Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

  1. Montréal, QC

    May 19, 2017 by Angie

    Our sixth anniversary trip last month was to Montréal, QC. I read and heard it’s best to visit Montréal in May through October. I didn’t really believe the haters. After visiting in April, I would agree with that advice. That being said, we had a great time and there was plenty to do even though a lot of stuff is closed until May 1 or later.

    On the Border in the airport

    Getting the party started in the airport bar. Bon voyage to us.

    We stayed at the Hotel InterContinental Montréal, which is downtown. The ride from the airport was not bad and they charge a flat rate to that part of town. They let us check in early and offered free late checkout at 2:00 pm.

    We immediately went to a vegetarian restaurant called Lola Rosa. They have three locations. They gave us so much food.

    Robbie, wine, and nachos

    Robbie, wine, beer, and nachos

    NACHOS at Lola Rosa

    Nachos!

    lasagna at Lola Rosa

    Lasagna

    Veggie burger at Lola Rosa

    Robbie got an elaborate veggie burger.

    We walked to a wine bar, Pullman. It was very nice inside but Robbie didn’t like his drink and our drinks were expensive. Check out this chandelier made of glasses.

    Pullman chandelier

    Pullman washrooms

    I guessed “F”.

    After that we went to McLean’s Pub to watch hockey thinking everybody would be excited about it but nobody cared at all. No photographic evidence of that stop.

    We took an Uber to a really cool speakeasy, The Coldroom. You have to know what the door looks like because there’s no sign. You ring the bell and somebody comes to let you in. The drinks were great.

    The Coldroom

    Angie's drink at The Coldroom

    We passed by Notre-Dame all lit up on our way back to the hotel.

    Notre Dame at night

    Notre-Dame Basilica at night

    We walked around a little while in the neighborhood near the Notre-Dame Basilica. It was mildly shady and a little more than mildly touristy. The church is really worth seeing, however.

    Notre Dame

    Wow

    The altar at Notre Dame

    The Underground City is not as good as I wanted it to be but better than I expected considering Underground Atlanta is my reference. Our hotel and many (all?) subway stations are connected to it. We used it to get around a little when it was raining and I got delicious bagels from the shop right outside the InterContinental twice (bagel count: 2).

    We had lunch at the Green Panther where I had the falafel sandwich and Robbie got a BBQ tofu sandwich. I neglected to get photos but we totally recommend it.

    I like to see libraries. It was rainy and we ducked into the Grand Bibliotheque, Quebec’s national library and part of BAnQ. It is impressive and seems popular with the locals. Most of the materials are in French but they have some English stuff too.

    BAnQ

    Stories of library stuff!

    The Stranger

    I wish I could read this book in French.

    It was still rainy so we stopped at a locals’ bar, Bistro a JoJo where two Canadians were mean to us! Yes, mean Canadians! One guy said the library is where he would put his wife so he could go to the strip club. A gentleman and a scholar.

    After that we had a round at La Distillerie #1 per my brother’s recommendation. It was before 5:00 on Thursday and still raining so it was pretty quiet. The bartender made Robbie’s favorite Old Fashioned of the whole trip. She gave us free goldfish crackers. We loved this place.

    Le Distillerie

    Le Sainte-Elisabeth is one of the places that really needs to be visited during terrace season. The terrace is huge and in the photos online it’s beautiful. When we went it was closed, the vines were dead, and it was raining and about 50 degrees. I guess we need to go back to Montréal in the summer! No photos of the sad terrace, sorry.

    We visited the absinthe bar in our hotel, Sarah B., twice and ordered the cheese plate both times. It was wonderful enough to warrant coming back, I promise. We also got some really great fries on our second visit. Robbie kept ordering weird drinks I thought tasted awful, but I loved the wine I had the first time and the espresso martini the second time. Even though we went twice I managed to get no photos. You should look at their Yelp photos because it’s for sure the coolest hotel bar I’ve ever seen.

    My favorite meal of the trip was brunch at L’Avenue. I regret not taking photos of our food. We waited outside in the cold for a table so once we were seated it was all business and shoving delicious fruit, a Montréal bagel (bagel count: 3), and a very fancy omelet into my face. I’m against bathroom selfies as a rule, but check out this bathroom. The clock thing is a video. The black lights and the huge mirror were really disorienting.

