Habanero Bacon Cream Cheese Corn Muffins

DSC09493

A lot of my posts recently have involved bacon. This one does too. With a nod to Harley Morenstein, bacon has been an omnipresent food trend for the last few years and I don’t see any end to the savory pork strip onslaught in the near future. While baconphilia has produced an incredible spectrum of twists on classic dishes – donuts, brussel sprouts, even sushi – with mostly positive reception, there is another seasonal trend this fall that is extremely polarizing. I am, of course, talking about pumpkin spice. Beginning with the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks in 2003, the obsession with this delicious flavor that evokes visions of multicolored trees and scarves has taken off astronomically. Even Harry Potter’s first drink at Hogwarts was pumpkin juice. While you will never catch me in public with a pumpkin flavored drink, Starbucks did introduce me to one of my favorite treats I often make starting around October: the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. This gem and/or calorie bomb combines the wonderful flavors of allspice to the richness of cream cheese. I’ve seen my friends eat five of these muffins at a time. But what if you’re like me and lack a major sweet tooth? Well, if I may be so bold as to offer a solution, I present to you Habanero Bacon Cornbread muffins.

Cornbread muffins have been around forever, and you can pretty much find them anywhere that has a meat and three or just plain down home Southern cooking. The twist here then is the addition of cream cheese to the middle of each bite. This is Texas though, so we need something better than just plain Kraft Philadelphia. This is where my favorite pepper comes in, the habanero. The key to making good habanero cream cheese is letting the whole mixture sit overnight. The longer it sits, and this is true for most spicy things, the more flavor and capsaicin is absorbed into the mixture. This is why the recipe below requires at least a day of pre-prep before the actual muffins are made. Besides the habaneros, I threw in some scallions from my garden, along with (surprise, surprise) bacon, and the extra jalapeño I had left over from making the muffins.  Honestly, you could stop after making the cream cheese and just make next level bagel sandwiches but people have been schmearing interesting spreads on bagels for years.

DSC09486

 

By the time you get done with the whole cooking process you have a cornbread muffin that could hold its own anywhere, but with addition of the cream cheese center you have upped the expectations for how cornbread should taste for everyone that tries one. The only downside to these muffins is that they are definitely much better warm then they are cold; then again, this is nothing 20 seconds in a microwave cannot fix.

 

You’ll Need

Habanero Cream Cheese

  • 24 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup diced habanero peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapeño (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped, cooked bacon

Corn Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt
  • 2/3 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted, plus more for coating the pan

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients into the cream cheese well in a bowl. Refrigerate over night.
  2. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the wells of a 12-well muffin pan with butter and set it aside for now.
  3. Place the cornmeal, 1/2 cup of the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine
  4. Place the corn and jalapeños in a bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of flour, and toss to combine
  5. Place the milk and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until the eggs are broken up. Pour the milk mixture and melted butter into the cornmeal mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until just incorporated and no streaks of butter remain. Keep it grainy.  Add the corn and jalapeños and stir until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin wells about 1/3 of the way up.
  7. Spoon a dollop of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of each well on top of the batter. Fill the rest of well with the remaining batter.
  8. Bake until golden brown around 15 to 17 minutes. The toothpick method doesn’t work here because there is cream cheese in the middle Let the muffins cool in the pan for around 5 minutes. Serve warm.

 

DSC09488

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffin Loaf

DSC09836

Yeah, I don’t even know. This started as a brainstorming session due to my inability to sleep, in turn, due to my inability to apply sunscreen to my back, which is now very, very red. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’d know I have an unhealthy obsession with pie. So, at approximately 2:45 am, I came up with the gem of an idea to take muffin mix, put it in a pie tin, and let it rise like some huge muffin. In the middle I could put blueberries or something. As I said, I don’t even know.

After going to my local Central Market to pick up ingredients for my lofty endeavor, I decided to tell my mother about my genius idea. About a minute into the conversation, I realized how idiotic I sounded, and that making a giant muffin pie was a moronic idea. The baking time it would take to get the muffin batter dry on the inside would render the top and bottom of the pie completely burnt. I already had the ingredients though, so what to do?

