Decadent Grilled Cheese

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Is there anything better on a fall day than sitting down to nosh on grilled cheese? Honestly, I’m not sure there is. Grilled cheese is one of those comfort foods that is always good, but it can be made even better if you gather top-notch ingredients. I like to use unexpected cheese and unique condiments. Oh, and bacon…because everything is better with bacon. Meet the decadent grilled cheese.

This sandwich would be perfect with a bowl of soup or chili on a crisp fall day. If you have guests over, set-up a station allowing them to create their own sandwiches mixing and matching ingredients while you man the grilling station. Interactive foods are always so much fun for a party.

You can also cut these into quarters and serve them as an appetizer or finger food. How fun is that?!

This recipe is from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties, and the photo on this post is from a fabulous party that Design Sponge threw a few years ago using Picture Perfect Parties as a guide.

Decadent Grilled Cheese with Brie, Crispy Bacon, and Apricot Jam
serves 6

You will need:
– 1 loaf challah bread
– 6 pieces bacon cooked and crumbled
– 1 12 oz. wheel brie cheese
– 6 tablespoons apricot jam, 1 tablespoon per sandwich
– 6 tablespoons butter softened 1 tablespoon per sandwich

To prepare:

Cook bacon until crisp in the oven at 400 degrees F, drain set aside.

Slice challah into 12 slices. Assemble the sandwiches. Place crumbled bacon , thin slice of brie, and apricot jam on the bread, place another slice of bread on top forming a sandwich. Butter the top and repeat until you have made 6 sandwiches.

In a heated sauté pan place sandwiches butter side down, butter the top half. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Continue until all the sandwiches are done. Let set for 1 minute and cut sandwiches into quarters.

Serve at room temperature.

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Festive Fall Food:: Chorizo Skewers

Esporao & Annette Joseph

Hey Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I’m here sharing another inspiring recipe from Annette. This time of year seems to be filled with fall fetes. It is football season in the South afterall! I’m always on the hunt for quick, easy and most of all, delicious recipes to take to parties. Of course, I turned to Annette for inspiration and found this recipe for chorizo skewers.

I love the idea of making elevated tailgate food like this, especially since my days of outside tailgating are over. I prefer to watch games from the comfort of my couch with a fine wine versus a cheap beer, thank you very much!

What’s more simple (and transportable!) than a tasty skewer? Annette recommends using top-notch ingredients for this one. Let us know if you try it for your next party!

Chorizo skewers with Manchego Cheese and Tomatoes
Serves 10

You will need:
4 links of Chorizo sausage
– 1/2 pound wedge of 12 month Manchego Cheese
– 20 baby tomatoes
– 1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into slices
– 10 wooden skewers

Preparation:

Grill sausages on medium heat then pull off of the grill and set aside to cool. While the sausages are on the grill, cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes and set aside. Cut the sausage into 1 inch slices. Using the wooden skewers, pierce the sausage and then the tomato, and cheese, then sausage, tomato, and cheese and then sausage. Repeat with all the skewers, and serve with slices of bread. I like to place some olives on the side as well.

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Rosemary Smoked Branzino

Branzino one of my favorite types of fish. It is flaky and subtle, and it takes on flavors quite well. Recently, I smoked it with rosemary from our garden. The results were a buttery smokey flavor with a soft and melt in your mouth texture. On the menu translated from Italian, they call it sea bass, but it really resembles trout more than what we think of a thick cut from a giant fish.

It’s a great summer recipe and the flavors could be translated to other fish types as well. Let me know if you give it a try!

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Smoked Branzino
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3  whole cleaned Branzino about 2 lbs
– 3 lemons
– 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
– 1 large bunch of fresh rosemary on the stems
– 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped coarsely
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 3 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare:

Have your fish monger gut and clean the fish. Rinse under cold water, pat dry and set aside.

In a glass dish place fish and coat with thyme, rosemary, salt and oil, squeeze 1 lemon over the fish and massage into the fish. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Start the fire, after coals are white, (about 1 hour) pull the fish from the fridge place on the grill, place the large bunch of rosemary next to the fish and close the lid of the grill. Smoke should start forming, do not open the grill for 5 minutes. This will ensure the smoky flavor permeates the fish.

After 5 minutes, gently turn the fish to cook the other side. Add more rosemary if the rosemary has burned. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered. Watching to make sure the fish doesn’t burn.

Remove and garnish with lemon slices and serve warm.

 

 

 

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Recipe:: Hotdogs with Quick Pickled Veggies

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Happy 4th of July, everyone! It’s Nicole here, reporting live stateside while Annette is in Italy welcoming guests to the Artist in Residence program with Steve McKenzie.

Today is the 4th of July which if you’re new here, happens to be one of my favorite holidays. In the past, I’ve turned to Pinterest for cookout inspiration, but why turn to strangers when I have Annette’s expertise in my back pocket?!

As you’ve seen on the blog, Annette recently worked with King of Pops for an amazing summer cookout. One of the recipes featured in the spread sounded like the perfect meal for July 4th. After all, what’s more American than hot dogs?!

What intrigues me most about this recipe is the pickled vegetables. Pickles are one of my favorite foods, and topping a freshly grilled hot dog with them sounds divine.

We’re celebrating with friends and family and will definitely be having hotdogs on today’s menu. What’s on your grilling menu for today? I’d love to hear! Happy 4th of July!

Hot dogs with quick pickled veggies
Makes 5 pint jars

For pickling brine, you will need:
– 1 1⁄2 cups vinegar
– 1⁄2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt

For veggies, you will need: 
– 2 cups thinly sliced radishes (about 2 bunches)
– 1 jalapeño cut in half lengthwise
– 2 cups thickly sliced jalapeños, about 8 to 12 peppers
– 3 cups shredded purple cabbage
– 1 teaspoon whole dry cloves
– 1 teaspoon dry juniper berries
– 2 cups red onion (about 1 large onion), sliced into rings about 1/8-inch thick
– 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
– 1 whole star anise
– 2 cups thickly sliced sweet peppers, about 8 small peppers
– 1 teaspoon whole dry coriander

To prepare:
Pack vegetable combinations into wide-mouth pint jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch of space at the top. Stir ingredients for brine into saucepan, and cook over high heat until boiling. Pour over prepared vegetables until covered. Let cool, then seal and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Use tongs to apply liberally to grilled hot dogs—or just munch them on their own. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

xo Nicole

Styling by Annette Joseph

Photography by Raftermen

 

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Cookout Must-Have:: Lamb Burger

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I don’t know about you, but I love burgers and I love lamb, so it seemed natural to add a lamb burger to my cookbook,  Picture Perfect Parties. What makes this burger even more unique is that is has a delicious Greek twist.

I’m sure many of you are gearing up for cookouts this weekend and beyond. If you’re looking for a great recipe to include on your menu, look no further!

As an added stylist tip, I thought I’d share a little secret with you: I love serving burgers in a pita. It makes for a really pretty presentation and a clever twist to something that is perceived as a ho-hum burger. Plus, it contains all of the messy burger goodness to one neat little pocket. Genius!

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Photo from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

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