Monday, March 30, 2009

Grilled Cheese with a Twist

Have you ever had a grilled cheese sandwich? Sure, of course you have. If you're anything like me, you had plenty of 'em when you were a kid. I remember my mom making them on our gas stove back in Brooklyn, New York. She had a special sandwich maker she used for such occasions. For some reason, that sandwich maker made the absolute best grilled cheese sandwiches. I'll never get the same results ever again because I haven't had a gas stove in over 20 years. I use my George Foreman Grill now to make most of D's grilled cheese sandwiches or Panini as he sometimes likes to call them. We have found out that grilled cheese sandwiches are not just for kids. He inspired me to try two new twists on this old favorite. I followed the recipe on the first grilled cheese sandwich and used a heavy pan to grill it in. It is called a French Toast Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It combines two of our favorites so I couldn't pass it up. I didn't know anything about "savory" french toast. Apparently, there are many recipes out there for savory french toast that have passed me by. I didn't have Gruyere cheese so I googled it and found out that it is very similar to Swiss Cheese. Sadly, I didn't even have any Swiss Cheese in my refrigerator so I used Monterey Jack. The cheese combination was fine but I definitely want to try this again with the Gruyere cheese. I'm very curious to see if my local grocery store carries sliced Gruyere. I have a feeling that it doesn't but I'm definitely going to have a look. I found the original recipe on It was posted by Samantha Molina. She suggests using turkey or ham to change it up and make it extra yummy.

The second sandwich we tried comes from a television commercial. I think it was a Kraft American Cheese commercial. This grilled cheese sandwich is made with raisin bread which is why I was suprised D asked for it. I haven't seen him eat raisin bread, ever. I found out that D will eat raisin bread on occasion. Big surprise to me because I had no idea. I didn't make one of these grilled cheese sandwiches for myself but I took a bite of his and it was really yummy. It is a very different kind of grilled cheese sandwich but in a good way.

French Toasted Grilled Cheese Sandwich

by Samantha Molina

4 slices of white bread

4 slices of American cheese

4 slices of Gruyere cheese

two eggs, beaten

1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese

salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large frying pan (preferably a heavy cast iron skillet) melt enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Keep the heat on low so the butter and the sandwich don't burn.

2. Put the beaten eggs it a shallow, flat bottomed bowl. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the Asiago cheese over the top of the egg mixture. Dip the slice of bread into the egg, just like you would if you were making french toast. Flip the bread to make sure it gets evenly coated with egg. Place the slice of bread, Asiago cheese side down, onto the hot skillet.

3. Place two slices of American cheese onto the bread in the skillet, followed by the Gruyere. Be sure to sprinkle some more Asiago cheese on top of the egg mixture before coating the second slice of bread. The second slice goes, Asiago cheese side up on top of the cheese slices. Grill on both sides until hot and melty, and the bread has the consistency of french toast.

Repeat this process for the second sandwich.

The second recipe isn't even really a recipe. It is more like instructions. Just take two slices of raisin bread and put two slices of Amerian cheese and two slices of Granny Smith Apple between them. Heat up your pan or grill. Butter the outsides of the bread and start grilling. Let the sandwich grill until the bread gets nicely brown and the cheese is melted. Flip the sandwich if you are using a pan, of course.

The Granny Smith Apples give this grilled cheese a nice tangy taste. It sounds odd but it is really tasty.


The Creative Cook

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Books, Books Books

I've already filled you in about my love of books about cooking. No, I don't mean cookbooks -- I mean those awesome and sometimes funny mysteries written by food lovers like myself. I'm especially fond of Diane Mott Davidson and I'm getting ready to read one by Joanne Fluke called The Cherry Cheesecake Murder. Diane Mott Davidson is going on a book tour and the closest she is going to be to me is somewhere in PA. I may try to get my niece to a bookstore she is coming to in Phoenix. If it is close to her house, she may do it for me. You never know.

I'm going off topic with this next one but another one of my favorite authors is a woman by the name of Maureen Meehan Aplin. Maureen is an amazing women. I have never actually met her but she is a friend of my niece. She is a sitting judge in California and she has a family but she has written five absolutely fantastic thrillers. The one I have read and loved was Pandemic Predator. I mailed it to her and she signed it for me and sent it back. She is so nice. I suggested that she have a contest on her website and give away a signed copy of one of her books. She took that idea and ran with it. She is now having a monthly contest where you can enter and win a book of your choice! Her books should be on the best seller list. They are extremely well researched and smartly written. They are not dumbed down which is probably why she isn't more widely known. Check out her website at and enter the contest that was inspired by me! Maybe if we're lucky she will make a visit to a local bookstore one of these days.

Another one of my favorite authors is Laura Lippman. She is a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun. She has written at least 15 books. Most of her books are based in and around Baltimore which makes it fun for me to read. Her latest book has just come out and she is going to be in my area at a bookstore called A Likely Story on Main Street in Sykesville. I plan to be there and get my copy of her latest signed by her. Her visit to A Likely Story is on Monday, March 30 at 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm depending on whether you believe the newspaper or her website.

Ever since I got B a signed copy of Lisa Gardner's new book at the Carroll Community College Book Fair a few weeks ago I'm getting obsessed with buying signed copies of books. Oh no!

The Creative Cook and Avid Reader