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by Sarah Steimer

Some days I really crave a good Mediterranean-style meal with really bold flavors. This meal accomplished just that, and I happened to have everything in the fridge I needed (including the surprise of goat cheese that Bill happened to pick up the other day).

Some days I really crave a good Mediterranean-style meal with really bold, simple flavors. This meal accomplished just that, and I happened to have everything in the fridge I needed (including the surprise of goat cheese that Bill happened to pick up the other day).


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by Sarah Steimer

Frisée, also known as curly endive, is quite bitter and often paired with other greens to cut that bitterness. The warmth and richness of both the bacon and the vinaigrette really help cut the bitterness as well. You could, of course, use other greens. The original recipe calls for escarole.

  • 1 head of frisée, washed and torn into large bite-size pieces
  • 2 bacon slices (I used thick-cut bacon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (need a how-to?)
  • 1/4 cup or less soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Cook the bacon until crispy and let drain on a paper towel before chopping. Do not get rid of the fat drippings in the pan.

In a small bowl, slowly add the vinegar to the oil while whisking quickly so the two emulsify properly.

Warm the pan drippings back up and add the shallots to the pan. Cook until the shallots are soft. Add the oil and vinegar mixture and warm for about 1 minute. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the warm dressing mixture over the greens and sprinkle with the bacon, eggs and cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings as a side or 2-3 servings as a main dish.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit

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by Sarah Steimer

I know we say the we love the flavors in many of our dishes, but I have to say that these are truly tastes that sing to me. Fall is my favorite season, especially for produce — plus I’m a sucker for Mexican food. You couldn’t make a more Sarah-centric meal, although I would accept challengers.

  • 1 chicken breast, poached and shredded/cubed
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced
  • 1 acorn squash (try to find a small one)
  • 1 red onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 4-ounce log goat cheese
  • 4 soft corn tortillas, about 8 inches or so in diameter
  • 1/2 cup – 2/3 cup salsa verde (if you would like to make your own, try our recipe from last summer)

Cut the acorn squash in half and roast at 400 degrees, skin side down, for 40-50 minutes, or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

You could do a lot of variations on these enchiladas. Shrimp or steak instead of chicken (or no meat at all for a vegetarian version). You could also go with a milder roasted bell pepper if poblanos are too spicy for your taste.

In the meantime, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan. Add the onions to the pan and cook until caramelized, occasionally de-glazing the pan with a little water when necessary. Set aside.

When the squash has cooked, scoop the flesh out of the skin and mash with the cumin, salt and pepper.

Set up an assembly line of ingredients to build the enchiladas. If your corn tortillas seem a bit dry and may break as you work with them, microwave them for a few seconds while covered with a moist paper towel.

Working down the center of the tortilla, layer a line of squash, onion, pepper, chicken and feta. Roll the enchilada up and place seam-side down in an 8-by-8-inch or 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Continue with the remaining ingredients so the four enchiladas fit snuggly in the pan.

The enchiladas may be refrigerated at this point if you are preparing them in advance!

By the way – BE CAREFUL when peeling/cutting poblanos. Mine were especially hot this time around and, four hours later, my fingers are still burning. Wear gloves when working with any hot pepper!

Before cooking, top the enchiladas with the salsa and sprinkle with any remaining goat cheese. Cook for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Brit + Co.

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by Sarah Steimer

I made a similar sandwich for our grilled cheese guide last year, but this dish uses both a different cheese and herb. What really took this to another level for me was rubbing the bread with garlic. It really cuts back on the grapes’ sweetness and gives the meal a more robust flavor.

I’m keeping the ingredient measurements open-ended. You can pretty much guess how much of everything you’ll need depending on whether you’re just making this for lunch or as an appetizer for company. If you would like me to be more specific, just say so in the comments and I’ll happily oblige.

—S

  • olive oil
  • grapes, rinsed and sliced in half (not necessary to slice, but it keep them from rolling off the bread)
  • thyme leaves (pulled from the stem), plus a few springs for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • bread
  • 1/2 piece of garlic
  • goat cheese or other spreading cheese

Heat enough olive oil in a small pan to just cover the bottom. Over low heat, add the grapes, thyme, salt and pepper. Be careful when adding the grapes, the natural juices from the fruit will cause the oil in the pan to spit a little. Sauté the grape mixture until the grapes have browned some and softened.

