Food & Drink

Upscale the lowly grilled cheese to a masterpiece

A basic grilled cheese sandwich of American cheese on white bread is good comfort food.
A basic grilled cheese sandwich of American cheese on white bread is good comfort food. Getty Images/iStockphoto

What was the first sandwich Mama ever made you? Peanut butter and jelly, bologna or grilled cheese?

My favorite was bologna; now, I don’t eat that luncheon meat, preferring, corned beef or pastrami, Cajun turkey breast or roast beef or good chicken salad.

The cold cuts/breakfast meats drawer in our fridge can be filled with great-tasting sandwich-makings, and my daughter will go for slices of American cheese melted between toasted white bread. Give Elyssa grilled cheese any day and she’s perfectly happy.

I silently groan, especially about the white bread. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love cheese, but I like quality cheese with quality meats. I like aged Swiss cheese melted on pastrami or corned beef on toasted rye bread. That’s good-eating to me.

My daughter wasn’t reared eating white bread. My late husband loved good breads, so we had whole wheat, rye, onion rolls, croissants and the like. Where she picked up the white bread habit, I will never know, but my granddaughter is following in her mom’s footsteps. No, brown bread for her. Of course, she still doesn’t eat sandwiches, but does like her French toast on white bread.

Food&Wine magazine and website suggests using heartier breads than white bread, such as hearty multigrain or even sourdough, ciabatta or pumpernickel. Their version of the grilled cheese turns the sandwich into a gourmet delight. The recipe by Grace Parisi uses Gruyere; what wouldn’t be good with Gruyere? I can skip the bread and eat the cheese.

Elyssa likes her grilled cheese extra cheesy and always uses two slices of cheese. One thing she is picky about is toasty bread. She always toasts one side of the two pieces of bread and flips it over and then puts the cheese in the middle on the toasted side of each bread slice.

For white bread, the sandwich must be golden. She places the cooked sandwich in the microwave for 10 seconds, so the cheese is gooey.

How do you do your grilled cheese, and what kind or kinds of cheese do you prefer?

Rouses Supermarkets want to know. The regional chain is getting cheesy with other stores nationwide in The Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown 2018 through May 15.

If readers think their grilled cheese is perfection, then they need to submit the recipe with photo or photos to www.grilledcheeseacademy.com. At the site, each entrant will be prompted to enter a retailer. Since Rouses is participating, each Coast entrant puts in Rouses as the retailer. That is all there is to it; each participant is entered in Rouses’ contest and the national one.

Ten area winners will receive $300 Rouses gift cards. Not bad for the lowly grilled cheese that is now elevated to masterpiece status.

Sorry, Elyssa, I think it will take more than toasted white bread and American cheese to take the prize.

What’s your favorite way to cook a grilled cheese sandwich? I offer some ideas today to step up the grilled cheese sandwich.

Please feel free to share your grilled cheese or other sandwich ideas with me, and, no, I don’t care if the sandwiches use white bread.

Mother’s Day on its way

It is hard to believe that Mother’s Day is only two weeks away. Moms, what kind of meal would you prefer on your special day? Are you a breakfast-in-bed woman or a home-cooked sit-down meal one with all the kids and grandkids?

Since I cook throughout the year, I want to dine out. Perhaps there are other Moms and Grandmothers who like to do the same thing.

My grandmother and great-grandmother preferred a huge lunch with the whole family gathered at the dining table. Not me. My daughter would rather make reservations for us.

Please share your thoughts with me. What’s your favorite Mother’s Day meal?

Fruitcake mighty popular

“The Abby of Gethsemani in Kentucky makes the best fruitcake that I have ever tasted,” said Carolyn Baus. “The monks make the best.”

The Abby of Gethsemani is at 3642 Monks Road, Trappist, KY 40051. The phone number is 1-502-549-3117. Call for a catalog to be sent.

Baus said the monks also make fudge and cheese.

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.

Grilled Gruyere and Sweet Onion Sandwiches

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)

Salt and freshly group pepper

8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices whole-grain bread

Dijon mustard

8 ounces imported Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced

2 half-sour pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise

In a deep skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the oil. Add onion, cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice until softened about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes longer. Add water to the skillet as necessary, 1/4 cup at a time, to prevent the onion from scorching. Season the caramelized onion with salt and pepper.

Spread the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and arrange, buttered side down, on a work surface. Spread a thin layer of mustard on each slice. Top half of the sliced with the onion, Gruyere and pickled and close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted, and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Recipe by Grace Parisi, Food&Wine

Breakfast Grilled Cheese with Soft Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs:

4 large eggs

1 small pinch of cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons cream cheese

Assembly:

4 sliced American cheese

4 thick sliced Martin’s Potato Bread or other white bread

Unsalted butter (for pan)

Preparation: Scrambled eggs

Whisk eggs and cayenne in small bowl; season generously with salt.

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium. As soon as it begins to foam, add eggs and cook, whisking constantly, until they have set in small curds and are beginning to look dry, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in cream cheese.

Assembly:

Divide cheese between 2 slices of bread and top with egg mixture. Close up sandwiches.

Heat a dry large skillet over medium-low and brush very lightly with butter. Toast sandwiches until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Do ahead:

Eggs can be scrambled 2 hours ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Recipe by Wylie Dufresne of Bon Appetit, March 2018

Raspberry Grilled Cheese

For 2 slices of bread, spread 1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry preserves on one side of each slice and 1 tablespoon of softened butter on the other side. On one slice of bread, with the raspberry side up, layer with 1 tablespoon each chopped pecans and sliced green onions, 2 slices Muenster or baby Swiss cheese. Top with the other slice of bread, raspberry side down. Toast sandwich for 2-3 minutes on each side or until bread is lightly browned. Remove from the heat; cover until cheese melts.

From “The Taste of Home Cookbook”

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