Not Your Father’s Grilled Cheese

Currently in a grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup phase. It’s a thing. You know it’s a thing. I’ve had it probably 5 times in the past few weeks. Derrricious.

EXCEPT, my sandwich-dipping-in-soup skills are primitive to say the least. It’s not that I haven’t had the practice; my coordination just sucks. So, even when I dip and move to my mouth at a gracefully rapid speed, it still drips on the table or my lap or my woman shelf. And I look like a 3 year old.

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SO, since I’m moderately creative, I started thinking of a way to remedy the situation. Ever had a monte cristo? Ham, turkey, Swiss, strawberry jam sandwiched between French toast slices and dusted in powdered sugar.. It’s savory/sweet and one of my favorites. Obviously, we’re not dusting powdered sugar on it, but I thought making a tomato-based French toast then melting cheese would be awesome. And it is. So make it.

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Side note: I used some tomato paste, but also added some tomato soup from Campbells – but straight from the can without adding the water or milk for a more concentrated taste. The tomato paste alone didn’t offer that sweetness that you taste when you eat tomato soup.

Another side note: I grew up using American cheese in my grilled cheeses, cuz, let’s face it: no other cheese melts like American cheese. Feel free to use any other kind of cheese you prefer! But know I judge you.

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Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup Sandwich

3 eggs
1/3 cup of cream
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Campbells tomato soup…stuff
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
2 slices white bread
2 slices American cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a sauté pan on medium heat. Also prep a greased baking sheet, setting to the side.
2. Combine eggs, cream, tomato paste, tomato soup stuff and mix well. Season.
3. Place white bread in mixture and let sit, turning over and let soak for about 30-40 seconds (my bread was pretty thin).
4. Add half the butter to the sauté pan, allowing to melt. Then place the white bread in the pan and let cook for 1 minute until slight browning appears, then flip and do the same for the other side.
5. A lot of French toast recipes call for all the cooking to be done in the pan. I personally feel the egg does not cook throughly in the pan.. Not a fan of squishy French toast, if you know what I mean. So, I like to finish in the oven. Place both slices of browned toast on the greased baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 5-6 mins.
6. Remove French toast from oven and build the sandwich with both slices of cheese.
7. The best part!! Cutting the sandwich diagonally (if you do it straight in half, I also judge you) and pulling it apart for that gooey, creamy cheese show. And then eating it.

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And that’s it! Let me know what you think in the comments below.. Or if you have any tips to help this recipe be better! This is more or less andexperiment for me.. Cause what’s more fun than experimenting with your taste buds as guinea pigs?! That’s a rhetorical question.

Until next time!

-Jen

Chocolate Mousse – Easterized

Hi hi! My name is Jen. Talking about yourself is weird. I own seven boxes of cereal and more chick flicks than I thought I had. I have all my limbs. I love eating, probably too much. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I don’t want to get up. But then I think, “oh yea, breakfast!” then I do. Then I think only a couple hours until lunch, etc. It’s a condition, to be sure. I’m super smart, so I got a bachelors in Culinary Management. I have two jobs: a super awe-inspiring cook and a glorified secretary. (I beg you to detect sarcasm when you read overly-confident statements.) I am BEYOND excited to be involved in this blog. I am absolutely obsessed with food. Kristyn, Tim and I have a crapton of food-related ideas. And our parents taught us sharing is nice and we’re nice so here we go.

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This is the first Easter I haven’t worked in 3 years. The private-fancy-overly-rich-people-club I work at hosts an Easter buffet every Easter. Three different buffets with close to 1,000 people. It’s incredible, really. But it’s chaos. I begged chef to let me off for weeks, AND I’M AMAZING SO I GOT IT OFF. I got my cliché Easter dress picked out and I’m going to church and dying Easter eggs and all the standard practices of this holiday. I’m stoked. My mom and I will be making the Easter “lunch” (by the time everything is ready to eat, it’s closer to 3, sooooo supper?). One of my contributions will be dessert, naturally. I feel like saying “I love dessert” is like saying “I have elbows.” And if you don’t love dessert or don’t have elbows, stop reading this and go get that fixed.

One of my favorite things about working Easter is getting to work in bake shop (where all the fancy desserts are made). The dessert buffet table is magnificent. It’s what the dessert part of heaven will look like. Cakes, pies, cookies, custards, mousse, tarts, chocolates, brownies and other stuff I can’t name cuz I’m not that smart – but decorated to reach an elevated rank of desserts. So, I want to take a little baby portion of that to my kitchen on Easter.

