Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Arizona, Cheese, Kitcheninspirations Original Recipe, Recipes, Snacks, Travel, Vegetarian, tagged Appetizer, Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, cheese, delicious, hors d'oeuvres, tangy, tasty, Vegetarian on March 20, 2017|
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I’ve been a little busy since we’ve returned from Arizona, you may have noticed my absence commenting and that I didn’t post last week. I was going to fret about it and try and throw together something but decided against it. Life happens.
One of our dear friends sold their home in the burbs and moved into their condo just before we left for holidays. JT and I helped them paint before the move, with the move, and a little organization. You see, their home was around 2,500 square feet and they moved into a 600 square foot condo. To say they down-sized is an understatement. I have to admit, I was a little jealous that they were able to rid themselves of excess, but I had to be honest with myself, and I’m not there yet. This past weekend, we went to visit and you know me, I never go empty handed, so I made these cheese crisps.
When I made the gluten free version of cheez-itz, I rolled them a bit thinner than usual and loved how crisp they baked up, so this time, I adjusted the gluten recipe and rolled them out in my KitchenAid pasta maker and the results were exceptional. Thinner crackers baked up so crispy, I was hooked. If you like cheese tuiles, then you will love these cheese-flavoured, light, crisp crackers, but be warned, they are quite addictive.
I added a little album of our trip to Arizona at the end of this post, if you are interested. Basically, it was the coldest and rainiest time in Arizona this year. We experienced -15°C (59° F) and snow in The Grand Canyon and although the sun did make an appearance from time to time, it never really warmed up. I wore layered leggings and tops, a winter coat, gloves and scarf and ear muffs, most of the time while we were in The Grand Canyon and Sedona. It rained so much in Sedona; Sedona gets about 38 cm (15 inches) of rain a year, in two days we had 4 cm (1.5 inches)! Oh well, it’s another reason to go back!
A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe
Makes about 350 g crackers (about 6 cups)
- 240 g full-flavoured, hard cheese, grated (see notes)
- 45 g unsalted butter
- 15 g vegetable shortening
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (see notes)
- 1 cup (125 g) flour, plus more for rolling
- 2 tbsp ice water
- Combine everything but the water in the large food processor bowl and pulse until fully combined.
- Slowly pour in the ice water and process until the dough comes together. It may not look like it will, but it will.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on your surface and roll out small bits of the dough thin enough to get through #1 on the KitchenAid Pasta maker attachment. Run each sheet through three times on #1, two-times on #2 and two-times on #3. Return to your work surface and cut with a variety of cookie cutters. I chose smallish ones because I wanted bite-sized nibbles. They shrink to about 65% of the original size.
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Transfer crackers to a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment).
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden and crispy! Be careful – there’s a fine line with these between golden brown and overdone – and it only takes seconds to burn!
- Use whatever full-flavoured cheese you have. This batch was made with equal quantities of sharp Cheddar, naturally-smoked Cheddar and Beemster.
- I prefer to use the pasta maker to roll the dough because it guarantees the dough to be the same thickness throughout the batch. I wouldn’t go thinner than #3 though, really thin crackers will burn very quickly before they crisp up.
- Change up the flavouring from smoked paprika to granulated garlic, finely ground dehydrated onions, finely ground dehydrated mushrooms, but be careful not to have too large chunks as they will get caught in your pasta maker rollers!
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Cheese, Gluten Free, Kitcheninspirations Original Recipe, Recipes, Vegetarian, tagged Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, cheese, comfort food, delicious, Gluten Free, tasty, Vegetarian on February 27, 2017|
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There are recipes that convert well into gluten free and this happens to be one of them and they freeze incredibly well too, but be warned, it will be unlikely that you’ll have leftovers to freeze! I rolled this recipe thinner than the glutinated recipe and the result was a crispier, cheese bite. I’ll probably do the same for the glutinated version, as I preferred the crisp texture. Plus, a thinner roll gives you more crackers and who doesn’t love more cheese crackers?
A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe
- 227 g (about 2 cups) sharp cheddar, grated
- 45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 14 g (1 tbsp) vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- 67 g (1/2 cup) brown rice flour and 67 g (1/2 cup) white corn flour (not corn starch) or 134 g (1 cup) gluten-free flour
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) ice water
- Combine all of the ingredients except the ice water in a bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 2 minutes to cream the mixture together.
