Archives for July 2013

The Stanton Social – Soup Dumpling Disappointment

I want to tell you how incredible this restaurant is. How it lived up to, and even surpassed, expectations. How you should run there this weekend.

But that just ain’t gonna happen.

The Stanton Social opened in 2005 with a bang, and ushered in the era of the ultra cool bar/restaurant hybrid. With its sleek design, beautiful servers, and innovative menu of small plates, it has garnered praise from foodies and fashionistas alike for the last 8 years.

So…was my wait for the French onion soup dumplings worth it?

pix 039 The restaurant is – in a word – LOUD. And that’s coming from someone who has a voice like a foghorn. I am talking wall vibrating, music pumping, hoarse-by-the-time-you-leave-the-restaurant loud. It’s also a little cramped, but that adds to the cool bar/club effect of the restaurant. It was a big noisy for my tastes, but for brunch with a few girlfriends, I could see it being a fun vibe. 

pix 043 Ahi tuna poke

One of the best dishes of the night. When I tasted this, I figured we were in for a great meal. The tuna is finely chopped so it literally melts in the mouth, and is so fresh that it is almost sweet, like the best sushi. The wonton is crisp and the tuna is flecked with fiery chiles, creamy avocado, and an herbaceous cilantro dressing. This is a must order. 

pix 044 French onion soup dumplings

The dish that made the restaurant famous. These dumplings, based on Chinese soup dumplings, are supposed to be wafer thin dumpling wrappers filled with sweet, savory, beefy onion soup broth, served under a blanket of melted Gruyère cheese. They are…not quite that. The dumpling skins are thick and flaccid, the interior is tasty onions, but there is no broth to speak of, and the cheese atop is tasty to be sure, but not enough to make up for that lackluster delivery. The presentation is beautiful, and they must have been novel when they were first on the menu, but these have sadly not stood the test of time.

pix 046 Fava bean and ricotta ravioli

A strong dish. Buttery little pasta pockets filled with a creamy, grassy filling. The fava beans are wonderfully apparent – they are earthy and fresh, mixed with garlic and just enough salt. The pasta for this is tissue thin and perfect – if only they used this dough for the dumplings! This is so flavorful that even carnivores will love it. 

pix 047 Cuban baby back ribs with mango-chipotle glaze

Good, if not memorable. The meat is tender and the portion is substantial, but there is nothing super special about these. A sweet, vaguely spicy glaze. A creamy, oniony slaw. Charred in some parts, sticky in others. No unbelievable smoke ring, no world-class sauce. It’s just tasty, not crave-worthy.

That’s the whole feel of this place – good, but not anything special. The food is pretty fairly priced for a fancy, special night- 2 people can dine there with cocktails for about $12o. However, the food doesn’t hold up for a fancy night out – the tuna is great and the pasta is good, but neither are worth a special trip there. And the dumplings were a major disappointment. Quite frankly, I might come here with a group of friends if they wanted to go, but I can’t see myself going here again on my own.

Stanton Social on Urbanspoon

Hog Heaven – Intro to North Carolina BBQ

A few years ago, I took a road trip to North Carolina for my dear friend’s wedding.

It was there that I discovered BBQ.

Not the overly sauced, cutely presented plates of organic berkshire pork and local dandelion greens served at most NYC places.

I mean real down and dirty cooked in the backyard and served by a woman who watched you clean your plate bbq.

I learned about it at Hog Heaven.

I chose this place with the help of roadfood.com, the roadtripping foodie’s best friend. The eatery has won many regional awards for its hand chopped North Carolina pork barbecue. This ain’t your crockpot pulled pork.  This is carefully smoked pork butt  cooked for ages in a smoker with a special blend of spices, then hand cut to create a symphony of flavors and textures.  

In layman’s terms: It’s damn good. 

 

 

I can’t even tell you what a kick I got out of seeing that sign. 

 The decor is less than minimal – think school cafeteria – but clean and filled with the most tantalizing scents known to humanity.  Clearly, we over ordered.

Don’t worry – we managed to eat it all. 

