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Roasted Veggies and Fried Cheese

When Lilandra came to visit a couple weeks ago, I made dinner. It’s always easier and more interesting to cook special meals when someone is there to share. After having received several snide comments about her hoping there’d be food, I decided to try some things I’d wanted to experiment with for a while. The whole menu as pictured from the left then clockwise round the plate:

  • Pan-fried Havarti Crostini
  • Rocket leaves for greenery
  • Roasted Potato rubbed with garlic from a Roasted head of garlic
  • Roasted Aubergine and Crimini Mushroom
  • Steamed Cauliflower

First the FRIED CHEESE!!

Ever since we watched the Take Home Chef (before May 1, 2007 and Food Network on TT cable, this show on TLC was really the only cooking-show fix we had), where chef/host Curtis Stone made these Pan-Fried Scandinavian Cheese on Crostini we’ve been dreaming of trying it. I mean, fried cheese on crusty slices of French bread? Mmmmm. Being in Barbados with access to lots of cool ingredients in the posh groceries, I bought a block of Havarti cheese weeks before, just waiting to try it out.

Before I picked Lilandra up from the airport I cut the cheese into rectangular slices and popped them in the freezer (it needs to be somewhat frozen so it doesn’t melt and ooze into a gooey mess while frying). Back from the airport a little more than an hour later, it was back to the recipe.

Before frying the cheese, prep the bread. Slice the baguette a little diagonally into thin slices, brush with oil (and some of the roasted garlic) and toast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until golden and crisp. While that’s happening, fry the cheese!
Oozing Frying CheeseRinse the cheese in cold water quickly then dredge in flour. Then it’s on to the FRYING. Fry the floured cheese slices in a couple tablespoons of oil until it’s golden on both sides. Pay attention and don’t cook it too long, as the cheese will melt and bubble and ooze out of its crust. This is what happened to me when I ran to get the camera to capture the beauty of frying cheese. Fortunately, it wasn’t too far gone.

Place the fried cheese onto the crostini and enjoy nice and hot. The cheese will ooze and be melty inside the golden crust. Now, Curtis topped this crostini with sour cherry jam. I wasn’t too sure about that so didn’t try it this time, but the truth is, fried havarti is very savoury, cheesy and a bit salty. So…a touch of sweetness on top may be a very nice contrast. Next time!

Roasted Aubergine and Crimini Mushrooms

These were basically sliced, tossed with some cracked black pepper and cilantro and roasted until cooked the way I wanted it. The method that was new for me was the prepping of the Aubergine (by the way, I do call it eggplant, melongene or baigan, but feel like using “aubergine” this time – I don’t use that word enough!). I watched Alton Brown on the Good Eats episode “Berry from another planet” (Alton Brown is without a doubt my favourite tv chef – explanations, history, scientific reactions, diagrams and huge molecular models – what more could one want?) and I like the way he did the purging of the aubergine. It took me a while to learn to purge aubergine before some cooking, so the whole process is still a bit new to me. Always wonder – how much salt? Will it taste salty? How long should it drain for etc etc. But now I know – slice, salt liberally and let drain for at least 30 minutes – to drain, Alton laid them out on a rack over a sheet pan. Recipes usually tell you to lay on absorbent paper. That’s messy. I like the draining on a rack. I sat it over a bowl and lots of dark brown liquid was there after half an hour. Nice. Rinse and roll in paper towels to dry.

Roasting a head of garlic

I love garlic. Tried very hard in this meal not to add it to EVERYTHING as would be my instinct :-) But since I had the oven on, roasting the potatoes and veggies, I thought “why not roast a head of garlic?”. I have seen it done on so many shows, where they roast it till the garlic is soft and spreadable and mmmm. Well, at least I assumed it was mmmm. I sliced off the top of the head (hehe, how often does one get to say that unless they are a neurosurgeon or something?), drizzled with olive oil and popped it into the oven. Roasted till it looked cooked soft and spreadable.

I used this lovely spready garlic to spread on the crostini and then on the potatoes. After they were roasted, we (Lilandra) sliced them in half and spread some of the garlic with butter (ok, I didn’t have butter and we had to use margarine, but that was the intention). Then the potato halves go back in the oven until a little golden on top and the kitchen smells even better.

The meal was fun to make, didn’t actually take too long to organise and it was actually appreciated by the guest. I really should make things that I have collected in my head more often! The Pan-Fried Havarti Crostini was really the best part, both for fulfilled expectations and just because, as you may have surmised, it was FRIED CHEESE.

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21 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. Hmmm …….
    I did not get any special meal while I was there. Need to visit when Lilandra is visiting to ensure I get such savory and tasty looking food.