- Slowly add the ice-water while pulsing. At first, it looks like you might need more water, patience grasshopper, patience, the dough will come together in a moment, continue pulsing until it does.
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Using plastic wrap, roll the dough into two logs about 1.5 inches or 4 cm in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or freeze for 15.
- Cut log into 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick slices and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet leaving about 2.5 cm or 1 inch between each cracker.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crispy! Be careful – there’s a fine line with these between golden brown and overdone – and it only takes seconds to burn!
- Cut dough in half and pat the dough down into a disk, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Place disk on parchment paper and put the plastic wrap on top and roll each disc to 2mm or 1/8 inch thickness (this is the perfect thickness).
- Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut into shapes. I found that my 2.5cm square cut the perfect size.
- Transfer to a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crispy! Be careful – there’s a fine line with these between golden brown and over done – and it only takes seconds to burn!
- Remove to cooling rack to cool.
- If the crackers become a bit soggy after you defrost them, toss them in the oven in a single layer on a baking sheet on low heat for 5-10 minutes to crisp them up.
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I celebrated a birthday a few months ago. It wasn’t a particularly special birthday other than the many wonderful birthday wishes that my many social media friends bestowed. JT took me to my favourite French restaurant, Le Select Bistro where we are treated like VIPs since we dined there with our good friends and neighbours Tom & Iona (Tom is an architect and designed the interior of the restaurant).
Several months back, my trusty old food processor’s plastic top broke. It didn’t entirely break, just the little, wee bit broke off that clicks into the special spot to allow the thing to be turned on. I get that it’s a safety feature so that you can’t turn it on without the top clicking in, but honestly, such a crappy little piece of plastic breaks off and my food processor is rendered useless?! Well, kind of useless, because I figured out that I can jam a chopstick into the spot and I had it working for a few additional months. It was all fine and dandy until I had to take it to a photo shoot and we were all jamming the chopstick into the top to get it to work, how embarrassing was that?!?!? So when my birthday rolled along, I decided I wanted a real, grown-up food processor and JT got me the Cuisinart 12-cup!
The 12-Cup version has a little 4-cup insert so you can make small amounts of stuff.
It’s been brutally hot and humid in Toronto so even though I had a brand new food processor, I just couldn’t bring myself to make anything, particularly something that required the oven! I broke down and baked these delightful cheese and onion scones for a little dinner we had; fortunately, the oven was only on for 15 minutes including the pre-heat time and I had the hood fan on full blast, sucking out the hot air so it didn’t heat up the kitchen too badly. The food processor worked like a dream, I can’t wait to use the little 4-cup bowl insert.
Cheese and Onion Scones
Original recipe from Jean Paré’s Company’s Coming Muffins and More cookbook
Makes 12-16 5 cm (2 inch) scones)
- 240 g All Purpose Flour
- 12 g granulated sugar
- 16 g baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 150 g grated cheese (we used Gouda)
- 57 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 egg
- 158 mL milk (and extra milk for brushing tops)
- Preheat oven to 220° C (425° F).
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shallot and cheese in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add cubed butter and pulse until crumbly.
- Combine, milk and egg and whisk until frothy. Pour into food processor while pulsing to combine well. Turn dough out to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice. Roll out to about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick and cut into 5 cm (2 inch) circles. Brush tops with milk.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve warm with butter.
Perfect for a light snack or with soup.
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Cooking at the cottage means simple recipes using fresh ingredients. I don’t want to be in the kitchen any longer than I have to. Don’t get me wrong, I adore cooking but I also adore this view:
This is the view looking out into the lake from our little bay.
Several years ago, our dear friend Barb (Profiteroles and Pony Tails) and her then beau (now hubby) came up to our cottage, The Upper Deck. We traded off days for cooking and for one lunch Barb made this excellent grilled cheese sandwich (Toastie)! We’re not talking about a processed cheese slice slapped between two slices of Mungie-cake white bread. No, this is a serious blend of cheeses with a splash of whiskey or cognac and some delicious green onion thrown in for good measure. Believe me, when I say: once you have this grilled cheese, you will NEVER want any other.
I posted this recipe originally in March 2009 and it was a bit of a sore spot because a named magazine asked to use my photo in a grilled cheese story but since I was relatively new to blogging, I wasn’t paying attention to the comments, so I missed out! Sigh. The flavour of the whiskey or cognac is essential, the cheese blend is entirely up to you, but I suggest hard cheese and not soft like goats cheese.
