How did it happen? April has come and gone. May is underway. Several weeks ago I posted eleven easy, elegant ways to enjoy toasted cheesy goodness in sandwich form. Since then, so many more variations have come to my attention that I wanted to share some of them them with you.
Reader, I give you…
First up, an elegant offering from my colleague and friend Regan Miller Jones, known online as The Professional Palate. Regan is not only a Cabot Registered Dietitian, she is also an an amazing cook and food photographer. Here is her take on Rosemary Apple Grilled Cheese.
Rosemary Apple Grilled Cheese
Next is an offering from my newest foodie friend, Emily Malloy. Emily is a blogger for Shoprite. In fact, she is one of 12 bloggers on the Shoprite’s Potluck blog site. Emily’s grilled cheese offering – Grilled Cheese with Asparagus, Caramelized Onions and Pear - is a sophisticated take that I can hardly wait to try.
Grilled Cheese with Asparagus, Caramelized Onion & Pear
Blogger Bruce Tretter has a website – Gotta Eat, Can’t Cook, that teaches basic cooking skills, step-by-step, online. He recently created a kid-friendly grilled cheese that is sure to please even the youngest member of your family and shows them how to do it themselves.
Kid-Friendly Grilled Cheese
Barbara Kiebel has one of the most gorgeous food blogs that I follow. On Vino Luci Style, she writes lovingly and intelligently about food and takes the most amazing photographs to boot. This recipe for Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwich may not be for the faint of heart, but oh my goodness, does it look worth the effort!
Grilled Cheese/Short Rib Sandwich
From rock star, and Vermont legend, Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, comes a a family grilled cheese recipe inspired by the colors of autumn, but yummy any time of the year. You can watch Grace make her Grilled Cheddar, Apple, Onion, and Red Pepper Jelly sandwich here on YouTube.
Grilled Cheddar, Apple, Onion, and Red Pepper Jelly
When my family lived in Miami, we loved stopping at the tiny corner store for Cuban sandwiches, a heady combination of ham, roast pork, pickles, cheese and mustard, pressed together to create a heavenly lunch that, after we moved, I could only dream about. Then I found this recipe for a Cuban-style grilled cheese on the Cabot website that is a healthier, lighter version of my old favorite. Huzzah!
Cuban-Style Grilled Cheese
I have a weakness for avocados. If you add avocados to grilled cheese, well shut my mouth and call me happy. I came across this blog post on Bread + Butter for a Grilled Cheese and Avocado sandwich. It’s creamy, colorful and completely yummy!
Grilled Cheese & Avocado
And now I ask you, who doesn’t love broccoli and cheese? This inspired combination led Food Renegade blogger Kristen Michaelis to create this simple – and simply delicious – Broccoli and Grilled Cheese Sandwich, destined to be a hit for cheese lovers of all ages.
Broccoli & Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Let’s not forget that a grilled cheese by any other name is still…yummy. I am a huge fan of Mexico’s version of the American Classic and this Cheddar and Bean Quesadilla from Cabot is, in a word, ¡delicioso!
Cabot Cheddar & Bean Quesadilla
April 15th. A day that strikes dread into the hearts of Americans everywhere. If tax day has gotten you down, I have just the antidote. Why not console yourself with the ultimate comfort food…grilled cheese.
(Technical aside: Traditionally, Tax Day is April 15. This year, because of a relatively obscure DC government holiday, Tax Day is April 18, which is also Patriot’s Day, a holiday in New England that is often celebrated with more enthusiasm than the 4th of July. But I digress.)
As you may have heard, April is National Grilled Cheese Month, 30 days of celebrating the glories of toasted, golden cheesy goodness. Whether you use a frying pan and spatula, a panini press, or an iron in your dorm room, grilled cheese is good for what ails you, just about any time.
So many grilled cheeses, so little time. Here are eleven bloggers and chefs who have given us their unique take on this American favorite. These all look so good, I plan to work my way through the list, one sammy at a time!
From A Yummy Mommy comes the Chicken Pesto Smoked Bacon Delight. Delightful doesn’t begin to describe this mommy’s yumminess!
Chicken Pesto Smoked Bacon Delight
My go-to foodie friends, Susie and Chelsie, famously known around the blogosphere as We Are Not Martha threw a grilled cheese party and invited everyone to come. They made lots of grilled cheese goodies, but my very favorite was this Bacon & Avocado Grilled Cheese, combining salty, cheesy, cheddary goodness.
Bacon & Avocado Grilled Cheese
From the blog Cheese Is Alive comes this complex and very grown-up grilled cheese with a combination of Cheddar and Goat Cheese. It’s “a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy.” And a lot tasty! Can’t wait to see what this is all about.
Grilled Goat Cheese & Cheddar with Crabapple Jam
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon Apple Jam
The Ver-Monte Cristo
And speaking of Vermont legends, check out rising rock star and tour bus chef, Grace Potter, of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Grace can rock the stage or some Cabot Hot Habanero Cheddar for a stellar sandwich. This is grilled cheese with a real kick…not for the faint of heart.
Hot Habanero Mexican Delight
Some of you may have missed my own blog post in honor of this special month, Pancetta & Spinach Grilled Cheese, with a side of Bacon Wrapped Matzo Balls. Oh my! This one has it all…color, flavor, and veggies.