    1. trinimom on May 4th, 2007 at 8:21 pm
  2. I am fairly certain I grilled some really nice Scottish salmon http://flickr.com/photos/chennette/449162474/ for you. Almost a complete meal since I served it up with rocket leaves and you made the oildown.

    2. chennette on May 4th, 2007 at 8:23 pm
  3. The aubergine/crostini and french bread came in handy for sandwiches at Kensington the next day!

    We have Havarti…

    3. Lilandra on May 4th, 2007 at 11:59 pm
  4. well chennette i really cant say i would be trying this reciepe of your. it sounds a bit wacky. but i am sure it was great. i need to expand and try these foods more. Good cooking and good luck. Buy the way could you post a good chocolate cake recipe for me. my b day is comming up and i want to make a good chocolate cake.

    4. mustapha on May 5th, 2007 at 3:50 pm
  5. chennette cyah make cake

    5. Lilandra on May 5th, 2007 at 5:29 pm
  6. @ Mustapha – every now and then it’s good to try something completely out there. Especially if it involves cheese and bread 😀

    @ Lilandra – you know, people didn’t have to know that. I could have learned recently. Or tried 😛

    6. chennette on May 5th, 2007 at 6:46 pm
  7. well
    if you follow a recipe

    7. Lilandra on May 6th, 2007 at 1:29 am
  8. oooo lala :) tres gourmet 😀

    *watching french election results while typing this adds a certain je ne sais quoi 😀 &

    8. The TriniGourmet on May 6th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
  9. j’adore roasted garlic btw, so sublime, so sweet, so creamy, so decadent 😀

    what’s wack about this?

    9. The TriniGourmet on May 6th, 2007 at 2:47 pm
  10. ah, oui, le “je ne sais quoi”, la qualité française – bien que le fromage soit, en fait, danois…

    I think the idea of frying cheese may be the odd thing for some – it certainly was for me, although I knew it had to be delicious. When Curtis first did it on Take Home Chef, Lilandra and I actually missed the frying I think. That episode had 2 women who were engaged in some extreme flirting and drinking with Curtis while making dinner for their husbands. We were cracking up and while we saw the chilling of the havarti, and the cutting and dredging, it was only when he was laying it out on the crostini that I noticed the brown spots and asked “did he FRY those?”

    10. chennette on May 6th, 2007 at 4:03 pm
  11. lol
    i remember that
    the confusion!

    11. Lilandra on May 6th, 2007 at 8:08 pm
  12. I enjoyed this post and moreso the comments. Fried cheese eh?. That was certainly a gourmet meal. I love roast garlic. I roast at least 4 bulbs sometimes. Squeeze them from their skins and keep them in a jar with a little olive oil in the fridge so I always have some on hand.

    Lilandra is lucky to have you :)

    12. Cynthia on May 6th, 2007 at 8:28 pm
  13. Cynthia – that suggestion sounds wonderful. I think I’ll be roasting some garlic bulbs as soon as I get back to Guyana.

    13. chennette on May 6th, 2007 at 8:36 pm
  14. ha! *she* is lucky to have me.
    and i helped.
    i would’ve cooked for her if she helped

    14. Lilandra on May 6th, 2007 at 9:28 pm
  15. “I am fairly certain I grilled some really nice Scottish salmon for you. Almost a complete meal since I served it up with rocket leaves and you made the oildown.”

    Hmmmm see how I forget most times hehehehehe.
    I do apologise and thanks for reminding me . The Scottish Salmon was lovely and tasted so good, not heavy on the tongue at all as the ones we get from the fisherman in the vans early mornings.

    15. trinimom on May 9th, 2007 at 6:35 am
  16. I miss good scottish salmon.


    Not so easy to get great fish in Cambridge … grrrr.

    16. ewe_are_here on May 10th, 2007 at 10:22 am
  17. you’re not close enough to the North Sea??? Oh no. That’s not good. No Highland Coos. No Scottish Salmon.

    17. chennette on May 10th, 2007 at 10:27 am
  18. wow…are you IN Barbados? My family is from there…

    18. courtney on August 29th, 2007 at 10:31 pm
  19. Hi and Welcome Courtney! I was indeed in Barbados from January to May, but am now back in Guyana. Where the aubergines/baigans are much bigger and less cute :-) but tasty as well I am sure.

    19. chennette on August 30th, 2007 at 11:15 am
  20. lol! cool! I have bookmarked you and will be checking in daily! :)

    20. courtney on August 30th, 2007 at 7:20 pm
  21. Ok, fried cheese AND garlic and roasted veggies-there’s a trinity I can believe in:) YUM. Can’t wait to put them all together, sounded like a fun and very delicious meal.

    21. Michelle on September 3rd, 2012 at 10:18 pm

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