When National Grilled Cheese Month suggestions started rolling onto the comments section last week, I did not play hard to get when it came to Truckasaurus’s Las Vegas hotel-based suggestion. It seemed like the perfect way to kick off this most holy of months. It was fairly complicated, since the bacon needed to be made beforehand. There were multiple kinds of cheese, and fancy cheese from the fancy cheese display at that. And with the jelly there was a surprising ingredient. On an unseasonably cold April Saturday, it sounded like a delicious start of my National Grilled Cheese Month celebration.
I braved a post-snowstorm, late Saturday morning grocery store crowd to get my ingredients. Like Truck, I also didn’t find fig marmalade at the grocery store, so I went with my favorite raspberry preserves, since I needed to buy some anyway. Finding the correct cheeses was the most difficult part, since both gouda and gruyere come in apple smoked versions, and I thought that it might make it difficult to truly appreciate the flavor of the applewood smoked bacon, but luckily, with some perseverance, I found classic versions of the cheeses. Then I waited in line behind many people who were buying three gallons of milk, but before long I was back at my apartment, failing miserably at everything!
The past couple of months, I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of foods I think I don’t like, but really the issue is that my mother is not a very good cook. One of these foods is bacon. I thought for most of my life that I didn’t like bacon, but I think actually I just had a mother who burnt the living daylights out of the little guys, because my bacon turned out lovely and didn’t disintegrate into dust upon the slightest pressure. In preparing the bacon, I found it difficult, however, to pull the little strips of bacon off each other. One strip fell apart so badly, I gave a little piece to my cat. (“I love this sandwich and my owner’s incompetency in the kitchen!”–my cat, that b.)
This sandwich also made me realize that I have no idea how to cut (the) cheese (LOLOLOLOL) that doesn’t come in an easy brick or in a circle. The gouda came in a little wedge with a waxy red rind, and I ended up doing some weird slicing thing to it, so I didn’t so much have slices of gouda as slivers. I’m not asking for advice. I’m just pointing out my own faults. Please do not tell me how to cut cheese correctly, you snobs, I do not care. It all goes to the same place anyway, amirite?!??!
An additional obstacle literally sprang up when the sourdough I bought (a different brand than usual) ended up being a lot less crusty and a lot more spongy than I expected. So my attempted thin slices of sourdough ended up being a little bit of a disaster.
So, with the sandwich assembled and grilling away in my fancy, slightly malformed sandwich pan, I decided to grab a glass of wine. I’d opened a bottle of Riesling the night before because I am a single woman with a cat and that’s what Friday is, and like a normal person, I went to pull the cork out of the bottle of wine and HALF THE CORK RIPPED OFF IN MY HANDS!
Using my trusty corkscrew I opened up the wine and used the still-intact cork from an old(er) bottle to seal it back up. And by then my sandwich was ready to go!
I was pretty happy with the coloring on the bread, and even happier with the taste! The preserves really did give a delicious compliment to the bacon, and if I had any complaints it would be that there should have been less preserves. (Update: I made this again on Sunday for lunch, used less preserves, cut the bread better, still butchered the cheese, and it was so good.) And usually the best part of the grilled cheese is at the very beginning when everything is hot and runny, but this sandwich even improved the longer it stayed on my plate! I think the cheese and the preserves mixed together a bit as time passed, and the whole sandwich cooled down so that all the flavors were able to come through. This makes it sound like it was sitting on my plate for hours, but I ate that sandwich while watching one round of Guy’s Grocery Games. It was good!
Well done, Las Vegas hotel! You made a very good grilled cheese sandwich. And thank you to the family Truck for sharing! This’ll be a sandwich I’ll return to!