    L'Avenue

    Disorienting bathroom

    There was a break in the rain so we walked around the Mile End neighborhood and then got an Uber towards McGill University and got dropped off near the entrance to the Parc du Mont Royal.

    mural

    Mural of important, dead socialist, Albert Saint-Martin

    Fairmount Bagel

    We didn’t eat the famous bagels at Fairmount Bagel, but I did eat three (bagel count: three!) Montréal bagels during our trip. Robbie was not a fan at all but I think they’re so much better than New York bagels.

    McGill University

    Aside from speaking very poor French, our big adventure was visiting Parc du Mont-Royal and walking up the “mountain” to the lookout area. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park. It’s a beautiful park, even in mid-April. You can take stairs to the top where there is a lookout area and a chalet with restrooms (washrooms, if you’re Canadian) and a gift shop.

    Park du Mont Royal

    lookout

    Robbie

    Robbie at the lookout area

    Montreal

    Montréal

    Angie

    Angie squinting in front of the skyline

    thingie

    I like this thing

    Robgeleen are serious

    Robgeleen!

    The saddest missed photo documentation opportunity was at Dieu du Ciel, a brewery/bar not far from the park. Robbie had their American style IPA, Moralité, and was so in love.

    We had a late lunch at Le Cagibi where Robbie had tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with pesto and I had veggie nachos. For the count: that’s two nachos and three bagels.

    Le Cagibe

    We spent a long time at a swanky bar, the Sparrow. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender. The drinks were fantastic and Robbie won’t stop talking about the fries he ordered. They really were good fries.

    Drinks at the Sparrow

    Dispensing

    We struggled to find things that were open and not too packed, but not totally dead either. We went to Bar Kabinet which is a soviet themed bar attached to Bar Datcha where I understand there is sometimes dancing. It was quiet but nice. We had a round at Apt. 200 which was also quiet but very awesome inside with house plants and couches. We walked a lot looking for stuff to do and then walked a long way back to the hotel. We saw the mural and really cool lights below.

    mural

    cool lights

    lights and a mural

    We didn’t want to leave without having crepes. The next morning we went to Spanel Crepes & Gourmets for buckwheat crepes. They were unique and quite different from regular crepes, but so good!

    crepes!

    buckwheat crepe

    We had late lunch/early dinner at BEVO Bar & Pizzeria. Again, no photos. I’m lame. It was so good and our waiter and the rest of the staff were really nice.

    Our longest wait of the trip was for a spot inside another speakeasy, Cloakroom. It was worth the wait. Cloakroom is a bespoke suit shop and barber shop with a hidden bar. That mirror is on a secret door!

    Cloakroom bar

    They go out of their way to make it a classy experience. They only let 25 people in at a time because it’s so small. They gave us a playing card as a kind of pass, took our coats, and brought us to our seats at the bar. We had an assigned bartender who explained their approach. He asked us what we like in a drink and our favorite flavors and then created something just for each of us. The drinks were perfect. We stayed for another round and those were perfect too!

    drinks at Cloakroom

    Personalized drinks at Cloakroom

    On our last day, we had breakfast at the adorable Olive et Gourmando where we had pain au chocolat and cheese toast with tea and a very pretty soy latte.

    pain au chocolat

    Thank you, Montréal, for the wonderful time and happy anniversary, Robbie. <3


  2. spinach artichoke dip

    December 14, 2016 by Angie

    I’ve tried several spinach dip/spinach artichoke dip recipes. This one is the go-to. It’s never too soggy, too tart, or too rich. It’s a Cooking Light recipe so it’s a little less terrible for us than some other recipes out there. It also doesn’t call for any mayonnaise (blah!) which means it’s the cheesy, delicious kind of spinach dip rather than the far inferior, mayo-based variety.

    I used this Cooking Light recipe posted on myrecipes.com with slight variations.

    Ingredients

    1 8 oz package of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
    1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    2 8 oz blocks light cream cheese, softened
    10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
    crackers or chips for serving

     

    spinach artichoke dip on a triscuit
    Enjoying some of my spinach artichoke dip at the campus potluck

    Instructions

    1. Open the package of spinach and place the frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Flip and microwave for two more minutes. After that, I stirred the spinach around to expose the frozen bits and microwaved for one more minute.

