Thursday, April 30, 2009

TFF & FIC - Grilled Cheese Forever!

This past month has been bewildering for me. It's gone by so fast, and I feel like I've accomplished so little! But I've enjoyed a lot of it, so I should satisfy myself with that. I do have one teensy regret though; that I couldn't celebrate Grilled Cheese Month the way it deserves to be celebrated! My original plan to was make one new grilled cheese sandwich every week (which would've been easy enough, because the Lord knows about my undying love for grilled cheese!). But somehow, something always seemed to derail me. What can I say? I'm easily distracted. For instance, right now I'm watching Ellen and blogging at the same time. Bad idea. I should know by now that I'm a uni-tasker. I envy people who can multi-task. Bet their lives are much more productive than mine. No wonder employers always like to see that word on resumes!

Anyway, back to grilled cheese (see?! I'm not kidding about being easily distracted). I couldn't just let this month go by without at least one serious dedication. So that's where my buddy Tyler stepped up to the plate. He gave me a recipe that I will cherish forever, as will future generations of grilled cheese lovers! I did cheat a little though, because I was short on time, and ended up using store-bought basil pesto instead of making it from scratch like Tyler did. Just keeping it real between you and me, dear readers. When I make it again though, maybe for a crowd, I'll make my own pesto. To accompany these scrumptious sandwiches, I threw together a quick salad of avocado, kidney beans, roasted corn, red onions and fresh lime juice (inspired by something very similar that my skinnier-than-me-dammit-yet-awesome sister-in-law makes). Remember, DH and I are giving salads a fair shot from now on!

The thing with Tyler is that he has excellent timing (hmmmmmmmmm, perhaps in more ways than one, eh?!). What I mean by that is, he couldn't have picked a better day for me to make this recipe. It was deliciously warm and bright outside, and the air was fragrant with the first buds of spring. Outside my window I could see families strolling about, kids laughing and playing - basically everyone looked happy! Which is what the perfect spring day should look like. To give you some perspective, take a look at this view from my window just a couple of months ago ...

And now see the magic that Mother Nature has crafted, yet again!
Tyler's Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (find original recipe on Food Network's site)
Serves: 2

Click Here For Printable Recipe

Ingredients
8 slices rye bread
4 quarter-inch slices of fresh mozzarella
3 plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1 cup fresh basil pesto, recipe follows (or use the store-bought stuff)
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil


Basil pesto:
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Method:

1. Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still rough-textured.

2. If you have a panini press, turn it on to warm up; otherwise, set a skillet over medium heat.

3. Assemble sandwich by smearing insides of bread slices with pesto. Arrange a layer of sliced tomato and season with a few turns of fresh pepper. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place another piece of bread on top to make the sandwich.
4. Drizzle olive oil over skillet's surface and place sandwiches on the hot skillet or panini press. If using a skillet, place another heavy skillet over the top to form a "press". Turn after 2 to 3 minutes and replace weight. The sandwich is ready when golden brown and mozzarella has melted around the edges.
Verdict: Oh for pity's sake, just look at the darn thing, would ya? What do you think I'm going to say about it?! It was cheesy, melty, flavorful, rich, crispy, PURRRRRRRRFECT. I want to have it every day for the rest of my life. Maybe not a war, but I'm sure mini-battles can be fought over this concoction. It's devious in its simplicity. It's one of those foods that you will have cravings for in the middle of the night.

I'm submitting this for the next Tyler Florence Fridays round-up, tout de suite! Ladies, this is a hot one!

And I believe this colorful dish will also qualify for this month's Food In Color event, originated by Sunshinemom from Tongue Ticklers, and hosted by Neha from Easy N Tasty Recipes. This time, the theme is "Red + Green", and there's definitely lots of that in this recipe!

42 comments:

Ann said...

Yummy!! I love mozzarella anything! looks so perfect and delish.

Pooja said...

The sandwiches looks yummy Muneeba :) I love pesto.Had some problem reading the post as the font was very small in few lines.

Sweetie Pie said...

What a mouthwatering photo, and an awesome sandwich! I love the before and after spring pictures too.

I wasn't sure what I wanted for dinner, but now, I think I might have a general idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

Ginger said...

Muneeba

Your sandwiches look amazing! I love all the photos on your blog. Have a great weekend.

the happy couple said...

so many of my favorite things in one sandwich!

Reeni♥ said...

I've made these before. They are truly divine! Yours look wonderful!

Kerstin said...

That's one amazing grilled cheese! I love pesto and tomatoes together - yum!

nina said...

You're right it is just perfect!!!! Beautifully finished off with a lovely salsa to cut through the richness of the sandwich...just perfect!!!

Doppelganger said...

There is just no evading your siren call, is there? I should just give up! So I came back from class tonight and made myself a scrumptious sandwich with ground beef, melted chese, and a garlic spread. I really thought it was perfect and so I felt safe checking out your blog. Safe, as in "Hmm . . . I'm exhausted, but completley satiated with a yummy sandwich, so no matter what might be the new tempting delight on Muneeba's blog, I will be able to withstand the urge to cook at a ridiculously late hour of the night."

