Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Out-of-Towner

One of my good friends and fellow grilled cheese enthusiasts, Christian Torres, came and visited the city last week.  Torres is an amazing photographer who resides in Atlanta, Georgia... AND he just so happened to make a nifty exchange with me.  I agreed to make him lots of GC's if he agreed to use his photography skills to make my blog look a little prettier.  He agreed and these are the lip-smacking results!



We got really creative when we were thinking of new concoctions. After hours days of debating we finally settled on the following ingredients:


- 2 slices of french bread
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 handful of shredded gruyere
- 1 handful of shredded swiss
- a few fresh basil leaves
- however much calabrese salami you like :)




This one begins like most of the other sammie's on my site... Gather ingredients and sprinkle half of the cheese on one slice of bread.  Remember to try and center it around the middle so it won't ooze out and burn the cheese.


Next, place the salami on top of the cheese. Oh and don't be shy, feel free to stack it as high as you like!


After that, it's basil time! Go ahead and evenly space out the basil on top of the salami.


 Ok, now sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pile.  Remember to keep that cheese centered because this is turning into a big boy.


Done?? K, now put his top hat on.  Isn't that a good lookin'?


Now here's the tricky part:  Because this is so big you're going to want to be really careful when transfering this pup to the the skillet.  If you're confident enough, go ahead and heat the skillet to medium and drizzle some olive oil in the pan.  You'll also want to use a weight if you have one on hand to try and smush the sammie and help it all stick together.



 If any of the cheese falls out, don't worry, just scoop it up with your spatula to avoid that nasty burnt taste. Once it starts to heat up, put the press on top of this baby and wait a few minutes until it turns golden brown on the bottom.


Hot and crusty like the one below? Flip it over and try to equal out the color.  If not, you can put the press back on top to lend a helping hand.


After it's nice and golden on both sides, take the GC off the stove top and slice it immediately! You're going to want to do this because gruyere and swiss are firmer cheeses. Unlike softer cheeses like brie or tallegio, once these cheeses melt, they create a glue rather than a cheesey ooze.


Also, if you're a dipper like I am,  try this sammie with some yellow mustard and enjoy!


So if you end up making this delicious GC and/or enjoy these badass photo's you should really check out Christian's blog.  You can find it at http://tuckedintanktop.blogspot.com.  Thanks again Torres! You da bombbbbbbb <3

xoxo,

GCS

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Midnight Soldier

Who likes to party??  We do!!  Who likes to have way too many drinks and scrounge through the fridge and make their friends some serious munchies in the middle of the night?...................I do! 

These little soldiers are perfect for satisfying that after hour hunger attack and the bite sized proportions are super helpful for those of us whose fine motor skills aren't so hot after a night on the town.


After I was scrounging through my fridge I decided on the following ingredients to make these delicious little suckers.



 Ingredients:

-1 french baguette, thinly sliced
- real butter
- white truffle oil
- goat cheese
- caramelized onions







After you've got everything out, go ahead and spread a thin coat (or a thick coat depending on your taste and/or drunkness level) of goat cheese on each slice.


Next, plop a spoonful of caramelized onions onto one side of each sammie.  This step is kind of tricky because those caramelized onions are just too damn good not to compulsively destroy.


Hopefully you were able to avoid eating too many onions and had enough to fill your GC's. If so, go ahead and put on the other slice on top. If not, tell some of your friends to go home.


Then, put some butter on each side and turn the skillet up to medium heat and you'll be good to go!


Done? Ok! Throw these little devils into your pan.


Since these are so small and goat cheese is already so soft, they only take a 1-2 minutes on each side. After a nice, golden brown crust has developed flip it and spray/drizzle the truffle oil onto the crispy side.  I believe that spraying the oil on at this step allows it to hold the most flavor and the retaining heat allows the bread to stay crispy and crunchy.


When the other side is also browned, take 'em off the skillet and serve immediately!


Oh, and make sure to tell your friends to breathe between bites!

xoxo,

GCS

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Smith

Last week I went back to Florida (my home state!) for my cousin Autumn's wedding.  It was absolutely gorgeous and it was the first time I had been with my entire family in over a year.  Being around everyone made me realize how different we all are and also how we have always bonded over our obsession for food. For this grilled cheese I was inspired by one of my family's favorite desserts that just so happened to end up as unconventional as my own relatives.


