Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, and Mint Grilled Cheese

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I have previously mentioned  I sometimes try to recreate a dish I had at a restaurant. Here is a good example. Lion Bridge Brewing Company, located in the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, not only brews some tasty beers, but their kitchen creates some excellent food as well. The Mint and Beet Grilled Cheese is one of my wife Susan’s favorite sandwiches. The sandwich is described on their menu as “local roasted beets, mint oil, and warm goat cheese.” Susan has been begging me to recreate it.

I have, but with a few minor tweaks. First, we love beets and I didn’t think the original version had enough beets. Lion Bridge also dices the beets. I think the sandwich is more structurally sound if the beets are sliced. Secondly, they use mint oil while I used fresh mint. I believe the mint oil makes the flavors too pronounced. You want the mint to be subtle.

Here is what I did:

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, and Mint Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

1/2 pound roasted beets (2 medium sized beets)
1 sprig fresh mint (leaves only; about 12 leaves)
4 ounces plain goat cheese
4 slices sourdough bread sliced about 1/2 inch thick.
unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut tops and root tip from beets. Wash and place on a baking sheet. Roast beets for about one hour or until the beet is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel the beets when they are cool enough to handle. The skin should slip off relatively easily. Slice the beets into about 1/4 inch slices and set aside. The beets can be roasted ahead of time.

While the beets are roasting, set the goat cheese out to come to room temperature. Remove the leaves from a sprig of mint. Chop the leaves and slightly muddle the leaves in a small bowl. The muddling will release some of the mint oil from the leaves. Add the softened goat cheese and blend the cheese and leaves together so the mint leaves are well distributed. Set aside.

Heat griddle to medium-high heat.

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread one-half of the goat cheese and mint mixture on the non-buttered side of two of the slices of bread. Top the goat cheese with beets. Place the halves with the goat cheese and beets on the heated griddle facing up and top with the other slice of bread buttered side up. Grill until golden brown, about three minutes.

Slice in half if desired and serve.

 

 

 

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese — Why Didn’t I Think of This?

Sometimes you run across and idea and you can’t help but wonder aloud, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I read another food blog written by Kevin Flinch called Closet Cooking: Cooking in a closet sized kitchen in which he described a jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich. He has several “different” grilled cheese sandwiches that sound very good. This one, in particular, caught my eye as Susan and I had just happened to have had jalapeño poppers as a snack that evening. I changed the amounts of the ingredients just slightly and changed the assembly some but the idea for this sandwich is Kevin’s. Here is what I did.

Ingredients

2 Jalapeño peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 Slices sourdough bread
Butter (Approximately 2 tablespoons)
Cream cheese, room temperature (Approximately 1 tablespoon)
¼ cup Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips

Directions

Roast the jalapeño peppers by placing the peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil peppers until the outer skin of the peppers has blistered and turned black, about 15 minutes. Place the peppers in a zip-lock type bag and let them cool until you can handle them. After peppers have cooled, about 20 minutes, remove the skins from the peppers. They skin should pinch off relatively easily.

Next, assemble the sandwich. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread the cream cheese on the opposite side of one slice of bread. You may find it easier to wait to butter this slice of bread until the sandwich is on the grill with this slice on top. Next, layer the slice with tortilla chips. Then place the jalapeños on top of the chips followed with the shredded cheddar jack cheese. Place the last slice of sourdough on top and grill the sandwich until golden brown and the cheese is melted. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on hot the grill is.

This sandwich was very tasty. The chips provided an extra crunch and flavor that added to the overall texture of the sandwich. I can’t wait until spring to try another of his grilled cheese sandwiches: a grilled asparagus and Gruyere cheese sandwich.