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Grilled cheese sandwich: serious comfort food


Smithy
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One of the treats of lazy Sunday afternoons of my youth was when Mom would cook sandwiches: maybe a BLT, maybe a grilled cheese. I recall enjoying them but not thinking of grilled cheese sandwiches as anything special. I gained a new appreciation for them in Mom's later years, when the grilled cheese sandwich became one of her hallmark meals for times she was too tired and hungry to do (or wait for) anything creative. Shepherd's bread, Colby-jack cheese, mayo and mustard between the bread and the cheese, butter on the outside. Cook it in the skillet until it's brown, warm and melty. Enjoy and collapse, knowing that the chores are done for the night.

This summer my sister and rediscovered that gem but played around with it bit to suit our tastes: first the French's mustard (Mom's favorite) gave way to Dijon, then the cheese gave way to cheddar. Along the way we found an even happier combination, one that unfortunately I'll have trouble duplicating now that I'm back in Minnesota. San Luis brand Sourdough Olive Oil and Rosemary loaf. Fagundes Farmstead "San Joaquin Hanford Jack", a farmers' market special jack cheese from Hanford, California that features small chunks of roasted garlic, roasted red bell pepper, and cilantro. By itself the cheese is rather bland, but it plays beautifully off the rosemary and olive oil in the bread.

A couple of nights ago I got a serious jones for those sandwiches for dinner. My DH took the idea quietly but was clearly unimpressed. "Wait and see," I urged, "I really neeeeed one of these!"

I lovingly pulled out the last of the cheese and bread I'd brought from Visalia last month. Slathered the bread slices with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard and just a touch of horseradish mustard for good measure. Cut slices of that San Joaquin cheese and laid them carefully onto the bread, making sure that not one square centimeter of bread was left uncovered. Mated the bread pieces. Buttered the outsides. Into the pan they went, over medium heat, taking care not to overbrown before turning. When I was done the sandwiches were golden brown, with cheese gently oozing out the margins, and some bits browned crisp where the cheese had touched the pan.

We ate, and overate, and he gave some of his highest praise: "This is not my mother's grilled cheese."

I have a convert, and he says I can do it again anytime. I wish I could, but I'll have to find a local substitute.

How, if at all, do you tart up your grilled cheese sandwiches?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Good rat cheese...no mustard for me though my mom loved it, thinly sliced heirloom sweet tomatoes and my newest favorites...1912 pickles we brought back from Maine this summer and mix the butter with a little bit of Cain's mayo to go on the outside. Now I have NEVER been a mayo girl but my sister-in-law had some of this and it really tastes good. Just the thing for breakfast or for a quick dinner after 8 hours out in the field.

edited to say Nancy I love your quote and am sending it to Johnnybird who is an engineer.

Edited by suzilightning (log)
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Years ago, the Washington Post food section ran an article that had several dozen variations on grilled cheese. I remember having that clipped out and attached to my fridge when I was right out of college. I tried almost every one, and, went on to make many more.

My tried and true favorite doesn't have any traditional condiments: sourdough bread, smoked gouda, mushrooms sauteed with garlic.

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My tried and true favorite doesn't have any traditional condiments: sourdough bread, smoked gouda, mushrooms sauteed with garlic.

That sounds wonderful.

We usually spice it up with green chile and El Pato hot sauce.

If we've got it and it's been in the fridge too long - gruyere is great.

I love the idea of butter mixed with mayo for the outside, I need to try that.

PastaMeshugana

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My go-to is honey whole wheat bread, generous amounds Javierino (a sharpish cheese similar to aged Colby), Angochagua (a very funky aged Ecuadorian cheese), and sauerkraut. I don't butter my bread, though; I use a bit of sunflower-olive oil in the pan instead.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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My goto is challah and old cheddar. Butter the outside of the bread. When the bread is nice and toasty and the cheese is melted, carefully pull the two sides apart and slip in a few slices of tomato and lots of thinly sliced green onion. Simple. Comfort.

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All those sound good but...

Squishy whole wheat sandwich bread with processed "American" cheese slices in between. Butter in the cast iron skillet -- lots. Browned on both sides until the cheese is melty and the bread is crusty but not too dark. Cut across diagonally and eat quick.

I know I should be ashamed but it's so gooooooood...

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All those sound good but...

Squishy whole wheat sandwich bread with processed "American" cheese slices in between. Butter in the cast iron skillet -- lots. Browned on both sides until the cheese is melty and the bread is crusty but not too dark. Cut across diagonally and eat quick.

I know I should be ashamed but it's so gooooooood...

I'm with you all the way. I make mine with Velveeta, though. Mmmmmmmmm . . .

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A few years ago in Spain (sorry - Catalunya. They're NOT the same thing ...) we got ourselves addicted to pa amb tomaquet; literally 'bread with tomato', but everybody's got their own version and all the others are wrong.

Our own variant, which we don't have anything like often enough, is slices (not too thick) of good bread, dizzled with olive oil, covered in thin slices of the tastiest tomato you can get, sprinkled of salt and black pepper, then slices of Manchego cheese. Top the lot with an anchovy then pop under a hot grill until they're nicely browned and bubbling. Eat carefully, unless you have no pain receptors in your lips.

