Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Balsamic Glaze

Sometimes you need simplicity. These grilled cheeses are an assortment of one cheese sandwiches served with a tangy glaze. No toppings, no frills. Just cheese + bread + balsamic.

This blogs marks the end of Grilled Cheese Month 2014 at Vegetarian & Cooking! I hope you enjoyed the thirty days of grilled cheese sandwiches. Tomorrow's recipe is a delightful soup with dumplings which Dave and I both loved, so that should help to ease you back into blog reality. Don't worry, Grilled Cheese Month 2015 is already in the works.

Recipe from Garnish with Lemon.

Balsamic Glaze
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

4 slices white bread, crusts removed
½ cup (2 ounces) Pepper Jack cheese, grated
½ cup (2 ounces) Cheddar, grated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Make the grilled cheeses like you typically would -- toasted in a skillet of melted butter. One will be cheddar cheese and one will be pepper jack cheese.

For the glaze, heat the balsamic vinegar and butter until the mixture is reduced by half and thickened. 
Serve together. 

I really enjoyed the simplicity of this combination of ingredients. This was something that was easy to make which was flavorful. The balsamic glaze added a nice tangy bite to the sandwich, the bread was nice and crispy without the crusts. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Coffee Cake Grilled Cheese with Creamy Coffee Sauce

This grilled cheese is designed to be eaten on one of the worst days you can imagine. It has everything that you could want in a grilled cheese or comfort food. All of the flavors go great together and there's something salty, sweet and bitter. Plus cheese and a buttery aftertaste. This is exactly what I would want to eat after a big bowl of tomato soup, one of my favorite comfort foods (I would say macaroni and cheese, but let's not go crazy with the cheese).

Sandwich is a Vegetarian & Cooking! original, sauce from

-Slices of coffee cake, 2 per sandwich
-Mascarpone cheese
-Vanilla extract
-Icing, optional

Coffee Sauce
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup very strong brewed coffee
-1 egg yolk
-1/2 cup sugar, minus 1 tablespoon of sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the coffee sauce:
Heat the coffee and milk together in a saucepan.
Whisk the egg yolk and sugar together vigorously, until all combined.
Add a little of the hot coffee/milk to the egg/sugar to temper it.
Pour the sugar into the saucepan on the stove.
Heat, whisking continuously until thickened.
Remove from heat, add vanilla, cool.

To make the grilled cheese, melt butter in a skillet.
Add the slices of coffee cake.
Spread mascarpone on each slice.
Drizzle each with a little  vanilla extract.

Put the pieces together to form sandwiches. Flip until each side is golden brown.

Serve drizzled with icing (if desired) and coffee sauce.



This is a grilled cheese that you eat with a fork. All of the melted butter soaked into the cake, giving it great flavor while making the cake incredibly crispy on the outside. The mascarpone cheese is a good choice for this because it's mild, I like mine with a little vanilla, you can use it plain if that is what you prefer. I think that all of the flavors were able to come through individually and separately.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mega Grilled Cheese

When you've been making grilled cheese recipes for almost a month straight, you are sure to end up with some odds and ends of cheese that aren't really worth putting in a full recipe. This creation incorporates all of the leftover cheeses from Grilled Cheese Month 2014, use whatever cheese you'd like to use or if you're feeling tame then stick to one or two.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-Pumpernickel bread
*Use as much or as little of each cheese as you want.

Melt butter in a skillet and build your super intense grilled cheese sandwich.
Top with another slice of pumpernickel and cook until the cheese is melted.

This was really, really difficult to keep in the skillet. There was cheese everywhere, it wasn't thoroughly melted so it was hard to flip the sandwich. This might have been better if it was started in the oven to melt the cheese a little and then finished in a skillet. These sandwiches were very rich and we had difficulty eating more than one. This is a bad-day-need-comfort-food kind of a sandwich.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bruschetta Grilled Cheese

Out of all the sandwiches that I made this month, this one is one of my favorites. This grilled cheese is actually grilled, but the bruschetta adds a nice fresh element to the sandwich which is perfect for summer. This is light, colorful and flavorful. This is the type of sandwich where you need to eat more than just one.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-One package of frozen garlic bread
-Mozzarella Cheese slices, two per sandwich.

