Thursday, April 30, 2015

Down to Earth

This is the final day of April, and the final day of Grilled Cheese Month 2015. We had some favorites, like the port wine grilled cheese, some surprises, like the grilled cheese salad, and some fun, like Elvis' dream grilled cheese.

This last grilled cheese brings us back down to earth, so to speak, with a mushroom blend sandwich, fun ingredients to work with and a good combination of flavors.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original grilled cheese.

-0.25 ounce dried mushroom mix (including e.g. shiitake, wood ear, cloud ear, oyster, and button)
-1 ounce chopped pecans
-2 ounces aged swiss cheese
-2 slices rosemary bread

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the mushrooms to a cutting board. They look fragile when dry, but can be rather unwieldy when rehydrated. Cut them into more manageable 1/4 inch slivers. The package recommends saving the soaking liquid for stock, i boiled mine and had mushroom tea. Not an every day drink, mind you, but uniquely flavorful and very good.

Cook the mushrooms in 1/2 tablespoon of butter for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the pecans to toast for another minute.

Layer the mushrooms and pecans between slices of cheese, so that the melted cheese can help hold the sandwich together, then grill in a frying pan on medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon of butter.

This was a pretty interesting sandwich, give it a try. Dried mushroom blends can be gotten for fairly cheap at the grocery store, and we have some left over for stir-fry or whatever we want. The sandwich itself was crispy on the outside, with a meld of earthy, nutty, and tangy flavors on the inside. The slight chew of the mushrooms and crunch of the pecans created deeper textural elements.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tostada Grilled Cheese

A simple but intriguing sandwich, it elevates the grilled cheese with a firm and aromatic tostada core.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original grilled cheese.

-2 slices Italian bread
-1 small corn tortilla
-1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese
-1 ounce shredded colby / jack cheese blend

Cut the tortilla to the shape of your bread, then lightly pan fry the tortilla to make it crisp. Layer the cheddar cheese, then the tortilla, then the colby jack blend between the bread, and cook on medium in a small amount of butter, flipping once. Serve with salsa, if desired.

Here, the pieces of a beautiful grilled cheese are present: crunchy outside, melted inside, with good salt content and sharp and flavorful cheeses. The tostada brings in a firm al dente texture, and adds the light and pleasant taste and aroma of corn.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Beets Me

For this grilled cheese we pulled out my new spiralizer to play with it. If you don't have one you could use apple slices, but I highly recommend that you purchase one. We've had a lot of fun playing with it this month and there will be many recipes featured on this blog that require the spiralizer.

-Italian Bread
-Parmentino Cheese

Slaw-Spiraled apple
-Fresh cabbage

In order to make this grilled cheese, we cooked it open faced until the cheese was melted on both slices of bread. Then we combined them to form the sandwich. Sometimes if there are too many ingredients on a grilled cheese, cooking it open faced is the best way to ensure that the cheese gets melted. 


Alecia: I liked this, the slaw was tangy and sweet, the cheese which is usually pretty strong alone, was more mellow alongside the assertive flavors and helped to tie everything together.

Dave: I grilled this open faced with cheese on both open sides on low heat with a lid, so that the hard cheese would have time to melt before the bread toasted. It was a warm melt, sour and crunchy and delicious.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Broccoli + Mustard + Brie

Leftovers turned into a tasty grilled cheese to serve with tomato basil soup.

-Italian Bread

Heat a small amount of oil in a small skillet and cook the broccoli until crisp tender and season with the nutmeg. 

This sandwich was really good. Brie is the best cheese to use for grilled cheese, because it melts wonderfully and oozes out of the sandwich. I had wanted to add vegan bacon to this, but I don’t think that it was needed ,the broccoli and mustard paired well together and the brie was mellow.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Drunken Goat

Drunken Goat cheese may be my new favorite cheese. This Spanish cheese spends some time soaking in wine which gives the rind a beautiful color and delicious wine flavor and aroma.