I changed up the ingredients to make it more grilled cheese friendly by using:

- two slices of brioche loaf
-1 tbs mascarpone
-1 tbs apricot jam
-2 pads of butter
-1 serving of your favorite french toast batter

     I whisked together the following:
       - 1 egg
       - 1/2 cup of milk
       - 1 tbs brown sugar
       - 1 tsp vanilla
       - 1/2 tsp cinnamon




After I whisked the french toast batter together I submerged my brioche slices one at a time until they were completely soaked but not too soggy.  This took about 2 minutes for each slice.


After they were both soaked, I heated up my skillet to medium/high heat and threw in one pad of butter.  Once it was melted, I put in both the pieces of brioche in the skillet very carefully so they didn't tear or fall apart.


After they were browned on each side (about 2-3 minutes) I took them off the skillet to let them rest.  In the meantime I mixed the filling for the sammie by scooping out the mascarpone...


Then the apricot jam...


Stirred them both together...


And spread the mixture on the bread.


When I thought it had enough filling I put the other piece of french toast on top.


This is where it gets unconventional! Because my pieces of brioche were both still hot, the heat started to melt the mixture without even having to put it on the skillet again!

(However if you find your bread hasn't held the heat you can throw the sandwich back on the buttered skillet for a few more minutes to help heat up the mascarpone mixture)


I cut that baby in half because it just looked too damn good and I couldn't wait anymore!


Don't forget, melted cheese creates a strong bond... no matter if it's between two pieces of bread or between a family!

xoxo,

GCS

Friday, June 4, 2010

GC101

Although I typically stray from the average when I'm creating recipes for Grilled Cheese Social, I think that the basic grilled cheese that we all grew up loving is just as good as any fancy sammy I come up with. This recipe will provide the back to basics approach and explain why I do what I do when I'm creating these childhood favorites.



So of course, I couldn't just do the regular standard grilled cheese but believe me it's still as simple and delicious as you remember!



I used:

-2 slices of muenster cheese
-2 slices of sourdough bread
-a pinch of garlic salt
-enough butter to cover the bread

So after I gathered all my ingredients I tore the cheese in half to fit the slices of bread. If you don't do this you will find that the cheese oozes out everywhere and will start to burn (and that ain't good!). I like to center my cheese more in the middle to allow it some room to melt without seeping onto the pan.



Then I simply put the other piece of bread on top, smeared some yummy REAL butter all over it, and then added a little bit of garlic salt to the buttered sides. I chose butter on this classic because it's the typical fat we think to use when making grilled cheese. Butter provides a rich, creamy, and crispy texture that also functions as a great medium to slowly brown your bread. You might have noticed that I use sometimes use olive oil instead of real butter. I don't really have a rule on this method, but I tend to associate olive oil with more rustic type sandwiches. Olive oil is also easier to use because unlike butter, you don't have to wait for it to soften and you can just drizzle it on your griddle.



Once the sammy was put together I heated my griddle pan to a medium high heat. I use a double burner griddle pan similar to this one by Anolon (shhh.... I got mine from TJ Max for half the price).  It features heavy gauge hard anodized non-stick aluminum, SureGrip handles which are durable and ergonomic and provide a soft, cool confident grip, and is big enough to make about six grilled cheeses at a time. I chose this model because I'm pretty much a broke grad student and I thought it offered the most bang for it's buck!

The heat I chose also varies depending on which type of cheese you use. for soft cheeses like brie, tallegio, or goat cheese I typically use a higher heat because it doesn't take that long for the cheese to melt. For firmer cheeses like gruyere, cheddar, or manchego I use a lower heat to allow it to melt evenly. I also use a lower heat if there are more ingredients, as to warm everything evenly. Also if you're unsure which setting is best to use I would stick to using a medium-low heat because it's the safest bet.


















After it was golden brown on one side, I flipped it. At this point I sometimes incorporate a cast iron grill press into the mix. I do this when the sandwich is too big to feel confident about the flipping the sammy. The press flattens the sandwich enough to help the cheese bond to all the ingredients together so it won't fall apart when you flip it with your spatula.



When both sides were equally golden brown I took it off the skillet and let it rest for a minute. I did this so that the cheese would have a minute to firm up and not ooze out from the pressure of the knife.  I also thought I owed it to everyone to include the grilled cheese's BFF - soup!  I paired my sammy with a delightful sweet potato bisque that i picked up from trader joe's.  I also cut this little baby into strips to it would be easy and fun to dunk in the soup!



I hope my spin on this classic will warm your belly and your heart, and make ya feel like a little kid again!

xoxo,

GCS