Friday, January 30, 2009

Grilled Red Pepper Relish and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

We've had a big day today, and I really need to be getting some stuff done around my house, but since I didn't post this yesterday I wanted to get to it today. Two of my friends and their husbands are opening a preschool, and this morning was the ground-breaking ceremony. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? "Yes, I spent my morning at a ground-breaking ceremony." I'm soooo upper-crust, don't you think? Yeah right. Anyway, it was fun and exciting to see where their school is going to be because it's been a long time in the works. Plus there was cake made by my friend Tina--she makes AWESOME cake. I had two pieces. Hey, I'm nursing...I need extra calories.

Near where the ground-breaking was is this way cool grocery store, Sprouts. They have a lot of natural foods and organics, and they usually have great deals on produce and meat. There aren't really any close to where I live, so when I remembered there was one out that way I planned on stopping on my way home. Turns out Jen B. had the same idea, so we went together. When we got there they were having a huge sausage sale (as in "huge sale on sausage" not selling overly large sausage). I almost had to throw down with an old woman in a penguin sweater (seriously, penguins?!) because she tried to cut in front of me in the sausage line. Don't mess with a woman standing in line for cheap meat!!! Or at least don't mess with me. I told her who's boss though, don't worry. She threw more of a tantrum than the boy usually does. Anyway, I stocked up on andouille, sweet Italian, and a chicken parmesan sausage because it was all $1.99 a pound. In hindsight I should have bought more andouille, but I did get some at Trader Joe's the other day, so I should be okay. I also got a ton of yummy vegetables, so I'm excited to plan meals for the week based on what I bought today.

Anyway, if you also read Jen B's blog you can easily tell I read through her blog to get meal ideas for this past week. I think three of the things I've made have been recipes she's done recently? It's only fair since she does the same thing with my blog. ;) Plus the whole co-dependency thing, I can't always come up with my own ideas. I figured since I still had 3/4 pound of goat cheese left these would be a great dinner idea--and easy. Red peppers were on sale, too, so everything came together perfectly.

Grilled Red Pepper Relish and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
sliced bread
1 package of soft goat cheese (4 oz.)
softened light cream cheese(2 oz.)
1-2 roasted red peppers (jarred or fresh)
1 onion, quartered
4 cloves of fresh garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place roasted red pepper, onion, garlic, some juice from the pepper (or pepper jar) to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. In a separate small bowl, combine goat cheese and cream cheese until well mixed. On an indoor grill pan, grill the bread until toasted (about 2 minutes per side). Drizzle a little olive oil onto warm bread slices. Spread softened goat cheese mixture onto grilled bread slice. Top with red pepper relish and cover with a second piece of grilled bread. Cut in half and serve immediately.


Now, when I mixed up the relish part of this I was a bit nervous because it tasted really onion-y to me. Like REALLY onion-y, like all I could taste was onion. And I only used 3/4 of an onion (because the other 1/4 dropped on the floor and I didn't notice for was way beyond the 5-second rule). But, after it sat awhile and the flavors had time to combine, it wasn't nearly as onion-y as it had been. Paired with the goat cheese, it was AWESOME. This will definitely become a vegetarian staple in our house, especially since Costco has goat cheese for so cheap. I ended up using both of the red peppers I roasted. The last time I roasted peppers I had a hard time peeling of the skins, so I looked up on the Food Network website how to do it and found a great tutorial on how it should be done. This was super easy. I roasted mine under the broiler, then tossed them in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and forgot about them for awhile. When I remembered them, they were perfectly cooled off, and the skin came off really easily.

I did mine slightly different than Jen did hers. I had bought par-baked ciabatta rolls at Trader Joe's the other day, so I used those. I baked them for three minutes to crisp them up, then cut in half and put face down on my panini maker to toast the inside a little. I didn't want them to get soggy from the relish. I brushed the inside with some olive oil, then spread the relish on one side and the goat cheese on the other side. I stuck them together and put the whole thing back into the panini maker. Super easy. The second batch I brushed the tops of the rolls with some olive oil before putting them in the panini maker; I didn't notice too much of a difference, but I think those ones were slightly better.

Like I said, these were fantastic and definitely something I will be making again. The recipe made quite a bit of relish, so what we didn't use I stuck in a bag and put in the freezer. Especially since that part is already done, these will be even easier to make the next time we want them. Thanks, Jen, for a great dinner!!

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