Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cheese of the Month Challenge

I’ve always been a big fan of cheese and so has my family. My parents (as well as I) have a whole draw in the fridge dedicated to cheeses and not just the “normal” stuff either. I have fond memories of going to this special store and getting to sample all the different kinds of cheeses. My dad always encouraged me to try new foods and experiment with different ingredients. Sometimes you like what you try and sometimes you don’t. It’s all about the experience.

So I’ve decided to start a Cheese of the Month Challenge. On the FIRST day of each month, I’m going to pick a cheese and by the end of the month I’m going to make some sort of dish with it. The purpose is to experiment with something that you wouldn’t normally make. Anyone is welcome to join me. Here are the rules:

1. Check my blog, Adventures in Gluttony, on the FIRST of every month to see what cheese I chose.
2. Everyone will use the Cheese of the Month Cheese in either a recipe they make up or one they find. They can be simple or advanced. The dishes can be anything your little heart desires.
3. You have the ENTIRE month to make something. By the LAST day of the end of the month post on YOUR blog the recipe, a picture (if possible), and a summary of how it went and if you liked it. If you chose to use a recipe that isn’t your own make sure to include where the recipe came from. If you DON'T have a blog send me an e-mail instead.
4. Send me either an e-mail with the recipe you tried and a short summary of your experience OR an email with the link to your blog by no later than the LAST day of each month and I will post the links on my blog so that everyone can see how everyone else did. My email is:

You can make more than one dish if you like. Just make sure to indicate that to me in your email. If your recipe doesn’t turn out post it on your blog anyways. Just make sure to explain why you didn’t like the dish and/or what went wrong. Make sure to share your dish with your friends and family and get their reactions.

Don’t feel obligated to participate EVERY month. Don’t get me wrong, that would be ideal and kind of the whole point of the challenge…but I understand that sometimes life keeps you busy. But PLEASE don’t skip a month because you don’t like the cheese chosen. This will be your change to challenge yourself to try and find a recipe that makes that cheese taste great! For instance, I’ve tried Brie cheese TWICE on two different occasions. The first time was plain and on a cracker. The second was flavored and I just popped it in. I hated it both times. It made me gag. However, I am not giving up!!! One of these months I’m going to use Brie and find a recipe that I like. At the very least I’ll make the Brie dish for my friends and family…they might actually LIKE it!

I’m really excited about this and I hope to get as many people as possible to participate. It will be a neat way to collect some delicious recipes and try new things.

If you have any questions or comments please email me at:

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I have a very strong Czech background. My grandmother prefers the term Hunkie, which were the immigrants who came to America from what was at the time called Czechoslovakia. My great-parents were among those immigrants. I never knew them, but I have grown up around their daughter, Grandma Trix, my entire life. She is always making something wonderful in the kitchen. It isn’t a party without one of her many scrumptious dishes.

Holuby is a dish that I grew up eating. Over the years I have heard it called many things. The latest name gave me quiet a scare. I was talking with a fellow church member about what they planned to serve at the annual Senior Dinner. She replied that they were serving stuffed pigeons. Naturally having known many people who hunt all sorts of birds including doves, I asked this question: “Are members of the church going to hunt the pigeons or is there a pigeon farm nearby?” To which my friend replied laughing, “They’re not real pigeons that is just what we call stuffed cabbage.” Now you must understand that I was new to the area and have never heard Holuby called this before. So, yes, I did make an idiot out of myself that day…but at least I learned something new.

Whatever you may call it, it is a simple dish and it is amazingly good. You can use beef, pork, lamb, or even ground deer meat. I’ve always used lean ground beef. Though, last year my brother gave a bunch of his deer meat after one of his hunts so I had the chance to use ground venison. I truly believe that those were the best Holuby I have ever eaten. So, if you get a change to use venison I highly recommend it. They even taste better when reheated.



1 head cabbage
½ lb. lean ground beef

1 tsp. uncooked rice
1 egg
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Dash Garlic Powder
2 Cans Tomato Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cabbage by cutting deeply around core to loosen leaves. Place in boiling water about five minutes. Remove. Separate leaves and set aside.
2. Using your hands mix together rice, meat, egg, pepper, salt, and garlic powder.
3. Shape meat mixture into small balls and wrap cabbage leaves around each one.
4. Place each one into a shallow baking dish.
5. Pour tomato sauce over top and sprinkle with a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
6. Cook for 1 ½ hours.

Better Than Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yes, I know the name of my soup is pretty daring considering that Panera’s makes some the best food in the restaurant business. However, my husband insists that my version is way better. I personally like both versions. Panera’s soup is a little on the bitter side and you can really taste the broccoli, but sometimes that is what I'm in the mood for. Mine is a little sweeter and more cheesier.

I will never forget my first time at Panera’s. I ordered the “You Pick Two” Turkey Artichoke sandwich and the Broccoli Cheese Soup and it was love at first spoonful. I always order different salads and sandwiches when I go, but I always get the same soup. Unfortunately, I’ve move to an area where the nearest Panera’s is an hour away. Thus, I decided to see if I could find the recipe online. I found this

However, I found the sharp cheese two over powering, the soup too thick, and putting a soup through a blend was too messy and utterly ridiculous. After experimenting many times with many different measurements and ingredients I finally found a combination that I liked. My husband and my family LOVE it. I serve it in a sour dough bread bowl just like Panera’s.

I found that using a sweet onion is better. I like onions so I use a little bit more than ½ of the medium. I also cut the onion and the broccoli into really small pieces and I shred the baby carrots so I can avoid putting the hot soup in the blender and making a HUGE mess. Using baby carrots instead of the big carrots also gives this soup its slight sweet flavor. If you're like my husband and really want the sweet flavor to stand out then you can add more than ½ cup of shredded carrots. I prefer just a hint of sweet so I don’t use as much. To make it thinner I used more chicken stock. You can also add more stock to the soup at the end if it is still too thick for your taste. Finally, adding mild instead of sharp cheese made a world of a difference. So without further ado, I give you:

Better Than Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup


1 tbsp unsalted butter
½ medium onion, minced (preferably a sweet onion like Vidalia)
¼ cup melted unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups half & half
3 ½ cups chicken stock
½ lb fresh broccoli, cut into really small pieces
½ cup shredded baby carrots
8 oz mild cheddar cheese, grated
Salt/Pepper to taste
¼ tsp. nutmeg

1. Sauté onion in butter and set aside for later use. (If you really like onion you can use more than 1/2 of one.)
2. Pour melted butter into a Dutch Oven and slowly add flour using a whisk over medium heat. 3. Slowly add half & half making sure to stir continuously.
4. Add chicken stock whisking all the time and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in broccoli, carrots, and onions and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.
6. Add salt and pepper and reduce to low heat.
7. Add grated cheese and stir well to blend. (If soup is took thick add a little more chicken stock.)
8. Stir in nutmeg and remove from heat.

Welcome to Adventures in Gluttony!!!

Hello all and welcome to Adventures in Gluttony! I will be your guide on your tour of luscious and scrumptious recipes. I am a true believer that it is better to be fat and happier than skinny and hungry!

I must admit that I am an amateur cook, but I figure the only way to learn is try again and again until I get something delicious. Here I will share with you the final results of my experimentation. Enjoy!!!