Monday, July 25, 2011

One word: Halloumi

Today I made a great and magical new discovery.. Halloumi cheese.

And even better, a killer halloumi recipe from my new fav cookbook, In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits by Sarah Raven.
By the way, the book cover and spine are absolutely beautiful for display but it is such a great source in the kitchen that you will need to keep it within reach.

In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits
This book may make you want to grow a garden, shop at farmer's markets, and cook ;)

So back to dinner..
My recipe is Halloumi, mint, cilantro, and dill pitas. But I switched out basil for the dill since I have one in my garden but not the other.
The basics on halloumi:

Its a traditional cheese from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, but it is commonly used in the Middle East and in Greece.  It has a higher melting point than other cheeses, so you can fry it or grill it.
This recipe leaves the choice to you.. so I grilled it.

So here it is:
My first-ever food/dinner/recipe blog-posting...

Cut the halloumi (8 oz) in slices. I also chopped yellow squash, zucchini, and a red bell pepper for a quick saute.

Mmmm.. delish! Just a few streams of olive oil and fresh veggies make the perfect summertime side dish.

I also chopped a generous bunch (each) of mint, cilantro, and basil.. a bit less basil though since it can be overpowering. And then I just tossed the herb mixture together. At the same time, I warmed a few pita breads in the oven, covered in foil @ 350 degrees.

So at this point, you may be asking, how the heck does a cheese not melt when you put it on a hot grill? I had the same concerns and as you will see in the following photo, the cheese got pretty steamy at first when the water was cooking out of it. It was a little weird and gross actually. And because of all of the steam and my impatience, the initial grill marks were a bit disappointing :( 
Semi-grilled halloumi.. disappointing grill marks 
In my disappointment, I decided to let a few minutes pass to really allow the heat to do its thing on those cheesy bits! And so I enjoyed one of these:
Yes! I'm not a huge beer drinker but this jazz is good :)
Meanwhile back at the halloumi pan...
Seriously, it smelled even more amazing than you are imagining right now :) I mean, grilled cheese but not grilled bread/grilled cheese.. actual grilled cheeeeese.
Yeah, they should bottle that fragrance and sell it!

 So now the assembly-line of deliciousness:
Cut pita in half and stuff each one with 3-4 slices of halloumi and a good fistful of the mixed herbs. Then drizzle with a good fruity olive oil. We really like Colavita.
And voila!
Dinner is served! :)

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