    2.Put the cream cheese blocks out on the counter to soften them.

    3. Construct a spinach draining apparatus. I put a double layer of paper towels in a colander over a plate and poured the thawed spinach in there. I put another layer of paper towels over that and squished the water out. I had to change the paper towels again. You want to be sure the spinach is drained really well.

    4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    5. Drain the artichoke hearts. I again placed a double layer of paper towels on a plate (RIP trees), picked the artichoke hearts out of the can and placed them there, then topped with another layer of paper towels. Press them paper towels to get the water out. Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces.

    6. Mix 1.5 cups of the shredded Mozzarella, the sour cream, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, the black pepper, the minced garlic, and the cream cheese blocks together in a large bowl.

    7. Add in the spinach and the artichoke hearts. Stir everything together until it’s a beautiful dip.

    8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees on the middle rack or until it starts to get bubbly.

    9. Serve with crackers or chips. I like Triscuits!

    pan of spinach artichoke dip

    The whole pan of dip – I bakcd it at home but forgot to get a photo. This is after warming it in the microwave at work.


  3. eggplant parmesan

    May 28, 2016 by Angie

    My mother-in-law makes the best eggplant parmesan. The best. I tried to make eggplant parmesan a couple of times using other recipes and I didn’t like what I made. The recipes called for salting then frying the eggplant slices leading directly to disaster. Even Italian restaurants seriously mess up eggplant parmesan so making delicious eggplant parmesan has been a culinary goal of mine for years.

    Blanky's eggplant parmesan

    Blanky’s stellar eggplant parmesan

    My mother-in-law shared her recipe with me along with some tips and the brand of sauce she uses – Ragu Chunky in a giant plastic container. Can you believe that? That sauce is key!

    The recipe is this baked, not fried, version from Martha Stewart. Baking is lower fat, less messy, and a lot easier than frying. I followed the recipe pretty closely because I really wanted it to succeed this time! My small changes included the addition of a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder to the bread crumb and cheese mixture and decreasing the initial baking time as advised by my mother-in-law.

    I don’t buy eggs, but I do keep Eggology egg whites in the house. Robbie looked up the conversion for me. Two tablespoons of egg whites are equivalent to one egg without the yolk. He poured four tablespoons of Eggology into a bowl and added 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance oil to try to make up for the fat missing from the two egg yolks he omitted. From there he added the two tablespoons of water and whisked.

    I ran out of the bread crumbs and cheese mixture halfway through and had to make another one. I will double it from the start in the future.

    I had to bake the casserole longer than the recipe said to achieve the coveted bubbly, golden brown status. I think my oven is wonky so YMMV.

    I’m happy to report that my eggplant parmesan was amazing! It was not exactly like my mother-in-law’s but it was really, really delicious. Way better than what I’ve had at many restaurants and I’ve eaten more than my fair share of restaurant eggplant parmesan.

    eggplant parmesan

    Next time I will do everything the same except I’ll also slice the eggplant more carefully to get consistently thin slices and I’ll be prepared to bake the final casserole longer, maybe even using the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end.

    unphotogenic serving

    Lifetime culinary goal achieved!


  4. stuffed zucchini

    March 6, 2016 by Angie

    I’m always looking for new sides. Somehow (maybe MyFitnessPal emails?), I came across this post for Summer Veggie Stuffed Zucchini from the Mountain Mama Cooks blog. I can rarely leave a recipe alone so I changed it up a little.

    eat zucchini filled with zucchini!

    Ingredients

    olive oil spray
    2 zucchini per serving, depending on the size of the zucchini. I used 6 small zucchini. Larger zucchini will work out better.
    1 small red bell pepper, diced
    1 bunch of green onion, diced
    tablespoon of minced garlic
    about 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
    1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
    1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    salt and pepper, to taste

    stuffed zucchini in a row

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with olive oil.

    2. Wash the zucchini and trim off the ends. Slice all the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scoop out the insides of the zucchini halves. Save the insides in a bowl.

    3. Arrange the zucchini “boats” on the prepared cookie sheet.

    4. Prepare the red bell pepper, green onion, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Cut up the zucchini pulp.