While the grapes are cooking, toast the bread. Rub the garlic half over the toasts generously, then spread with the goat cheese — try to keep it within 1 tablespoon per piece of bread, you don’t want the cheese to overpower any of the other flavors.

Top the goat cheese toasts with the cooked grapes and add sprigs of thyme, if desired, as a garnish.

Recipe adapted from: Mango & Tomato

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by Sarah Steimer

If I had to guess, I would say my last pizza would go well with a glass of chianti wine. This would be perfect beer pizza - specifically an amber ale. But honestly, what do I know?

  • 1/2 this pizza dough recipe – or your own
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, drained and blotted dry with a towel – then chopped in quarters
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 banana peppers, sliced thin
  • 1/4 large white or red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 log plain goat cheese – 5 or 6 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (less if you can’t handle the heat)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • olive oil

Follow these instructions for the dough, if using my crust recipe.

Saute the banana peppers, onion and garlic in olive oil. Set aside.

Once the dough has started to golden slightly, pull out of the oven. Brush once more with the olive oil and add slices (or crumbles) of the goat cheese. Layer the pepper, onion and garlic mixture, the artichoke hearts. Add chickpeas last (this way they won’t roll off). Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce (if using).

Pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the crust has browned to your liking. Let cool on a rack before cutting.

FYI – I almost expected this pizza to be kind of, well, dry. But it wasn’t at all. The goat cheese was nice and soft and the artichokes almost pop in your mouth. Plus sauteing the peppers and onions first really brought out nice juices, versus “dry” raw vegetables.

Serves about four.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*Throughout August, “That’s Amore” will feature our favorite pizza recipes using farmer’s market ingredients — all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Bill and I had guests over one night, but the extreme evening heat made me rethink my oven appetizer. I threw these together last minute.

  • 1/2 baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces goat cheese

For the rhubarb compote:

  • 3 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon

In a medium sauce pan, combine the rhubarb, lemon juice and sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. (I made this the day before for a different recipe and had it chilled.)

For a while our farmer's market basically just had piles of asparagus and rhubarb.

For the candied walnuts

  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts

In a saute pan, combine the sugar and salt over low heat. Stirring occasionally, let the sugar melt down until it resembles a brown sauce. Toss the walnuts in and mix quickly until coated. Pour the candied walnuts on a piece of wax or parchment paper and pull apart with forks (melted sugar is HOT, avoid touching it). Let cool completely.

Place about a tablespoon of goat cheese on each piece of bread. Top with rhubarb compote and a walnut or two.

Makes about 2o servings.

Recipe (or idea, I suppose): Sarah Steimer

Rhubarb compote recipe: Epicurious

Candied walnuts recipe: Chicagoist

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by Sarah Steimer

I had never tried shredding sweet potatoes before, it really cuts down on the usual cooking time.

  • 8 ounces pasta (the recipe suggests angel hair, but I just used regular spaghetti)
  • oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups shredded, peeled sweet potato (about one medium potato)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (a little less if it’s not fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just tender (yinz know, al dente-like).

Saute the garlic in a pan the oil. Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender-crisp.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan of vegetables. Add the parsley, tarragon, vinegar, salt and cheese. Toss to combine. Add more water if needed.

Makes about four servings.

Recipe: Eating Well on a Budget

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

No one said grilled cheese couldn't be sweet. These are great breakfast sandwiches. Add goat cheese and fruit to almost any sweet bread and you're looking good.

  • 8 slices walnut raisin bread (or cinnamon raisin bread)
  • 1/2 log of goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries, roughly chopped.
  • butter, softened

I’ll admit that I actually found cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese at Giant Eagle, but I imagine this would be just as easy. Let the goat cheese soften on the counter for about an hour and whip in cinnamon and cranberries.

Spread the cheese mixture generously on four of the slices of bread. Butter the outsides and toast in a pan or sandwich maker. Cut into fancy triangles if you so please and serve with coffee or tea like the royalty you are.

Makes four regular sandwiches or multiple little princess sandwiches.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*During the month of February, we’ll post six grilled cheese recipes as part of Grilled, Please — all of which can be found here.

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