Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Burnt Gardener

Man it's been too long since I've done a post! This is actually the longest break I've taken since I started GCS over a year ago. Yikes. I apologize to anyone who's been waiting for a new recipe. Fingers crossed that it's not just my mom. But seriously, I've had the busiest month of my entire life and I'm so ready for it to slow down. But unfortunately with Halloween right around the corner, my brother coming to visit (!!!), and my new (third) job writing for Depanneur, I don't actually see chill-out sesh in my future. So yeah, I'm going to try my hardest to keep doing a post a week, even if it means doing it hungover on a Saturday morning. Yeah, that's dedication.

Deep breaths MacKenzie, deep breaths.

In the meantime, I present you with another new method for cooking grilled cheese. This one is called the burnt gardener because, well, it features a burnt cheesy crust on every side of the bread and it's got a lot of herbs that were picked from my pathetic fire-escape garden. I don't mean to brag, but it's a textural masterpiece. The alternating layers will blow your mind and basically go like this: crunchy--soft and airy--crunchy--melty gooeyness--chewy--crunchy--soft and airy--then crunchy again! That probably makes absolutely no sense, but just check out the pictures and maybe even try it yourself to see what I'm talking about. I think you'll like it.

Alright, let's get this party started.


- 1 cup of burning melange gouda
  (or some sort of herbed gouda)
- 2 slices of an olive batard
- 1 tbsp of diced semi-sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 pats of citrus herb butter
    (Mince one big leaf of basil and mint, a few
    tiny sprigs of rosemary and parsley then
    combine with 2 tbs of salted butter and a
    pinch of lemon zest)

To begin, go a ahead and melt some of that zesty butter in your nonstick pan over medium heat.

Once it starts to bubble, throw in 1/3 cup of cheese and spread it around. When it starts to bubble up, turn the heat to high. This high heat will help transform the cheese into a crunchy crust.

Oh! Before we go any further, I've got to tell you about this crazy good award-winning cheese. 

About two and half weeks ago - in the midst of the craziness - I was lucky enough to enjoy a delightful lunch with some of my favorite ladies from the WisconsinMilk Marketing Board. And guess what? Not only were the super nice, but they were also the most generous people EVER! They took me out to lunch (Gah, I love Cafe Colette) and brought me a giant bag of Wisconsin's finest. Among the many blocks of cheese was a cut of burning melange gouda. This herby gouda is spiked with stinging nettles, chives, celery, parsley, dried onion and garlic. It awakens the palate with the bright and refreshing flavors from the herbs, but at the same time because of the aging process, it's mellow and semi-sweet. I've never had anything like it.

So now that you know a little bit about it, let's go back to the recipe.

Once the cheese and butter are bubbling like a fourth grade science experiment, very quickly throw in two pieces of sliced olive bread and smush them into the cheese. Be careful not to burn yourself. You remember my rule about cooking without a shirt on right? DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT cook in a bikini (or naked) EVER. It may be sexy, I guess(?), but the risks definitely outweigh the rewards.

While the cheese is bubbling away on the journey of becoming a delicious crispy crust, spread on some of your herbed butter. It should take about 6-8 minutes depending on how much cheese you threw down. I used quite a lot (...duh...) so it took a while. If you decided to be a non-fatty and use a smaller amount of cheese, it should take about 3 minutes.

Using a metal spatula, gently scrape it against the bottom of your skillet to help seperate the cheese from the pan. If you used a nonstick pan, you shouldn't have to do this, but if your pan has been through the works like mine, well it's best to follow my lead.

Then peek under your bread to make sure that the cheese has burnt a little bit. When it has, flip it!

Once it's flipped, these burnt cheesy sides are going to be on the inside of your sandwich. Crazy, right?! Who says GC's are only crispy on the outside?

So go ahead and lay on another 1/3 cup of cheese.

Then add some finely diced semi-sun-dried tomatoes. If you have no idea what these are or you aren't able to get them where you live, then regular sun-dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil are fine. I just like the semi-dried variety better because they are less tough and still taste like tomatoes. 

Now place the other piece of olive bread, cheesy side down to make the GC. Carefully balance it on your spatula and throw in half of the remaining cheese. Don't mind the amount of cheese from that picture because it's not enough. 

From here, you'll repeat the same steps as above so that you get a cheesy crust on the outside of the sandwich. 

When the first side is good, add the remainder of the cheese, and flip so you can do the other side. 


Finally, when all the sides are equally browned and crispy, take it off the heat and let it sit for a minute so that everything bonds together. 

Now I know this might not be the prettiest of my creations, but never judge a sandwich by it's crust. Hah! I should trademark that...Along with my sideways toaster grilled cheese that has become an internet meme without any connection to GCS! UGH. Anyways, I've got to get dressed and run to work (surprise!) but hopefully next week I'll finally get my hands on a grill and do a literal grilled cheese. Until then...




  1. OMG just stop. This looks AMAZING. I'm starving. :)

  2. Finally a new post!! I'm currently mopping my keyboard due to heavy drooling... AMAZING

  3. Finally!!! I so want this and wish I was visiting instead of your brother!! Behave and have fun~ I am sure you two will not get into trouble!! Happy Halloween!

  4. I was waiting for a new post! OMG thanks! This looks so good! I will have to make this! Thanks so much! Next week you should try and incorporate something with halloween! I don't know how but your smart and creative- you'll think of something i'm sure!

  5. Looks amazing many calories? With all that butter and cheese seems pretty scary to me!

  6. Those pictures are off the charts gorgeous.. It looks so rich, almost sinful.

  7. This post is so fetish-worthy, I've been inspired to include it in my Friday Food Fetish blog. If you have any objections, please let me know

  8. Found you on pinterest. To be honest I'm a plain Jane kinda girl with food. My grilled cheese consists of white bread & American cheese. LOL kinda boring huh?? This however looks delicious & I'm seriously going to try it. :-)

  9. Mother of god this looks literally salivating...

  10. Wow. This sounds amazing. I'm going to have to try this. I wonder if I can find any of that cheese in Washington.

  11. When are you coming out with the low calorie version...I can't look at these posts...I put your link on FACEBOOK with a warning to take will need to make a grilled cheese sandwich after one have ingredients on hand or you will be going to the store in the middle of the night in your PJ's to get them..! Your Dep friend Carrie....

  12. My word, I just stumbled across your blog through bloglovin and can't stop clickin' through and salivating...which is dangerous because it's midnight and I am on a dairy diet.
    Must find alternate cheese options....

  13. Oh my GOSH

    this GC was incredible! So gooey, so creamy, so crispy, so fresh. I made this for dinner on a warm night; it totally hit the spot. Thanks for your delectable recipes, Mackenzie!


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