    5. Spray a pan with olive oil and cook the bell pepper, white parts of the green onion, and the zucchini insides with a tablespoon of minced garlic over medium heat for about ten minutes.

    6. Add the rest of the green onion, quartered cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and everything is heated through.

    7. Pour the vegetable mixture into a bowl. Add in the shredded parmesan and breadcrumbs and stir. Start filling the zucchini “boats” with the vegetable/cheese/breadcrumbs mixture. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs and parmesan on top of each stuffed zucchini if desired.

    8. Bake the stuffed zucchini for about 25 minutes.

    stuffed zucchini with baked tofu


  5. spaghetti squash “lasagna”

    February 12, 2016 by Angie

    I’m really into spaghetti squash lately. I found this recipe from UpRoot Kitchen and made it with a couple of changes. Robbie even liked it. I want to eat delicious cheesy, saucy, spaghetti squash everyday so this recipe is a major winner in my book.

    a "slice" of spaghetti squash lasagna

    Look at that – mmmmmmm.

    My Changes:

    I omitted the egg, grape tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Recipes with ricotta love to tell you to throw an egg in there. I just don’t and there are no consequences, as far as I can tell. The grape tomatoes and crushed red pepper were less “omitted” and more “forgotten in hunger”. I used a block of part skim Mozzarella instead of the shredded variety. I like that I can cut or peel off small pieces which melt beautifully.


    the whole lasagna

     Melty Mozzarella pieces

    side view

    Here’s a view from the side right out of the oven!


  6. garlicky cauliflower and goat cheese puree

    December 30, 2015 by Angie

    It may not look like much, but this new side dish is soooo good! It’s from my favorite low-carb blog, Kalyn’s Kitchen. She calls it pureed cauliflower with garlic, parmesan, and goat cheese. I followed her recipe except I didn’t add any half and half or cream. It’s similar to very creamy mashed potatoes and was not difficult to make. 10/10 will eat cheesy cauliflower again!

    yum!

    So cheesy.


  7. goat cheese, arugula, & fig preserves panini

    November 10, 2015 by Angie

    Robbie and I are suckers for grilled cheese sandwiches. I made these “grown-up” grilled cheese sandwiches with French bread, goat cheese, extra sharp cheddar cheese, arugula, and fig preserves. I cooked them on a grill pan in olive oil, where I pressed them with a dish and a heavy bowl. My understanding is that the pressing and grill marks qualify them for panini status. I’m going with panini because I am a resplendent woman deserving of an elegant sandwich.


    pile of arugula on top of cheesy bread goodness

    Serves two as an entree

    Ingredients

    freshly baked French bread – I used just shy of half of a baguette
    about 2 oz goat cheese
    about 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices
    4 tsp fig preserves
    3-4 handfuls of arugula, washed
    olive oil

    goat cheese, arugula, & fig preserves panini

    Directions

    1. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat it in thin layer of olive oil.

    2. Cut the French bread to make two hearty chunks then cut those in half horizontally.

    3. Spread the goat cheese on the bottom half of each sandwich.

    4. Spread the fig preserves on the top halves.

    5. Place the both panini bottoms on the grill pan. Top with about 2/3 of the washed arugula. Top that with slices of the sharp cheddar followed by the top halves of the paninis.

    6. Place a dish upside down over the paninis. Put something heavy on top of that to press everything down. I used a glass bowl.

    7. Once the bottom half has grill marks and the cheese is starting to melt, flip the paninis over and replace the dish/bowl pressing setup.

    8. After that side is cooked and the cheese is melted, plate the paninis and top them with the rest of the arugula.

    couple of paninis


  8. butternut squash & goat cheese penne

    November 8, 2015 by Angie

    I like fall and squash. I saw this recipe for penne with butternut squash and goat cheese on the Food Network’s site. I made deliciously cheesy pasta based on it.