Pork sandwich

Hand cut, so the pork shoulder is in small chunks, not mushy shreds.  Not a lump of fat nor a tough shred of meat among the whole sandwich.  Just sweet, luscious pork, positively vibrant with its pure, porky taste, soaking into the soft white bun. Add just a little of the spicy, vinegar based bbq sauce for the perfect bite.   

Hushpuppies

  Imagine the taste of corndog batter with the texture of French fries.  Corn French fries.  That’s really what they are.  Gently sweet, crunchy and creamy at the same time, these little bits of fried heaven were my favorite thing on the table!  Dip them in bbq sauce, hot sauce, or eat them plain.

Chicken and dumplings

 This is as if your grandma’s chicken noodle soup had the texture of velvet and the noodles were made of lard. Truly a standout. The savory, comforting flavor of chicken broth is like liquid gold. The dumplings are warm, doughy pillows that dissolve almost the moment they touch your tongue.  Unctuous and generously hand cut.  I miss those dumplings.

Baked beans

These beans are CLEARLY not canned. Toothsome and hearty, stewed with smoky bits of pork and lots of brown sugar.  Sweet, smoky, and salty, these beans are an outstanding partner for those awesome hush puppies.

I would recommend Hog Heaven to any Yankee coming down south for the first time. It’s not quite up to Allen and Sons standards, but it’s cheap, it’s fast, and its so amazingly delicious for someone who has never before had real bbq.

That weekend I went to the wedding…I guess my college friend and I BOTH found true love. 

Frozen S’mores – The Next Cronut?

I’m posting this blog just in case this becomes the next cronut.

I want it on record that I had it (almost) first.

Dominique Ansel, about whom I have raved before on this blog, obviously took the world by storm with the cronut.

I haven’t tried one of these croissant/doughnut cream filled hybrids yet because I have NO desire to get up at 4:30 AM for a chance to eat one of these things (no,that is not an exaggeration. And on my recent visit to the bakery, they sold out of cronuts a few people before me in line, and those people had been online for 3 hours. Another girl walked in and proudly pronounced that she had just sold her cronut for $30. Really?!). There are imitators popping up all over the world, it has been featured on TV and the radio, and it’s poised to become the next queen of the world.

Obviously, the future king is George.

So, now that Ansel is the darling of the culinary world, I listen when he creates something new. And I go try it.

At 10:30 AM, because no time is a bad time for s’mores. 

pix 015 After you order your frozen s’more, you wait for it to be torched to crispy, brulee-d perfection.

pix 017 Frozen S’more

Here she is, in all of her sugary beauty. A huge, sticky marshmallow burnished to a nutty, caramelly finish. It isn’t as dark or bubbly as most marshmallows toasted over an open fire, but it intensely buttery and sweet. It’s also quite thick – you will have to chomp through a bit before you get to the filling.

pix 018 The filling…layered with deep, crunchy chocolate wafer crumbles around frozen custard. The vanilla bean flecked custard is rich and creamy next to the sweet stickiness of the marshmallow. The finished effect of the perfect bite of this is crunchy, sticky, sweet, creamy, cold, and hot.

Try saying that three times fast.

The frozen s’more is a fantastic treat! It’s a little pricey, but it’s made to order with quality ingredients and the thing is huge – it comes to you on a foot long skewer! I really do miss the melty, ooey-gooey component of warm chocolate, but there really isn’t a way to do that without the whole interior melting.

And this IS called the frozen s’more.

And when these start selling on the black market for $40 a pop, remember…you saw it here (almost) first!

The Best of British Food at Jones Woods Foundry

Anyone who says that British food isn’t tasty has either seen Oliver! one too many times or is just working off of jokes made in the 1980s.

Because British food is just delicious – clotted cream, savory pies, and fresh, briny seafood.

Jones Woods Foundry brings the best of British food to the Upper East Side in the form of a cool, beer-focused gastropub.

jones

The restaurant has a long, narrow bar area that expands into a larger (but still pretty cozy!) dining area. By 7 pm on a Tuesday night, the area was hopping and we had to wait for a seat at the bar. Though there is a comprehensive bar menu, if you want a longer, more comfortable meal, you should definitely make a reservation. The dining room reaches pretty high decibels, so keep this in mind more for a dinner with friends than one with your grandparents.

