Like award shows, I think there are too many “National___________Day/Month’s in the US (What the heck are The Country Countdown Awards and who thought that one up???)… however, April as Grilled Cheese Month and its month-long celebration is a necessity in my book… right after PB&J, the second sandwich I learned to make was a grilled cheese. Sadly it was probably made with American slices or Velveeta... but I have long since repented my transgressions and hopefully when I get to my afterlife, I will be forgiven… I can vigorously argue that this very blog more than made up for early cheese sinning before I knew what “artisan” meant…
As I continue to create the Kelly’s Jelly pairing chart, which we will unveil June 1 as we roll out our new branding and merchandising of our Award-Winning spicy jellies and seasonal preserves, I selected a trio of KJs to taste with the cheeses and crisps of our pairing partners, Rogue Creamery and 34 Degrees Crisps. I also used their La-Di-Da Lavender to create three grilled cheese sammies. (As you may note in one of the pictures, I had planned to also use their Caveman Blue, but found the floral notes of the lavender so delightful, I decided to save the blue for another day and another pairing.
As mentioned above the lavender adds an enchanting earthy floral to the savory notes of the cheddar creating a perfect pairing for the sweet and fruity jellies. I am never disappointed with Rogue Creamery cheeses and the masterful recipes created by Co-Owner, Cary Bryant, but Cary outdid himself this time with La-Di-Da… this cheese quickly rose to become one of my top ten all-time favorite cheeses. It, of course, receives the Spaulding Gray 4 Paws Stamp of Approval!!
Jan, of Jan and Zen’s Garden, my local CSA farmer is kicking into high gear on her twenty-five acres and this week’s farm bounty included spinach (BTW, once you’ve had fresh CSA spinach, you’ll never buy in the chain grocers again – except, perhaps Whole Foods – the difference is sadly laughable… seriously). Chuck’s Produce in Vancouver comes close but the big chains, Safeway, Kroger and especially WalMart (I bought spinach there once and it was disgusting, almost as bad as the produce at Winco) simply cannot compete with spinach that’s picked in the morning and in your salad that afternoon… “support your local farmers” is the new mantra here at Miss Anne’s manse… let me digress for a moment and mention that The Man and I have been in NE Georgia long enough that now we have become Mr. Peter and Miss Marcella… a badge of respect that I wear proudly…
Back to the grilled cheese sammies… the CSA box also included fresh asparagus, which I shaved for the sammies and constructed as follows:
Duke’s on the grilling sides of the freshly baked, yeasty bread (just out of the oven)
Shredded La-DI-Da Lavender (I actually used a microplane to get this fluffy)
Fresh Spinach Leaves – as many as you like
Shaved Asparagus Spears – I used three per sandwich – also freshly picked at the farm
Kelly’s Jelly – Marionberry and Habanero; Award-Winning Habanero and Strawberry Preserves.
I place the Duke’s side on a medium/low non-stick pan.
Layer as follows: cheese, spinach, asparagus, jelly, spinach cheese and top with another Duke-spread slab of bread on top.
Cover pan and grill until bottom is golden brown; carefully flip and grill until the second side is golden brown and the cheese is ooey-gooey.
Let sandwich sit for a couple of minutes; slice and serve with a side salad or fruit.
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