-1 tomato
-1 teaspoon garlic
-2 tablespoons basil
-2 tablespoons parsley
-a little olive oil.
Lay the garlic bread on the grill.

Toast for a few minutes until grill marks form.
Build your sandwich on the side that has already been grilled. 

Top half of the garlic bread slices with a slice of mozzarella, a generous portion of bruchetta and an additional slice of mozzarella.

Once the cheese melts, top with the garlic bread slices without toppings.

The smoky flavor the bread took on from grilling the entire grilled cheese really made the sandwich. The garlic bread paired with the bruschetta is a classic flavor which went great together. The mozzarella melted nicely on the grill. This is a sandwich I will be making again. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Grilled Cheese

Yesterday was our last day of classes! To celebrate Dave and I went out to dinner with some of our friends from grad school to a new restaurant called Nuevo.

Dave and I split this awesome margarita flight which let you customize flavors/rims. From left to right: Cranberry Orange Peel margarita with a sugar/salt rim, a Spicy Mango margarita with a chili rim and a Pomegranate margarita with a sugar rim. Overall everything was delicious and we had a really great time.

As we're nearing the close of Grilled Cheese Month 2014 Dave and I are starting to experiment a little in the kitchen. Can you cook chocolate chip cookies in a skillet? Should cheese be melted between two cookies? Sometimes when you're making decisions about grilled cheese you just need to go for it. At this point, I'm not sure that cheese melted between two carb-based foods is ever truly a bad thing.

This recipe doesn't need to be difficult to make, we cheated and used prepackaged cookie dough.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-Chocolate chip cookies
-2 slices of cheddar cheese

Bake your cookies.

Melt butter in a skillet.
Lay down a cookie, cover in one slice of cheddar.
Top with another cookie.
Cover the skillet with a lid or another skillet to help the cheese melt.
Flip the cookie sandwich over in a few minutes.

The cookie will become golden brown on the outside.
This wasn't bad overall -- there was nothing wrong with the flavors and the cookie got nice and crispy on the outside. The cheddar cheese didn't really add anything to the sandwich. this would have been better with a cheese which has more flavor -- maybe brie or a sharper cheddar.   

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn't my favorite holiday overall, but foodwise it might be my favorite. It could be because fall is my favorite season and Thanksgiving foods incorporate all of the great flavors of autumn. This grilled cheese incorporates some of the classic Thanksgiving flavors all in one grilled cheese. Don't be intimidated by the carb on carb combo, it's worth it.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-Shredded mozzarella
-Stove-top stuffing, heated
-Skinny Cow Mozzarella, Sundried tomato and Basil cheese spread
Melt about two tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.
Saute the mushrooms until cooked through.
To build the grilled cheese:
Spread the Skinny Cow cheese on a slice of bread, layer mushrooms, stuffing, mozzarella cheese and another slice of bread.
Cook in a skillet of melted butter until golden brown. 

This was really good. The Skinny Cow cheese added a nice underlying flavor, the basil especially added a seasoning which helped to tie all of the flavors together. The additional shredded mozzarella kept everything in the sandwich, the mushrooms added a nice freshness and the stuffing had the classic Thanksgiving herbs. Thanksgiving in one handheld meal. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Egg-in-a-Basket Grilled Cheese

Some of my favorite ingredients in cooking are asparagus and runny eggs. I don't normally combine the two, but this breakfast grilled cheese is a good way to tie together some spring flavors in a colorful presentation. Which is good, because it might be spring today. Maybe? All of the jokes about Ohio weather are true. On Sunday and Monday I wore shorts and yesterday I needed to wear pants and a coat. Where is spring?!

Recipe from Cooking Stoned.