[ox 360 Cod mash toast

One of my dining companions laughed as he took a taste and said “it’s whitefish on toast!” This is a lot like my favorite whitefish salad – creamy, slightly salty, mixed with fluffy mashed potatoes. However, I would compare it more to baccala. It has a faintly, smoky fishiness that is pleasant if you like lox or other smoked fish. It’s spread on crunchy bread and is a great starter.

jones liver

Chicken liver and foie gras mousse

Now THIS is chopped livah. Incredibly smooth and rich with foie but airy, too. It balances the mineral-heavy chicken liver with the fatty, almost sweet taste of the foie. It actually does melt in the mouth, leaving behind only the memory of the  umami-heavy spread. Sprinkled with coarse grains of  salt, it disappears all too fast. Don’t share this…it’s just too delicious.
jones grouper Florida grouper with whipped cauliflower, spinach, and sweet onions

Another winning dish. Brits love combining salty and savory, and often pair a sweet chutney with salty cheese or hearty meats. This play on sweet and salty works so well with fish that I may have to make it on my own at home. The onions are cooked slowly with red wine so they become very sweet in the way that only onions can. Layered upon the mild white fish, the tastes blend and become savory-sweet-salty-meaty. Really, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The cauliflower is creamy and light and the garlicky spinach is the perfect accompaniment. This dish is fantastic and I would order it again in a heartbeat.

jones menu Jones Woods Foundry once and for all puts to sleep the notion that British food isn’t delicious. Because it just is! The food here is different than what you see on American gastropub menus and is made carefully with thought to texture, aroma, and flavor. The beef and cocktail menu is varied, the service is excellent, and the atmosphere is always a party. The one downside is the expense – the food is a little pricey for the portion size. However, for a real taste of British food (the lamb and rosemary pie is also a winner!), you can’t do better than Jones Woods Foundry. 

Jones Wood Foundry on Urbanspoon

Loi – It’s Good Enough for Obama, but is it Good Enough for Me?

I am what a philosophy major would call an empiricist.

That is, I have to see it to believe it. Blind faith ain’t my strong point.

That said, if someone cooks a Greek meal for Barack Obama to celebrate Greek Easter…well,I’m inclined to think that she has some skills.

And since Maria Loi, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and Greek businessperson, has her only US outpost mere moments from my house, I thought I should go check it out.

Just to see for myself if she really has skills or if the president was cheated out of a great meal.

The interior of the Loi (which I forgot to photograph)is serene and elegant, done in sea foam fabric and dark woods. Candles dot the tables and make for a somewhat romantic feel. In the large bar area, there  even a high communal table that is perfect for happy hour with a few friends.

[ox 628 Dolmades and yogurt

There was also fresh pita and corn bread(corn bread? Really?), but these were the real winners on the table. The yogurt is so thick and creamy that it must be full fat. It’s velvety and just a little tangy, bolstered by a slick of fruity olive oil. The accompanying stuffed grape leaves are some of the best I have ever had. They are often mealy and bitter, but these are wonderfully moist and soft. They aren’t mushy though – just creamy, briny, and studded with fresh dill. They are served cold and are fabulous when dipped into the yogurt.

[ox 632 Keftedakia

Meatballs by any other name do taste as sweet. These beef and lamb meat patties are so soft that they fall apart if you look at them cross eyed. They are spiced with cinnamon and served in a sweet, oregano-heavy tomato sauce with a dollop of airy feta mousse. It looks like meatballs and marinara, but it’s a world different – the cinnamon adds a sweet warmth that makes this dish undeniably Greek.

[ox 634 Kotopoulo Lemonato

This is what my Greek mama used to make me every winter when I was feeling under the weather, with lemons from our own tree.