(Try to find good juicy anchovies; not the bloody awful things your local pizza place calls anchovies, which have probably put you off them for life.)

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Sorry, Bloody Awful is a New York version of a Virgin Mary. Heh!

Onion rye bread, decent Swiss cheese, good ripe tomato slices and precooked bacon, cooked to almost crispness. Butter on the outside, mayo on the inside is optional. Cook slowly over low-ish heat until browned and bacon is crispier. If you're lucky, the cheese will melt and hit the pan, so you'll get the crunch of that, too! (You can always press this down to encourage "goozing").

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Sorry, Bloody Awful is a New York version of a Virgin Mary. Heh!

Onion rye bread, decent Swiss cheese, good ripe tomato slices and precooked bacon, cooked to almost crispness. Butter on the outside, mayo on the inside is optional. Cook slowly over low-ish heat until browned and bacon is crispier. If you're lucky, the cheese will melt and hit the pan, so you'll get the crunch of that, too! (You can always press this down to encourage "goozing").

Goozing is my new favourite word even if I think grilled cheese sandwiches are highly overrated!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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I'm rather partial to a grilled cheese sandwich with a thin slice of Vidalia onion in the middle between cheddar cheese and sour dough bread. The union stays mostly crisp with just a little bit of softening! Another favorite is with about 3 slices of crispy bacon in the middle.

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Mayo on the outside makes a beautiful golden crust. Sliced white bread, medium cheddar (so-called "tasty cheese" here), a bit of fresh pepper. And sometimes it like to pry it open and put some butter lettuce inside afterwards. Love the contrast of the sweet freshness against the golden richness.

Or Turkish bread, no need to butter the outside, sharp cheddar and a thinly sliced Granny Smith piled in afterwards.

In the long-ago I used to like grilled cheese and peanut butter. They ooze (or should it be gooze now?) together beautifully.

The tradition in Oz is the jaffle - I like them a lot, but the interiors can be deadly hot!

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Sorry, Bloody Awful is a New York version of a Virgin Mary. Heh!

Onion rye bread, decent Swiss cheese, good ripe tomato slices and precooked bacon, cooked to almost crispness. Butter on the outside, mayo on the inside is optional. Cook slowly over low-ish heat until browned and bacon is crispier. If you're lucky, the cheese will melt and hit the pan, so you'll get the crunch of that, too! (You can always press this down to encourage "goozing").

Goozing is my new favourite word even if I think grilled cheese sandwiches are highly overrated!

Goozing: how I've been needing this word! Thanks!

Anna N, I too thought grilled cheese sandwiches were highly overrated, before I started messing with the ingredients. Now I've made a convert of my husband. Perhaps you're next? :wink:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I like to use grated cheese - melts nicely and you can really pile it on :rolleyes: . I'll have to try the mayo on the outside trick!

Also, I don't believe anyone has mentioned this, but my grilled cheese sandwich MUST be accompanied by tomato soup.

K

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I like to use grated cheese - melts nicely and you can really pile it on :rolleyes: . I'll have to try the mayo on the outside trick!

Also, I don't believe anyone has mentioned this, but my grilled cheese sandwich MUST be accompanied by tomato soup.

K

http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipes/ribeye-grilled-cheese-sandwich-amp-spicy-tomato-soup

http://www.bravotv.com/media/top-chef/season/8/top-recipe/pdf/ep810-recipe.pdf

http://www.sporkorfoon.com/spork_or_a_foon/2011/10/top-chef-dale-taldes-iron-grilled-cheese-and-filet-mignon-with-a-smoky-tomato-soup.html

Oh, BTW, Dale Talde WON that particular episode of Top Chef with that grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup.

:-)

Edited by huiray (log)
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I'm with the contingent of sliced American cheese (but only the processed cheese, NOT cheese food or <shudder> cheese food product) on storebought sandwich bread, cooked in a frying pan with plenty of butter, but no other additions please. My husband insists on tomato soup (from the can, mixed with a can of milk) alongside but I won't do that.

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

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Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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My husband insists on tomato soup (from the can, mixed with a can of milk) alongside but I won't do that.

But have you tried a taste of it, though? Just asking.

A local deli makes a cream of tomato basil soup. I'm sure it's Campbell's but tarted up with half & half, lemon pepper and basil. It has a nice creamy thickness to it and is very much a comfort soup.

I like just a regular grilled cheese (Velveeta when I was a kid, American as a teen and cheddar as an adult) but I add sliced dill pickle after grilling and just before eating. The vinegary tartness of the pickle balances the buttery bread and "goozey" cheese.

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I'm with the contingent of sliced American cheese (but only the processed cheese, NOT cheese food or <shudder> cheese food product) on storebought sandwich bread, cooked in a frying pan with plenty of butter, but no other additions please. My husband insists on tomato soup (from the can, mixed with a can of milk) alongside but I won't do that.

Don't knock the Velveeta, Melissa. My husband also loves tomato soup out of the can, mixed with a can of milk. Old habits die hard and comfort food is comfort food, after all.

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