As we begin our month-long tribute to the ubiquitous Grilled Cheese sandwich, I found an article that features several local Portland Restaurants and Food Carts that feature or offer Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. My thanks to Kyle O’Brien and The Oregonian for sharing this “Grilled Cheese Guide”:

By Kyle O’Brien, Special to The Oregonian

The lure of melted cheese is difficult to resist. It hearkens back to childhood, when mom used to take two slices of bread, slap some cheese in the middle and grill it to gooey, melted perfection. But some see grilled cheese as starter food, something easy to make that’s only fit during your younger years, before your palate has matured.

For so long, the grilled cheese sandwich has been relegated to the kids menu, a culinary afterthought for those in the single-digit age set. But, lately, grilled cheese has been pulled from the back of the menu and given a loftier status, on par with panini and brisket. The NBC show “America’s Next Great Restaurant” even features a contestant who sees the power of cheese as so strong that he’s pitching Meltworks, a restaurant that boasts grilled cheese for grown-ups.

The downturn in the economy has found people eating in more, or searching out comfort foods at restaurants. This helped spawn the latest interest in the simplicity of the grilled cheese sandwich. More restaurants are including a version, often adding grown-up flourishes, such as smoked jalapeños, sauteed mushrooms and fancier cheeses.

Portland has options all over the city — at retro diners, upscale cheese bars and a few requisite carts. This trend has clearly gone beyond Wonder bread with Velveeta.

With April being National Grilled Cheese Month, and April 12 National Grilled Cheese Day, this spring is the perfect time to get your grill on.

For the list of restaurants/carts and grilled specials, click here for the tour – it’s well worth the click…

Photo Copyright 2011 by Doug Beghtel for The Oregonian

Up next: #1 of 30 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches created by The Lady featuring cheeses reviewed on our cheesemonger blog…

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Courtesy:  http://tastingtable.com/index.htm

 Recipe adapted from The Adaptable Feast

 Ingredients:

 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 thyme sprigs

1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine

8 cups packaged mushroom stock

1 bay leaf

One 2-inch piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (Most cheese shops sell Par/Reg rind at a reduced price – at The Lady’s kiosk it is Half-Price)

¼ teaspoon dried savory

Twelve ½-inch-thick slices crusty baguette

½ teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (about 8 ounces)

1 beef bouillon cube (such as Knorr brand) or 1 tablespoon veal demiglace Base

 Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add ½ cup of the vermouth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the vermouth has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup vermouth, scrape the pan again and simmer for 4 minutes longer. Transfer the onions to a 3-quart stockpot and add the mushroom stock, bay leaf, Parmigiano-Reggiano rind and savory. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

 2. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Smash the garlic into a paste with the side of a knife and combine with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Brush the baguette slices with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Place 1 slice of toast in the bottom of each of 4 ovenproof soup bowls.

Preheat the broiler.

 3. For the vegetarian variation: Remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and cheese rind

from the soup and discard. Transfer 2½ cups of the soup to a small saucepan, season

with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat.

4.Add the bouillon cube to the remaining soup in the large pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

 Season with salt and pepper.

 5. For the vegetarian variation: Ladle the vegetarian soup into an ovenproof bowl, top

with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle with one quarter of the cheese. Place the bowl on a

rimmed baking sheet.

 6.Fill the remaining 3 bowls with the bouillon-flavored soup and top with the remaining

baguette slices and cheese. Place the bowls on the baking sheet. Broil the soups, watching closely, until the cheese is bubbly and brown, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately.

 For the vegan variation: Omit the cheese rind in the soup, omit the cheese topping;

serve with garlicky baguette toasts only.

 Serves 1 vegetarian and 3 omnivores

 

SDC12043

As previously noted, The Lady is not into measuring…she does a lot of her cooking by tossing stuff together and this recipe is exactly that: a tossed salad with EVOO, Modena Balsamic Vinegar and crumbled Long Clawson Dairy Lemon Zest.

The Lady started with lettuce from The Man’s garden. So far the growing season in the Pacific Northwest has been almost perfect and the bounty from our garden has been impressive. She washed and chopped the lettuce and tossed it into a green carnival glass bowl that The Lady’s mom (aka THE Lady) gave her more than twenty-five years ago. It is The Lady’s favorite serving bowl and she uses it every time she makes salad. And I don’t mean most of the time, I mean every time. It’s a tradition with The Lady and as you know, she takes tradition very seriously. If you ever need a pimento cheese sandwich fix, just show up here on The Masters Sunday and you’ll be able to feed that Jones…but I digress…

Next she chopped a green bell pepper, also from our garden and added it to the bowl. She then chopped several organic veggies: asparagus (delish raw in a salad), zucchini, Vidalia onion, chives and arugula (again from our garden). Into the bowl.

At this point, she crumbled a nice size piece of the Long Clawson Dairy Lemon Zest Stilton on top of the veggies. She splashed some Modena Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top and tossed it all well to mix in the cheese and the oil and vinegar and served it.

Pimento Cheese Spread

May 5, 2009

On Master’s Sunday, The Lady, The Man and this feline foodie always eat Pimento Cheese Sandwiches because ti is a tradtion. I wrote about this on my other blog. You can read that entry by clicking here.

While The Lady refuses to divulge the exact recipe which was handed down to her by her mother, she did agree I could share the following:

Use equal parts of Medium Cheddar and Extra Sharp Cheddar. Because we live in the Pacific NW, The Lady uses local cheeses such as Beechers (Flagship is perfect) or Tillamook (The Lady’s favorite is the Extra Sharp that is aged over two years). Cube the cheese.

Take a dollop of mayo and put in your food processor. Set on a low setting and begin processing.

Add one jar of pimentos, including the juice, to your food processor. Add one third of the cheese and continue processing.

As the cheese is incorporated and the mixture becomes creamy, gradually add the remaining cheese. Once cheese, mayo and pimento and incorporated and creamy, you may need to add a little more mayo to get the desired creaminess.

Add black pepper to taste.

You can get creative and add other herbs and spices; but you can’t beat the basic pimento cheese.