Pancetta & Spinach Grilled Cheese
How about this next post from A Toast to Taste, riffing on the much-loved standard? It’s Grilled Cheese with Vermont Cheddar (Cabot, of course) and Prosciutto, layering sharp cheddar and thin slices of prosciutto between rustic Italian bread.
Grilled Cheese with Vermont Cheddar & Prosciutto
In this blog post on Nutritioulicious, we found a lower calorie, full flavor version of an old favorite. Instead of butter, they use a lower calorie spread to coat the pan. They also substituted sandwich thins in place of regular bread to save 50 or 60 more calories. This recipe calls for Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, but I’m going to go one step further and try it with Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar. It melts like a dream, with less fat and calories.
Nutritioulicious™ Grilled Cheese
For those of you celebrating the Passover season, my friend Robin Cohen of Doves and Figs created this innovative – and quite delectable – way to honor the traditions of the holiday while enjoying the spirit of grilled cheese month. Her Drunken Passover Grilled Cheese is destined to become a family favorite in my house.
Drunken Passover Grilled Cheese
And finally, from Cook Like James, I give you simply “The World’s Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich,” at least that’s what James calls it. And I have to admit, it looks pretty darned delicious. I love that he grates his cheese before cooking. The better to melt it, my dear.
Whether your family is celebrating Easter or Passover or just the arrival of spring, I wish you all a very happy Grilled Cheese Month! Check back at the end of the month for more Grilled Cheese madness.
T. S. Eliot famously wrote “April is the cruellest month.” I’m thinking he had no idea it was National Grilled Cheese Month, otherwise he might have written something very different. It is still cold here in Maine. There is still snow on the ground. Yesterday it was gray and rainy, a day just begging for comfort food, a day that demanded Grilled Cheese.
I decided to pull out all the stops. My friend, Brian, has been begging for matzo ball soup and I’ve been jonesing for an amazing Giada De Laurentiis recipe for a Spinach and Pancetta Grilled Cheese I saw her make on the Food Network a while ago.
When I thought of making matzo balls I remembered a show I saw on Sunday – again on the Food Network – called Meat and Potatoes. There was a segment featuring Chef Ilan Hall making Bacon Wrapped Matzo Balls. I knew then and there I would have to try them. This damp, dreary day was the perfect opportunity to indulge in a bite or two of wretched food excess.
I made my matzo balls as I always do – from a *gasp* mix. I’ll admit here, in front of God and food lovers everywhere, that I love Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix, which I used for this latest endeavor. I’m not sure if they’d be happy to see their beloved product wrapped in pork, but I take full responsibility for my actions.
Light, tender floating matzo balls are only a couple of eggs, a little oil and 20 minutes away.
Tiny – 1 inch – matzo soldiers ready for duty.
Everybody in the pool!
When you put ‘em in hot water, balls get a whole lot bigger!
I always have frozen, home made chicken soup on hand, for culinary as well as medicinal purposes.
Half the balls go into the soup.
The others are blanketed in thin rounds of pancetta or wrapped lovingly in applewood smoked, nitrate free bacon.
I am not going to lie, these were as delicious as anything I’ve tasted in a long time.
Brian arrives with the makeshift panini press. Ever my faithful food-testing guinea pig, he works for food.
Give that guinea pig a cup of soup while he waits for the Grilled Cheese.
And now for Giada’s amazing Pancetta and Spinach Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I cut her recipe for eight sandwiches in half. To start I took 4 oz of thinly sliced pancetta arranged on a greased baking sheet and cooked in a 400º oven, baking them until they were crispy, about 10 minutes.
Giada likes to crumble her slices, but I love the crisp little rounds just as they are.
Into the food processor I put a cup of grated Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (Seriously Sharp Cheddar would work equally well), a cup of Cabot Monterey Jack cheese, half a stick of Cabot Unsalted Butter at room temperture and a tablespoon of vegetable oil and gave it a good pulse or two until blended into a spreadable state. Giada adds salt to her mixture, but I find the cheese and the pancetta offer just the right amount of saltiness.
Next, I added a cup of chopped fresh baby spinach and processed until just incorporated.
I had a rosemary and olive oil boule which I sliced to about 1/2 an inch, and built my sammies with a thin, thin smear of butter on the outside.
Since I don’t have a panini press, or even a George Foreman grill, I wrapped Brian’s bricks in aluminum foil. And, since he had pulled them out of a snow bank and were still icy to the touch, I let them rest in a warm oven until we were ready to cook.
Brian and I had a cup of soup and tasted the Bacon & Pancetta Wrapped Matzo Balls, which were incredibly rich and delicious. The ones wrapped in pancetta were a bit lighter, due to how thin the slices were. Oy…heaven!
I cooked the sandwiches in a skillet under the bricks over a medium heat until they were golden, turned them and cooked the other side.
The nutty, sophisticated flavor of the Clothbound Cheddar was complimented by the creaminess of the Monterey Jack, and the spinach gave it an added earthy taste. The crispy pancetta was a perfect foil for the melted cheese and the hint of rosemary in the bread added a quiet but noticeable herbal note to the proceedings.
This sophisticated sandwich and unorthodox appetizer were the perfect components for my National Grilled Cheese Month celebration. L’chaim!