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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grilled Goat Cheese w/ Tomato & Tarragon on Olive Bread + No-Knead Olive Bread

Grilled Goat Cheese with Tomato and Tarragon on Olive Bread
Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? If ever you needed an excuse to eat a grilled cheese sandwich every day for 30 days straight, this is it! Personally, I don't really think excuses are necessary when it comes to grilled cheese. It's been one of my favorites since I could chew.

During my sophomore year in college, some of our closest friends from our brother floor freshman year moved off campus. They moved into an ever-coveted house. But since we all got pretty tight the year before, they still dropped by the dorms to visit pretty often. Now, I ate the majority of my meals in the cafeteria - which I actually didn't mind. I thought the food was pretty good. Heck, we even had King Crab legs on special occasions. But sometimes, I just missed a home-cooked meal. Even if it was something as simple as a grilled cheese.

So, being the awesome guy that he was, Mike (one of our "brothers") used to make grilled cheese sandwiches and bring them to the dorm for me. I can't remember if he used the stovetop or a grilled cheese maker, but it didn't matter. It was the highlight of my day every time. Perfectly golden, crispy bread encasing ooey, gooey melted cheese. I don't think that I ever expressed how thankful I was to him for taking the time to do that, but it's a gesture that sticks with me to this day.

Those sandwiches may have been as simple as a bit of butter, a couple slices of bread, and some American cheese - but grilled cheese sandwiches are as varied as the stars! Switch up the bread, switch up the cheese, add some other goodies; you've got yourself 30 days of different (but the same - in the way it really matters) grilled cheese sammies!
Grilled Goat Cheese with Tomato and Tarragon on Olive Bread
One of my favorites is still a grilled sharp cheddar with fresh tomato slices inside - just like the ones that I ordered every time we went to the restaurant down the street from our dorm (what the heck was the name of that place!?). Another is smoked Gouda with garlic powder sprinkled on the outside after it's taken off of the pan. And you may think this is strange, but I've always dipped my plain grilled cheese sandwiches in ketchup. I blame that on my mother.

So, considering my love affair with the grilled cheese sandwich, when Gallo Family Vineyards asked the Sunday Supper group if we'd like to join them in celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month, I was whole-heartedly on board.

The sandwich that I am sharing with you today combines fresh, tangy goat cheese with tarragon and the concentrated flavor of slow-roasted tomatoes combined and them slathered between two slices of homemade olive bread. It's then toasted until the bread is crisp on the outside and the cheese is warm and soft on the inside. In other words, heaven on a plate. It pairs perfectly with the brightness and slight effervescence of Gallo Family's Sauvignon Blanc.

Grilled Goat Cheese w/ Tomato & Tarragon on Olive Bread
Goat cheese, tarragon, and tomato are grilled on homemade no-knead Olive Bread.
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Grilled Goat Cheese w/ Tomato & Tarragon on Olive Bread
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes
Keywords: sandwich vegetarian sugar-free soy-free nut-free bread goat cheese tomatoes tarragon

Ingredients (1 sandwich)
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 3/4 ounce (2 tablespoons or so) slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 small clove roasted garlic, smashed into a paste
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch ground white pepper
  • 2 slices Olive Bread (recipe follows or store-bought)
  • butter or olive oil
Mix the goat cheese with the tomatoes, tarragon, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small dish.

Spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter or olive oil. Spread the goat cheese mixture on the non-buttered side of one slice. Cover with other slice of bread, buttered side out.
Goat Cheese with Tomato and Tarragon mixture
Heat a heavy, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sandwich. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, then flip and repeat until other side is also golden and cheese is soft and warm. Serve immediately.

recommended wine pairing:
Gallo Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc: the crispness and light effervescence of the Sauvignon Blanc cuts the richness of the goat cheese and cleanses your palate.

-inspired by and adapted from Great Grilled Cheese

Olive Bread

No-Knead Olive Bread
No-knead bread studded with kalamata and manzanilla olives.
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No-Knead Olive Bread
Prep Time: 16-20 hours (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Keywords: bake bread vegan soy-free nut-free dairy-free flour olives

Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 400 g (3 cups) bread flour
  • 3 g (3/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • big pinch of sea salt
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) pitted Kalamata olives, patted dry and roughly chopped
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) Manzanilla olives (w/ or w/out pimiento), patted dry and roughly chopped
  • 300 g (1 1/2 cups) cool water (55-65° F)
to finish:
  • flour, cornmeal, and/or wheat bran
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl, then toss in the chopped olives. Add the water and mix everything together using a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

Sprinkle a large tea towel generously with flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran (or a combination).

Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a generously floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, fold it over a few times, scooping up the flour as you go so that it doesn't stick. Form into a round-ish "ball" and place seam side down on the prepared towel. Loosely fold the towel over the dough and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 475° F; place an enameled cast iron pot into the oven and preheat for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the pot will be HOTTTTT! Using pot holders of towels, remove it from the oven. Carefully roll the dough off of the towel and into the pot, seam side up.

Put the lid back on the pot and return to oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the lid, return to the oven, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is a deep brown.

Carefully use a heatproof spatula to lift loaf out onto a wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.

-ever-so-slightly adapted from My Bread by Jim Lahey
Grilled Goat Cheese with Tomato and Tarragon on Olive Bread

Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.