Thursday, April 11, 2013

Secret Chef Says..."Cheese Needs Friends!"

Secret Chef delivers big this week with not one, not two, but SIX recipes!!! These recipes are totally cheesy in a good way.  Oh, and there's root beer involved in one of them. Read on my friends, read on...
Photo credit
April is National Grilled Cheese Month!  So, let’s celebrate!!!
Here’s a few tips and recipes to help make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever.  Being the ultimate comfort food, it not only deserves its own month, but also has been embraced by chefs the world over and has been taken to a whole new level.
To start, here’s some background information on the infamous comfort food we’ve all come to know and love, whether it’s cut in strips to dip in tomato soup or simply devoured before it even hits the plate and has a chance to cool.
First, let’s look at what the grilled cheese sandwich actually is… the word “grilled” is an adjective to describe the Cheese Sandwich.  So, let’s look at it as a “Grilled” Cheese Sandwich, or a Cheese Sandwich that has been grilled.  That being said as long at the Cheese is the “main attraction”, but it doesn’t need to be the only attraction.  It needs friends, as the grilled cheese sandwich has evolved beyond two slices of Wonder Bread and a Kraft Single.  Be creative…cheese loves company!
Here’s a few tips…
  1. Use a pan that is larger than twice the amount of sandwiches you plan to make.  Grilled cheese need even heat and room to cook in the pan. 
  2. Never turn the heat past medium.  Medium heat is plenty hot to do everything you need for the perfect grilled cheese.  If the smoke detector is cheering you on, something isn’t right.
  3. Make sure your bread isn't sliced too thick, anything exceptionally thick will not transfer heat to the center of the sandwich and the cheese won’t melt.   
  4. Know your butter!  Spread some room-temperature butter on the bread slices, the side that you want to grill. In this way, you'll get an evenly buttered and evenly browned sandwich with a little crunch to it.  Plus, if the butter melts while it’s on the bread, it will create steam and steam melts the cheese.
  5. Always use un-salted butter.   Cheese is plenty salty and some of the things we may add to the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are usually salty as well. 
  6. Give the sandwich your undivided attention…it deserves it!  
Ok, let’s cook!!!
Recipe #1:  The Caprese
Sliced Italian Bread
Sliced Roma Tomatoes
Fresh Basil leaves, torn in small pieces
Sliced Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Kosher Salt and Cracked Black Pepper

Recipe #2:  Ham & Apple Grilled Cheese
Sliced Smoked Ham
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Thinly Sliced Apples, peeled
Dijon Mustard
Honey (combine with mustard and spread on bread)
Recipe #3:  The BAT (bacon, tomato, avocado)
Sourdough bread
Swiss Cheese

Recipe #4:  The Ultimate Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Multigrain Bread
Fried Egg
Sliced Ham
Yellow American Cheese

Recipe #5:  The Pizza Melt
Italian Bread
Mozzarella Cheese

And if you’re willing to put some prior planning into this…. Here’s a bonus recipe

Root Beer BBQ Pork Melt (slow-cooker method)
Sourdough Bread
Sharp Cheddar Cheese or Smoked Cheddar if you can get it.
BBQ Pork (spread thinly on one slice of bread, but on top of the cheese.  The cheese should be closest to the bread)

To make the BBQ Pork:
Start with a 2# Pork Butt (the butt is the shoulder, “butt” means end, as in cigarette butt)
Season with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
Place in slow cooker and cover with root beer.  (a 2 liter bottle is all you’ll need, non-diet)
Cook for 6-8 hours and then drain off the cooking liquid, reserving about 2 cups.
With two forks, pull the pork to thin shreds. 
Stir in just enough BBQ sauce to coat evenly.  About a cup of BBQ sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Rays)
Upon sitting, it may thicken up a bit, if so, you can add more BBQ Sauce or the reserved Cooking Liquid, depending on your taste.

Root Beer and cheese in the same sandwich = Taste bud heaven!!! 

Thank you kindly, Secret Chef! You are truly a Cheese Whiz!!!




1 comment:

  1. THIS SOUNDS SO AMAZING!!!! I didn't even realize it was national grilled cheese month and coincidently I've had grilled cheese and tomato soup like 5 times in the cafeteria, I think I might have to tell Chartwels how to do it right though! :)