Grilled Cheese
Credit: Jonathan Bardzik

No, I’m not getting fresh, but you can do better than a stolen kiss under the mistletoe this year. Go for a little nibble. Sound scandalous? I’m talking about your next hot party bite.

Each year my husband Jason and I throw a holiday party. It’s one of those events that has taken on a life of its own, now filling our tiny row house with more than 100 guests. While I’d like to think they’re here for my good looks, I know what really gets them through the door is the food and no small bite is anticipated more than the annual appearance of mushroom grilled cheese.

Soup shots, handmade shumai dumplings and the mini carnitas tacos all pale in comparison to these buttery slices of crisp, toasted bread oozing a mixture of cheeses and wild mushrooms all brushed with white truffle oil to take it over the top. Guests start lining up at the buffet at the mere mention of their impending appearance (I swear I’m not overselling these).

The curse of popularity is that Jason and I never get a single one of these which is why we’re developed another holiday tradition: making an extra four sandwiches and hiding them in the back of the refrigerator for the day after the party which we enjoy with one of the bottles the previous night’s guests have left under the tree.

Credit: Jonathan Bardzik

I wish you a very happy holiday season. May it bring more joy than stress and lots of time shared simply with friends, family and all those you love.

PS: Let me help eliminate a little stress by crossing a few gifts off your list. My three cookbooks are available on Amazon or signed from my website My newest one, Fresh and Magical Vinaigrettes, is the perfect size for a stocking.

Nearly Legendary Wild Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Serves 8

Pro entertaining tip: assemble the grilled cheese ahead of time and stack together, separated by pieces of parchment or wax paper. When you’re ready to entertain just grill them up in a skillet and serve!


8-10 tbs butter, softened

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chopped wild mushrooms

1/4 cup dry white wine


2 tbs chopped thyme

2 tbs chopped parsley

2 cups grated Gruyere

1 cups grated cheddar

1/2 cup grated parmesan

16 slices thin sandwich bread

White truffle oil


Melt 2 tbs butter in a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook 5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.

Turn heat to medium-high and add mushrooms. Cook until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup wine and transfer to food processor and roughly chop.

Transfer to large bowl, season to taste with nutmeg, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Cool to room temp and blend in cheese.

Butter two slices of bread. With buttered sides facing out, top one slice with 1/2 cup cheese mixture and top with second slice. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Toast grilled cheese in a 12” skillet set over medium-low heat so cheese gets gooey while bread turns golden. Brush with white truffle oil and cut diagonally into triangles to serve.

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