Last year during Passover, I created a charoset grilled cheese sandwich that turned out decently. Charoset is a Passover staple, so this year I wanted to include another important Passover ingredient within my grilled cheese. I ended up including two.
In a tribute to Valentine’s Day, I had to create a grilled cheese sandwich with strawberries, a main ingredient of the holiday. Last year, I went with a strawberry/mango grilled cheese, so this year I had to switch it up just a bit. I kept with the strawberry theme and instead of mangoes went with oranges. I figured the strawberries and oranges would go well together and I was correct.
- Orange Vinaigrette
the cheese: brie
Brie is often paired with sweet foods so it was a no-brainer to include it in a strawberries and orange vinaigrette grilled cheese. This Brie was pretty standard and very yummy. As you will see, it worked well with the grilled cheese.
How did “real” Brie cheese come about in the first place? Well, according to cheese experts, producing Brie cheese started in the French province called, not surprisingly, Brie – a town 60 miles from Paris!The oldest recorded evidence of its existence was found in the chronicles of Charlemagne. The Emperor at the time, tasted the cheese in the city of Brie around the year 774 BC. And here’s another interesting tidbit about Brie cheese… Louis XVI’s last and dying wish was supposedly to have a final taste of Brie.
It is sometimes called Brie de Meaux and is considered one of the most popular of the 400+ cheeses from France. Brie de Meaux’s popularity can be attributed to a competition that took place around 1814. During a Vienna Congress, an argument broke out regarding which country made the best and finest cheese.
As a result, a Frenchman by the name of Talleyrand, suggested a competition between the different countries and their national cheeses, as he was convinced that France would win. And of course, they did! Brie de Meaux was the winner and became known as the “King of Cheeses” and as you can imagine, instantly became an overnight success that swept Europe and has retained that distinction ever since. (ezinearticles.com)
Last week when I was staging, I was treated to a grilled cheese that included portobello mushrooms tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. I began to think why not toss strawberries in an orange vinaigrette?
With that idea tossing around in my head, I needed to find a recipe since I have never made a vinaigrette let alone an orange one. Google of course helped me out and I stumbled upon a blood orange vinaigrette recipe.
Since I only had some ingredients and did not need 4 servings worth, I edited this particular recipe just a bit. This is what I ended up with:
- fresh squeezed orange juice (continued adding OJ until it had the perfect amount, flavor)
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- ½ clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped shallots
- finely chopped fresh chives (I used dried and did not measure)
Instead of using store bought orange juice, I went ahead, with the assistance of the sous chef and her tools, and made fresh squeezed orange juice. I believe this really enhanced the recipe and allowed more control over the flavors. In the future, I may even try different oranges in this recipe. I tried a blood orange at Whole Foods but did not think it was anything special so I stuck with a standard orange. (Are you a fan of blood oranges? If so, let me know in the comments.)
The choice for bread was between ciabatta (above) and a sourdough boule from Whole Foods. I was leaning towards the sourdough (the sous chef was leaning towards the ciabatta) since I thought it would be heartier and hold up more to the cheese and strawberries. The cheese monger told me to go with the ciabatta. He though the flavors of the ciabatta would work perfectly without overpowering the grilled cheese, which the sourdough might have done. Although the bread started out soft and “weak” it cooked perfectly, becoming crunchy and a great pocket for the grilled cheese sandwiches ingredients.
the grilled cheese:
strawberries & orange vinaigrette grilled cheese: A-
Yes, this grilled cheese could have used more strawberries. Yes, this grilled cheese could have used more orange vinaigrette. Yes, this grilled cheese was great regardless of those faults. The flavor was still there although it could have been slightly more apparent. I of course went with less as I did not want to totally overpower the sandwich. While eating, I did drizzle some more vinaigrette over a part of the grilled cheese and that turned out to be a bit much. There is definitely a fine line when it comes to flavors, especially fruity flavors. I will have to work on this in future grilled cheeses.
I am a big fan of texture, especially a crunchy texture, when it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches and this sandwich definitely had it. As already stated, the ciabatta really was a perfect bread for this grilled cheese. It was crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. It really did grill very well.
P.S. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to everyone out there. Hope everyone had a great day and weekend!