I’d be lying if I said I had a plan. I basically just whipped up some chocolate chip muffin batter. And in retrospect, I probably could/should have just poured them into baking cups and called it a day. But this is What A Twist. Dogs, dolphins, pigs and the rest of the intelligent animal community can easily bake chocolate chip muffins (read Redwall or The Wind in the Willows if you don’t believe me). Consequently, I took the aforementioned, and already purchased, blueberries and went rogue.

DSC09837

Taking two loaf pans I layered about 1/3 of the batter into one. Then I took about 2 pints of blueberries and rolled them in 3 tablespoons of the finest, uncut cornstarch money can buy. I’m not really sure why I did this, put you’re supposed to do it when you make blueberry pies so why not? Then I layered the blueberries on top of the batter I had poured. Doing the same thing for the other loaf pan, I quickly realized there’s no way in hell I’m getting two loaves out of this. So, throwing caution to the wind (by caution I mean the batter and blueberries in one pan, and by wind I mean the other pan) I turned my creation into a double layered chocolate chip blueberry muffin cake loaf thing. Then I baked it f0r 40 minutes. And, to be real with you, it turned out to be a delectable treat, perfect, in the words of my mother, with tea or coffee. And with that, I give you the recipe.

DSC09845

You’ll Need

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 white sugar (depending on how sweet you want this)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of milk (I used 1% because it’s swimsuit season and I’m that vain, but whole would probably be better)
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil (or melted butter if that floats your boat)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 quarts of blueberries, rinsed, patted dry
  • 3 tbsp corn starch

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips
  3. In another bowl, whisk together milk, oil and egg.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until you get a batter, obviously it will be lumpy because of the chocolate chips
  5. Add blueberries in a bowl and toss in cornstarch.
  6. Butter and Flour a 9×5 loaf pan.
  7. Add one third of the batter to the bottom of the pan, then add a layer of blueberries, trying not to get excess corn starch in the pan
  8. Cover the blueberry layer with another third of the batter and then add another layer of blueberries
  9. Pour the rest of the batter over the second blueberry layer
  10. Bake for ~40 minutes, using a toothpick to gauge when the loaf is done.

DSC09850

Sea Salt Chocolate Pretzel Pie

chocolate pie header image

I love pie like Brick Tamland loves lamp. The love affair began when I crossed the threshold of Emporium Pies, a little slice of heaven nestled in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas. With items like Red Velvet Cream Cheese Chess Pie and Sweet Potato Crust Pumpkin Pie, it’s hard to not instantly fall in love with the Emporium. The great coffee and almost overwhelmingly friendly service are just bonuses that go along with these creatively contrived confections.

The only negative thing I can say about the Emporium is that the pies are a tad pricey to be buying on the regular. $30 for a normal pie and $40 for their deep dish apple “Lord of the Pies” does not a full wallet make. Therefore, there comes a time in every man’s life where he must buckle down and take the pie making process into his own hands. And so that is what I did.

photo 3

Since I respect and value all pies equally, regardless of gender, race, creed, or flavor, I found myself at a loss for direction when I made the (highly impulsive) decision to bake my own pie. I decided to crowd source ideas, and from my girlfriend I got toffee pretzel crust with a chocolate sea salt filling. While I didn’t exactly follow the toffee part of the suggestion — to be honest I always thought toffee was what old people eat while watching Maury at 3pm before bedtime — I took the rest of the suggestion and went ahead with this pie.

pie crust header

One motto I’ve always stood by for pies (and tarts, and quiches, and pizza) is that a pie is only as good as its crust. And by god this was a good crust. The toughest part of making this recipe was crushing up the pretzels to use in the crust. It’s a similar method to graham cracker crust except saltier. To crush up the pretzels I put a half pound into a plastic bag and beat it senseless with my hands. Then I threw the bag on the ground and stomped on it for a while, doing a jig-like dance atop the pretzels. Next, I took the bag of semi-crushed pretzels and ran it over about 40 times with my car. Then I took the bag and emptied it into my Vitamix. Then finally, I poured the crumbs into a mortar and crushed it vigorously for half an hour with a pestle. At this point I had a pretty fine consistency of pretzel crumbs and was good to go. If I had to do it all over, I would probably just start and end with running over the pretzels with my car; it seemed to prove most effective. Using brown sugar and butter as my only other two ingredients for the crust basically added the toffee flavor in anyways.

