Ham & Brie Melt with Peppercress Micro Greens from Gilded Greens

Ham and Brie Melt Featuring Gilded Greens' Pepper Cress Micro Greens | The Spicy Bee

After our heatwave broke here in Portland (multiple days over 100°F in June!?), I found myself craving hot, delicious, melty sandwiches. I had also just come into some fun peppercress micro greens from Gilded Greens, located here in PDX, so I put my thinking cap on and came up with a sandwich, which rivals all other sandwiches in my arsenal: The Ham and Brie Melt with pickled shallots, honey dijon (Toby’s Honey Dijon Dressing), mayo, and peppercress. I enjoyed this delightful melt with some wavy BBQ chips (because, summer), and our newest beer on the keg, Occidental’s Alt.

Before I get into this too much, I should explain how I approach building a proper melt because perhaps this is your first time attempting one at home. Start with a beautiful loaf of bread; I, myself, fell hard for Pearl Bakery’s Paesano loaf from the Wednesday Park Blocks Farmer’s Market–it’s like fluffy white bread center meets the thinnest, golden crust. It’s perfection for melt-making in my opinion. Slice off up to 1 inch thick slabs, spread one side (this will eventually become the inside of your melt) with mayonnaise, and toss onto a hot (HOT) cast iron skillet until nicely browned. This is a trick to aid in the melting of the brie as well as creating a crunch to the inside of the sandwich. The mayonnaise can be subbed out for butter instead if you prefer. This method should be done with both pieces of bread, though that said, you can also make a melt open faced–so how much bread you use is really up to you.

What I loved about these pepper cress is their spice! They add the perfect amount of crunch and their assertive flavoring means that a little goes a long way! They are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium as well. You can get your hands on Gilded Greens‘ many micro greens options by contacting them via the Gilded Greens Facebook Page.

Ham & Brie Melt with Pickled Shallots, Honey Dijon, Mayo & Peppercress Micro Greens from Gilded Greens

Ham and Brie Melt Featuring Gilded Greens' Pepper Cress Micro Greens | The Spicy Bee

Ingredients

  • 4 Slices of hearty, Italian bread
  • 2-3 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T Toby’s Honey Dijon Dressing (or other honey mustard)
  • 6 oz Applewood smoked ham
  • 8 oz Double cream Brie
  • 1/4 c Red wine vinegar
  • 1 Large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 oz Gilded Greens peppercress

Method

Ham and Brie Melt Featuring Gilded Greens' Pepper Cress Micro Greens | The Spicy Bee

In a small bowl, combine the shallot and red wine vinegar to give them a light pickle; set to side. Apply mayo to one side of each slice of bread and place in a hot cast iron until browned–this will become the inside of your melt. *Assemble one sandwich at a time–showing toasted sides up, place nice fat slices of brie straight to the hot, toasty side and top with greens. For the other slice, slather on the honey mustard and top with ham. Remove shallots from vinegar bath and apply them to the sandwich. Vinegar can be disposed of or reused to dress a salad.

Put sandwich together, apply more mayo, and place back in pan to toast. Apply mayo to the final side and flip! Brown to your preferred level of darkness. Repeat instructions from *asterisk* above for second sandwich.

Slice and serve immediately! This recipe makes 2 sandwiches.

Kriekfest

Cushy grass underfoot, a glass filled with ruby colored elixir and Mt. Hood filling your periphery—this, my friends, is Kriekfest. 
 
Going on its second year this summer, Kriekfest is a small festival celebrating beer known as kriek, a flemish-style beer aged over fresh cherries. The festival takes place in the back of Solera Brewing in Mt. Hood Parkdale, OR, and the vibe is both family friendly, and what I would term as hipster-lite. Guests are encouraged to camp as accommodations are slim in the area. For those that prefer an all-inclusive package, Brewvana offers a ticket that includes transport both directions from Portland, admission, and three extra drink tickets that those attending at the general admission level will not receive. For those interested in a little more adventure, I suggest either following the camping suggestions on the Kriekfest site or investing in this little gem of a book, Camp Free in the Mt. Hood National Forest by Don Reichart and finding somewhere free to crash with your tent.
 
