Although it was July 4th weekend, and I did create a patriotic grilled cheese for Memorial Day, I stayed away from the USA this weekend and instead went with Tofu. Tofu is extremely American, right? Ever since sometime last week, I got it in my […]
A quesadilla is a Mexican snack food made of cheese (and occasionally other ingredients) wrapped in uncooked masa (cornmeal dough) and fried, or cooked inside a corn, wheat or flour tortilla. The word comes from Spanish, and literally means “little cheesy thing” or “cheesy” (from […]
When the mice are away, the cat will play.
Let’s pretend for a second that I am a cat and my folks are the mice. Well, the mice are currently away celebrating their 35th anniversary (congrats to them), so the cat decided that he would play. I decided that I wanted to try to create something new and unique that I had never really messed with before. I wanted to perfect a recipe prior to unleashing it on the masses, aka my family.
A friend of mine made a post on grilledshane’s Facebook fan page suggesting that for my next Sunday Dinners sandwich (a quesadilla, coming soon), I should not use a plain tortilla shell. Instead, I should use a flavored one, such as garlic herb. Not a bad suggestion at all. However, his comment got me thinking about naan bread, which I just happened to have in the refrigerator. For all of my previous sandwiches, I have used typical white/wheat bread, but then I got to thinking that I did not need to go the typical route anymore. I need to think outside the box, and my naan bread sits right outside that box. That is when I said, I will try to create a naan grilled cheese.
I googled “naan sandwich recipe” and stumbled on SanjeevKapoor.com which helped get my mind started on how to create tonight’s grilled cheese. Onion, tomato, and scrambled eggs were all used in this naan grilled cheese. I added shallots for the heck of it and cumin and curry to add even more Indian influence into this Indian dish. This particular recipe called for green chillies, but I went ahead and used red.
And then there was the cheese.
The recipe I found did not include cheese so I was not sure what I was going to do. I had though that I would use the leftover mozzarella from last week’s grilled cheese, but that is definitely not Indian. Then I went on a hunt for Paneer cheese, which I only learned about today.
Paneer is the most common South Asian and Persian cheese. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or other food acid. The process is similar to queso blanco, except that Paneer does not have salt added. Paneer is very closely linked to the Turkish Beyaz peynir which is also strained and squeezed the same way. (Wikiepedia)
I believe that Paneer cheese is similar to tofu in that it takes on the flavor of the other ingredients it is paired with, which would be very interesting in non-grilled cheese entrees. Oddly enough, I only now read that it is non-melting cheese, which would definitely explain why the cheese in my sandwich only partially melted. Whoops! I guess I should have investigated much more, especially when I paid $9 for a small package at Whole Foods. Let me tell you, not many grocery stores/markets have Paneer cheese. Although I wanted to continue with the Indian influence, another cheese would have most likely worked better, as I would have probably chosen a meltable one. In the Wikipedia article it mentions similar American cheeses, which might be a good place to start if I were ever to recreate this grilled cheese.
So how did I prepare this grilled cheese you may ask? Well finally, I am about to tell you. I warmed up the naan bread, by itself, as I prepared the other ingredients. When I use butter for my grilled cheeses, which isn’t always, I use sweet butter, Land O’ Lakes. I used that exact same butter this evening when I started sauteing the tomato, onion, shallots and red chillies. As they were working in the pan, I added in the curry and the cumin. I did not measure this out so just do it taste. In future versions, I would add more, but since I have not used curry and cumin in the past, I wanted to be cautious as it is easier to add than delete.
Once the onions were turning a golden brown color and everything seemed to be looking good, I added in the eggs. I just scrambled everything together until my eggs were done just how I liked them. Then, I cut the naan bread in half, placed a few slices of the Paneer cheese on the bottom half, placed the cooked egg mixture on top and closed the grilled cheese. I cooked it for about 7 minutes in the oven (400 degrees) and that was that. The only thing left to do was eat.
This naan and Paneer grilled cheese sandwich was very good and one I hope to perfect in the coming days/weeks. As I mentioned, I am new to Indian spices and ingredients so hopefully as I continue my grilled cheese cooking, I will delve deeper into Indian cuisine. I might even feature this grilled cheese as a Sunday Dinner, but since this was so in depth this evening, I may not. I do not know. Definitely try this and let me know what you think, and leave your thoughts in the comments.
the grilled cheese:
In honor of Memorial Day, I decided that I was going to make a red, white and blue grilled cheese sandwich. The only problem is there really aren’t many blue ingredients in the wild. (There are, however, white ingredients, mozzarella, and red ingredients, red peppers.) […]
Before discussing tonight’s sandwich, I must first explain tonight’s subject and why in fact I love white, square dishes. Ever since I have started creating a new grilled cheese each and every Sunday night, I have been using coral dishes that can be seen in […]
Breakfast and by extension hash browns, is a meal that I love. The same can be said for grilled cheese sandwiches. Therefore, I thought why not combine a part of breakfast (hash browns) with my favorite sandwich? It was a no-brainer…
- Homemade Hash Browns
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Whole Wheat Pugliese
the cheese: monterey jack
As I write this, I am eating one more slice of cheese, simply because it was that good by itself. On the hash brown grilled cheese, it was great as well. Very yummy!
Also known as Monterey Jack, California Jack, or Sonoma Jack, this buttery, semi-soft cheese was created by 19th century cheese maker David Jacks. It can be made from whole, skimmed, or partially skimmed cow’s milk, and its texture and flavor varies with maturity. Unaged Jack, ripened from one week to one month, is mild and high in moisture, with excellent melting qualities. Aged or dry Jack, ripened for about 10 months, is hard, rich, nutty and fruity. It’s most often used as a grating cheese atop pasta and salads…learn more about American cheeses.
