Peach Pesto Grilled Cheese with Smoked Mozzarella, Caramelized Onions, and Thyme

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This time last year: No-Bake Energy Bites (2012)

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My mom has this amazing tradition of going to the farmers market every Saturday morning.  I know a lot of people participate in this tradition, and that she is not necessarily unique in that, but it was new for me!

Sleep and I get along really well.

Regardless, my early-bird extremely productive mother gets up every Saturday, grabs a cup of coffee at one of the food stands, and strolls through the market, gently gathering her produce for the week.

I was home for the last few weeks of August, and managed to pull my sleepy-head self out of bed to join my mom on these early morning escapades. We strolled through the market smelling flowers, squeezing peaches, and drooling over the fresh baked bread.  It was really beautiful.

Although the calendar says that summer is coming to an end, you would not have been able to tell at the neighborhood market. The produce stands were overflowing, offering dripping peach slices into chubby children’s hands, and weighing down folding tables with pyramids of delicately balanced piles of sweet corn and ripe tomatoes.

As we gathered together fresh peaches, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs, this recipe was born.  There is something so wonderful in a simple grilled cheese sandwich. There’s something even more wonderful in dressing that classic recipe up with what’s in season- in our case, homemade pesto, fresh peaches, and thyme. I hope you like it as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Two pieces of thick sandwich bread (I bought a fresh loaf of cheddar and pesto bread from a nearby bakery!)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 peach, cut into thin slices
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once warm, add the onion to the pan and cook for two minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and cook for another minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading pesto on one side of the bread. Add a layer of cheese on each piece, and top with peach slices, the balsamic onion, and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Close the sandwich and butter the outside pieces of bread.
  4. Cook the sandwich over medium heat until the cheese is melted. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 1 Sandwich
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe Links found below photos!):

Summer Peach Panini

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Alright, this is officially a themed week, and as you could have guessed it, the theme is (drum roll please), peaches!

In the past I have spent time planning out a few themed weeks, being very intentional about the recipes I used and what the theme would be.  That intentionality and long-term planning was completely missing in the creation of this theme.

This pattern of peach recipes derived from my need to finish a case of peaches before they all went bad, resulting in peaches being incorporated into all parts of my diet.  I loved it.

Try this delicious peach panini while the peaches are still fresh and rich! The combination of spice in the Dijon, with the obvious sweetness from the peaches and honey, melts together in a combination that is the best of both (sweet and salty) worlds.

So check back soon, because I have some more peach recipes that will have you thanking God for the summertime.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • Sprinkle of brown sugar
  • 8 bread slices*
  • 4 teaspoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 (1-oz.) Fontina cheese slices
  • 2 medium peaches, unpeeled and sliced
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Once hot, add the onions and brown sugar,  cooking over medium-low heat for roughly 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Click here for a thorough explanation on how to caramelize onions!
  2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan, or if using a panini grill, brush with a thin layer of olive oil.
  3. Spread 1 teaspoon of mustard on 4* slices of bread and sprinkle with a desired amount of ground pepper.
  4. Layer the bread with sliced cheese, about 4-6 slices of peach (however many will easily lay on the read), and drizzle with honey.
  5. Top each sandwich with a remaining slice of bread, gently press together, and grill or fry as desired, over medium heat, until the cheese is melted and the bread golden brown.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • If using a panini grill, I suggest using a crisp bread such as Ciabata. If grilling on a frying pan or griddle, I suggest using a whole grain large loaf bread.
  • If you’re someone who really likes a kick or is a big Dijon fan, I suggest spreading a little Dijon on both slices of bread (8 total), instead of only one slice per sandwich.
  • Adapted from Southern Living, June 2012
  • Like this sandwich? Check out these other delicious recipes from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’ Click the links below for the recipes!:

Tangy Strawberry Balsamic Tempeh Sandwich (or salad!)

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A few weekends ago my cousin and I were making dinner together. She suggested a salad, I suggested tempeh, she suggested strawberries, and it was a date! Together in her kitchen we were cooking and chatting away, as I volunteered to come up with a marinade for the tempeh.

My go-to ingredient for every sauce, dip, and marinade is always Balsamic Vinegar. I love it! My brilliant cousin Bekah, however, is the one who made this marinade awesome. Bekah came up with the dazzling idea to add orange juice to the marinade, which took this tempeh from delicious and traditional to exotic, fresh, and unique! I swear, I’m never going to want to make tempeh any other way.

Since that night I’ve made this dish in both salad and sandwich form, so I thought I’d share the sandwich variation with you. Although, if you are looking for a gluten free or low carb variation, check the notes and tips section below for the salad suggestion!

Yet again, I am grateful for rented kitchens, family, time together around the table, and experiments. Bring on the strawberries, and bring on the summer.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus 1 Tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon agave
  • Generous sprinkle of sea salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper
  • 2 Buns, toasted
  • 1 block of tempeh
  • 10-20 Spinach leaves, rinsed and the stems removed
  • 5-10 Strawberries, sliced into thing pieces
  • 4 thin sandwich slices of Havarti cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice the tempeh into thin strips. (I cut the block in half, turned those halves on their ends and sliced those in two. Then I cut those 4 thin squares into 2-4 long strips each!)
  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, agave, sea salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and mix well.  Add the tempeh to the dish and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Flip the tempeh pieces to allow equal soaking.
  3.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add the tempeh pieces to the pan once the oil is hot.  Cook for 3 minutes on one side and then flip.
  4. Drizzle 1/3 of the marinade sauce over the tops of the tempeh pieces and tilt the pan to allow the sauce to slide under the tempeh pieces. As you continue to cook the tempeh and rotate it, continue to drizzle the sauce over the tempeh. This will create a caramelized exterior, darken the tempeh, and significantly increase the flavor.
  5. Once the tempeh is cooked, assemble your sandwich by placing a slice of Havarti cheese on each side of a freshly toasted bun (this helps the cheese melt!). Then stack with spinach leaves, strawberry slices, tempeh, and top with the other half of the bun. Enjoy while it’s hot!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 large sandwiches (potentially with a few pieces of tempeh left over!)
  • Gluten free and low carb variation: Prepare the tempeh in the same way, but serve over a spinach leaf salad. Crumble some harvarti cheese and slice up a few strawberries to throw on top, and you won’t even miss the bread! Other possible toppings: sunflower seeds and sliced purple onion.
  • Be careful when pouring the marinade into your frying pan- if your pan is too hot and you pour the marinade over the tempeh it may spit! If this happens, simply turn down the heat and wear an oven glove while you pour. I did not have a problem with this but do not want anyone to move too quickly and get burned!)
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • If you like this post, check out these other delicious meals from ‘a rented kitchen!’: