October, 2012 Newsletter — The Grilled Cheese Issue

We recently held a fun grilled cheese sandwich demonstration and beer tasting at The Chopping Block cooking school in Chicago (where they conduct classes on their patio outfitted with our outdoor kitchen appliances).

We encouraged everyone to ditch the pan and make their grilled cheese right on the grill. You might call it "real grilled cheese." The folks from Two Brothers Brewing Company paired our sandwiches with their beers, and all the proceeds from the registration fee went to Chef Art Smith’s charity, Common Threads. We had a great time at the event, and everyone enjoyed the unique grilled cheese sandwich recipes. We thought you might enjoy them as well.

Cheers,

Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet


Grilled Cheese Grilled Cheese Sliders

We call these “Grilled Cheese Grilled Cheese” because we first grill the cheese directly on the grill grate. Halloumi is a traditional cheese from Cypress that has a very high melting point. It is made to be grilled, and we take full advantage of this in our sandwiches. The cheese has an interesting briny character, which is quite delicious with a little oregano and the bright citrus zing of lemon juice.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling with a two-zone fire: one with a medium fire (about 400°F); and one with a very hot fire (600°F +).

Brush the halloumi slices on both sides and each bread slice on one side with the olive oil.

Whisk together the lemon juice with the oregano and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Reserve.

Grill the cheese over the hottest side of the grill until softened and well-marked, turning once, about 5 minutes total. (A meat or veggie custom laser-cut grill grate is perfect for halloumi.)

Toward the end of grilling the cheese, grill the bread. Place it on the cooler side of the grill with the olive-oil-side down. Grill until toasted and lightly marked, about 1 minute.

Remove the cheese and bread from the grill and assemble the sliders. Lightly brush the untoasted side of the bread with the lemon mixture and then place a slice of hot cheese inside each (the toasted side of the bread should face out).

Paired with Two Brothers Prairie Path Golden Ale at our Grilled Cheese and beer event September 29.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced into 8, 1/2-inch slices
  • 16 slices French baguette, about 1/2 inch thick
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Leaves from 1 stem fresh oregano, roughly chopped

Spicy Sweet Onion “Jam” and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Homemade onion jam is a delicious condiment to pair with mellow white cheddar. Our Spicy Sweet Onion "Jam" recipe will yield extra, and you’ll be glad. It is perfect with grilled pork and even roasted Brussels sprouts, but back to the sandwich… This is a hearty sandwich, great for cooler weather. The jam is spiced with chiles and sweetened with brown sugar and molasses. I use a two month old cheddar (Otter Creek Summer’s Milk Cheddar), and New York rye.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium fire, about 400°F.

Spread butter onto one side of each bread slice (the outside of each sandwich). Spread onion jam on the other side (the inside of each sandwich). Fill with shredded cheddar and top with the other slice of bread.

Place the sandwiches on the grill. Keep the hood closed as much as possible while grilling to help melt the cheese. Turn once after the first side is toasted and lightly marked by the grill grate, about 2 minutes. (Note: for cross-hatched grill marks, rotate the sandwich about 90 degrees halfway through grilling each side.)

After turning the sandwiches over, grill the second side until toasted, about 2 more minutes. If the cheese is not thoroughly melted by the time the bread is toasted to your liking, lay out a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on the grill grate (preferably in the coolest zone of the grill) and transfer the sandwiches on top of the foil. Close the hood and continue cooking until the cheese is melted through (up to 6 minutes more).

Paired with Two Brothers The Bitter End American Pale Ale at our Grilled Cheese and beer event September 29.

Ingredients

  • About 3/4 cup Spicy Sweet Onion "Jam"
  • 8 slices rye bread, 3/4-inch thick
  • About 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • About 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded

Sun-dried Tomato Hazelnut “Pesto” Grilled Cheese

Crunchy, toasted hazelnuts, and rich, sun-dried tomatoes turn this grilled cheese sandwich into something truly special. A little of this "pesto," plus some great melting Fontina Fontal cheese and peppery baby arugula come together inside toasted ciabatta.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium fire, about 400°F.

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread (the outside of each sandwich). Spread some pesto into one side of each sandwich. Top the pesto with a layer of cheese, followed by a sparse layer of arugula and a final layer of cheese (placing the arugula between layers of cheese will help keep the sandwich together once the cheese is melted). Top off each sandwich with the other slice of ciabatta.

Place the sandwiches on the grill. Keep the hood closed as much as possible while grilling to help melt the cheese. Turn once after the first side is toasted and lightly marked by the grill grate, about 2 minutes. (Note: for cross-hatched grill marks, rotate the sandwich about 90 degrees halfway through grilling each side.)