My parents are completely addicted to my chocolate mousse, so I try to only make it on special occasions. The roles switched in this situation. I feel like a parent only giving their kids sweets on holidays. Based on this example alone, I will be an amazing parent. Anyway, chocolate mousse. A lot of people mess it up (including myself), but I have a foolproof recipe. I’ve made it a billion times (more like 30) and it’s delicious (more like orgasm-in-your-mouth-how-much-will-my-stomach-let-me-have-delicious). Since Easter is all about how to make everything adorable (and Jesus rising from being dead so we don’t have to go to hell – that probably should have been first listed), I figured I’d alter my presentation with this sweet treat.

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White chocolate. Melted. Few drops of orange food coloring. Dip strawberries. Put on top of mousse. THEY’LL LOOK LIKE CARROTS IN DIRT. Super Easter-y. Let’s do it.

Side note: I usually just buy Ghirardelli’s 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate baking chips. Cuz Ghirardelli’s is da best, obviously.

Another side note: You’ll need a double boiler for this recipe. Bring a small amount of water to a simmer in a medium sized pot. You only need enough water to fill about 1/4 of the pot – make sure the water does not reach the bowl. And you don’t need a fancy or special double boiler – a pot and a metal bowl works great.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE 

Serves 4-6

(Unless you’re my parents, then it just serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • Bittersweet chocolate               5 oz.
  • Butter, unsalted                          1 oz.
  • Heavy cream                          6 fl. oz.
  • Eggs                                             2 ea.
  • Egg yolk                                       1 ea.
  • Water                                        1 tbsp.
  • Granulated sugar                       2 oz.
  • Whipped cream (for garnish)
  • Heavy cream                              4 oz.
  • Powdered sugar                      1 tbsp.

Procedure:

  1. Melt chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl over a double boiler. To prevent seizing, remove bowl from heat several times while stirring. And only keep over heat until JUST melted. Set aside.
  2. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Set aside in refrigerator.
  3. Now, the one potentially tricky part. Bombe mixture. Whip eggs, egg yolk, water and sugar over the double boiler. KEEP WHISKING. If you leave it over the heat sitting still for a few seconds, scrambled eggs will start to form. And nobody wants scrambled egg chocolate mousse. Yucky. Continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 165 degrees. (You’ll need a candy thermometer for this. I usually just dip my finger in until it’s very warm, but I’ve also made this recipe many times.)
  4. Remove bombe mixture from heat and mix with a standing or hand mixer until the sides of the bowl are cool to the touch and thick ribbons start to form – called “ribbon stage.” This is one of my favorite phases of cooking. It’s so pretty. The color, the shine, the texture. Love it.
  5. Re-warm the melted chocolate, if necessary. Fold a quarter of the whipped cream into the chocolate using a rubber spatula.
  6. Fold in the bombe mixture in 3 stages. Try not to “mix” – folding keeps the mousse light and fluffy. Which is the definition of mousse. So, fold like your life depends on it.
  7. More folding! Fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain.
  8. Whip the cream and powdered sugar for the garnish.
  9. Scoop or pipe the mousse into serving vessels* and garnish with the whipped cream.

*I used a stemless wine glass here. Stemmed or stemless wine glasses or martini glasses can be used to make your dessert fancy, but bowls work too!

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To present this mousse Easter-style…

I did orange chocolate-covered strawberries (carrot), a bright green glaze (grass, but like the fake kind you put in Easter baskets), and I got these edible pink pearls to garnish, but you can do whatever you want. Sprinkles, candy, anything.

  • Strawberries                                4-6 ea.
  • White chocolate                              6 oz.
  • Powdered sugar                              2 oz.
  • Milk                                                1/2 tsp.
  • Food coloring (liquid or gel)  As needed
  1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring at each interval until just melted.
  2. Alternately add a couple drops of yellow and red food coloring until orange appears.
  3. Dip the strawberries into the chocolate and set on a plate, or a pan lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until set.
  4. Mix the powdered sugar and milk. You want the glaze to be pretty thick, so careful not to add too much milk. Mix in the green food coloring to desired shade.
  5. Pipe the glaze on top of the mousse (I used a plastic sandwich bag and cut the tiniest tip off), to resemble grass. Place strawberry on top, garnish with any additional sprinkles as desired.

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P.S. As you can tell from my pictures, I used a stemless wine glass. And I filled it to the top. Clearly not a serving size. More like 2 servings.

P.P.S. As you can also tell, the chocolate on my strawberry broke a bit, cuz I was messing with it too much. I promise; I’m usually way better at executing final products. Please don’t take this as an example for the quality of my creativity. Shanks.

P.P.P.S. I ate a substantial amount afterward. See picture for proof.

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Until next time, I’ll be living a pretty normal life, eating too much, and thinking up new food ideas to share with whoever took the time to read this novel.

Happy Easter!

– Jen