The Best Cheese for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

chesand

Making a grilled cheese sandwich may seem easy as boiling water, but I’ve seen plenty of burnt ones, carbonized like Han Solo on the outside, with cold cheese in the middle.

The key to grilling cheese is medium-low heat. It takes 5 minutes per side, but always results in a gorgeous golden crust and gooey warm cheese inside.

The other key is to completely butter the bread all the way to the edges, to prevent dry spots.

If you don’t have pre-sliced cheese, then shredding the cheese makes it easier to distribute on the bread. Some will fall in the pan, but at medium-low heat the cheese bits will turn deliciously crusty.

My favorite is a double slice of Havarti, or a single of Cheddar, but any cheese will do.

Directions

  1. Preheat skillet on medium-low heat for 1 minute.
  2. Place a piece of bread, buttered-side down, in the skillet. Add slices of cheese on top. Yes the skillet is hot, but not dangerously so.
  3. Add condiments, if you wish, on top of cheese. I recommend Wickles Relish.
  4. Place other slice of bread, buttered-side up, on top.
  5. Let it cook for 5 minutes. You may wish to lift it with a spatula to check at the 4 minute mark, because not all pans and stoves are alike.
  6. Flip it with spatula, cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Maybe 6 if you like it that way.

Of course, pair it with tomato soup. Campbell’s replaced sugar with high-fructose corn syrup in the now-inferior Tomato Soup, but Campbell’s Harvest Select Tomato with Basil is made with sugar and it’s delicious.

Spicy Sriracha Mayo

This sauce is called a remoulade in New Orleans, but if you’re not so French, it’s Sriracha Mayo, which I guess isn’t any easier to pronounce. Many restaurants use it on hamburgers, fish tacos, and as a dip for french fries.  It’s easy to mix up at home, and will liven up homemade hamburgers as well as burger and fries from fast-food restaurants.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

— Mix the mayonnaise and Sriracha until smooth, then stir in the vinegar.

 

Sidecar Drink Recipe Better Than the Original

Sidecar
Sidecar

The traditional Sidecar is equal parts Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice.  Being traditional doesn’t always mean best, and that’s very true with this classic cocktail. This drink tastes much better with more Cognac, less Cointreau, and a lot less lemon.

  • 1½ ounces Cognac
  • ¾ ounce Cointreau
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • lemon or orange slice, for garnish

— Pour ingredients into a mixing glass half-filled with ice, shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a sugared rim.  Garnish with the lemon or orange slice.

Sugared Rim: Put a teaspoon of white sugar in a small shallow bowl. Hold the cocktail glass upside down, and rub the outside of the rim lightly with juice from the squeezed lemon shell. Flick off any lemon pulp, and dip the rim into the sugar.  Do not twist the rim in the sugar or it will be less attractive.  Let the sugar dry while you are mixing the cocktail.

Sidecar With a View

If you visit Chicago, take an elevator ride to the top of the John Hancock Building, order the Sidecar in the Signature Lounge, and enjoy the incredible cocktail and view.

Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise

kewpie

“What is the best mayonnaise?” can be argued endlessly, with valid claims for Hellman’s, Kraft, Duke’s, Best, or home-made.  Some people simply love Miracle Whip, and nothing else.

But in our house, nothing exists except Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise, in the squeezy-soft plastic bottle.  Meilin discovered its charms while living in Tokyo, and this condiment makes an incredible Japanese-style egg salad.

The special thing about Kewpie is that it’s made with egg yolks and rice vinegar, which makes it tangy, with a touch of MSG for umami taste.

One of our lads wouldn’t eat chicken nuggets with anything else, and we use it on vegetables–cooked or raw–such as broccoli and asparagus.  Kewpie makes a good dip for carrots.  A little squirt added to a vinaigrette will give the salad dressing an instant creaminess.

If you unscrew the red top, there is a larger star-shaped opening for decorating food with flair.

Simple Egg Salad

Cover two large eggs with cold water in a saucepan, then bring to a boil, covered.  Turn the heat to low, and cook eggs for 13 minutes, covered.

Remove the eggs, and put them into cold tap water to cool.

Peel the eggs, then smash them coursely with a fork in a small bowl.

Add 1½ to 2 Tablespoons of Kewpie Mayonnaise, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper.  Mix.  Can be eaten with chopsticks, or a fork, or made into a sandwich.

Instant Currywurst

Cook German sausages (preferably beef) or even beef hot dogs.  Squirt a little ketchup (yes, ketchup) on them, sprinkle on a little curry powder (Penzey’s makes a good one) and then squirt on some Kewpie Mayo.

This Instant Espresso is Good

 

cofee

I love a big cup of coffee, made fresh in a coffee press, to savor and sip during morning rituals (Les matins).  Though I’ll oft crave a second cup,  it induces caffeine overdrive, so I was looking for a way to make a smaller brew.

Normally I shun the chemical taste of instant coffee powder, but noticed a number of good stores carrying Medaglia d’Oro espresso powder, and the price was right, so I gave it a shot.  A lucky shot, because this makes a remarkably good cup of coffee, small, quick, and short on the caffeine.

It makes a better cup of coffee than it does a cup of espresso, so I add 5 ounces of hot water rather than the 3 ounces suggested on the label.

Instant coffee has about 60 mg. of caffeine for each rounded teaspoon used to make it.

By the way, I really don’t mind if people pronounce it expresso.