Open Faced Orange, Pesto and Cheesy Tuna Sandwich

Cold winter mornings always bring me back to those simple warm lunches that Mom would make. The stay in your pj’s all day kind of days. The fish of the sea is something some people wouldn’t touch, but it’s one of those comfort foods that I love to pair with a good cheese.

I went to a friend’s after Christmas holiday party and we played White Elephant. Guess what I won.  A box of delicious, cold cheese.

One of the cheeses in the box was Mountina Cheese, an Alpine cheese from Montana. It has a smooth nutty flavor, reminiscent of a Gruyère.

Open Faced Orange, Pesto and Cheesy Tuna Sandwich

Open Faced Orange, Pesto and Cheesy Tuna Sandwich

I was craving a tuna sandwich, but of course also some cheese, so I looked in my cabinets and fridge to see what I could whip up. Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Bread
  • Tuna
  • Mayo
  • Slice of orange for a spritz of juice
  • Pesto
  • Mountina Cheese or a Gruyère
  • Arugula
  • Olive Oil (I used one infused with garlic)
  1. Mix the tuna and mayo together
  2. Squeeze the orange to get the juice out. Normally I use lemon, but didn’t have any. I’m glad I didn’t because it brought a floral taste to the sandwich. Also, I drop the orange rinds down my disposal after to make my kitchen smell fresh!
  3. Use a cheese grater to get thin pieces of the cheese. Mix into your tuna.
  4. I don’t usually toast my bread  before I broil, because I like it to still be a little soft. If you like crispy, toast your bread.
  5. Spread pesto on bread, then the tuna mix. Pop in the oven and broil on low for about 10 minutes.
  6. After the cheese has melted and the tuna is warm, pull out and top with arugula.
  7. Pour a tablespoon of garlic olive oil and drizzle on top of the arugula.
  8. Get a glass of milk and enjoy!

These cheeses came from local Cheese Queen, Lara Mulchay, who owns Petit Fromage & of Hot Dish Inc., a pop-up cheese shop.  You can check out her products here: http://hotdishinc.com/shop/

 

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Black Truffle Bacon Mac & Cheese

I’m sorry to those of you who I said I would post this recipe sooner but the holiday season brought on a wonderful sickness in my household! Cheers to Kleenex and Nyquil stocking stuffers!

Alright, so I met Go Lb. Salt at the Mac and Cheese Throwdown this past year. Aaron is awesome and gave me some of his new black truffle bacon. I knew when I laid eyes on this thick cut bacon I had to put it in my favorite dish. Lucky for my family, I made it on Thanksgiving for them.

Black Truffle Mac and Cheese

Black Truffle Mac and Cheese

Here is the recipe that I used from Chow.com to make my from-scratch macaroni and cheese. Chow.com got the recipe from Homeroom a restaurant in California that sell nothing but mac and cheese. (I die.)

The recipe didn’t include bacon but don’t forget it! I mixed it in before baking, and also saved some to sprinkle on top. The truffle bacon is going to be the hardest part. If you can’t get some of Go Lb. Salt’s bacon, get thick cut bacon and drizzle a little truffle oil into the dish.

 (My notes below in italics)

For the béchamel:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (Since you’re using bacon, I would recommend less salt)

To assemble:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounces shredded 2-year aged sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)
  • 3 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup panko (optional, but I used since I baked)

For the béchamel:

  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to a simmer, then turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. While whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth. (It will get very thick when you first add the milk, then thin out.)
  4. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and while whisking constantly, cook until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the salt, taste, and add the remaining salt as desired. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To assemble:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it’s almost al dente (just on the edge of being underdone), then drain and rinse with cold water; set aside. (If you plan to top the mac ‘n’ cheese with panko and bake it, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.)
  2. Place the reserved saucepan of béchamel over medium heat and stir in both cheeses just until melted and smooth. Add the pasta and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is heated through and steaming, about 2 to 4 minutes. (THIS IS WHERE I ADDED TRUFFLE BACON.) Serve immediately or, if baking, transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the panko (AND BACON), and bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.

If you don’t want to bake and want the ultimate creamy dish, just serve and top with the bacon.