It’s beginning to feel a lot like spring. For me, that means lots of walks around Philadelphia exploring the shops, the culture, and most importantly, the food.
After purchasing some produce and having a small lunch with some friends at Reading Terminal Market, we strolled around Philadelphia, had coffee in Rittenhouse and stopped at one of the best places to get cheese in Philadelphia — Di Bruno Bros.
If you’re ever inquisitive about cheese, the experts at Di Bruno Bros. can help you out. They’re knowledgeable, friendly and never chintzy on the free samples. I had tried a variety of cheeses, but once I tasted the rosemary goat cheese, I knew I needed to incorporate it into this week’s column. And that’s how beautiful weather, meandering around Philadelphia with friends, and the taste of sweet cheese initiated the idea for this luscious sandwich.
Rosemary goat cheese with grilled balsamic lavender eggplant, caramelized onions and roasted garlic peppers on Parmesan-crusted focaccia bread, served with lemon pepper green beans and toasted almonds.
For the eggplant:
1 small eggplant
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh lavender
Chop the eggplant width-wise into pieces half your thumb’s length thick. Coat the eggplant with balsamic vinegar and seasonings. Lightly add olive oil to the eggplant pieces. Grill until cooked thoroughly. If you don’t have a grill, or in my case a George Foreman grill, you can cook the eggplant on the stovetop.
For the peppers:
½ red pepper
½ orange pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Spray a cooking sheet. Slice the peppers lengthwise into approximately 10 pieces. Lightly coat with olive oil. Evenly distribute the minced garlic on the sliced peppers. Spread out on pan and cook at 350 degrees until peppers start to bubble and are lightly black. Flip and allow the other side to cook until bubbled as well.
For the onions:
2 very small white onions
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt
Peel the onions and chop lengthwise to a small thickness. The smaller you slice it, the quicker it will cook! Heat the butter and salt in a pan until the butter melts on a moderately high setting. Add the onions and brown sugar. Cook until brown. The longer you cook them, the more of a charred taste you’ll get, which some people prefer when it comes to onions.
Other items for the sandwich:
¼ lb rosemary goat cheese (Trader Joe’s sells a less expensive version than Di Bruno Bros.)
2 Trader Joe’s Parmesan focaccia rolls
Add half the goat cheese to each roll. After all the ingredients are cooked, evenly divide them into two sandwiches. Cook at 250 degrees for 10 minutes to melt the cheese and heat up the roll.
For the green beans:
2 cups raw green beans
1 tablespoon toasted almonds
½ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon rosemary
Heat olive oil in a pan on a medium setting. Add the green beans and seasoning. At the end of the cooking process of the green beans, add the toasted almonds. Remember to add these at the end because they cook quickly, and will burn and give an undesired charred taste if you throw them in too soon. Once completely cooked, give a squeeze of fresh lemon to the green beans.
Some useful information:
At Reading Terminal Market you really can find amazing deals on produce and to save more:
OK Produce gives students a 10 percent discount every day.
Iovine Brothers offers a 10 percent discount to students on Sundays and Wednesdays.