Tag Archives: grilled cheese

A Darn Good Grilled Cheese

I asked my daughter, Claire, if I should bother putting something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich on my blog.  She replied that not everyone knows how to make a good grilled cheese sandwich so…why not?

When Claire was little one of her favorite snacks (and mine) was “square cheese”.  You know, the little individually wrapped slices of something called processed cheese food.  Otherwise known as American cheese.  Goes great with bologna.  I liked to fold it up into a stack of tiny squares and eat them one at a time.  But these days, square cheese doesn’t find its way into my fridge much.

For these sandwiches I used Tillamook cheddar, in my opinion one of the best cheeses ever.  When I moved to the midwest to go to college, this cheese was one of the things I missed.  You can use whatever cheddar cheese you like best, but I’m sticking with this one.  Time was, I did not like using this cheese for grilled cheese because it didn’t melt as easily as the American cheese.  But the trick is to cut it in thin slices and layer, layer, layer.  Melty goodness awaits.  The sweet cherry tomatoes are the perfect complement to the bite of the cheddar.

Melty Perfection

Grilled Cheddar & Cherry Tomato Sandwich

Sourdough bread
Cheddar cheese, sliced thinly, enough for 2 layers per sandwich
Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
Butter (at room temperature)

Very lightly spread one side of bread with butter.  Heat skillet or grill pan over medium low heat.  Place one slice of bread butter side down, spread with one layer of cheese, then a layer of tomatoes, then another layer of cheese. Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper if desired.  Top with the other piece of bread (also spread lightly with butter on the side facing out).  Cooking slower will help both with melting all the way through and with not getting black grilled cheese – nobody wants that.  Cook over medium low several minutes, flip gently but quickly, so the tomatoes don’t fall out. If they do, just tuck them back in. Cook for a few minutes on the other side until cheese is melted and both sides are golden brown.

Building the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Project Veggie: Day 10 – Gourmet Grilled Cheese

I went to a Greek restaurant once where I ordered flaming cheese.  They poured some sort of alcohol over it and set it on fire.  When the fire when out you had a lump of melted bliss on a plate.  At my house I try not to set things on fire intentionally.  But melted cheese still makes me happy.  I was craving some so I made grilled cheese sandwiches. Whoever invented the sandwich is a genius.  That quick, easy, thrown together lunch (or breakfast or dinner).  A sandwich can be a quickie meal, or it can be art.  Yes…ART!  With a little imagination and a few things from the pantry, you can elevate a humble grilled cheese sandwich to mouth-watering, edible art.

In Taos, New Mexico there used to be a little cafe where I had a grilled mozzarella and olive tapenade sandwich.  I never got the recipe from them but I immediately went home and started experimenting, trying to replicate it.  I don’t know if I got it exactly the same as theirs but I came close and it’s amazing.  Up until then, I thought olive tapenade was just one of those fancy things you ordered in a restaurant for an appetizer.  I had no idea it was so easy to make.  It’s just a paste made from olives, and a few other tasty things.  And who ever thought of putting it on a sandwich?  I don’t know, but whoever it was would get a big smooch right on the lips if they were standing in front of me.

I made a big batch of Olive Tapenade and added sun-dried tomatoes, just for fun and because I had them.  I have lots left so now I guess I’ll just have to find something fun to do with the rest of it.  Hmmm…I feel some experimenting coming on.

Grilled Mozzarella & Olive Tapenade Sandwich

Grilled Mozzarella & Olive Tapenade Sandwich

Sourdough or rustic french bread
Sliced mozzarella cheese (preferably fresh mozzarella)
Olive tapenade (about a tablespoon per sandwich) – Recipe below or you can buy it in the grocery store.

Heat your skillet on medium heat.  Lightly butter one side of both pieces of bread.  Put one down in the pan and cover with mozzarella.  Take the other piece of bread and spread tapenade on the unbuttered side.  Put the olive side down on the cheese.  Cook a couple minutes on each side, until golden brown and melty.

Olive & Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade

I jar pitted kalamata olives
1 tbsp. capers
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh basil
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  Store leftovers in airtight container in the fridge.  It will keep for several weeks.

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