Not Without Salt » Wisconsin Cheese “Where would we be without salt?” - James Beard Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:26:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fennel and Apple Salad with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette Fri, 11 Jan 2013 20:49:02 +0000 Read more »]]>



Friday, you’re good.
Snuggled up on the couch with two of the kidlets, with coffee in hand and Curious George in the background, I had just had the urge for an indulgent pastry when Gabe walks through the door with donuts. After all these years maybe he is finally learning to read my mind?!
Then I look out the window to see frosting covering the grass and glittering in the sun – yes, SUN! You see it’s such a rare gift to see the sun and feel a bit of its warmth this time of year. So rare in fact that when it’s here we take advantage; windows open, playtime outside and a moment to just bask in its light.
Friends, you’re going to laugh at this one – tonight we are going to see Barry Manilow and ice skaters. This life of mine is so odd at times, I love it. Earlier in the week I styled a shoot for a commercial that will air when the skating show is on tv (later this month). One of the perks was tickets to the show and who can say no to a little Manilow and ice (well, Gabe could of but I’m insisting)?
And then there’s this salad. I created this recipe for Wisconsin Cheese and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It’s a simple salad, as I like to have quite often, but the toasted fennel seed in the dressing and the nutty gruyere really makes it something special. My husband shot the video (he’s so good, right?!) and the folks at Wisconsin Cheese put it together.
Your Friday might not include Manilow but I still hope it’s a good one none-the-less.
Happy weekend!
Oh, one more thing: I’m hosting a little giveaway from a*pour toi on my Facebook page. If you’re not a “liker” of the page I’d “like” you to be if you’d “like”. (Is that subtle enough?)

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Fennel and Apple Salad with Toasted Fennel Vinaigrette

As much as I love the cozy warmth that braises, roasts and long simmered stews provide, I grow tired of them. A few years ago I realized that much of what is in season during the winter tastes great simple sliced and eaten raw. It offers a fresh bite and crisp crunch that is often lacking in my cold month diet. This salad features raw fennel and it’s toasted seeds that scent the tangy vinaigrette. Pleasant Ridge Reserve adds the perfect bit of nuttiness and heft that this light salad needs. A very welcomed, fresh meal this time of year.


1 teaspoon fennel (use whole seed that you’ve toasted and ground, if possible)
1 teaspoon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In a bowl combine the fennel, mustard, honey, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine. While whisking those ingredients drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the dressing onto fresh greens (I used arugula and butter lettuce). Top that with thinly sliced apple, fennel and toasted walnuts. Finish it all off with shavings of Pleasant Ridge Reserve.

*I was paid by Wisconsin Cheese to create this content but I’m so happy with how it turned out I wanted to share it with you here as well.

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Grilled Cheese with Mascarpone, apricots and chocolate Tue, 03 Apr 2012 15:37:16 +0000 Read more »]]>

Still half asleep I instinctively rolled over to check the time, fumbling for my phone with my eyes still closed. My near slumber state was rudely interrupted as the numbers on my phone flashed 7:30 am.

In an instant the morning had begun. In a matter of 15 minutes we would have to feed three kids breakfast, find and pack a backpack, select the perfect snack for the day, dress, brush, wash, and put on shoes. If you are a parent you’ll know that sometimes just the act of putting on shoes takes 15 minutes.

Although we typically like to allow for more time in the morning this scenario is not unlike five of the seven days in our week. The topic of weekend breakfasts starts being discussed around Wednesday as we debate pancakes or waffles and what, if any, additions will be present. By Saturday morning we are all relieved to not have to rush through our morning routine.

The way this week has already begun I think it is going to take more than simple pancakes and waffles to ease us into the weekend. It seems this week needs to be capped with something over the top. Like perhaps two slices of thick cut Challah dipped in a French toast-like batter then spread with creamy Mascarpone, topped with pleasantly tart plumped dried apricots and in case that may not be enough, a fine grating of dark chocolate floats on top. Then maybe it’s capped with another piece of bread before hitting a hot gril. When the bread has cooked through and is crisp on top, the cheese has melted and the chocolate succumbs to the heat holding it all together a drift of powder sugar descends and finishes it off.

Yes, I think that would do the weekend quite nicely.

This post was made possible by Wisconsin Cheese. After getting spending way to much time drooling over all the inventive grilled cheese creations on their site we created a video with them (Gabe shot it – they edited) demonstrating how to make this sandwich. Watch it here then enter their contest with your favorite grilled cheese recipe.

Check out the other great grilled cheese recipes from Sara and Kelsey. Of course, leave it to me to add sweetness and chocolate to my grilled cheese. Typical.


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Grilled Mascarpone cheese with Apricots and Chocolate


This decadent dish is similar to a stuffed french toast teetering the line of eat-with-your-hands or a fork. Either way it's indulgent and decidedly delicious. Tart, lightly sweet, and showered in dark chocolate - a special way to welcome in those leisurely weekends.

Stewed Apricots

1 cup dried apricots
1 teaspoon orange zest
juice from one large orange
vanilla bean, split down the middle
½ cup water

Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is gone.
Use a wooden spoon to smash and break up the apricots just a bit.
Let cool for about 20 minutes, or until just warm.

Bread Dip

3 eggs
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk all the ingredients together in a shallow bowl or pie plate.

For the sandwich you’ll need:

1 loaf Challah or Brioche cut in 1” slices
1 8oz tub Mascarpone
I recipe stewed apricots
1 recipe bread dip
3 oz dark chocolate
Pre-heat an indoor grill or grill pan.
Quickly dip one slice of bread into the bread dip and let the excess drip off.
Add about 2 Tablespoons Mascarpone to the bread. Top with several pieces of stewed apricots and finish with finely shaved dark chocolate.
Top the sandwich with another piece of bread that has been quickly dipped in the bread dip.
Immediately grill until grill marks form, cheese and chocolate are melted and the bread is cooked through - about 5-7 minutes.
Slice, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

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