Written by Abbie Stutzer
Grilled cheese recipes are in high demand this time of year. Kids love them, parents love them, and yes - even your cocktail companions love them, too. Many grilled cheese sandwiches fall victim to terrible cheese, though. Those American "cheese" slices that jiggle like Jell-O, and have that putrid yellow hue and odd glossy sheen? Not cheese. There's no reason to reach for that stuff when you can buy tasty, organic cheeses that are good for you. With the right organic cheeses and rustic breads, you can build an awesome, healthier grilled cheese sandwich.
Where to Find Local, Organic Cheeses?
Eatwild.com provides conscious connoisseurs with information on where to buy safe, healthy and natural dairy products. The easy-to-use website has a state-by-state directory of health conscious farms that house animals and hold land that's well-treated, carry products high in nutritional value and free of antibiotics and added hormones.
Organic Cheeses and What Else?
Yes - sometimes a simple grilled cheese sandwich hits the spot just fine. But if you're looking to impress dinner guests, amping up that sandwich may be in order.
Simple "how to make grilled cheese" recipe examples:
- Monterey Jack with organic grilled peppers, sliced green olives, tomatoes and jalapeños between toasted, whole wheat bread.
- Feta with kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and finely sliced winter squash atop grilled, open faced ciabatta or sourdough bread.
The following grilled cheese recipes are unique and perfect as party finger food.
Spinach Pesto (via Punchfork, Closetcooking.com) and Sundried Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Makes one sandwich per recipe
Ingredients for spinach pesto sandwich
3 tablespoons of spinach pesto
1/4 cup of organic graviera or gruyere, grated
2 slices of bread
1 tablespoon organic butter
Ingredients for sundried tomato pesto sandwich
3 tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto
1 slice of organic mozzarella cheese
1 handful of organic basil leaves
2 slices of bread
1 tablespoon of organic butter
Assemble sandwich. Grill until cheese has melted and bread is golden brown on both sides (approximately 2-4 minutes per side).
Need more cheese pairing tips? Check out this article on how to host a grilled cheese party.
Beer Pairing: Organic Winter Ale
It's time to finish the wheat beer in your fridge and make room for some organic winter ale. Serve with the above grilled cheese recipes and you're set!
Over the last few weeks, breweries such as Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, MO, and New Belgium Brewing out of Fort Collins, CO, released winter seasonal favorites, Nutcracker Ale (Boulevard) and Snow Day (New Belgium.)
The following winter ales are equally good, and organic:
Peak Organic Brewing Company (Portland, ME):
Try Peak's robust Winter Seasonal Ale. This organic ale is made with a dark malt and is subtly toasty.
Hopworks (Portland, OR):
This seasonal ale (October through December) is called the Abominable Winter Ale. The ale is made with cascade, centennial and simcoe hops, and six organic malts. Enjoy complex floral, spicy and citrus hoppiness.
image: kelly bone