Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Grilled Cheese Day!

Good afternoon and Happy Grilled Cheese Day!  Yep, it’s a real thing.  Actually, the fabulous grilled cheese is being celebrated all April.  I didn’t know about it till recently.  Strangely, it didn’t show up on my regular calendar.  Go figure.  I have the good people at the Reno Gazette Journal to thank for finally enlightening me.  I can’t believe that I could have never known.  And the grilled cheese would never have gotten the attention it deserves from me.
I love sandwiches.  Not to the extent that I love appetizers….but I love a good sandwich.  Especially a grilled one.  Because a grilled sandwich usually means that it is brimming with cheese….and you can’t beat that.  I have 2 favorite grilled cheese sandwiches that I make from time to time.  I will share these recipes with you.  First, I will share Chris’s favorite….the “Italian” grilled cheese.  Then, I will make my favorite for you….Oh wait, I have no name for it.  Let’s just call it “Courtney’s Grilled Cheese”.

For the “Italian”, I use a good garlic sourdough, salami, provolone cheese, baby  spinach, cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and a bit of spicy brown mustard.  I realize this is a lot of ingredients and that normally you would make a grilled cheese for the simple fact that it is so easy……but this is totally worth it.  It is a grown-up grilled cheese, not your kid’s processed cheese version. 
I like to make a yummy “spread” for this sandwich with the roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes and cream cheese.  I start by putting about 4 ounces of each in my Magic Bullet.  You can use a food processor or chop these by hand.  I use the Magic Bullet because it is easier….and because I will buy anything that is on TV.  Total sucker.
I stir the chopped tomatoes and peppers into softened cream cheese, about 4 ounces.  It will be chunky, but that is Ok.  It is a sandwich, not a fashion show.  This makes a lot of spread, but it is amazing on so many things.  I even spread it on bagels.  When I was in college, there was a place around the corner from where I lived called Café Paulo.  They had a sun dried tomato cream cheese that I was addicted to, and this comes very close to it.
I like to spread the cream cheese on one piece of bread, and a little bit of mustard on the other.  This way, both sides have “glue”.
I top with salami and provolone cheese.  I use provolone because I like the flavor and it keeps it “Italian”.
I also like to use baby spinach, but arugula or watercress would be good too.  I like to tell myself that adding spinach makes this sandwich healthy.  It magically cancels the fat content of everything else.
When I make a grilled cheese, I don’t spread the bread with butter.  This is because usually my butter is usually rock hard and would be waaaaay too hard to spread.  I drop some in a large skillet and let it melt.  Totally same idea…I also throw in a bit of olive oil.  This keeps the butter from burning. 
Once I flip the sandwich, I add more butter and oil.  Again not the healthiest thing around…..but remember the spinach!
This sandwich is so gooey and yummy, everything a grilled cheese should be.  Definitely a favorite in our house.
For my favorite grilled cheese, I use a good sourdough, sliced cheddar, blue cheese, sliced pears, mayo, a bit of spicy mustard and baby spinach.  I use canned pears because it really isn’t pear season right now.  Fresh pears would be way better, of course, but if you can’t get them….canned will work.
I spread the bread with mayo on one piece and mustard on the other.  Again, this will be glue.
I top with cheddar and blue cheese.  I use a lot of blue cheese, but you can use as much as you want.  I think that with any sandwich, the amounts that you use are up to you.  It so happens that I am pretty much obsessed with blue cheese….so there you have it.  I use a lot.
I then use the sliced pears and baby spinach.  If you really want some meat in this, try grilled chicken.  It would be fantastic in this! 
I grill this sandwich the same way as I showed above.  The sandwiches grill for about 4 minutes per side.  They will also stay warm and crunchy/crispy in a low oven…maybe 170 degrees.  I often do this so that we can still all eat at the same time.
OMG-look at all that cheese!  So, so good!!  I hope that you try one of these sandwiches when you celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month….which I know you will be doing huge!  Who doesn’t party like a rockstar for grilled cheese?  I would never miss an opportunity to celebrate a grilled cheese;)
On a business note…..Thursday’s blog won’t be posted till Friday.  Addy is on spring break so we will be having a Wet T-Shirt contest in Daytona.  Sorry in advance for the delay;)

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