Ever since I made those asparagus and cheese sandwiches based on Homesick Texan for her Parmesan coated toasted bread, I have been also using that parmesan coating for regular grilled cheese too sometimes when feeling like I want a hug from the gloomy winter weather. You can tell it was one of those days based on the poor lighting in my kitchen
All you have to do is sprinkle shredded parmesan on the buttered part of the bread. The upgrade is easy, and it adds a bit of crispy cheesy crust to the toast and oozy cheese inside for a textural upgrade to a normal grilled cheese. I don’t have a toaster oven so I melt my cheese in the oven, and I will flip the sandwich and top the other half with parmesan once the color looks right (depending on the bread). I prefer making grilled cheese in the oven rather than a pan or griddle because I can be sure the cheese will get melty and oozy, which doesn’t always happen when I’m using the pan before the bread is already toasted and starting to take the approach of getting burned.
Besides, that gives you time to heat up your soup or stew, or prep a side salad. Mmmm, winter hug with food. And, it ties in nicely with this month and upcoming Presidents’ Day- grilled cheese was one of FDR’s favorite foods. Franklin D Roosevelt is one of the most quotable presidents of history, and his quotes reveal his introspection and understanding of the nature of humanity and the path America was on – including stating several warnings about the rise of private power and how poverty and unemployment and a culture of fear was the enemy of democracy.
And… back to food. I always have a preference for seedy oat bread, which is what you see here, as well as two slices of smoked provolone- and a bit of melted butter and pinch of parmesan on each side, that’s it! I have historically always kept it simple, using a really nice cheese that is flavorful so that I only need a couple slices in it rather than stacking up a multi-cheese sandwich.
Though now, looking at all the food porn photos of grilled cheese at Grilled Cheese Social and whenever I glance at the Grilled Cheese recipe books by Laura Werlin, it is something I might reconsider. These ladies really puts together some incredible sounding grilled cheese combinations. Now Laura Werlin has a new Mac and Cheese book out too. I’m so jealous of her life. Her ability to just remember and list out recommendations of various amazing cheeses is something I aspire to- which is why starting this year I am now starting a cheese notebook to track what I try.
I’ll aspire but probably never be cheese champions like Laura or Steve of Cheese Bar, but I hope to be more conscious of learning instead of just eating it! But of course, I will continue to just love it even as F points out the contradiction of trying to eat healthier but never ever being able to give up cheese and wanting more cheese. One of the best ways I learned about cheese was during Steve and Ten 01 (since closed) one time event the Cheese Bar Spectacular in summer 2010. 100 cheeses is a lot to try and even I got cheesed out, but it made me hone in what I liked and didn’t like though comparisons.
There is an upcoming event that can help you (and me) with this though: the annual Boys & Girls Clubs’ Showcase of Wine and Cheese. Every year this is a ticket that grants you entrance to a room in the Oregon Convention center where you can sample hundreds of wines and there are cheese vendors and an appetizers buffet. I missed this event last year because I was traveling internationally for work and the year before that because of family in town, but I plan to support them again this year. The cheeses are not going to be artisan cheeses as they are too small to donate to the hundreds that attend this event, but I don’t discriminate against any cheese and it is still a great way to get introduced and practice your palate.
Also consider this kickstarter for a community cheese club that Cyril is starting: