Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Let's Build (Grilled Cheese) Bridges

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 2:34 PM

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A few months ago, under the duress of deadline, likely boy troubles and hanger, I made my way to Central Market to order a grilled cheese. I was met with an eye roll by the sandwich artisan, who sighed at my persnickety sammy order and promptly forgot it. After waiting 10 minutes for what should have been a breezy sandwich to make, I had to grin and bear it when the guy behind the counter lied and said my sandwich would be ready soon.

At its very core, a grilled cheese is made to comfort. It's the bean and cheese of the sandwich world. It's the warm cup of tea when your sinuses are acting up during cedar season. Grilled cheeses can wow, but are essentially a food hug that says, "Hey bud, everything is going to be OK."

After another 5 minutes, my grilled cheese came off the line, but it was tarnished with its makers sighs and general sourness. I ate half of it and tossed the rest.

The Grilled Cheese Incident, as it came to be called among my friends spurred the creation of Grilled Cheese Night, where our version of a millennials supper club came together in search of cheesy, melty redemption.

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The group is made up of late twenty-somethings and early thirty-somethings with various upbringings and careers. All told, there's a handful of San Antonians (we're lumping in Bandera and New Braunfels for our purposes), two Valley girls, a South Korean native and a boy from 'Bama. My co-conspirator who helps plan said gatherings leans conservative. I'm a liberal journalist that works in alternative media. The remainder of the group runs the gamut.
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But we come together on an almost monthly basis over food (previous get-togethers included chicken and waffle night, pumpkin carving and the upcoming PotatoGiving, where we plan to top baked potatoes with Thanksgiving flavors because why not?). On this particular evening, we may have outdone ourselves. Using a panini press and a George Foreman, we made nine grilled cheeses, while testing out what worked (shredding the cheese always helps), what didn't (the panini press). We split the sandwiches evenly, making grilled cheese bridges along the way, and compared tasting notes. We worked together to achieve delicious results. 

Maybe it's glib to think about grilled cheese as a way to bring people together. Maybe it's naive to think that we can come together after last night's historic election over grilled cheeses, but it's worth a shot. If nothing else, here's a rundown of the grilled cheeses we made. May they bring you comfort.


Pizza Grilled Cheese
Ingredients

2 tablespoons pizza sauce
2 slices Italian sourdough bread
3 slices large pepperoni rounds
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Melted butter for toasting
How to: On heated George Foreman, toast the slices of bread until lightly gold. Spread pizza sauce on one slice and build sandwich from there. Press using George Foreman until cheese is completely melted.

Caprese Grilled Cheese
Ingredients
2 slices Italian sourdough bread
2 tablespoons pesto of choice
3 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
2 thin tomato slices
2 basil leaves
Good balsamic vinegar, to taste
Melted butter for toasting
How to: On heated George Foreman, toast the slices of bread until lightly gold. Spread pesto on one slice and build sandwich from there. Press using George Foreman until cheese is melted. Drizzle with balsamic to taste.

Three Cheese
Ingredients
2 slices Pullman bread or other white loaf
1/4 cup shredded American cheese
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Havarti cheese
Melted butter for toasting
How to: On heated George Foreman, toast the slices of bread until lightly gold. Combine cheeses in a small bowl and blend. Place cheese on bread, cover with other slice, and press using George Foreman until cheese is melted. Let cool.


Brie and Apple
Ingredients
2 slices Pullman bread or other white loaf
5 slices thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
1 ounce brie
Honey for drizzling
Melted butter for toasting
How to: On heated George Foreman, toast the slices of bread until lightly gold. Build sandwich on one slice using the apple slices and brie, cover with other slice and press until brie is melted. Drizzle with honey to taste.



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