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Because Yum - Trickle of Consciousness — LiveJournal
jkason
jkason
Because Yum
I'm sick of shit depressing me and / or pissing me off of late, so last night was comfort food: grilled cheese (coming soon to SyFy).

Anyway, since David claims I make the most perfect grilled cheese, and since I feel a need to share my comfort, and since I'm trying to post more in general, and since why the hell do I need a reason to put ridiculousness on the Internet that's what it's for, my points on making awesome grilled cheese:

Medium low heat (a tad more medium than low). The bitch of getting grilled cheese right is managing to time the cooking so your cheese is nice and melty as your bread gets golden-brown crunchy. If your burner is too hot, the bread toasts before you get melty cheese. If it's not hot enough, it takes seven bajillion years to make it, and no one wants grilled cheese in the time it takes to bake a potato.

Light buttering. So, you need butter to get the aforementioned golden-brown crunchiness (which is henceforth GBC, because I'm tired of typing it out) on the outside. But if you use too much butter, you just wind up with soggy grilled cheese. No one wants that but the French, who call it croque-monsieur. I do enjoy a good croque-monsieur, but it's not grilled cheese, and anyone who tells you different is a damn liar. In any case, my general method is this: I glop a whole bunch of butter on the face of the bread to start, and spread it all over. Then I use the knife to scrape off the excess, so there's just a nice, even-but-thin coating of butter on the outside.

Velveeta. I don't want to be a corporate shill, but seriously, Velveeta is the molten melty goodness of grilled cheese heaven. Secondary tip: that 2% milk nonsense isn't Velveeta. You're making grilled cheese, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Stop pretending it's healthy and enjoy the nuclear orange-yellow not found in nature.

Give your cheese room. Unlike butter, melty cheese crisps up super quick, and goes to a burned, nasty mess even quicker if it gets on your pan. I know you want to make sure there is melty cheese deliciousness in every bite, but you need to remember that melty cheese oozes. Come on, that's part of what you love about a good grilled cheese, but you have to make allowances for it. So, make sure you don't put cheese all the way to your edges of your sandwich. I try to leave about a quarter of an inch of un-cheesed bread to start. That's usually enough to let the melted cheese spread out for the yum, but not so close to the edge that it spills over into a horrifying natural disaster of cheese burned and wasted due to my Western excess. You're already getting grilled cheese. Don't be greedy about it or you'll pay the price in nasty smells and smoke detector horrors.

Cover your pan for part one. This serves a couple of purposes, one of which I'll get to in a second. But mostly, it helps encourage the cheese to melt by keeping the heat in. Importantly, however, you want to uncover the pan after you flip the sandwich. Otherwise, you risk soggying up your sandwich. See previous aspersions cast upon the lovely and cultured French.

When to flip. This one can get you in trouble. You need the cheese to have at least started its melt, since otherwise there's nothing to hold your poor sandwich together, and grilled cheese falling apart over your hot skillet is a tragedy I do not wish anyone. Seriously, the cheese melts onto the pan, so even if you wanted to make a new, clean sandwich, you're hosed by the burnt and ruined cheesy goodness all over the surface. You also want the bottom to have crisped up, because trying to spatula up wet bread is also likely to end in heartache.

This is the other reason you want to cover the pan when cooking the first side. If you buttered the bread right, one of the better indicators is the top of the sandwich. Right when the butter has melted into the top piece (so it's all a uniform yellow), you should be good. Hopefully, when you flip now, not only is the cheese melted enough to hold the sandwich together, but that bottom piece is already in GBC mode.

Listen to the sizzle. From here, there aren't as many "you have destroyed the delicious awesomeness and should be condemned" pitfalls left, but there is still that horrible risk of burning the bread, which is nearly as awful as soggy grilled cheese. Plus, it doesn't have the benefit of letting you pretend you were really making foreign cuisine, unless you convince yourself that you have invented the new German culinary dish Schadenkase.

Your second side is probably the side at most risk for the burning, since my Crazy Symmetry Needs always want me to take as long cooking both sides. Possibly I'm the only one who has that cognitive dissonance, but what the heck, it's my journal, so we're pretending I'm not alone. You already melted the butter on that top side of the sandwich, so you need less time to develop GBC here. My indicator has always been the sizzle. Flip your sandwich and you'll hear it. Now pay attention for when you don't hear it any more. Give it a couple of seconds after that, then check that bottom side. If it isn't GBC yet, it's probably close. Check it every 5-10 seconds because it won't take long.

Apocrypha. Sometimes it works perfectly, sometimes you have to adjust. If your first side of the sandwich didn't get quite as much GBC as you like, just flip the sandwich back over. There's no easy indicators at this point, but it also shouldn't take very long to get crisped up. Just keep a close eye on it and all should be good.

The set-up. Now you're ready to gobble down the gooey cheesy awesome, right? If you answered "yes," you're terrible at recognizing a trick question. If you bust into your grilled cheese now, you will fall victim to Velveeta lava spilling all over you and / or your plate. Spock wouldn't have even had a chance to save the Enterprise if he'd had to walk into a room full of this stuff, and they'd have no body to shoot onto a planet, and we wouldn't have Star Trek With Whales, so hold your horses, hater.

No, after you plate your grilled cheese, you have to let it sit for a minute or so. You're afraid the sandwich will get cold, but I'm writing this thing and I'm telling you you're wrong (in addition to telling you your fears, which may make me psychic, but don't ask me to read your palm. I know what you were doing with that thing and I'm not touching it). Remember how we compared the cheese to lava? It's not far off. If you wait a couple of minutes, until the top of the sandwich doesn't really feel very warm, you're in much better shape. Now when you cut your sandwich in half--because you're not a heathen and you don't just mutilate your grilled cheese--you'll still probably have a little meltiness coming out, but you shouldn't lose the insides in a cheese-lava spill that leaves you bereft and the wildlife on your plate in need of rescue teams armed with Dawn. Even better, you won't burn off your taste buds, so you can actually enjoy the yum.

You know, I didn't realize until I started writing this how much cooking grilled cheese was like Goldilocks. There's a whole lot of "not too much, not too little" going on up there, isn't there? Huh. I guess you can never learn enough life lessons from childhood tales of breaking and entering.

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Comments
stotangirl From: stotangirl Date: July 16th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC) (wanna link?)
You crack me up. Now can you give me instructions on giving my husband a decent haircut? ;)
see the single drop in the bucket or add a drop