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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Queso Crazy

One of my favorite comfort foods on earth is a really good grilled cheese sandwich. What comes into your mind when you think of this sandwich? Two pieces of white bread slathered with margarine and a piece of American cheese in the middle and pan fried to a golden brown, maybe with a side of ketchup to dip in right? This was what dreams were made of when we were kids but we have matured a bit since then. Many of us haven seen a grilled cheese sandwich in years (unless you have to make them for your kids like I do). We can find this sandwich of our dreams in grown up technicolor by keeping the everything we love about the sandwich, with some new and tastier ingredients.
First step to building your big kid grilled cheese is the bread. We definitely can do better than the white over processed white bread of our youth. Start with some staples in our repertoire like sourdough, or baguettes, rye, challah, and artisan breads. When cutting these breads, make sure you cut them with the core of the bread exposed and not the crust so that they can brown or toast well. Next for the piece de resistance and that would be the cheese.
There are many who love American cheese, even in the professional culinary world, some chefs feel it has its place. In my opinion it is not cheese, it is cheese food, a fake, a phony. In other words, NOT REAL. **takes deep breath** You have every right to put in your mouth what you like, this is just my opinion. Now back to the wonderful subject at hand, cheese. They are so many choices, there is not enough room or time to list them all so I will only list a few of my favorites; Bree, Sharp Cheddar, Manchego, Majon, Tetilla, Gouda, Comte, Gruyere, Boursin, Stilton, Panela, Asadero, Oaxaca, and Chihuahua. All of these cheeses are great for melting.
The ideas of other ingredients are endless from sliced meats and charcuterie,  pickled and fresh veggies and chiles, even fruit. You can also add some great spreads from pesto to cream cheese or yogurt.
Here are some sandwich ideas, my mouth and belly endorse;

Mexican talera bread-toasted and buttered
manchego and Monterrey jack cheese
roasted hatch green chile strips

Artisan multi grain bread buttered and toasted
Boursin and Stilton cheeses
Thinly sliced Bartlett pears (ripe)
fresh spinach leaves

Dark Rye bread buttered and toasted
Jarlsberg cheese
Black forest ham

Beer bread buttered and toasted
Sharp Cheddar
Pulled pork
homemade mac and cheese

Ciabatta bread olive oiled and toasted
mozzarella and Parmesan (sliced not shredded)
Roma tomatoes and basil salsa

have fun with your food creations, just remember to KEEP IT REAL, KEEP IT FRESH, AND KEEP IT SUSTAINABLE.


  1. Mmmmm...I adore grilled cheese!

  2. if you have any questions on how to prepare any of these, let me know. Or if you would like to know more about any of these ingredients, ask away!