Adult Grilled Cheese
- 125-150 g shredded cheese, in total
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 slices sourdough bread, use this recipe
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp cognac or whiskey
- Combine shredded cheeses, green onion and cognac and mix well.
- Butter one side of each bread, lay one slice buttered side down and top with the cheese mixture. Lay the other side of the bread on top, buttered side up.
- Heat a grill pan and place sandwich on top, lay a weight over it (I used 3 cast iron pans but I put a piece of parchment on top of the sandwich first).
- Grill until cheese has melted. Cut sandwich in half and serve with celery sticks and homemade salsa.
- For this sandwich, we used Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Extra Old Cheddar and Mozzarella.
- We have also used Mozzarella, Gruyère and white Cheddar, the combinations are endless. It is nice to use a stringy cheese for this type of sandwich.
- You could also put additional cheese on the exterior (omit butter) and instead of grill, lay a piece of parchment down in a cast iron frying pan and cook, repeat for other side. See instructions from my dear friend Lorraine, here.
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I was about 33 when JT and I first vacationed in Florida. JT and I rented a friend’s house in Daytona Beach and used it as a base to travel around, taking a couple of days to visit friends in Sarasota and to explore that side of the state. While travelling, there were several roadside eateries that would come up that were rather new to us Canadians: Cracker Barrel, Denny’s and Waffle House to name a few. As you know by now, I am not so fond of fast food, so we avoided them but one morning we got up early to explore and decided that waffles were in order and we thought, what better place than Waffle House? Boy were we wrong, what a joke (I apologise to those who love the place), the waffles were thin and dry and they didn’t even have real maple syrup or even real butter! Maybe I’m a waffle snob, but real maple syrup and butter are necessities for a good waffle experience. Our waitress was surly and unapproachable, great qualities for a waitress. We begrudgingly ate the sad excuse for waffles and left. In the car, I couldn’t stop thinking about how bad an experience it was and immediately renamed the place Awful House! Needless to say, we did not stop at Awful House ever again!
When you’re looking for a delicious bread recipe, you need not look further than this recipe for Cheddar Garlic Rope Bread, plus there is nothing like it on the menu at Awful House! It’s not that difficult to make and it bakes up beautifully. I made this loaf for my Cousin Lucy’s Easter Dinner.
The bread is laced with delicious cheddar and garlic butter. Make sure you serve this warm.
Cheddar Garlic Rope Bread
This recipe makes one 40 cm x 15 cm (15″ x 6″) rope.
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp powdered milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water (it should feel slightly warm to the touch not hot)
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 tsp white vinegar
Ingredients for the cheddar, garlic butter spread:
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or to taste)
- pinch of salt
- Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water, stir gently and allow to proof.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, salt, powdered milk, eggs and vinegar. Using the KitchenAid® Flex Edge Beater attachment, mix until the eggs have totally become incorporated into the flour. Change to the dough hook.
- Add the yeast water mixture and knead the dough for 10 minutes until you get a smooth slightly sticky dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it and allow it to rise in a warm place till it doubles in size (this only takes about 45 minutes).
- Pre-heat your oven to 400°F (I used the fan setting).
- In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the cheese, butter, garlic and salt and pulse until completely combined, set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out the dough into a 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick rectangle (mine worked out to 40 cm x 30 cm (16″ x 12″). Spread all of the cheese butter mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 inch) border on three sides (spread right to the long side that you will begin to roll). Starting at the long end, roll up the dough tightly to form a roll. Seal all of the edges well by pinching them closed (wet fingers with water if necessary). Slice the roll in half lengthwise, leaving the last 5 cm (2 inches) connected.
- Turn each half cut-side up and carefully wrap the halves together like a rope, maintaining the cut-sides up to expose the filling. Carefully place on a baking tray with sides, lined with parchment paper and allow to rest, covered in a warm location for 1 hour. Check out Angie’s blog for detailed photos on how-to roll, cut and form into a rope.
- Coat with the vinegar, egg wash.
- Bake for 5-7 minutes on the high heat, then reduce to 350°F and bake for another 7-10 minutes or until the bottom is golden and it sounds hollow when tapped.
- Serve warm.