DSC09782

After baking the crust, I made a simple chocolate ganache, and poured it into the cooled pie crust for it to harden in the refrigerator. I also sprinkled a smattering of sea salt on top of the pie, as if the pretzel crust weren’t salty enough. Once the pie hardens, the obvious next step is to eat it. And god damn was it good, if I do say so myself.

DSC09787You’ll Need

  • 2.5 cups (half lb.) of crushed pretzels, crushed in one of the myriad aforementioned ways
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces (I used 62% cocoa but that can be adjusted)
  • 1 1/4 cups of cream
  • sea salt to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Mix crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar into bowl. Combine.
  3. Pack mixture into 9″ pie dish, making sure there are no holes in the crust.
  4. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then remove to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Bring 1 1/4 cups of cream to a simmer in a sauce pan.
  6. With chocolate in a glass bowl, pour cream over and mix until all chocolate is melted.
  7. Pour into the pie crust and smooth out.
  8. Scatter the sea salt
  9. Refrigerate to let set for 3 hours

DSC09796

Watermelon Jalepeño Mint Lemonade

DSC09753

One of my favorite things about summer produce is the watermelon salad my mother always makes as the weather gets hotter. Taking cubed watermelon, she adds basil, jalepeños and black sesame seeds for a perfect side salad in the sweltering Texas sun. Going on common sense, it’s a little hard to add tequila to a salad; thus, I give you: Watermelon Jalepeño Mint Lemonade.

DSC09748

This is the kind of drink that is a perfect poolside accompaniment to light appetizers and snacks like taquitos, chips, guacamole, and salsa. I just created a jalepeño mint syrup and then added watermelon puree to lemon juice and water. It was really that simple and took practically no time. Enjoy.

You’ll Need

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (6-10 lemons depending on size)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2.5 cups liquified watermelon pieces, in blender.
  • 1 jalepeño sliced (seeds or not, depending on heat preference)
  • 6 chopped leaves of mint + 6 for garnish.
  • Tequila (optional)

Method

  1. Add one cup of water to a sauce pan. Add sliced jalepeno and chopped mint. Bring to a boil.
  2. After boiling for about 2 minutes, add one cup of sugar until entirely dissolved. Let simmer for 5 more minutes then let cool for another 5.
  3. Using a pitcher and a fine strainer, strain the lemon juice, 3 cups of water, 2.5 cups of watermelon juice, and the simple syrup into the pitcher. Mix well and chill. Serve over ice.
  4. Do what you will with the tequila, I won’t judge.

DSC09757

Sandwich Pie

sandwich pie header

The reason I categorized this post under ‘sides’ comes from my reluctance to imply that a pie, one which also happens to be a huge sandwich, should be eaten by one person as a meal. Sandwich Pie, a recipe I’ve been making on occasion for the past few years, is meant to be shared.

sandwich pie ingredientsPies are nothing new. Neither are sandwiches. A Sandwich Pie is just a simple twist of two great things into the perfect hors d’oeuvre. I don’t like eating the same thing twice in a row so for this post I created a trio of pies: Reuben, Turkey and Pepperjack, and Kobe Beef and Cheddar. This first time I ever made sandwich pie, I actually combined all three varieties into one large pie; it was ambitious and quite frankly a little overwhelming.

DSC09712

The first thing I did with the pie crusts was to spread a thin layer of cream cheese at the bottom. I wish I could articulate a clear reason for why I did this, but in all honesty I just did it because it seemed right. For the turkey, I used a herb & chives cream cheese, and for the other two I used plain. This is probably an unnecessary step to take, and you are more than welcome to cut this out when you try it yourself.

