Tag Archives: Gouda cheese

Artisan Gouda & Prosciutto Bread

Here’s an oldie but goodie that I keep coming back to time and time again. While delicious freshly baked bread is readily available here in Belgium there is really nothing like baking your own. Sure it takes time but it is so worth it.


One of my culinary goals for 2013 is to bake more bread.  I’m not talking quick breads; rather yeasted doughs that, while they take more time to put together, are worth the effort.  To kick off this year’s effort, I tested a bacon-cheese bread from the Noblepig.com blog.  As the recipe promised, the dough came together quickly and didn’t require any kneading. I didn’t even get to break out my trusty Kitchen Aid dough hook!  As usual, I was not able to find any cheddar cheese, so I swapped it out with an aged Gouda, achieving what I deem are with tasty results.  I also used prosciutto instead of bacon.  I diced it up then fried it until crispy before adding it to the dough along with the cheese.

The recipe produces two good sized loafs.  Because the dough can be refrigerated I baked one over the weekend then the other one later in the week.  It turns out that there is nothing better than a fresh baked loaf of bread on a weeknight (or weekday morning).


10 slices thick cut bacon or prosciutto, diced
8 ounces shredded aged Gouda cheese
2 tablespoons granulated yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
5 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • Cook the bacon or prosciutto over medium heat until brown and crunchy. Place on a paper towel-
    lined plate to drain.  Set aside.
  • Add the yeast to a large ceramic bowl.  Pour in the warm water and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.  Add the flour and salt.
  • Mix with the wooden spoon until the flour and salt are fully wet.  Add the cheese and
    bacon/prosciutto to the dough and stir until fully combined.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 3 hours.  After 3 hours place the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
  • When ready to bake, place a metal baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven.  Fill it with water.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Meanwhile, butter the bottom of an 11 x 17 inch baking tray and sprinkle the cornmeal over the
  • butter to prevent the break from sticking.
  • Divide the dough into two even loaves, shaping each into a ball.
  • Place on the baking tray, several inches apart.  Sprinkle the dough generously with flour.  (You can also bake one at a time, saving the dough in the refrigerator for another day).
  • Let rest on the baking tray for 30 minutes.  Right before placing in the oven, score the top of the bread with an “x” or other decorative mark, cutting right through the dough.9)
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Cheesy Bacon Twice Baked Potatoes


A baked potato is nice but a twice baked potato is extra special.  Although they take a bit of time you will be rewarded for your efforts when you watch them disappear.  If you have the time, baking the potatoes in an oven will yield crisp skins.  Alternatively, if you are pressed for time you can do the initial baking of the potatoes in a microwave oven in approximately 15-20 minutes.

My family loves the combination of cheese and bacon but you can omit the bacon to make them vegetarian friendly or add ham if you prefer.  Gouda is good but Swiss, sharp Cheddar, or a bit of gorgonzola cheese is quite tasty.  Chopped, cooked broccoli or diced raw tomatoes also pair well with a variety of cheeses.  Think of the potatoes as a blank palate and dress them up to your taste bud’s desires.


4 baking potatoes, scrubbed

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup grated Gouda cheese

1/4 cup green onions, diced

6 strips bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

  • Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork.  Place in a 425 degree oven and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and a fork inserted into them slides in easily.
  • Allow the potatoes to cool slightly until you can comfortably hold them.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Slice off the top 1/3 of each potato and discard.  Leaving 1/4 of of flesh, scoop out the insides of the potato and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the mascarpone cheese, buttermilk, and butter to the potatoes and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Do not over mix otherwise the potatoes will become gummy.
  • Add the green onions, bacon, and Gouda cheese and gently fold until well combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Scoop the potato mixture back into each of the potato shells mounding the potatoes until they are overflowing.
  • Sprinkle the paprika evenly over the top of the potatoes.
  • Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and return to the pre-heated oven.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the potatoes are hot, bubbly, and browned.

Serves 4

Shrimp & Grits


Every once in a while I crave something warm, comforting, and quick with a flavorful kick and this recipe for shrimp and grits fits the bill.  A true New England girl I had only heard of grits when they were referenced by Joe Pesci in the movie My Cousin Vinny but had never tasted these tiny creamy grains until I was introduced to them by a friend from Texas in college.  Her father would eat a bowl full of grits each morning for breakfast.  When I moved to Norfolk I would see grits on the menus of many restaurants and I even cooked them on occasion at home (never for breakfast though).

There is something oddly comforting about this simple grain. Topped with a bit of butter they are nice but when you add in cheese–and in this case a bit of bacon–the comfort level moves to a whole new level.  Of course grits cannot be purchased here but I had the foresight to add two boxes of them to our consumables shipment before we moved to Albania.  We don’t eat them often but when we do I find myself wondering why I don’t make them more often. After all, they are easy and tasty and can serve as the basis for any saucy protein.

This recipe is an adaptation that is courtesy of From Away.  Gouda cheese has become my go-to substitution when cheddar is called for and not available (as is always the case in Albania).  I also made my own Cajun mix since this combination of spices is unheard of in the Balkans.

Shrimp and Grits

6 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces

1 cup white corn grits

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup Gouda cheese, grated

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning**

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup scallions, diced

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Tabasco sauce, to taste


**  To make your own Cajun seasoning mix combine the following in a small bowl:

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/4 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Yields approximately 1/8 of a cup.  Since you only need one teaspoon of the mix for this recipe, you can store the remainder of the mix in an airtight container in your spice cabinet until you make shrimp and grits again.

To make the shrimp and grits:

  • In a deep skillet, cook bacon bits over medium heat until the fat has rendered, transfer to a paper towel.
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a rapid boil, then slowly whisk in the grits. Cook 20-25 minutes over medium-low heat, until all the liquid is absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in butter, Gouda cheese and bacon.
  • Add shrimp to the hot bacon grease and saute briefly, 2-3 minutes. Season and stir in garlic, scallions, parsley, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and serve in a bowl over grits with Tabasco to taste
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