From Daryl aka Avery: It's national grilled cheese month. Who thinks up these things? Do we care? It is, and so it's time to celebrate!!!! I shared a number of grilled cheese recipes in March because INHERIT THE WORD, the second in the Cookbook Nook mysteries, was all about a Grill Fest, featuring, ta-da, grilled cheese! There are a number of recipes in the book. Check them out.
In the meantime, this one is new for me. I made strawberry jam over the weekend and thought, hmmm, Charlotte (the protagonist in the Cheese Shop mysteries) loves jam and cheese on toast for breakfast. I love cheese with a tad of jam on a cheese platter. So...the combo has to make a great grilled cheese, right?
It does. This was so good it melted in my mouth. I likened it to French toast, spread with jam instead of syrup. Oh, yum! And it was so filling, I didn't need dinner. Well, not much dinner. LOL
This jam will be featured in an ice cream recipe in June. Strawberries (at least in California) are in season for a long time. Lucky us! I adore them. And, for me, there's nothing better than finding a place for strawberries in every aspect of a meal.
For the Grilled Cheese:
4 slices bread
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese
4 tablespoons strawberry jam (see recipe below)
6-8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese (or your favorite white cheese)
Butter each slice of bread on one side. Spread the cream cheese on the other side of the bread. [Note: The cream cheese is on the inside of the sandwich; the butter side is the outside.]
To assemble: Top two slices of bread, cream cheese side up, with cheese. Spread with jam. Add more cheese. Set the other slice of bread on top of the sandwich and press slightly.
If cooking on a stovetop: Heat a large skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Set the sandwiches on the skillet and cook for 4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip the sandwiches, using a spatula, and cook another 2-4 minutes. You can compress the sandwich with the spatula. Turn the sandwich one more time. Press down with the spatula, and remove from the pan. Let cool about 2-3 minutes, and serve.
If cooking on a panini or sandwich maker: Set the sandwich on the griddle and slowly lower the top. Cook for a total of 4 minutes. Remove from the griddle and let cool 2-3 minutes, then serve. Beware, the insides might ooze out the sides. If the lid is too heavy, you might want to consider resorting to the stovetop method.
For the Strawberry Jam:
3 cups chopped strawberries
3 cups sugar1/4 cup lemon juice
Hull, rinse, and chop strawberries to small sizes. Measure 3 cups.
Mix strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in 8-quart saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then raise the temperature and bring the mixture to a full boil. Pay attention because sugar CAN boil up and over the pot. Not fun! If necessary, spoon off the pink foam that rises to the top.
Boil, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees.
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