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Posted in Cheese, Desserts, Recipes, tagged chai, cinnamon, delicious, Dessert, ladyfingers, orange zest, slightly sweet, spices, tiramisu, warm on January 4, 2016|
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We had good friends over for dinner recently and I made an Indian extravaganza (all posted recipes but I’ll repeat them below). I wanted something a little different because I’d already made Chai Crème Brûlée and Gulab Jamun. I’ve always wanted to bake Lady Fingers and that’s how I landed on Chai Tiramisu. We feasted on the Indian food and then retired to the living room to enjoy the wood fire and dessert; our guests must have enjoyed the dessert because after they’d decided they had had enough and rested the half-eaten plates on the coffee table, they kept picking them up for ‘just one more bite’, eventually finishing off the entire plate. Now THAT makes me happy.
It’s not overly sweet and the chai comes through from the chai liquor soaked lady fingers. The ricotta and Greek yogurt combo makes it slightly less rich than the mascarpone version which was good considering the heaviness of the meal; I would definitely make it again even with the home-made ladyfingers, but if you’re tight for time, the store bought Italian ladyfingers would certainly do the trick.
Chai Tiramisu and Homemade Ladyfingers
Makes approx 1 loaf pan 23 cm x 13 cm (9″ x 5″) tiramisu.
Placing the tiramisu in the freezer for one hour before serving guarantees perfect slices.
Makes about 36 small lady fingers
Roughly based my recipe on this recipe, but I reduced volumes and I changed the method for egg whites
- 2 eggs, room temperature, separated
- 4 tbsp sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 42 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F (176° C). Generously butter and flour a lady finger molded tray or a cookie sheet.
- Beat egg whites with 2 tbsp sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, set aside.
- Beat egg yolks with remaining 2 tbsp sugar and vanilla extract until pale in colour but not ribbons.
- Gently fold in the egg whites being careful not to deflate. Carefully sift the flour into the egg mixture and fold even more carefully so as not to deflate but making sure all the flour is well incorporated.
- Using a lady finger molded baking tray, or piping the batter into long fingers
- Bake for 12 minutes, allow to cool completely in pan and gently coax out to remove.
Butter generously and then dust with flour. Don’t take the non-stick spray shortcut, it doesn’t work!
Ingredients for Chai liquor (see note):
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 2 short cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 8-10 cloves
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5 cm fresh vanilla bean
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 tsp Pastis (or any anise flavoured liquor such as Ouzo or Anisette)
Directions for Chai liquor:
- Add milk and all of the spices except the vanilla bean to a small saucepan and stir well.
- Scrape seeds out of the vanilla bean and add both bean and seeds to the saucepan. Heat slowly to infuse the milk with the chai flavours, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool, strain through a coarse sieve to allow vanilla seeds to remain in infused milk. Stir in Pastis. Set aside for assembly.
Ingredients for the Ricotta Cream and Chai Sugar:
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (See note)
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp icing sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp cardamon
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 1/4 cup, roughly chopped pistachios, toasted
Directions for the Cream and Chai Sugar:
- Combine ricotta, yogurt, orange rind and 2 tbsp icing sugar and whip until fluffy.
- Combine 1 tbsp icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon and cocoa and mix well.
Directions for Assembly:
- Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Dip each end of the ladyfingers into the chai liquor and line the loaf pan with them. Spread one third of the cream mixture over top, sprinkle with the chai sugar. Repeat 2 more times.
- Refrigerate overnight. About 90 minutes before serving, place in the freezer for so it’s easy to slice. Remove after 1 hour and slice into portions. Sprinkle some of the chai sugar on each plate, carefully place each slice in the centre of the plate, allow to sit for 30 minutes so it’s not overly cold. Serve with sprinkled pistachios.
- On using ricotta over mascarpone: I chose ricotta for two reasons, first is calories, this dessert made with ricotta is less than half the calories than using the richer mascarpone and two is budget, for some bizarre reason, mascarpone was $15 for about the same size of a $4 ricotta tub.
- Feel free to use a chai tea bag to infuse the milk and omit all of the other spices, although I would still add the vanilla bean and seeds and the Anise liquor. Do not squeeze the tea bag otherwise you will have bitter chai liquor.
- This dessert is best if it sits overnight in the fridge.
- Although it is tempting to spray the ladyfinger pan with a non-stick spray, it will NOT WORK. Butter it generously and dust with flour. Each pan must be washed and rebuttered.