This cheese was on sale at my local market and so I said okay, I will try it. I am very glad that I did. It is a very soft, and creamy cheese that has a distinct taste that I just can’t put my finger on. If it weren’t for the fact that I might get sick, I would eat the rest of the block. Maybe I just found a great variety, or I just never knew that I liked Monterey Jack cheese. I am glad I know now.
When I was trying to think of a title for this blog, I realized that my good ol’ friend The Daily Spud would probably have loved this grilled cheese. I mean, spuds are the base for all good hash browns, right? (The old blog title was Spuds Are Great.)
A quick note about the bread courtesy The Cook’s Thesaurus.
Pugliese bread = pan Pugliese Pronunciation: pool-yee-AY-zee Notes: This simple, crusty bread hails from Puglia, Italy, and is great for making sandwiches or dipping into olive oil. Some producers flavor it with olives or cheese. Substitutes: Italian bread
I am not much a whole wheat/multigrain bread person, but the taste was not overpowering and worked perfectly for tonight’s grilled cheese. I might even eat the leftover bread by itself.
I have a done a breakfast sandwich with a fried egg, so tonight I thought I would try another breakfast food: hash browns. Let me say, my idea was ingenious. If I felt like cutting some more red peppers/green peppers/white onions and shredding more potatoes I would have made a second sandwich, but I was not that motivated.
The star of tonight’s grilled cheese, the hash browns, not me, included red/green peppers, white onion, garlic, salt/pepper to taste and Idaho potatoes. They smelled great even before putting them in a wok pan and frying them up with a mix of olive and canola oil. I cooked them in two batches just so that I could make sure that they were cooked perfectly. It worked out very well. We used two medium sized Idaho potatoes for two people and that made the correct amount although some may like more. It seemed like the potatoes shrunk, which makes sense since they are very watery, so keep that in mind if you decide to make this recipe for yourself.
It may be odd, but the sous chef and I did debate as to the order of the ingredients on the sandwich: bread > cheese > hash browns or bread > hash browns > cheese. I am not sure if there is a true difference between the two, but we sure thought so, so we went bread > hash browns > cheese and that seemed to taste great.
After completely cooking the hash browns, we did pat them down with a paper towel to absorb most of the grease. This did help, but we could have possibly done more. However, when that is the biggest complaint of the evening, I think the grilled cheese was pretty great!
the grilled cheese:
hash brown grilled cheese: A
I like breakfast and all foods associated with it, at least all breakfast foods I can eat, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that I liked tonight’s hash brown grilled cheese. Either way, I would highly recommend that you try this one on your own. It was a great mix of taste and flavor stuffed between two slices of great bread. All of the ingredients worked very well together and created one great grilled cheese.
ingredients were purchased at…
With the Passover holiday continuing, tonight, I replaced “normal bread” with our lovely friend matzoh. Even with having to eat it for 8 days straight every year, it is starting to grow on me. It seems that most Jews dread this holiday simply because of […]
This week, I decided that I was going to call AOL’s bluff and see if they really knew grilled cheese sandwiches. I was about to put them to the test. I decided that I was going to follow one of AOL’s recipes. Ever since I started this project, I have been using some sort of traditional bread, bread that comes in loaf form. This week I decided it was time to think outside the box a bit more and use a croissant for the basis of my grilled cheese sandwich. Again, I must say thank you AOL, the croissant was delicious. I had been hesitant to use non-original recipes, but after eating tonight’s grilled cheese I won’t be.
- Fresh Spinach
- Goat Cheese
- Gruyere Cheese
- Fresh Croissant
The most interesting part of the grilled cheese was how the recipe suggested that you put the sandwich together. For all of my other grilled cheeses, I put the cheese on last, on top of all the other ingredients. That is a typical grilled cheese sandwich. However, the recipe suggested that I mix the goat cheese in with the spinach and onions. Interesting, huh? I thought so as well.
I was instructed to finely chop up the onions, put them in a pan with butter and brown them. Simple enough. Next I added in the mostly dry spinach, cover and cook until it was becoming wilted. Finally, I added in the goat cheese, stirring everything together. That became the basis of my grilled cheese and let me tell you, it was delicious. I did add some salt to the mixture, prior to putting it on the croissant and I may have actually added too much. That is something I will need to keep in mind in the future, even if I am a fan of salt.
Adding cheese into the ingredients, instead of on top of them, is definitely something I should try again. The goat cheese was a perfect cheese for this type of mixture and grilled cheese. If you out there in Internet land have any suggestions for other cheeses that would work in a similar situation, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The gruyere on top, which could have also been goat cheese, did not melt as much as I would have liked. That may have been partially because of problems with our oven, but I also wonder if gruyere has a higher melting temperature. It did brown, but unfortunately, did not completely melt . It didn’t affect the taste, but it did affect the look which in cooking is a big deal. I will have to play with that in the future.
And the croissant. I love them plain and could eat a few at a sitting. The croissant worked very well with this grilled cheese and added a nice flaky texture. The croissant was there but allowed the other ingredients to pop as well. Everything worked very well together and surprisingly, the recipe came from AOL. Whowouldathunkit?!
the grilled cheese:
croissant with grilled spinach & goat cheese: A-
I must admit, I was hesitant to use someone another recipe. I believed that all of my Sunday Dinners needed to be 100% original. Now that I have tried this recipe, I will become more open to the idea of using outside recipes for inspiration. Overall, this was a great grilled cheese and definitely one that I would try again. The spinach/cheese mixture on the croissant was delish. I just need to watch my salting and try and melt the gruyere a little more.
ingredients were purchased at…
- Miles Farmer’s Market (Fresh Spinach, Goat Cheese, Gruyere Cheese, Onion, Croissant)