Cheese

I was doing some inventory (there are currently 9 types of cheese in my fridge!) and realized that I had a round of gouda at my disposal. Normally I would simply eat it with baguette and apples, but today I decided to take it a step further.

Thanks to my trusty Flavor Bible (a culinary must-have), I learned that gouda pairs well with apricot. That&rsquos why I&rsquove included apricot jelly in my Gouda Grilled Cheese, along with thinly sliced apple and baby arugula. The tastes and textures mesh perfectly, making for a seriously delicious sandwich. Or a damn gouda one, if you will?

Gouda Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices rustic bread
2 tbsp butter
8 slices gouda cheese
2-3 tbsp apricot jelly
1 apple (Fuji or Honeycrisp is best), cored and sliced thinly
½ cup arugula

Spread the butter on the outsides of the sliced bread, then the apricot jelly on the insides. Layer two slices of gouda cheese on each side with the jelly. Top two of these pieces with a layer of the apples. Add a handful of arugula to each and put the sandwich halves together.

Cook the sandwiches in a pan on medium-low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. Cut in half and enjoy immensely.

1 Apr  16 notes

Queso Fresco Taquitos

One of my favorite cheeses of late is queso fresco&ndashit&rsquos light, crumbly and tastes even more amazing when melted. Because I jump at any chance to cook with less common cheeses, I knew I&rsquod need to use it in a recipe.

I love this dish because it comes together so quickly. The cooking itself takes less than 15 minutes, and then you just wait for it to come out of the oven. Of course, time isn&rsquot the only thing this recipe has going for it&ndashthe subtle flavors are accented by the cumin and cayenne pepper, melding seamlessly into melty goodness. Served with sour cream and avocado, these taquitos will blow you away.

Queso Fresco Taquitos
Makes 10 taquitos

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz canned corn
1 tsp cumin
¼-½ cayenne pepper, to taste
1 15 oz canned black beans
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
salt to taste
10 tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the inside of large pan with the olive oil. Bring the onions to medium heat, cooking until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute. Mix in the corn, cayenne pepper and cumin. Gently stir in the black beans and cilantro, followed by the queso fresco. Salt to taste, if necessary.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it in cooking spray.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a small portion of the mixture (about 3 tbsp) onto its lower third. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the mixture, then continue to roll until the taquito is formed. Place the taquito fold-side-down on the baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas, then bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before eating, though you won&rsquot want to wait.

27 Mar  38 notes

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls

It&rsquos been a busy couple of years for me, what with graduating, entering the real world and desperately trying to function. Somewhere along the line, blogging became a back burner sort of thing. But now I&rsquom back, and ready to return to my cheese pushing ways!

This dish is based on my most popular recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta&ndashonly this time, it has even more cheese. How? Why, in the form of a crispy, delicious parmesan bowl. It makes for lovely presentation, and an even lovelier side dish. Dig in, you won&rsquot regret it.

Creamy Garlic Orzo in Parmesan Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup orzo
3 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter into the olive oil. Bring to medium heat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, mix in the orzo until it is completely coated by the butter and oil. Pour chicken stock over the orzo and stir to incorporate. Bring to high heat, allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the pasta. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta cooks, coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese in the shape of a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Bring it to medium heat, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the edges start to turn golden, take the pan off the heat. Loosen the edges with a spatula, then carefully overturn the pan and dump the cheese onto an inverted bowl. Let it cool and take the shape of the bowl. Repeat until you have a total of 4 parmesan &ldquobowls.&rdquo

Once the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, take it off the heat. Stir in the milk, then gently mix in the parmesan cheese. Spoon the pasta into the parmesan bowls and serve.

28 Aug  4 notes

Burrata Panzanella

Hey friends, check out my recipe for panzanella using a hefty serving of the always-amazing burrata cheese!

13 Aug  3 notes

New Times, New Blog

Hello cheese fiends, I hope you&rsquore doing splendidly. I&rsquove just started up a new food blog, The Tentative Vegetarian, and would love your support. And never fear, I will always stick to my roots: the recipes will contain plenty of cheese.

25 Feb  18 notes

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Again, I apologize for the delay. I&rsquove spent the past week cooped up in the cinema school&rsquos editing labs, tirelessly piecing together a couple of short films. (Ok, I lied&mdashI get pretty tired of it after being there for 6+ hours at a time.) And while it feels amazing to finally break free from the labs and walk home at the end of the night, the little journey unfortunately leads me right past a Wendy&rsquos.

This puts me in a bit of a pickle. Sure, the burgers are sloppily put together and the fries are kind of pathetic, but it&rsquos ready right then and there. On the other hand, I could go home and make something delicious but probably time-intensive.

Or, I could have the best of both worlds.

That&rsquos why I make my Cajun Chicken Pasta. It&rsquos super easy to prepare and takes next to no time. Not to mention, it&rsquos pretty damn tasty. The creamy sauce compliments the ever-so-slight kick of the chicken, which is just enough to give it some character without overwhelming the taste buds.

Really, it blows fast food out of the water without taking that much more time. Best of both worlds indeed.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
½ lb linguine pasta (half a package)
1 chicken breast
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ tsp salt
Chopped parsley and additional parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the box&rsquos instructions.

Cut the chicken in half horizontally, then slice these halves into strips. Toss them in the Cajun seasoning and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then mix in the pepper. Allow it to simmer for several minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Bring the pan back to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to cook until the milk no longer sits at the bottom of the pan and has thickened into a creamy sauce. Dish up the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.

18 Feb  24 notes

Grown Up Tuna Melts

I apologize for the delayed post&mdashit&rsquos been a hell of a week in school. Because I&rsquove been so busy, my kitchen hasn&rsquot been properly stocked (at least to my standards). This led to a desperate search for something I could use to make a decent meal.

Standing in front of my pantry, I realized I had plenty of tuna that I never really got around to using. Sure, I could have made a basic tuna salad sandwich, but that&rsquod be no fun. And then it came to me: Grown Up Tuna Melts.

To age this dish a bit, I substituted ciabatta for normal sliced bread, sweet Vidalia onions for celery and tangy aioli for mayonnaise. I also threw in some arugula, tomato and sliced avocado for good measure. All it was missing was a generous helping of cheese&mdashI sprinkled mine with some mozzarella and cheddar for color.

Oh, the deliciousness that is born from necessity.

Grown Up Tuna Melts
2 small loaves ciabatta (or any rustic bread)
2 cans tuna
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
¼ cup aioli (recipe follows)
½ tsp oregano
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup arugula or mixed greens
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 avocado
½ cup shredded cheese of choice OR two slices (recommended: provolone)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the ciabatta in half and toast until golden. Set aside.

Drain the tuna, sifting through for any impurities. Mix it in a large bowl with the onion, aioli, oregano and parsley. If the aioli begins to break down, pour out the excess liquid. Taste the tuna and season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on the ciabatta halves and top with the slices of tomato. Carefully spoon the tuna onto the loaves. Slice the avocado and divide between the sandwiches. Top with cheese and additional pepper if desired. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.

Basic Aioli
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup olive oil

Put the garlic, salt and yolk in a blender. Pulse until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Leaving the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the aioli is thick and light in color.