Well, that’s what the story would be if I wasn’t raised in Southern California by Ashkenazi Jews. The chicken is slowly braised so it is soft and juicy – the meat literally falls away from the bone. It doesn’t have crispy skin, but it has such a juicy, homey taste that you forgive that. The sauce is thick and very bright – one of my companions found it too lemony but I just loved it. It has to be that bright to compete with the creamy potatoes and sweet onions served in the sauce. This is a bowl-swiper – as in, you will want to use some pita to swipe up every last remnant of chicken and sauce.

[ox 636 Ekmek Kataifi

Crispy phyllo dough, soaked with sweet honey. Crunchy nuts, studded with cinnamon and cloves. And in those layers between a fluffy, light cream that is rich and heady with vanilla. It’s like a napoleon-baklava mashup.

So yeah…it’s pretty great.

I came, I saw, I ate. The prices are definitely high – this is a special occasion place for sure – and the service is a bit friendly (our server VERY EMPHATICALLY suggested that we order dessert…and when we didn’t he ordered it for us), but that’s part of the fun.

This is a wonderful spot for a special occasion dinner, and I can’t wait to go back for the very well priced happy hour.

And I gotta say, I now have more faith in our country’s leader. 

Because now I know for myself that he knows what great Greek food is.

Loi Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Greatest Hash Browns Ever at The Grey Dog Cafe

I’m just gonna keep on posting these lost reviews and recipes…after all, I think only 12 people read my blog the first year it was up, so it’s new to everyone except my mom!

The Grey Dog Cafe is a review that is definitely worth revisiting. The location I frequented is sadly closed now, but this delightful mini chain has several other Manhattan locations, all equally well priced and tasty 

 The vibe in this location was eclectic and charming,  with small tables everywhere and large pictures featuring dogs. It’s the sort of home your odd Aunt Effie might have-filled with charming little oddities. Aah Aunt Effie…imaginary relatives are always the most charming, don’t you think?

You order at the counter from the large blackboard menu full of delicious sounding sandwiches, salads, breakfasts, and entrees, and then wait for your food to be delivered to your table. 

Look at this cool bookshelf – it’s the ideal place to have a relaxing solo lunch! Reading about eating while actually eating…that is one of life’s deepest pleasures.

Brie, sausage, and vegetable omelette

Simple and perfect. The omelette is gently cooked so the eggs are fluffy and creamy, not rubbery.  There are ribbons of melted brie, juicy hunks of sausage, and crisp veggies.  When the butter melts in luscious pools on the warm sourdough toast, there isn’t much more in this world that you need. Except these…


Hash browns

  Tiny shards of potato intermingled with sweet onions. They are fried within an inch of becoming charred, so the mixture is deeply browned but not burnt; like those tiny crispy bits of fries at the bottom of your french fry carton at a drive through mixed with the best fried onion strings in the world.  

 Carrot ginger soup with peanuts and chili oil

A showstopper.  Thin but powerful, like a ninja of the soup world.  At first bite, it is sweet, vegetal, and blazes with steam.  Then the softer nuances creep in-the crunch of the peanuts, the slight heat of the chili, the zip of the ginger.   With a few squirts of hot sauce to bump up the heat and salt quotient, it is perfect for a peckish gal like me.  

The Grey Dog Cafe is often just what the doctor ordered.  It is not haute cuisine or famous for the world’s biggest burger or anything like that.  It isn’t even worth a trip out of your way.  It is just full of fresh, delicious food in a laid back atmosphere. It has a great staff, fair prices, and a full bar to boot!  I could see people relaxing here with a book, a magazine, or a good friend. 

And, of course, about 3 plates of those hash browns.

 

The Grey Dog's Coffee on Urbanspoon

Champlin’s – New England Seafood at its Best

One of the best things about living on the east coast is your proximity to other states and their indigenous foods. In one day, you can travel through 3 or 4 states and try everything from New York pizza  to Connecticut hot dogs to Rhode Island seafood!

 Champlin’s is a seafood shack in Narragansett, Rhode Island that is hailed as having some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in all of Southern New England.

 It is part restaurant, part fish market, and the vibe is uber-relaxed seafood shack.

 You might want to sit outside in the summer, but in the winter, it is INSANELY cold, and empty!