- Cheesiness: A-. Wasn’t overly cheesy but the Brie did definitely melt.
- Combined Fillings: A-. As said, if there was just a bit more strawberry and orange vinaigrette it would have been perfect. However, it was still pretty darn good the way it was.
ingredients were purchased at…
Since I knew I would be using the Brie for this particular grilled cheese, I decided to go sweet. Via GroupRecipes.com, I found a Brie and Grape grilled cheese recipe that was perfect. Ideas started popping out of my head including a grape and strawberry […]
Yesterday, I googled broccoli cauliflower puree, hoping to find great inspiration for the evening’s grilled cheese. However, the 3rd result was for the exact opposite: Broccoli and Cauliflower Puree :: 6–9 Months – Baby Recipes…. I never thought that a couple of the search results […]
Yes, I have been gone for awhile. Yes, I have missed you. (Have you missed me?) Yes, I am back. Yes, this grilled cheese was very yummy! I would go into where I have been (Jewish holidays, birthdays, etc.), but I don’t want to bore you. Plus, I don’t think anyone came here to read about my life story, you just want to know about this great grilled cheese, featuring “kicked up” Goat Cheese. Right? Right.
- “Kicked Up” Goat Cheese
- Scrambled Egg
- Crimini Mushrooms
- Ciabatta Rolls
the cheese: goat cheese
First, some info on Goat Cheese…
Who knew that something so simple could taste so good? Goat cheese, with its pristine white color and distinct flavor is one of the most amazing foods in the world—a humble basic for some, a gourmet delight for others. Our selection of goat cheeses ranges from creamy, mild spreads to pungent, crumbly discs to reinterpretations of favorite cow’s milk cheeses. It’s an essential part of any cheese plate, a course in itself or the secret behind the subtle tang in favorite recipes. Have a taste and enjoy the modest yet noble virtues of goat cheese. (Whole Foods)
I am a big fan of Goat Cheese so it was the first cheese I thought of when I wanted to add some of my peppers directly into the cheese. The lady at Whole Foods echoed my sentiments so I went home with one package of Whole Foods Organic Goat Cheese.
Yes, it is perfect on its own, but tonight, I thought I would kick it up a notch. I added multiple types of peppers, lemon basil, and chives to a pan and then added in the cheese, cooking on low heat. Perfect.
While stopping at Whole Foods last Sunday, I decided I was going to purchase all of my ingredients for the night’s grilled cheese right then and there. I had some ideas rolling around in my head (pun intended), but nothing concrete. My cheese creation was based on my choice of the Ciabatta rolls, instead of a French Baguette. It just made more sense. (I would have probably gone the Mozzarella route if I went with the baguette.) Plus, these rolls allowed for larger grilled cheese sandwiches. I am never one to turn down more food. Once I decided on the type of bread, I decided that I would purchase two rolls, allowing me to use the cheese concoction for both, while using two different main ingredients. The first ingredient: Crimini Mushrooms.
All I did was saute the mushrooms in some olive oil. Simple. I normally add seasoning as I saute, but my mind was in multiple places so I must confess that I forgot. I added them with the cheese in the ciabatta, baked and I was all set. The second ingredient: Scrambled Egg.
I won’t say too much about the scrambled egg as I didn’t do anything special and most everyone already knows how to make one. As was the case with the mushrooms, I simply stuffed the scrambled egg between the bread and on top of the cheese and baked. Simple enough.
the grilled cheese:
“kicked up” goat cheese grilled cheese: A-
This was a tale of two grilled cheese sandwiches, literally. On one hand there was the Kicked Up Goat Cheese and Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich and on the other the Kicked Up Goat Cheese and Scrambled Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Unfortunately, the mushroom grilled cheese was lacking. I am not sure if it was the roll (not as crispy as the other), or the fact that the mushrooms simply got lost. It didn’t have what the scrambled egg grilled cheese did have. That roll was crunchy, with the interior being the exact opposite, giving the sandwich a great contrast in texture. The egg + cheese + roll just seemed to work perfectly together. I made this grilled cheese again this evening and skipped the mushrooms and stuck with just the scrambled egg. It was a wise decision. My only complaint about the Kicked Up Goat Cheese would be that it wasn’t kicked up enough. I am not one that can take extreme heat/spice, but I do like a little kick in my grilled cheese sandwiches. This cheese was more of a mild when I had hoped it would be a medium. Either way, for being homemade on a whim, I think the cheese, and grilled cheeses, turned out great!