-1 Egg per sandwich
-English toast bread (or any other type of bread) 
-⅓ Cup Gruyere
-5 asparagus spears, blanched
-½ Tablespoon Butter
-Salt and pepper.
To make the egg in a basket, cut out the center of a piece of bread using a round cookie cutter.
Melt butter in a large skillet.
Lightly toast the bread slice on one side before and flip so the toasted side is up, before adding the egg.
Then crack an egg into the center of each and cook until done sunny side up or flip carefully to cook the egg over easy.

Place the blanched asparagus and the shredded gruyere onto two slices of bread.
Broil two minutes or until cheese melts. 

Now melt more butter into the skillet and gently transfer the egg in the basket onto the asparagus/cheese toast.
Cook until the bottom slice is golden brown. 

Serve with seasoning if desired. 

It seems like there are a lot of steps here, but overall it's not too difficult to make. The egg/gruyere/asparagus combination was delicious, that is something I would like to incorporate into more recipes. This sandwich had the right amount of cheese and it was nice to add some fresh vegetables to a sandwich.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Grilled Cheese Panzanella

Creating all of these grilled cheese sandwiches has taken a lot of preparation. It is not uncommon for me to stand in the bread or cheese aisle of a grocery store. Yes, I'm that person you hate, standing in the aisle, staring at the food, for what seems to be no reason. Grilled Cheese month is that reason.

Dave came up with the overall concept for this one -- during a brainstorming session, he decided that he really wanted to make something involving tiny grilled cheese. I couldn't commit to standing over a skillet trying to flip these, so we made them baked. Overall the whole thing is a play on a caprese panzanella salad.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-1 baguette, we used sourdough
-Bruschetta Jack Cheese
-Radish greens
-Balsamic vinegar
-Salt and pepper
-1 small container cherry tomatoes
-Olive oil
-Fresh mozzarella


Gather the ingredients.

Coat the cherry tomatoes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
Roast at 400 for 20 minutes or until they start to burst. 
Finished tomatoes.

Saute the radish greens in a skillet with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Saute until wilted.
To build the sandwiches: sandwich a slice of bruschetta jack cheese between two slices of baguette.
Brush each side with olive oil and bake at 350 for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Plate the ingredients however you'd like. Everything can be tossed together or separated out.
You'll plate the tiny grilled cheese, radish greens, roasted tomatoes and cubed fresh mozzarella.

Dave and I both really liked this dish. It was nice to do something other than a full sized grilled cheese sandwich. The best way to eat this is with a little bit of each ingredient in every bite. All of the components can stand alone or can be combined with anything else on the plate. The bruschetta jack cheese was good, it was full of flavor which was why we didn't add additional seasoning. Most of the steps can be combined, overall this didn't take long to make, although it looks like quite a few steps. This is something I would make again. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Reuben Grilled Cheese

When I was a server at a restaurant (a very, very popular chain) I was constantly looking for new ways to enjoy my half price discount, especially during lengthy double shifts. For the first half of my employment there was a reuben style sandwich on the menu -- I used to ask the cooks to grill one up for me without the corned beef, layers of melted Swiss, sauerkraut and smothered in Russian dressing. This grilled cheese is inspired by that sandwich I used to inhale while standing in the back of a noisy kitchen on a crowded Friday night.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original. 

-Rye bread
-Swiss cheese
-Russian dressing
-Mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter

To build the sandwich, start with melted butter in a skillet top a piece of bread with Swiss.

Add an obscene amount of Russian dressing. 
As much sauerkraut as you find to be sane.

Top with the mushrooms.
Add  more Swiss cheese and the other slice of bread.
Cook until the bread is golden.

This grilled cheese is everything that you want it to be -- hot, cheesy, tangy and messy. You can't go wrong with these ingredients, this was just like the sandwich I used to enjoy in a cramped kitchen. If you've ever worked in a restaurant you probably understand that inhaling a sandwich in three minutes, while standing, while covered in ranch dressing and while all of your tables wonder where their drinks are, kind of prevents you from enjoying a sandwich

I ate this sandwich sitting down, in comfy clothing, not covered in ranch dressing (you would be surprised how often your waitress leaves covered in ranch dressing) and I felt no guilt. Grill one of these delicious messes and enjoy it ASAP.