    butternut squash & goat cheese penne

    Cheesy penne and butternut squash closeup

    Ingredients

    box of penne pasta
    medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
    yellow onion, diced
    olive oil
    salt & pepper, to taste
    about 5 oz goat cheese
    dried basil
    garlic powder
    parsley flakes
    crushed red pepper
    shaved parmesan cheese

    big bowl of yum

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Wash the butternut squash. Peel the skin off using a peeler. Cut the squash into small cubes.
    3. Dice the onion.
    4. Oil a cookie sheet with olive oil. Arrange the butternut squash cubes and diced onion on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes. Set the vegetables aside to cool once cooked.
    5. While the vegetables are baking, start boiling water to cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
    6. In a large bowl, add the goat cheese and break it up with a spoon.
    7. Add in the cooked and drained pasta. It’s okay if a little hot water gets in there – it will help melt and mix up the goat cheese. Stir to coat the pasta with the goat cheese.
    8. Add in the baked butternut squash and onion and stir gently.
    9. Top with the spices to taste and stir. Sprinkle with a handful of shaved parmesan cheese.

    a serving

    So good!


  9. twice baked spinach spaghetti squash

    September 29, 2015 by Angie

    I cooked and ate spaghetti squash for the first time last week. I’ve never met a squash I didn’t like so I’m not surprised that I really loved this. I used this twice baked kale spaghetti squash recipe from Food52 as a guide.

    a savory bite

    Serves two people as an entree.

    Ingredients

    1 medium spaghetti squash
    olive oil
    salt and pepper, to taste
    minced garlic, about a teaspoon
    yellow onion, diced
    a bag of fresh spinach, stems removed
    1/2 to 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    red pepper flakes, to taste

    twice baked spaghetti squash

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Wash the spaghetti squash and then cut the top off of it so you can put it down without it rolling all over the place.
    3. Use your most serious knife to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
    4. Scoop the seeds and pulpy stuff out of each half. Try to leave the part under that intact.
    5. Drizzle olive oil over the insides of the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves facedown on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes until the inside of the squash has softened and there are some browning, crystalizing parts.
    6. While the squash is baking, chop the yellow onion. De-stem the spinach leaves.
    7. Heat a pan with some olive oil in it. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are softened. Add the spinach leaves and cook until they have wilted. Set the vegetable mixture aside.
    8. When the squash looks ready, take it out of the oven, but leave the oven on. Heck, crank it up to 425 degrees.
    9. Using a spoon, scrape out the insides of the squash halves. It will look like spaghetti!
    10. Transfer the spaghetti looking insides and the vegetable mixture to a large bowl.
    11. Add the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir to combine.
    12. Spoon the mixture back into the squash shell halves. Sprinkle the tops with a little more parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes on 425 or until the cheese is melted and starts to brown a little.

    they are twins!


  10. veggie and egg white breakfast “muffins”

    July 7, 2015 by Angie

    I have been on the hunt for a new high-protein, low-carb, breakfast food. I got the idea for these egg white muffins from my co-worker and used this recipe from I Don’t Go to the Gym as a guide. I found certified humane egg whites online from Eggology. It makes me feel a lot better about eating eggs. Nutritionally, the Eggology egg whites really can’t be beat.

    veggie and egg white muffins

    Disclaimer: A silicone muffin pan is required. I killed a metal muffin pan the first time.

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    2 green onions, sliced
    2-3 yellow squash and/or zucchini, finely chopped
    a big handful fresh spinach
    about a tablespoon of minced garlic
    2.5 cups of Eggology egg whites
    a handful of reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese, optional (I forgot to add cheese to the muffins shown and they are just as tasty without it.)
    add dried oregano, turmeric, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to taste

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the silicone muffin pan with olive oil. Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet.

    2. Wash and finely chop the veggies of your choosing.

    3. Pour a little olive oil in a pan and add the squash and garlic. Cook for a few minutes. Repeat adding the green onion and then the spinach last.

    4. Transfer the sautéed veggies to a bowl. Pour the egg whites into the bowl. Add a handful of the shredded Mexican cheese and salt and pepper to your liking.

    5. Pour the egg white and veggie mixture into the greased silicone pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

    6. Pop the adorable muffins out of the pan and gobble them up! Or save them to microwave for breakfast throughout the work week. I have been baking them on Sunday and eating four each morning on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I could stretch it to Thursday, but I start to get freaked out about leftovers by then.

    a happy breakfast

    They are perfect with a Robbie-made soy latte <3