ingredients were purchased at…
- My Garden (Peppers)
- Whole Foods (Goat Cheese, Ciabatta Rolls)
Somehow, this past week, I got on the subject of potatoes/potato pancakes and immediately my mind went to grilled cheese sandwiches. Potato pancakes in a sandwich? Good. Potato pancakes as the bread of a grilled cheese sandwich? Perfect. (Thanks sous chef.) Instead of making our […]
As you may or may not know, a week ago was my birthday. (Thank you!) For my birthday, I was lucky enough to upgrade my low-end Target purchased tripod to a professional grade one that will take some getting used to, all courtesy the sous chef. Therefore, some of my photography this week may be lacking. I was becoming very frustrated as I tried to figure out the tripod, and as a result my frustration showed through in my photography. I do apologize about that. Either way, the plantain grilled cheese was top notch, no matter who ate it.
- Cashew Butter
- Sauteed Plantains
- Swiss Cheese
- Sourdough Roll
the cheese: swiss
In general, the larger the eyes in a Swiss cheese, the more pronounced its flavor; this is because the same conditions that lead to large eyes—longer aging or higher temperatures—also allow the bacteria and enzymes to produce a stronger flavor. This poses a problem for makers of pre-sliced Swiss cheese, the most popular category in the United States. Cheese with large eyes doesn’t slice well, sometimes coming apart in mechanical slicers. This costs time and money and is one reason why US manufacturers usually produce a product less aged and flavorful than imported cheeses of the same style. (Wikipedia)
Please let me know what your thoughts on Swiss are in the comments and how you would compare it to Jarlsberg, which I loved and used last week. I actually think I liked the Jarlsberg better, but that might be because I see Swiss as a standard cheese and the Jarlsberg was a little different, while still being in the Swiss family.
The main ingredient was a birthday present (courtesy the sous chef)…
I had seen this cashew butter in the market months ago and was able to take a sample. It was awesome then and still is. Unfortunately, it is somewhat pricey, so we passed at that time but since it was my birthday, cost was no object. It was supposed to be used only by me, but I really wanted to try it on a grilled chees, so I did.
Elvis liked his banana and peanut butter sandwiches, so once I had the base ingredient of peanut cashew butter, I thought I would create an updated version of said sandwich. Instead of bananas, I went with plantains.
Musa paradisiaca, the plantain is a crop in the genus Musa and is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes called the dessert banana)…
Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas. Bananas are most often eaten raw, while plantains usually require cooking or other processing, and are used either when green or under-ripe (and therefore starchy) or overripe (and therefore sweet). Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying.
I have had plantains as chips and loved them. I loved them in this grilled cheese as well. They are awesome. As was the case with the mangoes previously, I am glad I went out on a limb and tried something somewhat new. I would recommend.
My father had his grilled cheese on a pretzel roll while I had mine on a sourdough roll, both purchased at Whole Foods Market. (Gastrointestinal problems lead to the switch for me.) I believe that both breads were great choices, although mine might have been just a tad too crunchy, which is the only real downfall of the grilled cheese. As you can see in the photo above, we only spread a small amount of cashew butter on the bread to insure that it did not overwhelm the taste of the grilled cheese.
the grilled cheese:
plantain grilled cheese: A
This grilled cheese was yummy no matter how you slice it. It was sweet and soft with a hint of crunchy. The interaction between the sweetness of the cashew butter and sauteed plantains was awesome. The Swiss cheese was mild enough that it worked very well with the grilled cheese and added a nice taste that was not overwhelming. One thing you must make sure is that when you are sauteing the plantains, make sure they are soft or your sandwich will be horrible and chewy. Last grilled cheese might have been a miss, but this one was the exact opposite. I don’t know if I would have made Elvis proud, but I sure was proud!
ingredients were purchased at…
- Miles Farmer’s Market (Cashew Butter, Plantains, Swiss Cheese, Sourdough Roll)