After turning the sandwiches over, grill the second side until toasted, about 2 more minutes. If the cheese is not thoroughly melted by the time the bread is toasted to your liking, lay out a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on the grill grate (preferably in the coolest zone of the grill) and transfer the sandwiches on top of the foil. Close the hood and continue cooking until the cheese is melted through (up to 6 minutes more).

Paired with Two Brothers Domaine Dupage French Country Ale at our Grilled Cheese and beer event September 29.

Ingredients

  • About 3/4 cup Sun-dried Tomato Hazelnut "Pesto"
  • 8 slices ciabatta bread, about 3/4" thick
  • About 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 ounces Fontina Fontal (or other soft fontina) cheese, shredded
  • Baby arugula

Alpine Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I love the flavor of our Alpine Breakfast Pizza so much, that when it came time to create these grilled cheese recipes, I just had to do the sandwich version of it. This grilled cheese sandwich offers big, bold flavors. The kick of Gruyere cheese is mellowed by crème fraiche. Add fresh chives, smoky bacon and sourdough bread, and how can you go wrong?

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium fire, about 400°F.

Cut the bacon slices crosswise into 1/4-inch sticks. Preheat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned but not quite crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread (the outside of each sandwich). Spread crème fraiche on the other side (the inside of each sandwich). Fill with shredded Gruyere, bacon and chives. Top off each sandwich with the other slice of sourdough.

Place the sandwiches on the grill. Keep the hood closed as much as possible while grilling to help melt the cheese. Turn once after the first side is toasted and lightly marked by the grill grate, about 2 minutes. (Note: for cross-hatched grill marks, rotate the sandwich about 90 degrees halfway through grilling each side.)

After turning the sandwiches over, grill the second side until toasted, about 2 more minutes. If the cheese is not thoroughly melted by the time the bread is toasted to your liking, lay out a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on the grill grate (preferably in the coolest zone of the grill) and transfer the sandwiches on top of the foil. Close the hood and continue cooking until the cheese is melted through (up to 6 minutes more).

Paired with Two Brothers Cane & Ebel Red Rye Ale at our Grilled Cheese and beer event September 29.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices applewood-smoked bacon, 1/4" thick, about 8 ounces
  • 8 slices sourdough bread, about 3/4" thick
  • About 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 ounces crème fraiche
  • 8 ounces Gruyere Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 12 stems fresh chives, chopped

Portabella Grilled Cheese Sandwich

So many portabella sandwiches feature the mushroom as the star, but here it plays second fiddle to fantastic artisan cheeses. We grill the mushrooms to create a more complex flavor, and to drastically reduce the moisture content so we can concentrate those flavors. We also chop those grilled mushrooms into small pieces so that every bite can maintain the perfect balance. Now, for the cheeses... Quadrello di Bufala is a version of Taleggio, but it is made with water buffalo’s milk rather than cow’s milk. It is creamy and well-balanced, and it melts beautifully. We use a little Parmigiano Reggiano as a sharp counterpoint.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling with a two-zone fire: one with a medium fire (about 400°F); and one with a very hot fire (600°F +).

Remove and discard the portabella stems. Cut the caps into 3/8” thick slices. Brush the slices on both sides with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Grill the mushrooms over the hottest part of the fire. Turn them occasionally until well-browned and reduced to about half their original size. Remove from the grill, chop and reserve.

Brush one side of each slice of bread (the outside of each sandwich) with olive oil. Fill the sandwiches with the cheeses and chopped mushrooms. Top off each sandwich with the other slice of Tuscan bread.

Place the sandwiches on the grill. Keep the hood closed as much as possible while grilling to help melt the cheese. Turn once after the first side is toasted and lightly marked by the grill grate, about 2 minutes. (Note: for cross-hatched grill marks, rotate the sandwich about 90 degrees halfway through grilling each side.)

After turning the sandwiches over, grill the second side until toasted, about 2 more minutes. If the cheese is not thoroughly melted by the time the bread is toasted to your liking, lay out a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on the grill grate (preferably in the coolest zone of the grill) and transfer the sandwiches on top of the foil. Close the hood and continue cooking until the cheese is melted through (up to 6 minutes more).

Paired with Two Brothers Domaine Dupage French Country Ale at our Grilled Cheese and beer event September 29.

Ingredients

  • 2 large portabella mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 slices Tuscan bread, 3/4" thick
  • 8 ounces Quadrello di Bufala, shredded
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded