Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mom's Grilled Cheese: A Mother's Day Recipe

Since it's Mother's Day and I'm thinking fondly of my mother, I thought it might be a good time to share the recipe for the best thing I know how to make, courtesy of, you guessed it, my mom.

I've been making this since I was 7 or 8.  I was an extremely picky eater and I think that sometimes it was easier for my parents to just give in to my stubbornness than slowly watch me starve myself if I didn't get my way. You can say it, it's OK. I was a brat.

My mom traditionally has made her grilled cheese with Mayo, an ingredient that I will hate forever, no matter how it is disguised. (Aioli, huh?) However, due to my constant pestering and refusal to eat the sandwich her way, she would give in and make it with butter instead.

The result? Perfection. Since that day, I have yet to eat a grilled cheese sandwich that I like more than her  butter method. It's simple, but it's perfect.

I recently got a free voucher for Sargento's Ultra Thin cheese through the Influenster program. Kristen and I have both been participants for about 4 years (maybe more in her case) and it's a pretty cool way to test out new products. This go around, Sargento sent me an adorable lunch bag and the voucher for free cheese. Pretty much as soon as they asked me to test out the cheese, I knew what I was going to make to test it out:

Mom's Grilled Cheese. 

Maybe I shouldn't be this passionate about melted cheese on bread but whatever. I do what I want. 

You'd think something so simple wouldn't need a recipe but you'd be surprised at how many people mess up this classic. So, here you go:

1. Turn on the over to low heat. Wait patiently until the pan is hot enough to make butter melt, but not brown. 
2. Please the cheese on one piece of bread and, before you stick on the top, butter the top of the bread. This is where things can get dicy. Too much butter and you're looking at a greesy, soggy sandwich. Too little, and you don't get that delicious, even brown color.

For my sandwich this go around, I used 3 slices of the ultra thin sharp cheddar. 

3. Put the sandwich in the pan, butter side down. If you hear a loud sizzle, it's too hot. Don't do that to yourself. That's just asking for a burnt, half-melted sandwich that isn't any good. 
4. While side one is cooking, butter the top of the sandwich. By the time you are done, you should flip. Allow the other side a similar amount of cooking time. 
Even, delicious browness. 

5. The end step is simple: Continue flipping the sandwich until you achieve optimal golden brown on both sides. If you notice that you've got white bits, it means you were slacking on your butter step. 
Do you see the poorly applied butter evidence?! I'm a disgrace.

6. Enjoy with a Lilikoi Lemon Drop. (Because they're delicious and also because life is short.) 

Ok, so maybe I didn't actually have this drink with my grilled cheese.
I just wanted to show off my mom's lemon squeezing abilities. 

So there you have it. Grilled cheese, my favorite beloved sandwich from my favorite beloved mother.

Thar' she blows!

Oh, and for those that think grilled cheese is the ultimate high-calorie food, it isn't! In total, it's less than 400 calories (using 4 of the Sargento thin slices like I did), including all that luscious butter.

Happy Mother's Day to my own mom and all the other mom's out there!