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by Caitlin Saniga

I made this galette when my mom came to visit for a few days. This was our first dish with heirloom tomatoes of the summer, and we were thrilled with it, having it for lunch and then for a snack after a day of sightseeing on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I wish I could cook for Mom every day.

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cold lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

  • 1 disk savory galette dough
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, any color
  • 1/2 small onion, cut into thin rings
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 ounces mild cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices + 1 ounce grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Maybe this goes without saying, but it’s always a nice reminder. If you want the dough to be flaky and light, knead it as little as possible.  The ingredients should be just barely combined for the best results.

To prepare the dough, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, pepper, and salt with a fork in a large bowl. Scatter the cubed butter over top. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until the butter is in small pea-sized pieces.

Drizzle the lemon juice and water over the butter-flour mixture and combine using fork. The dough will come together just barely. Gently pat the dough into a ball and then a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set it on the counter.

Slice the tomatoes. Remove the seeds with your fingers or a knife, and place them on paper towels to soak up some of the juice. Sprinkle with salt.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Set the disk onto the floured surface and gently hit it a few times with the rolling pin to flatten it. Roll it into a 12-inch circle, flipping it over one time, and re-flouring the pin as necessary to prevent it from sticking. Hang the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar using a fork or whisk. Pour onto the dough and spread into a roughly 10-inch circle.

Pat the tomatoes dry with paper towels and arrange them, alternating with slices of cheese in a spiral on top of the dough. Top with onion rings, sprinkle with the shredded cheese.

Fold the 2-inch edge of dough over top of the filling, making a few pinches as you go. Brush the egg wash on the dough.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack, along with the parchment paper, and cool for 15 minutes. Top with green onions.

Cut into slices and serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat the galette, place it on a baking sheet and heat at 350 degrees for about 4 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: 20 Something Cupcakes

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by Sarah Steimer

The inspiration for this pie came from a dessert at Owen & Engine here in Chicago. On the restaurant’s menu right now is a blueberry pie with a cheddar crust, caramel popcorn cobbler and sweet corn ice cream.

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a food processor, combine the flour mixture with the butter and pulse until pea-sized pieces appear. Pulse in cheddar cheese. With the food processor running, add the water and mix just until the crust comes together.

Remove the dough from the machine and form into a block-like shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to two days.

Once the crust has chilled properly, cut it in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured surface, making it wide enough to overlap the lip of your pie dish by about 1 inch or so. Place the crust in the pie dish and refrigerate. Roll the second half out on a piece of parchment paper, again slightly larger than the dish itself. Refrigerate this half as well, allowing it to remain flat on the parchment paper in the fridge until firm, about 20 minutes.

For the filling

  • 8 cups (about 4 pints) blueberries, picked over
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg

Place the blueberries in a large bowl and crush about 1/2 cup’s worth with your hands. Add sugar, butter, cornstarch, flour and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Pour the berry mixture into the prepared pie dish once the crust has set. Allow the berries to mound slightly higher in the center of the dish.

Top the pie with the other half of the crust that has been rolled out, tucking the edges underneath and crimping if desired. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the crust for steam to escape.

My mom told me my grandfather used to eat apple pie with a slice of cheese, and the idea never appealed to me until more recently. Apple pie and cheese is, however, much more common than blueberry with cheese, so I may use this crust recipe with an apple pie in the fall.

Whisk the egg with 1-2 teaspoons of water and brush the top of the pie crust with the egg mixture, making sure it does not pool. Refrigerate the pie for an additional 30 minutes.

Place the pie on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees in the lower third of the oven. After 20 minutes, once the crust has begun to golden, lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until the berry juices begin to bubble and thicken and the crust is golden brown. NOTE: Always check the edges of your crust. If they begin to brown quickly, cover the edges with aluminium foil.

If not eating the pie immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Makes one 9- or 10-inch pie.

Crust recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

Pie recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

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by Sarah Steimer

OK – I’ll admit it, these were supposed to be corn fritters — I even saved the photos of this dish under the name “cornflop.” But this was one of those rare and wonderful moments when the recipe still held up, even if its shape did not. If you can keep it in a fritter form, then good for you! But I urge you to try this recipe no matter what. The smoky corn, cheddar and arugula flavors are like a perfect Midwest summer salad.

  • 3 ears of corn, enough to yield  1 1/2 cups
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 scallions, including 1 inch of the greens, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat parsley
  • 1 tablespoons shredded basil
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • butter or oil
  • 2 handfuls arugula

Slice the kernels off the corn. Mix the corn with the eggs, scallions, herbs, cheese and as much flour as can easily be absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt enough butter or heat enough oil to cover a medium skillet generously. Divide the batter roughly into fourths and drop into the skillet. Fry over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes, then turn and brown on the other side. <– this part did not work for me. At all. I tried to flip and ended up with corn piles. So I just sautéed everything until browned! I promise the flavors are worth the semi-failure.

Place the fritters on top of the arugula leaves and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.