The lady fingers soak up the Chai Liquor so they are pillowy soft.
Previous Posts about Indian Food:
Carrot Pickle and Mango Chutney
Also known as Saag Paneer
Lightly crunchy and packed full of flavour
Best Naan Ever
Sweet and tangy, just like a chutney should be
Aloo Papri Chat
Chewy and crispy at the same time
A quick shot of the actual serving dish at the dinner party
Tender beef cubes drenched in a mildly spicy, fragrant, flavourful gravy
Baked Onion Bahjis
A delicious, rich tasting tomato gravy with gently firm paneer
Jamie Olivers Chicken Tikka Masala
Don’t be fooled by their size, they pack a big punch of flavour
(by far our favourite Indian Recipe)
Chai Crème Brûlée
Lemon Lentil Soup
Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup
Tangy, sour and sweet all at once.
Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Cheese, Left overs, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Watchers Recipes, tagged comfort food, French, frugal recipe, onion, onion skin soup, soul food, Soup, waste not want not, winter food on November 30, 2015|
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Recently we had some good friends for Brunch and my friend Angela told me how she makes the most delicious vegetable stock from vegetable trimmings. Of course, this isn’t the first time I’d heard of this frugal stock but to be honest, I was skeptical on how good it would be — stock from trimmings? That’s bunny food! I’ve been using roast chicken carcass for soups for a few years now but I’ve never jumped into the compost bin head first to make this vegetable stock before. Angela and her husband were quite convincing on how good this stock is, so I decided to give it a try.
My first attempt was a simple stock using vidalia onion skins, garlic skins, eggplant ends, zucchini ends, celery leaves, cilantro stems and green onion ends. I made sure to wash the skins very well and tossed them into a large stock pot with enough water to cover. I tossed in a tiny bit of salt and boiled, then I reduced to a simmer for about 4 hours. WOW! I can’t tell you how good this was! For a lunch, I simply sautéed more zucchini, eggplant, onions, garlic and celery and ladled the “Compost Stock” over it and drizzled it with parmesan cheese, boy was it GOOD!
When I saw how dark and rich the onion skins made the stock, I thought: why not make a French Onion Soup from it (we’ve made French Onion Soup here and here and here before)? And that is the way this recipe came about. It’s so easy and inexpensive that I urge you to try it. You can make it vegan by omitting the cheese or just use vegan cheese (not sure how good that could be!). And if you’re looking to save a few calories, omit the croutons and the cheese.
JT tried it and could not believe it was made with onion skins and caramelized onions, no stock at all — verdict, he loved it. For this version, we saved around $4 because I usually use an organic beef stock or sometimes I even roast some beef bones which would have saved us $6.00)!
Would you like a bowl?
A Vegetarian French Onion Soup
A Kitchen Inspirations Original Recipe.
Makes 1.5 L (6.25 cups) of soup
- 3 large organic Vidalia onions, including skins
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 4 L (roughly 4 quarts) water
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 g (3.5 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated (omit if vegan or vegetarian)
- croutons, enough to fill 2 French Onion Soup bowls
- Pre-heat oven to 250°F (121° F).
- Wash outer skin of the onions well. Peel onions, add skins with the bay leaves and salt to a large stock pot with 4L (4 quarts) water in it. Stir and bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 2-3 hours.
- Slice onions very thinly on a mandoline (any larger bits that can’t be sliced, just add to the onion skin stock pot).
- Heat olive oil to a large Dutch oven and once hot (but not smoking) add onions; sweat onions until translucent and just beginning to caramelize (about 20 minutes). Add the white balsamic vinegar and stir well. Cover with a piece of parchment (as illustrated below) and bake for 2-3 hours at 250° F (121° C) or until golden and fully caramelized.
- When stock is a rich, dark colour strain through a fine sieve to remove skins and bits and finally through a very fine sieve to remove any fine particles (I use a reusable coffee filter). Combine stock with caramelized onions and heat through. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as required.
- Plate in French onion soup bowls with croutons and mounds of Gruyère cheese, broil so it’s all melty and bubbly and serve hot!
- For a vegetarian or vegan version, omit the cheese or use vegan cheese.
Parchment cover for the onions
Based on 4 servings per batch without the Gruyère and croutons
Based on 4 serving per batch, without the Gruyère and crouton
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