Sunday, November 3, 2013

Inspired | Fancy Grilled Cheese

You all had a great weekend, yes?  Mine was SUPER productive, filled with home improvement "stuff", wedding dress shopping (!! great success !!), photo shoots, and dinner with friends.  I even got around to another cheese-filled post for you guys!

I'm wondering if my "niche" might be grilled cheese.  Every time I try to be creative with it, it just works.  (Okay fine - I'm sure there is no such thing as a "bad" grilled cheese.  I mean, bread, cheese and butter - I don't think you can go wrong.  But for now I am just going to act like I am really talented in this arena.)

Last week was a friend's birthday and we were asked to bring apps.  We were due for a shopping trip so had basically no food left in the house.  I actually enjoy the challenge of trying to make a recipe out of "nothing."  I think that is actually closer to being "my thing."  So all day I tried to think of what I could make out of what we had.  Fancy grilled cheeses came to mind because we had leftover havarti from this recipe, some sandwich bread, 1/2 an onion and mustard.  I wanted some sort of twist so I reached for some garlic infused honey from Indigo Blooms.

After I made the first sandwich I thought to myself "Eek, I can't call these fancy.  They look like soggy, butter-soaked pieces of sandwich bread."  But, Denny and I tried one bite and there was a series of "Mmm's" and "Omg, so good's" to follow, so I decided to still bring them.  Bless the people who ate them at the party.  They hardly looked appetizing, but I think I can say the taste was enjoyable!

I felt like the bread was the only problem with this recipe, and if that was remedied then this could indeed qualify as a "fancy" grilled cheese, so I recreated it.  I bought a French bread loaf and it made all the difference.  Seriously, fresh artisan bread really makes a grilled cheese - there's no comparison.

Fancy Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices of french bread
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp dijon mustard
About 1/2lb Havarti cheese (cut into about 6-8 slices for 2 sandwiches)
2 tsp garlic infused honey (if you don't have this I think regular honey would work, and adding some roasted garlic would be divine)
2 tbsp + 2tsp butter

First heat 2tsp of the butter in a small pan on medium low heat.  Saut√© the onions slowly until they are completely translucent and light brown and have released some of their sugars.  About 7-10min depending on how high the heat is.  You can add a teaspoon of sugar about 1/2 way through, but I did not for this recipe.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, spread 1 side of each piece of bread with the remaining butter.  Flip each piece and spread the other side with dijon mustard.  Put 1/2 of the cheese on 1 slice and 1/2 on another, enough to cover the bread slices.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the honey on top of each cheese-covered slice. Top with caramelized onions and place leftover slice of bread on top, dijon side down.

In a medium sized non-stick pan, on medium heat, place both of the buttered sandwiches and seer until cheese just starts to melt inside and the toast is turning a golden brown.  Here is the point where I say "Do whatever you need to do to make that cheese melt!!"  Anything it takes.  Sell your first child, donate a kidney, move your family across the country.  With a hearty bread, it can take a little while longer for the cheese to start melting, and you don't want the bread to burn.  Covering it the pan usually helps, and is usually not as drastic as donating a kidney.

Then you flip.  This sandwich is loaded with lots of goodness so flip wisely.  The cheese should now be ooey and gooey and the bread is perfectly golden on each side.  Remove from heat, cut that bad boy in half and try not burn your tongue by tearing into it too quickly.

I could say that I will try to start posting non-cheese recipes, but I might be lying to you, and I don't want to lie to you.  I value this relationship.  So, 'til next time - which may or may not include cheese.

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