Friday, August 17, 2012

Grilled Cheeze. Yup.

I'm all about whole foods at this point, and making great dishes with real ingredients rather than manufactured analogues to their non-vegan equivalents.  BUT - sometimes you get hit with a dose of nostalgia, and you just want to recreate those favorite foods of your previous life.  (Like chocolate chip cookies and pot pie. :) )  And I am totally ok with that, and making small deviations from the whole foods path where necessary to fulfill those emotional needs while still sticking to this plant-based diet I believe in.  And what could be more nostalgic than a good old grilled cheese sandwich?  I didn't think that was possible anymore, but Daiya has proved me wrong.  I haven't yet found another brand that melts as well to fulfill that gooey, melty, cheesy, feeling.  But there's a trick.  See below.  :)

Oooey, gooey, cheesy, crispy, perfection.

Perfect Grilled Cheese

2 slices hearty whole wheat bread (You can use old-fashioned white bread if you really want to get back to your childhood, but the flavors are so much richer and more perfect with something with some depth to it.)
1/3 - 1/2 C Daiya cheddar cheese, depending on the size of your bread slices - use enough so that a solid layer in the pan looks like it would more than cover one piece of bread, as it shrinks up
1-2 T vegan butter of your choice (Earth Balance coconut spread is my favorite, lending a buttery flavor and the perfect crispiness)

That's it for ingredients!  You can easily add extra fillings to fancy up your grilled cheese - tomato, kale, anything that sounds good to you, go for it!  But for just the basics, you only need those 3 items.

1. Add Daiya to a small saute pan, and turn heat to medium-low.  Stir frequently, noticing as it starts to melt.  Let it melt enough to start melding together.  (This is the trick mentioned above! Get the cheese oooey gooey and melty before adding to your sandwich.)  Remove pan from heat.  

2. Spread the melted Daiya on one piece of bread.  Add any desired fixings, and add your other piece of bread to make your sandwich.

3. Place pan back on the burner, turning up to medium heat.

4. Generously "butter" both outsides of your sandwich.  It's the butter that will give your sandwich the richness and crispness that makes for a perfect grilled cheese.

5. Add sandwich back to pan, and grill on both sides, flipping after 2-3 minutes.  Flip back again if necessary.  Grill long enough to get perfectly crispy, but be careful to check on it and not let things burn.  Unless you like that!  Like my mother.  :)

Remove from pan and enjoy!!

Note: To round out my meal, I served my grilled cheese with a side of guacamole. Weird but true, and it worked wonderfully! Glad I happened to have those ingredients around....


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