General admission is $25 per person and includes eight drink tickets and a souvenir glass. Beers range from 1-4 tickets based on rarity, and 2016 breweries included: Alesong (Eugene, OR), Block 15 (Corvallis, OR), Hanssens (Belgium), Jester King (Austin, TX), Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River, OR), Upright Brewing (Portland, OR),  Solera Brewing (Parkdale, OR), Modern Times (San Diego, CA), Wolves & People (Newberg, OR), Finnriver (Chimacum, WA), and more.
 Kriekfest in Mt. Hood Parkdale 2017
I highly suggest adding this fest to your “must attend” list as its still got all the great qualities of a small-time festival (grassy, short lines, easy and free parking, quirky entertainment, affordable) but with beers that ended up fetching 95+ pts via Ratebeer.com (e.g. Lost Abbey’s Cuvee de Tomme, 3 Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek, and Bruery Terreux Sans Pagaie just to name a few! And I haven’t even mentioned the food!! Apple Valley BBQ set up a special spot within the fest in 2016. If you’ve been like me and missed out on their delectable BBQ every other time you’ve visited Mt. Hood Parkdale (because they run out!), this is the perfect chance to acquaint yourself with their brilliance.
 
Do yourself a favor and get your tickets now for this magical festival of cherry-centric beers. Be sure to roll into Hood River beforehand and pick up some cherries at the farmer’s market to take home as well since this event is going to have you falling in love with the fruit harvested a stone’s throw from the festival grounds.

Spring Romaine Salad with Bacon, Radish and Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby’s Dressings

The Spicy Bee National Salad Month Bacon, Radish, & Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby's Dressing and Dip

This post is sponsored by Toby’s Family Foods. All thoughts, photos, and opinions are my own.

Springtime farmer’s markets in Portland, OR is like going into a candy store if you like salads. I especially enjoy walking through the Wednesday market in downtown’s Park Blocks to peruse the colorful produce. Stumbling across a new item I’ve never cooked with is a common occurrence in the NW market–mizuna (aka Japanese mustard greens), calcots (sweet green onions made popular in Catalonia), and kale raab (whenever you see the word raab, think blossoms) were all items I ran into in the same week! The funniest part of this story is definitely purchasing kale raab only to realize later that evening I have plentiful supply that I’ve been hacking out of my garden and just tossing out! Little did I know that kale blossoms are quite lovely and sweet when cooked over high heat (like on a grill).

May is National Salad Month, and for that reason, I’ve teamed up with Toby’s Family Foods to share some fresh salad ideas! We try and do salad as a meal at least four times a week, and when I’m not making my own vinaigrettes, I’m usually tossing in one of Toby’s Dressings–staples in our home are understandably the Blue Cheese and Jalapeño Ranch. Today’s recipe is harnessing the quick and easy prep of asparagus paired with fresh spring radishes, savory bacon, and Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing. I really enjoy serving this recipe with the ends of the asparagus dipped in the dressing as it allows for a much prettier presentation than chopped asparagus, however should you choose to chop it and toss it in, that works too.

Spring Romaine Salad with Bacon, Radish and Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing

The Spicy Bee National Salad Month Bacon, Radish, & Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby's Dressing and Dip #Sponsored

Ingredients

  • 1 Large head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1 Carrot, thinly sliced with a mandolin or hand peeler
  • 6 Spears of fresh asparagus, cut and blanched (see below instructions)
  • 3 Radishes, thinly sliced with a mandolin
  • 3-4 Slices of bacon, cooked and drained of fat
  • 3-4 T Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Pepper to taste

Method

Begin by blanching the asparagus; bring a medium sized pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in the asparagus and set a timer for 1 minute. Remove the asparagus using tongs or a spider skimmer and test–should you like your asparagus cooked through a little more feel free to return to the pot for an additional 30-60 seconds, however I prefer mine to maintain its bite quality. Set to the side to rest on some paper towels.

Meanwhile, plate the lettuce and top with sliced carrot, radishes, and bacon. Dress liberally and dip the ends of the asparagus and border the salad with them. Apply pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Recipe serves 2.