{dark days} Week 15: Lux Grilled Cheese

Editor’s Note: We are taking a break from our St. Patrick’s Day theme week for our Dark Days Challenge entry. This is the 15th week of a 19-week challenge, Dark Days, a pledge taken by 88 blogs spanning the country, to eat one meal a week as sustainable, organic, local and ethical possible. Honestly, these challenges are becoming harder & harder to pull off as we all get closer to finishing off the last of our summer 2010 canned goods, frozen fruits and veggies. Leslie rocked her final meal- way to go! – Christina

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This past December, one of our school-age neighbors came to the door selling magazine subscriptions for a school fundraiser. In the midst of a cooking rut, I decided to seek some inspiration and I subscribed to an assortment of cooking magazines. One of them, Taste of Home, has been a long-time favorite that I had recently let expire…oops (still working on that whole organization thing).  I happily re-subscribed and, once again, it has not disappointed!

I marked the recipe for “Deluxe Grilled Cheese” well before the Dark Days post was even on my mind. I’ve been experimenting with fancy grilled cheese sandwiches (for example, dijon mustard spread inside with a mix of dill havarti, cheddar, and thinly sliced dill pickles….w-o-w!), and this one was loaded with my favorite ingredients. Once I realized that all the ingredients were in my kitchen and local, it was a done deal.

The bread for our sandwiches tonight was a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, for a soft white bread.

Here are the ingredients called for, and what I used to meet Dark Days criteria…

3 c lukewarm water

1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast–exception

1 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt--exception

2 tbsp sugar–I used local honey instead, from Lloyd Spear, beekeeper

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the top crust–I used Amish butter from the Honest Weight Food Co-op

7 cups all-purpose flour–I used half white and half whole wheat, locally ground flour from Champlain Valley Milling

Once cooled, I thickly sliced the bread and assembled my DELUXE grilled cheese, slightly modified from the original recipe (which called for broiling the slices and adding fillings, to cut down on fat…I just brought on the butter and fried ‘em up!).

Spread fresh goat cheese (Nettle Meadow Farms) over one side of bread; top with thinly sliced apple (Saratoga Apple) and carmelized onions (Denison Farm); add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese (Palatine Cheese). Top with second slice of bread, and grill it up in some butter (more Amish butter)!

On the side, we had some roasted sweet potatoes (Denison Farm); thinly sliced, drizzled with some olive oil and kosher salt (exceptions), and baked at 350° for about 30 minutes.

I find that often my Dark Days meals are much simpler than they typically would be, if I were not limited by the challenge…depending on the recipe, I would usually add a particular seasoning not locally available, or a splash of lemon juice (if only we had lemon trees…), or a glug or two of sherry for flavor.  This recipe, however, was absolutely fantastic, exactly as is.

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Categories: Dark Days Challenge, recipe

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5 Comments on “{dark days} Week 15: Lux Grilled Cheese”

  1. Erica
    March 17, 2011 at 6:15 am #

    That looks amazingly good! I’ve never made bread (besides the irish soda bread which doesn’t count) — would you recommend that bread recipe as a good first timers (who is still learning their way around the kitchen lol) recipe to try or do you ladies have other bread recipes that are good to start with?

    • Leslie
      March 17, 2011 at 7:27 am #

      Erica, YES, there are so many recipes in the book that are SO easy and so delicious. This was the first time I made the sandwich bread (I wanted somethign less crusty). HIGHLY recommend!!

      • Erica
        March 18, 2011 at 9:00 am #

        Awesome!! Thanks Leslie :)

        • Dianna
          March 18, 2011 at 9:08 am #

          Erica, you should try Mark Bittman’s No Knead White Bread. It is fabulous and foolproof. I am pretty sure it is widely available on line, if not, just holler. I make it with one third wheat flour and it has never ever gone wrong. And I am a total bread klutz.

  2. Dianna
    March 18, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    This sounds great, I love the cheese, apple and onion combination. Anything slathered with goat cheese is ok by me.

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