Happy Valentine’s Day to all the couples out there. I hope you have a great day with your significant other. To all of the single people, I promise you, it will get better. I once felt like I would never find anyone, let alone anyone special, and yet, here I am, in love with one of the most amazing woman in the world, Sous Chef, Jr.. Along with the love of my awesome parents and now my girlfriend, I am a very lucky guy. Thank you. Now onto the grilled cheese…
For the past three Valentine’s Day, I have made grilled cheese sandwiches featuring strawberries. Yes, I understand, they are the go to ingredient for Valentine’s Day, but aren’t I allowed to use other ingredients? I sure hope so. For this sandwich, I went the sweet/dessert route, but instead of strawberries, I went with oranges, and instead of bread, I went with a blueberry scone. To top it all off, I added Jeni’s amazing Salty Caramel Sauce. The combination was something to be seen.
the cheese: belgioioso mascarpone
In 1990, BelGioioso became the first American company to manufacture this fresh Italian cheese in the United States.
When I think dessert cheese, I always think of mascarpone cheese and that is why I decided to use it in this particular grilled cheese. Its particular sweet flavor and creamy texture lends itself perfectly for dessert creations.
When it comes down to it, mascarpone (pronounced mahs-car-POH-nay) is really just thickened cream that’s one step away from being butter. It’s made from only two ingredients, whole cream and citric or tartaric acid (to thicken the cream). That’s it. The process is so simple you can even make your own mascarpone cheese at home.
Mascarpone should have a very smooth texture with no lumps or graininess. The flavor should be milky and slightly sweet, sometimes with a tangy finish. It tends to go bad quickly, so use an open container of mascarpone within a few days. (About.com)
the ingredient: fresh orange slices
Funny story. I had the secondary ingredients chosen but I didn’t know the main ingredient. I needed something else. I was in the grocery store with the Sous Chef and supposedly said something to her. I don’t remember exactly what I said but she thought I said oranges. Right then, the light bulb went off: I could use oranges in my grilled cheese; they are perfect for a Valentine’s Day grilled cheese.
the other ingredient: jeni’s salty caramel sauce
To say that I am slightly addicted to Jeni’s Ice Cream is an understatement. Sure, I haven’t been to their ice cream shop in a month or so, but I am still pining over every new flavor and story that they email. Plus, there are two cartons of Jeni’s ice cream in my freezer. I even took Sous Chef Jr. to get some Jeni’s in the middle of December/winter. Yes, I love Jeni’s!
When I was thinking of doing a Valentine’s Day grilled cheese, I didn’t have much of an idea in the least. That is until I was conversing with Jeni’s via Twitter.
@grilledshane Salty Caramel Sauce? Just an idea.
— Jeni's Ice Creams (@jenisicecreams) February 5, 2014
Sitting in my fridge was a container of Jeni’s amazing Salty Caramel Sauce just waiting to be used in a grilled cheese. I don’t know how to even explain the flavor other than it is heavenly. I never really liked caramel until I tried this sauce. It is simply amazing. Trust me. When it comes to Jeni’s, I don’t exaggerate unless I truly mean it.
the bread: blueberry scone
The blueberry scone as bread idea was thought of by Sous Chef Jr. and let me tell you, it was perfect. I ended up purchasing the most delicious blueberry scone from Whole Foods. I wanted to make sure it was tall enough that it could be cut in half while also having a ton of blueberries. What is a blueberry scone if it doesn’t have any blueberries?!
So, you ask, how was I going to mix all of these parts into an amazing grilled cheese? Easy.
I started by putting about two spoonfuls of Jeni’s Salty Caramel Sauce in a saucepan with some sweet butter and slowly melted it.
Once the buttery caramely mixture melted a bit, I added the orange slices and let them all mingle and get warm. It really was as simple as that.
Once the oranges were warm, I took the leftover caramel sauce and added 2/3 of it to the Mascarpone cheese and mixed it up. I must say, if you so desire, you could definitely eat the Mascarpone/Caramel mixture by itself. It was that good.
the grilled cheese:
blueberry scone & jeni’s salty caramel grilled cheese: A-
The build of this particular grilled cheese was pretty easy. I spread the Mascarpone mixture on the bottom half of the scone, then the orange slices followed by the remaining caramel sauce. Top if off with the other half of scone and you are all set.
Now don’t let the minus in the A- grade deter you from trying to create this sandwich. The Blueberry Scone and Jeni’s Salty Caramel Grilled Cheese was most definitely delicious with various flavors (salty, sweet, etc) and textures (creamy, smooth, etc) all mixed together. It just wasn’t as rich/over the top as I had expected. (I love my desserts rich and over the top.) Regardless, this Valentine’s Day grilled cheese was still very good and the combination of all the different ingredients made sure there was no dull bite.