DSC09725The next step is pretty self explanatory, just stack meat and cheese until you’ve filled the crust. All you have to do after that is get the top crust on, a feat which takes coordination and precision I don’t posses. Then you bake ’em, slice ’em, and serve ’em hot. A postprandial trip to the gym wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

DSC09719

 

You’ll Need

  • 6 frozen mini pie crusts. You could make your own but ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • 1/3 lb sliced turkey breast
  • 1/3 lb sliced roast beef. I used kobe beef but not everyone wants to pay $16/lb for deli meat.
  • 1/3 lb sliced corned beef. Pastrami would work too.
  • 4 slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 4 slices of baby swiss cheese
  • 4 slices cheddar
  • Cream cheese (both plain and herb & chives)
  • Sauerkraut to taste
  • 1000 island dressing

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Take 3 of the pie crusts and spread a thin layer of cream cheese at the bottom. Regular for the reuben and the roast beef, and herb & chive for the turkey
  3. Begin to layer the meats and cheese on top of each other until you fill the containing crust. For the reuben, add sauerkraut between one of the layers and spread the 1000 island at the top layer.
  4. With the other 3 pie crusts, gently defrost, 8 seconds in the microwave, then flip onto the filled crusts and seal the edges.
  5. Cut a small hole in the center of each pie
  6. Bake for 50-60 mins until crusts are golden brown

DSC09746

Destroying the Tuscan Kale Salad

Tuscan Kale Salad Closeup

The Tuscan kale salad has served me well over the years, be it in side dish or main course form. Ever since I discovered this simple and traditional Tuscan salad at Tavern Nashville, I’ve fervently attempted countless imitations of the recipe.

Ingredients for Tuscan Kale Salad

Traditionally, the Tuscan Kale salad is made with finely chopped kale (shocking, I know), an olive oil lemon dressing, toasted bread crumbs, pecorino, parmesan or asiago, and, on occasion, dried cranberries. What a boring salad that is though. Let’s make it crazy.

Chopped Kale

In my version, I replace the classic Italian hard cheese with gjetost. If you’ve had a salad with gjetost cheese in it before, you’re a liar. It’s not a thing. The creamy, carmel flavor of this cheese completely changes the flavor profile of the traditional dish. But why stop there? I replaced the lemon in the dressing with blood orange, changing up the citrus. Instead of the traditional Italian bread crumbs, I opted for crushed up blue corn chips, a nod to my Southwestern roots. At this point I realized this was getting a bit out of hand, so to make it completely out of hand, I added grated golden beets. Why not?

Golden Beets

The combination of the aforementioned ingredients proved to be surprisingly delicious. It can be served as an entree or divided up as side portions. The salad tastes absolutely nothing like the original dish upon which it’s modeled, and to me, that’s just perfect.

You’ll Need

  • 2-3 cups of Kale
  • 1/3 cup grated gjetost
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely mashed
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 blood orange, seeded and juiced
  • 1/3 cup blue corn chips, crushed
  • 1/3 cup grated golden beets

Method

  1. Cut away the kale leaf from the mid ribs into long strips. Turn the strips sideways to cut into small pieces of shredded kale. Set aside in a salad bowl.
  2. Add in the grated beets
  3. In a small bowl, mix together orange juice, olive oil, mashed garlic, and a pinch of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss.
  5. Add about three quarters of the cheese and re-toss
  6. Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, at minimum. You can also refrigerate it now and serve it later.
  7. Top the salad with the smashed corn chips and the rest of the cheese.

Tuscan Kale Salad

Mac and Cheese Sliders

DSC09697Memorial Day has absolutely nothing to do with food. Anyone claiming otherwise is sadly misinformed. The last Monday in May has everything to do with honoring the heroic men and women that have valiantly served and defended our country. That being said, a man’s got to eat. So on this day of giving thanks for our servicemen and servicewomen made the most American thing possible – burgers – and then shoved a healthy dose of more America inside – Macaroni and Cheese. Yes, I know Mac and Cheese is technically British but a. America does it better and b. if you disagree, feel free to email me your location and we can set up a physical altercation.

DSC09684

Keeping in step with the American theme, I decided to make my sauce pan a “Great Melting Pot”. Cheese from Ireland, England, and Norway all graced my pasta sauce. Yes, I realize this would only count as cultural diversity if we lived in the 18th century and I promise next time to add cotija, shanklish, and paneer for the more socially progressive palate.

DSC09687DSC09689

As for the burgers themselves I committed a cardinal sin. While fattier sausage increases the taste of beef patty burgers, adding it to bison ruined what would have been a perfect flavor. The next time I make this dish I would either subtract the sausage or replace the bison with beef.