Recipe adapted from: Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

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by Sarah Steimer

I like the crisp edges you get with baked mac and cheese - like any other human - but sometimes I'd rather have a mac that's nice and creamy.

  • 8 ounces Fusilli pasta (spirals)
  • 1 heaping cup smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 packed cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a pan with olive oil until translucent. When both are ready, drain the pasta and add it, along with the onions, into a slow-cooker.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour, mixing with a whisk until you’ve made a rue. Add 1/2 cup milk and continue whisking until it thickens to the consistency of cream. Add the cheeses, eggs, Greek yogurt, broth and salt and pepper. Mix until the cheese has melted then add to the slow cooker. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Fold in the spinach. Cook on low for about an hour.

Serves four.

Recipe adapted (very loosely) from: a recipe my sister, Jess Sweeney, sent me – she made a different crock pot mac & cheese once and it stayed way more moist than what you usually pop in the oven.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes   –  all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

My mom used to make a similar soup for our family when I was younger, so this one brings back warm memories. If you're not going to slurp down all of this soup at once, store the rice separately and add a scoop to the soup when you heat it up. That way, the rice won't absorb the liquid and turn mushy.

My mom used to make a similar soup for our family when I was younger, so this one brings back warm memories. If you're not going to slurp down the whole batch at once, store the rice separately and add a scoop to the soup when you heat it up. That way, the rice won't absorb the liquid and turn mushy.

  • 1 medium sweet, yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound broccoli, just crowns, chopped into small florets
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups prepared brown rice

In a small pan, saute the onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat until they are golden-brown and transparent.

In a medium pot, create a roux by melting the remaining butter and flour and whisking over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until it turns golden (not brown!).

Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, onions and garlic, and cook over low heat until the broccoli is tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and allspice. Add the cheese and stir until it is incorporated.

Before serving, add a scoop of rice to each bowl of soup.

Makes 6 servings.

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by Caitlin Saniga

BLT salad

Don't worry. If your bagel BLT idea goes bad when you've left the bagel in the fridge for too many days, you can turn the sandwich into this awesome salad.

For the croutons:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (Try adding just a few dashes.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (A few dashes works here, too.)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 savory bagel (Plain, cheese, jalapeno, onion, or another flavor that would make a good crouton. Stale works, too.)

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Italian dressing
  • salt and pepper

For the salad:

  • 4 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 10 grape tomatoes, halved, or 1 Roma tomato chopped into pieces
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked to a crisp, broken into bits
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

To make the croutons, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder and dashes of salt and pepper. Cut the bagel into bite-size cubes, anywhere from 1  inch to 1/2 inch thick. Put the bagel pieces in the bowl of oil and toss to coat. Spread bagel pieces over an ungreased baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until bagel pieces turn golden.

To make the dressing, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, Dijon, Italian dressing and dashes of salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, toss spinach, tomatoes, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, croutons and dressing, and divide between two bowls.

Makes 2 salads.

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by Sarah Steimer

We get lots of awesome Wisconsin cheese here in Chicago that you can find in specialty stores or just a regular grocery store.

  • 1/2 small butternut squash, seeded
  • 3 medium sunchokes, peeled (also known as Jerusalem artichokes – ALL OVER farmer’s markets right now)
  • 12 ounces pasta – I used mini shells
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 3/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 ounces Muenster cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Prepare a baking sheet or glass baking dish with a layer of aluminum foil. Lay the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Add the peeled sunchokes to the sheet, and roast in the oven at 450 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife.

Scoop the squash out of the flesh and place into a mixing bowl and mash. Add the roasted sunchokes, mashing to incorporate them with the butternut squash.

The squash and sunchoke add a really earthy flavor to the dish – and since you clearly don’t notice them, it would be a pretty fantastic way to get kids to eat their veggies.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente, drain, return to the pot, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the saucepan, then whisk in the flour and mustard. Continue whisking for about 1 minute, then slowly add in the milk, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, lower heat to medium-low and keep simmering, whisking frequently, for 5-6 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream.

Season the sauce with the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the squash sunchoke mash, Muenster and cheddar, stirring with a wooden spoon until the cheese has melted. The color turns a really bright, almost fake-looking orange.

Pour the cheese sauce into the cooked macaroni, stirring to ensure all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Preheat your broiler.

Pour the macaroni into a medium baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Broil for about 10 minutes, or until the bubbly with brown edges.

Makes about 10 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Cold Cereal and Toast via Meatless Monday

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes  –  all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

My co-worker suggested this dish by saying, "So you've probably had the pineapple and cheese casserole." I just laughed and waited as he printed out the recipe for me. Thanks, Jerry.

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained and 5 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
  • 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs

Pineapple and cheese? Try it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium casserole dish with butter. (I used a 9-by-13 glass dish.)

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe: Paula Deen on FoodNetwork.com (Who else would use that much butter?)

Photos: Holly Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

The best part is the crispy panko breadcrumb topping.

  • 1 small butternut squash (about one pound) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Combine squash, stock and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Lightly coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Serves about six.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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