Then, I saw those pictures. The bread, the cheese, the pesto spread, (no, the tomatoes didn't call out to me, they never do.) everything was repeating: eat me! you're soul is hungry for us! This is indeed a grilled cheese to satisfy the soul, the belly, the heart. Thanks for sharing! Despite the torture, this is the best kind of guilty pleasure!

5 Star Foodie said...

These look fabulous with mozzarella and tomatoes! Yum!

Natashya said...

So colourful, melty and delicious. These sammies are calling my name!

Carrie said...

I love the mozzarella/tomato/basil combination, and this sandwich looks perfect! The side salad looks great, too! It does look like the perfect meal for spring.

Joanne said...

From what I've seen, these are THE ultimate grilled cheese. And that salad - to die for. I tend to not like salads either but I've found that when I spice them up with lots of interesting veggies, it really helps a lot!

Debinhawaii said...

Those are perfect sandwiches--delicious! I love the pictures of the trees too--so pretty!

Kim said...

Oh wow!! I have been craving a good grilled cheese and this looks like just the one! I need to bake some fresh bread and then make this sandwich : ) Love the salad too.

cantbelieveweate said...

Oh my...I want some. Please? Tonight? I've done a melted caprese salad...but not a grilled mozzarella sammie...I've got to have one of these! Thanks!

Jenny said...

I do need to try this, I keep meaning to, I just haven't. Why haven't I?!?!?

Donna-FFW said...

This looks beautiful, it sounds so delicious and I would love to have some..

unconfidentialcook said...

I bought a tub of pesto at Costco (It's pretty good!), and my daughter is now smearing it over everything. For the first time she is eating turkey sandwiches (with pesto), and last night she made a grilled cheese with pesto (no tomatoes though). Works for me!

My comfort food network said...

I love the sandwich. They look awesome. Grilled cheese more then welcome anytime.

Sophie said...

Ooooooh Muneeba! I link sandwiches as easy & yummie as this!
I adore that you paired it with a bean salad: speaking of lovely colours!!!
I also love making variations of this sandwich like making red pesto instead of the green pesto or making parsley or walnut pesto,etc...

Dimah said...

I love grilled cheese; this looks fantastic and perfect!

Sunshinemom said...

Perrrrrfect! I am sure the kids are going to love this one!!

Kevin said...

Now that is a nice grilled cheese!

Dazy said...

It's something new to me. I'm making this tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

Amanda said...

Yum! Have you submitted this to the Grilled Cheese Academy yet? http://www.grilledcheeseacademy.com/submitrecipe

Lynsey Sleeps said...

Thats the perfect grilled cheese!! but I really love the look of the salad, feels like summer!!
-lynseysleeps.blogspot

Ayesha said...

Yummy! Can't wait to make this!

Lynn M said...

Yuuuum! These look like the perfect grilled cheese sandwiches. Well minus the rye bread. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

OH MY WORD!!!! This is so delish!! I used pumpernickle rye and and i can't get enough..the kids didn't really care for it but that just leaves more me & the hubs :) Thanks for a great recipe!

Erin said...

I added avocado to make it the PERFECT sandwich for me! Simply delicious

Lily said...

This is just about all my favorite foods combined into one. I could probably live on nothing but these sandwiches!

Annon. said...

LOVE this! I added chicken (cause my man needs protein with every meal) and it was amazing! Thanks so much!

Marie Brewer said...

This sandwich looks so good! I have made grilled cheese with the mozerella cheese... but will try it with pesto and tomato.Thanks!

cheri said...

These look so yummy! I posted them on my recipe post today & can't wait to try them out. Thanks for the recipe!

my life. my loves. my ramblings.

Kristen said...

A friend just sent me the link to your blog. Now I am hungry and staring at my baby tomato plants. The first ripe tomato is going towards this grilled cheese recipe. Beautiful photos, by the way.

Kristen Gurri said...

A friend just sent me this link and now I am staring at my baby tomato plants. The first ripe tomato of the season is going to find itself in a grilled cheese sandwich.

Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

Leigh Ann said...

These were fantastic. Usually, when I find a recipe on the Internet, I come up with ways I might tweak it next time. Not this one. The flavors were balanced perfectly. My husband loved it too.

LiveLoveDIY said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I'm in LOVE with this recipe and your blog! I featured this recipe in my weekly fave recipes post over at my DIY blog www.livelovediy.com. Thanks again! Have a great day!

JSi said...

These were incredible! You've inspired me to make my own on pita bread! Thank you!

Allison Reece said...

Like so many of the other viewers on here, I thought this was a great idea for a sandwich. I just recently made this since our heirloom tomatoes are ripe in our garden. I have plenty of basil growing also which makes this recipe great for the summer time with summertime produce!
The sandwich met my expectations and then some. I highly recommend this sandwich and the great thing is you can add or substitute what ever you like or don't and it still works great. You can add bacon slices or even veggie bacon and would make quite a meal. Thanks for posting!
Allison
Asheville, NC
http://www.allisonreeceoriginals.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Trying this this week for sure, thank you!