cheddar

Cheesy Mushroom Pinwheel Loaf

This idea came from my girlfriend, whose mother used to make pinwheel loaves with pepperoni. What gives mine a sharp, salty flavor is the cheese; a mix of strong cheddar and aged parmesan. This is perfect as an appetizer, cut on a board into 1" slices, or for lunch with a crispy salad. I used King Oyster mushrooms because of their meaty texture and taste, but you could use any kind. I can't wait to go foraging for mushrooms this summer. Then I'll be making mushroom pinwheels and other recipes with chanterelles, king boletes, and shaggy manes. Enjoy!

Yields 2 medium loaves

Dough

• 2 cups whole white flour • 1 cup lukewarm water • 1 teaspoon instant yeast • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix the water, yeast and salt together, stir and let sit for 2 minutes. In a large bowl add the water to the flour. Mix with your hands or a wooden spatula until well combined. If too sticky, add a bit of flour. Cover with a plastic and let rise for 2 hours. You can do this step 2-3 days in advance, just put the dough in the fridge once it has risen.

Filling

• 300g mushrooms, thinly sliced • 1 medium onion, finely chopped • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only • 1/4 cup white wine • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard • 1 cup cheddar, grated • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated • salt + ground black pepper

On medium-high, heat up 2-3 tablespoons oil in a pan and cook the onions for a couple of minutes until they're golden brown. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, garlic and thyme and let the wine bubble away. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the dijon, cheddar and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Putting it together

Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a floured surface roll out the dough in a large square about 1/4" thick. Evenly spread the mushroom mixture over the dough, roll it into a log and cut it in half. Lay the two loaves on parchment paper on a baking pan. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Score the tops and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Eat!

Butternut Squash Potato Cakes

This first recipe makes one killer appetizer while the second goes well with any breakfast. They are both really simple; two ingredients apiece, both grated, squeezed of excess water, and fried in a pan. The ratio is half potatoes, half whatever other vegetable. I made some with zucchini and some others with butternut squash. Feel free to experiment with anything you have in your own veg box and to size your cakes according to your own meal plan. Both of these recipes will make around 8 large or 16 small cakes. Cook for 6 minutes on each side for larger cakes and 4 minutes on each side for smaller ones. For an extra punch throw together a lemon-dill yogurt sauce, which, just so you know, also tastes great with fish. Serves 4-6

Butternut Squash Potato Cakes

• 3 medium potatoes (500g) • 1/2 butternut squash (500g) • salt + black pepper

Grate the potatoes and butternut squash. Put in a large bowl and season with salt. Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the moisture out. Put them in a colander and squeeze them with your hand to get the water out. Do this until there's almost no more water dripping.

Heat up 2-3 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Form a patties about 1.5" in diameter and slide them in the hot oil. Put 7-8 at a time. On medium-high heat, cook the cakes about 4-5 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper.

Set the cakes on a plate or in a warm oven while you fry the rest. Fry the rest. Eat.

Lemon-Dill Yogurt Sauce

• 1 cup plain yogurt • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together.

Zucchini Cheddar Potato Cakes

• 3 medium potatoes (500g) • 2 medium zucchini (500g) • 100g cheddar (optional) • salt + black pepper

Grate the potatoes and zucchinis. Put in a large bowl and season with salt. Set aside for about 5 minutes to let the moisture seep out. Put them in a colander and squeeze them with your hand to get even more water out. Do this until there's almost no more water dripping.

Heat up 2-3 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Form patties about 3" in diameter and slide them in the hot oil. Put 4-5 at a time. On medium-high heat, cook the cakes about 6 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper. As your flip them, add some grated cheddar on top.

Set the cakes on a plate or in a warm oven while you fry the rest. Fry the rest. Eat.

Part 4 - Dinner: Lobster Stuffed Shells

This is one cheesy recipe, so try to use quality stuff; aged cheddar and a block of parmesan, not the pre-grated kinds. We usually make stuffed shells with spinach instead of lobster. It's one of those versatile dishes; you can always use the same recipe and just swap the lobster for something else: crab meat, beef, mushrooms, you name it. Serve the shells with a simple tomato sauce. Part 1 - Cooking the Lobster Part 2 - Breakfast: Lobster Eggs Benedict Part 3 - Lunch: Lobster Roll Part 5 - Lobster Bisque

Serves 4

Simple White Wine Tomato Sauce

• 500 ml canned crushed tomatoes • 1/2 cup white wine • 2 cloves garlic • 1 tablespoon tomato paste • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 tablespoon cream

On medium heat, sweat the garlic in olive oil. Add the white wine and let reduce for 1 minute. Add all the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Lobster Stuffed Shells

• 24 giant pasta shells • 2 cups lobster meat (4 tails), finely chopped • 1 cup cottage cheese • 1 cup cheddar • 1/2 cup white wine • 1/2 cup cream • 1/2 cup parmesan • salt+ black pepper • chives (optional)

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about 15 minutes, or what the package indicates. They must still be al dente. Set aside.

In a pan reheat the lobster with a dash of olive oil. Add the wine and let it bubble away. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl mix the cottage cheese, cheddar and parmesan. Add the lobster mixture.

In a large deep oven pan pour half of the tomato sauce in the bottom. Stuff each shell with about a tablespoon of the filling and put them in the pan. Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells and top with a bit of parmesan and/or cheddar.

Cook in the oven for 15 minutes at 375F and finish with broil for a couple of minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and eat. Garnish with chopped chives.