You order up front, gather hot sauce and lemon, and wait for your number to be called.

Stuffies

Stuffies are giant clams called quahogs that are chopped (they are too tough to eat when they are whole), then mixed with bread or crackers, peppers, and an assortment of other spices. The clam mixture is then stuffed into the shell and baked. It may be my FAVORITE way to eat clams.

This stuffie is good but not fantastic. A bit dry and crumbly, mixed with slightly sauteed red peppers and large pieces of clam. Sadly, it lacks the moist consistency and truly in your face briny taste of a truly awesome quahog.

Don’t get me wrong…it is still really delicious. Just not in the upper pantheon of quahog-ness.

Clam Cakes

A hot, savory doughnut. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.  Bready, salty doughnuts studded with huge bits of tender and salty clams.

This could turn anyone into a clam lover. Dip it in some malt vinegar and it is a tangy-salty-fried haven of flavor.

Lobster bisque

Creamy, rich, and deeply flavored with the buttery taste of lobster. It has a balanced flavor with plenty of sherry and zippy cayenne pepper playing off of the naturally mild lobster. This seems less like a cream soup with lobster and more like the liquid essence of lobster that simply happened to be creamy. Really fulfilling and delicious on a winter’s day.

Or in the middle of summer.

Anytime you’re awake, really.  

Lobster roll

The lobster roll is exemplary, as far as Maine style lobster rolls go. That means that it has finely diced celery, a bit of mayo and is served on a buttered, toasted, top split hot dog bun. Lots of tail and claw meat, cooked until done but not rubbery, are mixed with crunchy celery and creamy mayo to create a delicious lobster salad. Nestled in that warm toasted bun, the lobster is tender but retains a light bite that keeps the shellfish from being mushy. It is light, rich and carries the fresh taste of the ocean.

I can’t recommend Champlin’s enough! The food is incredibly well priced, incredibly fresh and incredibly delicious. Though there is nothing earth shattering or amazingly inventive at this restaurant, that isn’t why you go there. You go there for fresh seafood, perfectly prepared. Only a few hours a way. Cooked by the people who caught it.

Man, I love the east coast!

Champlin's Seafood Deck on Urbanspoon

Aroma Espresso Bar – The Delight of a Boreka Surprise

On a weekend, there are a few breakfasts I enjoy.

I love a long, leisurely brunch with plenty of booze and luxurious food.

I love a greasy spoon dive with just a couple of eggs and an Advil to ward off the hangover.

I like an at-home breakfast eaten in my pajamas.

And I like a quick breakfast that is neither junky nor upscale – just wholesome, fast, and super delicious.

Enter: Aroma Espresso Bar.

[ox 638 This small chain of coffee shops is serious about their lattes, Turkish coffees (dark and very strong), and other coffee drinks. However, it also has some pretty outstanding food. It is open at 7 AM, even on the weekends, and thought it’s empty early on, it fills up soon. The decor is bright and minimal – totally utilitarian and perfect for a solo or duet meal. There is a plethora of sandwiches and American-style options, but the Middle Eastern specialties are where the kitchen really excels.
[ox 640 Boreka surprise

Maybe the best surprise since the finale of Mad Men! This boreka is like a cross between a croissant and phyllo dough – buttery, flaky, crisp on the outside but tender and even moist within. It’s served warm and sprinkled with nutty sesame seeds. Then, it is split and stuffed with tangy pickles, fresh tomatoes, salty feta, and sliced hardboiled eggs. Best of all, there is a drizzle of creamy, nutty tahini sauce. Tahini is what makes hummus so rich – it’s a thick sesame paste that is (to me) reminiscent of a less salty Thai peanut sauce. This sandwich is fresh, hearty but not greasy, and packed with flavor. It’s the ideal meal any time of day.

[ox 641 Power bbreakfast

Of course, if you go this route you also get a winner. Two eggs any style you like, a brick of crumbly feta, fresh salad leaves and olives, a bowl of Israeli salad, and a couple of slices of thick multigrain bread. This is big enough for two people to share and it’s vegetarian, to boot! Try spending $12 and getting eggs cooked this well and tomatoes this juicy and ripe in your local diner or hoity-toity brunch venue.

aroma Aroma Espresso Bar is so much more than its name intimates. It is fast, competent service. It is fair prices. It is friendly for families but spacious enough to sit alone with your book. Best of all, it is some really delicious and unique breakfast food.