DSC09692

There were certainly a few things I learned in the process of making these sliders. The first is that when you make homemade mac’n’cheese you must let the sauce simmer for at least fifteen minutes for it to be thick enough. The other thing I learned was that stuffing burgers is easy and any product created for such purpose is pointless.

DSC09693

You’ll Need

Macaroni and Cheese

DSC09685

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni or whatever small macaroni, I don’t care
  • 1 cup red leicester
  • 1 cup cheddar
  • .5 cup gjetost
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2.5 tbsp flour

Burgers

DSC09693

  • Dinner rolls
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb group bison
  • .5 lb italian sausage

Method

DSC09695

  1. Follow the box directions on your macaroni and cook it until just before al dente
  2. Drain the pasta and set aside
  3. Over medium heat in a sauce pan, melt 1/4 cup of butter.
  4. Slowly add the flour and mix to create a roux.
  5. Next add the milk
  6. Throw all the cheese in
  7. Stir on low heat until the cheese has melted. Keep occasionally stirring for another 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  8. Add in the macaroni and stir thoroughly.
  9. Take the sauce pan off the heat.
  10. In a mixing bowl combine the cracked egg and meats. Do not compress to hard.
  11. Using a little more than half the meat, create small patties with indentations in them, you should have 7 or 8.
  12. Spoon some of the mac’n’cheese into each indentation
  13. With the remaining meat, flatten out into thin patties to put over the base burgers. Crimp around the edges
  14. Throw these monstrosities on a medium high grill until cooked through.
  15. Serve on dinner rolls. If you need condiments, you probably don’t have taste buds.

DSC09702

Spoiling the Dog

DSC09633My dog has no idea how good she has it. Registered to the AKC as My Fair Lady of Glengowen, she’s basically a princess. So today, in lieu of people food, I give you dog biscuits. This recipe is basically an experiment in how ridiculously spoiled I can make my dog. I will admit, it seems (and is) a little stupid to spend any time cooking for a creature that will literally eat anything except for chili peppers. Nonetheless, I love cooking for others, and that is not limited to just humans.

DSC09613My dog’s absolute favorite thing to eat is cheese. Furthermore, as a carnivore, Bremee will eat any type of meat, regardless of the animal of origin. Just ask the family of rabbits that decided to make a home in my front yard if you don’t believe me. It makes sense, therefore, that any treat going to my dog should contain meat and cheese. While a cheeseburger or a taco would suffice for Bremee’s palate, here at What A Twist we’re on that next level and must cook accordingly.

DSC09617

DSC09620

So how can I make the most ridiculous dog treat possible? Well let’s start with the meat. I first considered beef, lamb, even bison. Those are all standard grocery store meats though (read: lame) and so I felt I had to step my game up. Enter duck bacon. Made from mallard duck breast, these delicious strips get fried in the best fat of all — duck fat. Now comes the cheese. Only using one kind of cheese is a move for elementary school lunches; consequently, I went with Lacy Swiss, Dubliner Cheddar, and Smoked Gouda. No rhyme nor reason, they just sounded good. Finally adding the buckwheat and coconut flour added the finishing touches to this ridiculous dog food recipe.

DSC09621

These biscuits for my dog were exactly what she wanted, ignoring the fact she will eat anything. I ended up throwing them in the freezer and using them for every time I needed to bribe her back into the house. So there you have it: Three Cheese Duck Bacon Dog Treats.

DSC09625

 You’ll Need

  • Absolutely no regard for how you spend your money
  • Mallard duck bacon. This can be found in the specialty meat section of your local grocery store or a specialty butcher. If you have access to neither of these options, your best bet would be to hire a realtor and move.
  • 1/2 cup grated swiss
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • Enough water to bind everything

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Add the duck bacon to a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked.
  3. Drain and dab the bacon. Set aside to cool.
  4. Throw the flours into a mixing bowl and add around a cup of water until you get biscuit dough consistency.
  5. Finely dice the cooled duck bacon.
  6. Add all the meat and cheese and stir into the dough.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface.
  8. Use a dog bone shaped cookie cutter to create these cute little treats. If you don’t have a dog bone shaped cookie cutter just give up.
  9. Throw these beautiful slabs of ridiculousness into the oven for 20 minutes.
  10. Let cool and use them to control your dog’s life.

