The Man and I love The Lady on vacation… she cooks; she bakes; in general she spoils the two of us…

Last week she met Jim Tassielli, Northwest Sales Merchandiser for Sartori Foods and he graciously sent along a few cheese wedges for moi, your humble Feline Foodie, to taste and share with The Man and The Lady. One of the wedges was Gorgonola Dolcino and The Lady immediately whipped up a tangy salad dressing using it and serving it on lettuce wedges and chopped veggies from The Garden of The Man.

Yesterday, she decided to use the rest to make a pasta dish inspired by “Blue Cheese Chicken Pasta Lauren”. Here’s how The Lady adapted the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 Pound Pasta – The Lady likes penne best, but you use whatever you like or have in the cupboard

4 Tbsp. White Truffle Butter, divided

2 Tbsp. EVOO, divided

2 Tbsp. Bacon Grease, divided

Splash of Chardonnay

3 Red Onions, thinly sliced (Fresh from The Garden of The Man)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

6-8 Fresh Button Mushrooms, sliced

6 Boneless Chicken Thighs, salted and peppered to taste  – The Lady only uses Foster Farms

Fresh Herbs from The garden of The Man, chopped – The Lady used oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley

4 Ounces Sartori Gorgonzola Dolcino, crumbled

1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation:

Boil water for pasta – The Lady adds chicken bouillon rather than salt.

In a large saucepan add half of each of the butter, EVOO and Bacon grease. Melt on medium heat. Add the onions, sugar and chardonnay. Cut for about 30 minutes to caramelize, stirring every five minutes until they turn deep caramel color. Add the mushrooms for the last five minutes. The sugar adds sweetness.

In another saucepan, melt the other halves of butter, EVOO and bacon grease on medium heat. Saute the chicken thighs until cooked through and a little brown on each side. Set aside; when slightly cooled, slice into strips and toss with chopped herbs.

When the pasta is done, drain but do not rinse. Place in serving bowl and immediately add the gorgonzola and parm/reg. Mix and allow the cheeses to melt.

Add the chicken and caramelized onions to the pasta.

Toss and serve.

Get The Man to clean the kitchen… he’s really good about that…

For dessert The Lady made and served Le Gateau Nantaise… The Man and I have died and gone to culinary heaven with The Lady home and cooking. God Bless vacation…

FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

Member, Association of Food Bloggers

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UPDATED 5/14/2011 – SEE BOTTOM FOR DETAILS

Ingredients:

Pasta

2 Chicken Breasts – pounded thin or sliced into thin pieces

Salt and pepper

Flour and your favorite seasonings/herbs/spices for coating chicken

Zipper bag for coating chicken

Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Zest of 1 large lemon – you want this sauce to be very “lemony”

Juice of 1 large lemon – about ¼ cup

½  teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup grated Cello Grated Romano**

Capers (optional)

Directions:

Set your water boiling for your pasta. Cook it to time up with when chicken and sauce are ready.

Prepare your chicken breasts either by pounding to make them thin or slice thin. We only use Foster Farms chicken around the manse.

Salt and pepper raw chicken pieces to taste.

Put flour and favorite seasonings in zipper bag. The Lady added a little dry chicken bouillon, celery seeds, paprika and chili powder.

Put chicken in zipper bag and toss to coat chicken pieces.

Heat olive oil in frying pan.

Add chicken and cook until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through. About 5-7 minutes each side.

Set chicken aside and cover to keep warm.

In same pan, add and heat cream until just about boiling. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic to cream. (If you choose to use capers, add them here as well.)

Cook for a minute or so and stir constantly.

Add Cello Grated Romano and stir until incorporated.

Drain cooked pasta and put in pasta bowl. Place chicken on top. Ladle sauce over chicken and pasta.

Serve.

Enjoy… I know we did… The Man even swooned.

Serves 2 plus a cat.

** Cello Grated Romano (Vacchino – made from cow’s milk) is distributed by the Arthur Schuman Company.

Romano is a hard cheese generally used for grating on top of pasta and into salads and sauces. It has a lower water content and the Romano cheese made from cow’s milk is a little milder and less salty than the pecorino version.

Romano cheese is made by a special method called “rummaging curd” which involves draining the curd quickly after molding. The surface is then pierced slightly before the cheese is salted.

It is named after the city of Rome, Italy where it has been made for more than two thousand years.

The Lady and I are very impressed with Cello Romano and she plans to use it next on pizza and then in meatballs… The man and I are grateful she enjoys cooking so much… even though it should be duly noted that I am not thrilled with her “friendliness” toward the interloper who likes to lounge on my deck…

FTC Full Disclosure – The manufacturer/distributor sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

Updated 5/14 – The Lady made this using Cello Riserva Parmesan and it, too, was a huge hit here at the manse. Read our review of Cello Riserva.

Joel and The Lady New Year's Eve 1993

This week is bittersweet for The Lady; it’s all wrapped up in a great sea of emotions. It’s The Masters golf tournament; the first of the majors and by far, her favorite golf tournament of the year. It was also her brother Joel’s favorite golf event. He lived in Georgia all his life where they grew up. The Lady left and moved to California but Masters’ week, they got together, via phone and “watched” The Masters. In 2005, she actually did watch it with him at his home in Atlanta. Sadly, he died in 2006… so you see, this is a bittersweet week for The Lady…

We wrote about golf, tradition and pimento cheese sandwiches in 2009 and you can read that blog by clicking here.

Joel attended The Masters a few times and he loved the pimento cheese sandwiches sold there, wrapped in green waxed paper.

Today’s grilled cheese sandwich is for Joel: The Grilled Pimento Cheese

Ingredients:

Good ole Wonder Bread

Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter

Pimento Cheese Spread

 

For simple instructions on how to assemble a perfect grilled cheese sandwich,please click here.

Also, please visit Golden Glen Creamery by clicking here.



You may recall that in November 2009, I was named Tillamook Cheese Fan of the Month; the first feline to hold that honor. In homage to such a prestigious award, The Lady and I have designed this grilled cheese using our “everyday cheddar”.

Ingredients:

Crusty Italian Bread

Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter

Tillamook 2-Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

Tillamook Hot Habanero Jack Cheese

Thinly Sliced Sweet Onion – such as Vidalia or Texas Sweet

Thinly Sliced Tomatoes

Foster Farms’ Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – Deli Slices

 

For simple instructions on how to assemble a perfect grilled cheese sandwich,please click here.

Also, please visit Golden Glen Creamery by clicking here.

 

If this cheese isn’t part of the Royal Wedding Cheese Plate, then perhaps The Lady and I should design our own Royal Wedding Cheese Plate with suggestions for Prince William (what’s up with not wanting to wear a wedding ring???) and the lovely soon-to-be Princess Kate… and that’s exactly what we’re going to do… stay tuned… but in the interim, here’s the next grilled cheese choice, with an English twist, as we celebrate “April is Grilled Cheese Month”:

Ingredients:

Crumpets

Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter

Neal’s Yard/Appleby’s Cheshire

Cumberland Sausage – sliced length-wise

For simple instructions on how to assemble a perfect grilled cheese sandwich,please click here.

Also, please visit Golden Glen Creamery by clicking here.

In our continuing celebration of “April is Grilled Cheese Month”, our second grilled cheese choice is:


Ingredients:

Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter (for the bread)

Dave’s Killer Bread: 21 Whole Grain Killer Light (only 65 calories per slice)

Old Amsterdam Aged Gouda

Boar’s Head Prosciutto di Parma

For simple instructions on how to assemble a perfect grilled cheese sandwich,please click here.

Also, please visit Golden Glen Creamery by clicking here.


Tip: Schmear the butter on both slices of bread and build the sandwich on first slice after placing on griddle or panini grill.

As we begin our month-long tribute to the ubiquitous Grilled Cheese sandwich, I found an article that features several local Portland Restaurants and Food Carts that feature or offer Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. My thanks to Kyle O’Brien and The Oregonian for sharing this “Grilled Cheese Guide”:

By Kyle O’Brien, Special to The Oregonian

The lure of melted cheese is difficult to resist. It hearkens back to childhood, when mom used to take two slices of bread, slap some cheese in the middle and grill it to gooey, melted perfection. But some see grilled cheese as starter food, something easy to make that’s only fit during your younger years, before your palate has matured.

For so long, the grilled cheese sandwich has been relegated to the kids menu, a culinary afterthought for those in the single-digit age set. But, lately, grilled cheese has been pulled from the back of the menu and given a loftier status, on par with panini and brisket. The NBC show “America’s Next Great Restaurant” even features a contestant who sees the power of cheese as so strong that he’s pitching Meltworks, a restaurant that boasts grilled cheese for grown-ups.

The downturn in the economy has found people eating in more, or searching out comfort foods at restaurants. This helped spawn the latest interest in the simplicity of the grilled cheese sandwich. More restaurants are including a version, often adding grown-up flourishes, such as smoked jalapeños, sauteed mushrooms and fancier cheeses.

Portland has options all over the city — at retro diners, upscale cheese bars and a few requisite carts. This trend has clearly gone beyond Wonder bread with Velveeta.

With April being National Grilled Cheese Month, and April 12 National Grilled Cheese Day, this spring is the perfect time to get your grill on.

For the list of restaurants/carts and grilled specials, click here for the tour – it’s well worth the click…

Photo Copyright 2011 by Doug Beghtel for The Oregonian

Up next: #1 of 30 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches created by The Lady featuring cheeses reviewed on our cheesemonger blog…