That’s what makes it one of my favorite spots for breakfast, lunch, or dinner any day of the week. 

Foxy Foxwoods at The Beard House Preview

When you get an invitation to get a sneak peek, you have to take it.

Whether it’s an advance showing of a movie, a preview copy of a book, or a chance to stay at a hotel during the soft opening…who doesn’t want to know something before EVERYONE else does??

I wasn’t a very popular child…I’m sure that somehow plays into this.

Anyway, I had the chance to preview a menu that the chefs at Foxwoods Hotel and Casino will be preparing at the James Beard House next Friday, July 25.

This was a test run for them, so I got to try every single dish that they will be preparing for the James Beard House diners.

Here are a few of my favorites:

goat cheese

Beltane Farm goat cheese croquettes with roasted beets

This local Connecticut goat cheese is now on my short list of favorites.  It has a rich, cakey texture that melts and becomes super creamy inside its crispy sheath. Served with tender beets that are so sweet that they are almost like candy, this is practically a dessert course.

fluke

Raw Stonington summer flounder with citrus chili dredge, apples, and radishes

Be still my heart. One of the most fabulous ceviches I have had in recent memory. The flounder is so soft and sweet it reminds me of a scallop. However, it retains its texture and isn’t at all slimy or mushy. The spicy dredge is hot and tangy with citrus, cooled down by the tiny bits of green apples. This is a must taste!

scallops

 Bombster Fleet scallop crudo with olive oil, Kabuso, and aji amarillo

Okay, so I loved both of the raw fish dishes. So sue me! The chefs here clearly have a way with fresh seafood, knowing how to dress and prepare it so that the flavors shine through and compliment, not compete with, each other. The scallops are juicy and pleasantly sweet. The strips of pepper are fruity and spicy enough to make the lips tingle. Luckily, the bright Kabuso citrus and the slick of rich olive oil temper the heat. This is a phenomenal crudo.

steak

Mishima Wagyu ribeye cap “sunomono” with Connecticut summer harvest and aged maitake demi

When this beef arrived, I inwardly groaned. It was brown all the way through – it was overcooked! Well color me TOTALLY WRONG. This beef was tender, flavorful, and so juicy that it practically melted in my mouth. I think the brown color came from the sunomomo treatment, where it was marinated in a sweet vinegar sauce before being gently cooked. It was robust, and beefy with a sweet-sour edge that is unlike any steak I have ever had. It was totally remarkable! The veggies served alongside were fresh and fragrant, and though the giant hen of the woods mushroom was a bit too smoky for my taste, the demi alongside was rich and flavorful. This dish surprised me on many levels and pleased me on EVERY level.

dessert Feta goat cheese brulee with olive oil sponge, peach sorbet, lemon verbena gel, and Summer couscous

Couscous in dessert? Sure! Studded with dried fruits, it’s almost like a lighter version of rice pudding. The brulee is creamy and dense with a sweet graham cracker-like crust. Th soft sorbet tastes like the very essence of summer and the olive oil soponge cake…oh that sponge. It has the funniest texture and a savory-sweet taste that really plays off of the rest of the components. This is whimsical and inventive – the perfect way to end the meal. 

You should buy a ticket to this dinner. I would – heck, I am  considering doing it – it was that great!

If the preview was this good, I can’t even imagine how fantastic the main event is going to taste.

*Disclaimer: I was invited to this meal free of charge. I was not required to write about my experiences, and my opinions are my own and unbiased.

Alpine Pizza – Inspired by Castello Moments

SPONSORED POST

I am a fan of excess.

I am the person who wants just 2 more days of vacation. Who leaves the house wearing just one more piece of jewelry than society might deem appropriate.

Who loves gilding the lily. 

