Grilled Cheese Strikes Back

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Now, everyone loves a good grilled cheese. Let’s just all accept that as fact. That being said, I occasionally feel the idea is played out. Right, I get it. Bread, butter, cheese, grill, yadda, yadda,….. I’m sure it’s good but what else have you got? Inevitably, just as this thought is crossing my mind something new and wonderful and undiscovered (to me anyway) appears on the scene- or in this case, my plate. Such is the case with these Balsamic, Onion, Garlic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

The real enjoyable part of this sandwich is the onions; the sweat, flavorful onions. We happened to have some red raspberry balsamic vinegar from one of Megan’s ingredient buying binges so we used that when caramelizing the onions. I’m sure you could use any variety of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar or whatever other fun booze that will impart a fruity note to the onions.

The garlic isn’t where you’d expect it to be when first looking at this recipe. The garlic gets minced and mixed in the with the butter, which is then spread on the inside of the bread. Be warned, if garlic isn’t your thing, then these sandwiches are definitely not for you. Let me say that the raw garlic in the sandwich really packs a punch and goes oh so nicely with the caramelized onions and Gruyere and mozzarella cheese. We used some high dollar sourdough bread from the store to make these, but I’m sure there are plenty of bread options that would work. As with any grilled cheese the important things is that the bread slices not be too thick.

In the interest of having your cake and eating it too (i.e. enjoying the sandwich and still being approachable afterwards) I tried making one sandwich by foregoing the raw garlic and just mixing the butter with the some garlic powered. It was alright, but not nearly as good. The onions are very flavorful and the bite of the raw garlic really plays well with them.

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Assembling this whole mess can be a little fiddly, but once it gets in the pan it actually holds together pretty well. And the results, both in looks and taste, are AMAZING! Let us know what you think (unless you’re a pinko commie who can’t stand garlic).

Balsamic, Onion, Garlic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 sandwiches
 
Ingredients
  • 8 slices of white bread
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (You can also use garlic powder, depending on your love for garlic)
  • 4 small onions, or 2 large, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves chopped
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry balsamic vinegar (any vinegar with fruity notes will work)
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • ½ cup mozzarella, grated
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low/medium heat. Caramelize the onions, and stir occasionally, until they are golden. This will take closer to a half hour. When they are cooked to perfection, toss the onions with the vinegar and thyme leaves and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds fresh pepper.
  2. Combine half of the remaining butter with the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the garlic butter on one side of the bread. Cover with ¼ gruyere cheese and top with ¼ cup of the onions. Spread the garlic butter on another piece of bread and top with a handful of mozzarella. Close the sandwich and spread the regular butter on the outside. Repeat with the other 3 sandwiches.
  4. Preheat a saute pan to medium high heat. When the pan is hot add the sandwiches, two at a time. Cook until golden on both sides and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.

Spilled Milk Deserves Cookies

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One of my most favorite/horrifying/eye opening moments while teaching high school comes from the time the class was making chocolate chip cookies. One particular student checked her groups’ cookies and said (with a very concerned tone) “Ms. Wright, our cookies don’t look right. They’re fluffy and light brown.” It was at this moment that I realized a lot of my students had only seen flat, pale, and sad cookies. So sad.

A great chocolate chip cookie recipe is a necessity. If you have never experienced a fluffy, delicious, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, golden brown cookie you are missing out.

Say goodbye to sad and flat cookies today with this recipe!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies (High Altitude)
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2½ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 lb Butter (do not use margarine)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 tsp. Vanilla
  • 6 Cups Flour
  • 1½ tsp Salt
  • 1½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 6 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Cream together sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla in mixer.
  2. Add flour, salt, baking soda. Mix well.
  3. Add chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Pre heat oven to 350.
  5. Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on cooling rack.
Notes
i often times will half this recipe. When you cut the recipe in half, reduce the eggs to two, instead of three.

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Life changing

I found myself in Vegas a couple weeks ago for a state basketball game. After the game, my friend Connie and I wanted to get dinner somewhere we hadn’t been before. We decided on Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant called Steak. I cannot explain what happened that night, but I’m going to try.

Because we wanted one of everything on the menu, we decided to split a few dishes so we could try more. We started with a caesar salad. Of course I loved the uniquely shaped plate. I also loved the unique plating of the salad…the fact that the lettuce leaves were whole and they used shaved parm. And then there was the quail egg. I was hesitant to eat it, because I knew it was a quail egg. But I wanted to share this entire experience with my students so I wanted to try everything, and that meant the quail egg. I was not disappointed. It’s called a scotch egg, they are a common picnic food in the UK. There was sausage around the egg and the outside was breaded.

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Next came the bread plate. Let’s talk brioche (the two rolls in the middle). When the waitress brought this plate out she told us that the brioche had a mushroom filling. I died a little inside, I hate mushrooms…a lot. But, because I was going to share this experience with my students I tried it. Turns out the mushrooms didn’t matter. Brioche is a light and flaky bread, similar to a croissant. Delicious!

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One of our sides was asparagus. We all know my thoughts on asparagus and this did not disappoint. Funny story… on our ride to Vegas for some reason we were talking about vegetables. Connie likes hers very well cooked and mushy. My vegetables need to be tender, yet crispy. Lucky for me, that’s exactly how these were cooked. Not to mention, they were cooked in butter.

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Another side we tried was the macaroni and cheese. This was the most disappointing dish for me of the night. Strike one: peas. Really, I think it was just different than what I was expecting. In the realm of macaroni and cheese it was very light compared to any others I’ve tried. I did, however appreciate the bread crumbs on top that gave the dish some texture.

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And the star of the show. Beef wellington. We asked them to split this in half so this is not what the portion normally looks like. First off, the presentation is beautiful. What I loved most about this dish was how well the flavors complemented each other. Everything worked so well together and nothing was overpowering. Each bite was better than the last. I’ve totally been inspired to learn how to make this.

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Sticky toffee pudding with brown butter ice cream. You had me at brown butter. When the waiter brought this out he explained that this was the chef’s take on the classic bread and butter. He poured the sauce over the cake and told us it was best to eat the ice cream with the cake. We all know my feelings about butter, but brown butter ice cream was a revelation. Simply amazing.

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The things my dreams are made of.

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With the tip included we paid $150.00. I regret nothing! This was a great experience and if you get the chance to eat here, don’t pass it up.

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