DSC09626DSC09645

 

Gjetost: March is Underdog Month

Sliced gjetost cheese

Sliced gjetost cheese

As the month of March slowly winds down, I find myself in the same downtrodden position that 99% of the country currently sits in. No, I’m not referring to a wealth gap; rather, I feel camaraderie in the fact that, just like everyone else, I have a very, very busted bracket. Duke losing to Mercer, Stephen F. Austin over VCU, Dayton defeating Ohio State. I’ve given up. Which is totally fine because now I can focus on food again. But with the victory cry of the underdog still ringing in my head, I started thinking about underrated foods that sneak up on you out of nowhere and take you completely by surprise. And that brings me to Gjetost . (Give me a break, it’s hard to transition from American basketball to anything Norwegian) I first tried Gjetost (YEH-toast) at Abacus in Dallas. Abacus has long been my favorite restaurant in North Texas and recently was named a semifinalist for a Beard Award in Outstanding Service. This is a little ironic to me, because the first time I tried Gjetost at Abacus it was given to me as part of a complimentary sampler due to horrible service. The waiter told me it was like no cheese I had ever tasted, which seemed a presumptuous remark at the time, and insisted I try it first. At first taste, gjetost flew all the way up my list of favorite cheeses and nestled itself snugly under Manchego, my lord and savior of dairy products. Gjetost is a simple cheese. It has no mold, it isn’t infused with Claret or Vodka, and it is not aged. In both looking at and initially tasting Gjetost, you might find a striking resemblance to those small wrapped caramels that come in a festive bowl on the desk of the receptionist at the doctor’s office where you just paid way too much money for a flu shot around Thanksgiving. This caramel, or as some would say butterscotch, flavor is exactly what my Abacus waiter meant when he said there isn’t a cheese like it. As I referenced, Gjetost is from Norway, the country that gave us the ’94 Olympics and subconscious aspirations to become professional biathletes. A few centuries back, the Norwegians of Gudbrandsdalen Valley near Lillehammer, industrious people that they are, realized that after making their cheese in the traditional way, they could take the left over whey, a byproduct of cheese making, and boil it over heat until it was condensed to around 25% of it’s original volume. This process causes the lactose sugars to caramelize, thus the taste, and then the mixture is poured into molds. The result is a semisoft cheese that can tolerate changes in temperature. For this reason, it became a popular snack with the Norwegians because they could carry it while skiing, because obviously everyone in Norway is a professional skier. Ski Queen GjetostAs gje in Norwegian means goat, it follows that the cheese, to be called gjetost, must contain at least 10% goat milk. The gjetost cheese above marketed by Ski Queen in the U.S. is a combination of goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and cream. Below is gjetost made completely of goat’s milk and you can certainly taste the difference between the two. I prefer the former. ekte gjetost   While gjetost is traditionally served by itself in thin slices, or upon Norwegian flatbread for breakfast, its sweet, carmel taste allows it to function as dessert, usually served with fresh fruit. Furthermore, for the more adventurous, gjetost can be used in every day recipes to change the flavor profile of a dish as I will demonstrate in later posts. Although enjoying gjetost is extremely easy, finding it is quite the opposite. Calling speciality cheese shops in your area is probably the way to go. For those of us in North Texas, the Central Market on Lovers Lane carries it. Most easily, though, just order it.

Welcome to What A Twist

IMG_0672

This post is simply my toe in the water that is the ocean of blogging. Merely an attempt to add content to what I hope to be a one-day moderately perused site, I will be updating the information on this blog on a regular basis. The content will span a wide array of topics and styles including the run-of-the-mill recipe post, to restaurant reviews around the country, to even essays and editorials on food, food policy, and all things culinary. Visit my Vision page to find out more about what I am trying to do with What A Twist.

About two years ago, and many more years before of scouring myriad blogs, I decided to pursue my pipe dream of writing, designing, and cooking up my own food blog. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, but I find that to be part of the fun of the whole endeavor: learn as I go.

Please enjoy my offerings and accept my gratitude for allowing me to share my passion with you.