That’s why I love cheese. Cheese transforms ordinary meals into culinary works of art. It makes a plain sandwich into a gourmet meal. It turns a lonely night into a night of lactose-loving abandon.

Yeah, I feel very passionately about cheese.

That’s why when Castello sent me 3 wheels of their Alps Selection Cheeses, I put on my stretchy pants, turned off my phone and went into the kitchen for a little one on  one time.

Me and the cheese.

TALK about a match made in heaven. 

fooood 090 Castello Hirten is firm and crumbly, with a texture and saltiness that is reminiscent of Parmesan cheese. It has an extra salty, grassy punch that makes it ideal for use in an herby pesto or as a finishing cheese for pasta. I would even serve it for dessert with poached pears!

fooood 085

Castello Classico (shown here before I ravaged it with my bare hands) is the most savory cheese of those that I tried. Funky and earthy, with a firm, smooth texture and woodsy, spicy notes. This has hearty, umami notes that echo on as the cheese melts on your tongue. This needs a soft, sweet accompaniment like honey or juicy prunes. If you enjoy stinkier cheeses like tallegio or blue, you will really love this. It was my personal favorite!

fooood 094 Castello Weissbier. Like a brie-Swiss hybrid. Buttery, creamy, and tangy. Soft but with enough firmness to be sliced. Ideal with a turkey sandwich or on a cheese plate with a piquant mustard.

But, as much as I loved eating these cheeses alone, I couldn’t let well enough alone.

Am I or am I not the queen of excess?

And what better way to gild this lily than with kielbasa, fried onions, and sauerkraut?

Put away the Lipitor and break out your dirndl skirts!

Kielbasa Alpine Pizza

2013-07-01 fooood1 Ingredients:

1 lb. pizza dough

4 links kielbasa, removed from casing and crumbled

1 large onion, diced

2 bell peppers, diced (any color except green)

1/3 cup sauerkraut

2 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. butter

1 whole milk

1 cup Castello Weissbier cheese, grated

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

fooood 130 1. Put the oil into a large pan over medium heat. When it starts to ripple, add the onion and peppers. Decrease the heat to very low and let the onions and peppers slowly caramelize. This will take awhile – probably about 45 minutes. You don’t want any brown here, just sweet, translucent, jammy veggies. When everything is soft and sweet, drain the excess oil.

fooood 133 2. Now, add the kielbasa.

fooood 135 3. Cook until the kielbasa is totally browned and cooked. Drain excess oil and set aside.

fooood 137 4. With the butter, flour, milk, and cheese, make a classic cheese sauce like in steps 2-4 of this Mac and Cheese recipe. Leave out the nutmeg and mustard. Once it is seasoned to your looking, take it off of the heat. Thais can be made ahead of time then applied to the dough while cold.

fooood 140 5. Preheat your oven to 475 F and spread the pizza dough out on an oiled pizza stone or cookie sheet.

fooood 143 6. Top the pizza with the sauce…

fooood 146 the sausage and pepper mixture…

fooood 148 and the sauerkraut.

fooood 152 7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is totally crisp, the sauerkraut is a little charred, and the cheese is bubbly. No peeking while it bakes! The key to great pizza is a super hot oven and you don’t want to let any of that heat escape.

fooood 156 8. Serve.

This is the way that cheese is meant to taste.  fooood 165 Creamy, stretchy, and tangy. It melts beautifully and creates a rich, smooth base for this loaded ‘za. Countered by garlicky, salty kielbasa, sweet peppers and onions, and that kick of sauerkraut. The sauerkraut really mellows as it cooks – don’t be afraid of its pungent aroma before it goes in the oven! It is like a cabbage-pickle hybrid. And who doesn’t like pickles with their meat and cheese plates?!


The cheeses I tried were all delicious. From creamy and smooth to firm and piquant, with flavors varying from buttery to woodsy to downright meaty.

Just don’t let the cheese down by making it go to a party all alone. After all, the only thing better than cheese…

is cheese dressed up to the nines!

Win a Private Cheese Tasting in your own home – enter by clicking on the banner below. 
Castello Moments and this post is a collaboration between the blogger and Arla Foods USA. 

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