Italian Bread
Drunken goat cheese

This grilled cheese made me so happy. The neufchatel was added for a little creaminess. I thought the blueberries would pair well with the wine in the drunken goat cheese. Overall, I thought this was really good, the lemon helped to tie everything together. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Near East

Creamy cheese and homemade falafel make for a fresh, punchy, and tasty grilled sandwich

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original grilled cheese.

-2 slices Italian bread
-1 leaf + 1.5 tablespoons kale
-1 small diced tomato
-1 ounce cream cheese
-1 ounce blue cheese
-8 ounces chickpeas
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 small onion
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon flour
-salt and pepper

To make the falafel, combine ground chickpeas, garlic, onion, 1.5 tablespoons chopped kale, cumin, flour, and salt and pepper to taste. I happened to use a ceramic grater to give my chickpeas, garlic and onion a finer, more paste-like consistency, and to preserve some of the flavor and nutrients.

Mix the ingredients, form 1 inch diameter balls, and pan fry, flipping once to brown both sides. Let rest on a paper towel.

Whisk the cream cheese and blue cheese and spread on a slice of bread. Top the other slice with flattened falafel, tomatoes, and a kale leaf, then grill over medium heat.

Great tang from the blue cheese, and the creamy cheese beautifully offsets the crispy exterior of the bread. Add a touch of cayenne pepper to cut the assertive blue cheese. With each bite, the subtler flavors of the tomato and falafel come through.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Bonfire

Bonfires and s'mores are a wonderful part of summer. This grilled cheese recipe combines all of the best ingredients of that summertime dessert with a little goat cheese. 

-Cinnamon swirl bread
-Marshmallow fluff
-Goat cheese
-Caramel drizzle

Goat cheese and chocolate on one slice.

Fluff on the other.

Top with caramel drizzle.

Alecia: I liked this as well, the goat cheese really came through to help cut through the sweetness of the sandwich overall. You could taste all of the ingredients and they were great together.

Dave: This was good. I liked that you could taste the goat cheese, it was a cool subtlety.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tiny Oven

An interesting and attention-grabbing sandwich in both looks and flavor, with roasted cranberries and jalapenos.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original grilled cheese.

-2 slices Italian bread
-2 ounces New York white sharp cheddar
-1/4 cup roasted cranberries
-1 roasted jalapeno

To roast the cranberries and jalapenos, lightly coat them in oil and put them in a toaster oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. The jalapeno skin may blacken, if so, it should peel off; remove the veins and seeds.

Grill at medium heat until cheese is melted.

First, the sandwich is clearly enticing, the vibrant red and green color from the roasted ingredients pops against the melted cheese and the just-toasted bread. The aroma of the roasted jalapeno is inviting, and contributes a back of the mouth feeling to eating it, plus the heat of the jalapeno is mellowed and manageable. The sour cranberries and salty, flavorful cheese round out each bite.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Heady Draft

This was a robust grilled cheese with a bold and complex flavor profile brought about by the caramelized onions, smoky cheese and dark beer.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original grilled cheese.

-2 slices Italian bread
-2 ounces smoked mozzarella
-1 small onion
-1 small jalapeno
-1/2 cup porter (beer)
-1/2 cup water
-1 tablespoon butter
-1 teaspoon mustard
-1 teaspoon corn starch
-1 teaspoon flour

Slice the onion and jalapeno, and remove the ribs and seeds. Saute until golden. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, then the water, corn starch and mustard over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Add the beer and the flour and simmer until it thickens.

The sandwich can be grilled open-faced, with the smoked mozzarella atop the bread, under a mound of jalapenos and onions. Cook on low heat so that the cheese can melt adequately without the bread burning.

Flip together, and serve with beer gravy on the side, to dip.

Alternatively, smother the sandwich in gravy and tuck in with a knife and fork.

Here, sauteed onions are always welcome, and the smokiness of the cheese gives a very distinctive essence. My beer gravy had an underlying bitterness, and lent to the whole sandwich a strength of character