#fromagefebruary is cheesy!

An entire month dedicated to cheese!! It’s a shame February is so short. Cheese is a food group in this house. My ideal cheese month would be to try a new flavor every day – but that would get pricey real quick. So instead I’ll be trying a few new variations of some of our favorite cheesy foods – here’s a few of my ideas so far:

  • Beer cheese dip
  • Cheesesteak sliders
  • Cheesecake
  • Cheese souffle
  • Cheesy breadsticks
  • Grilled cheese
  • Mac & cheese
  • Nacho cheese
  • Homemade Mozzarella cheese

For our first #fromagefebruary meal, I decided to carryover the theme from #soupdejanuary with one more soup – tomato! Usually I make tomato soup in the fall, with all of the tomatoes from my garden. Then I saw a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, using canned San Marzano tomatoes, so I figured now was the perfect time to try it out. I loosely followed it, adding a little of my own jarred tomatoes in addition to the canned tomatoes. But the real start of the show here is the grilled cheese. As good as this soup was, I would never, ever eat a bowl of tomato soup without a grilled cheese.

I know you know how to make a grilled cheese, but here’s how I like to make them:

First and foremost, grilled cheese deserves 4 cheeses. I always use cheddar (shout out to Trader Joe’s for having the best sliced cheddar ever!). Usually use goat cheese; this time I used Boursin cheese. Pepper jack adds a little kick, and then I round it out with some other delicious cheese. Gouda, swiss, Muenster, would all be delicious – I went for Fontina, per my husband’s request.

All the cheeses!

For bread, I like to use something a that’s firm but not too dense. Sometimes I’ll use sourdough – I LOVE the taste but do not love how it rips up the top of my mouth. The bread needs to be firm enough to stand up to my panini maker, so I wouldn’t use a plain white bread, but soft enough not to cause harm when eating.

Beer bread made with Perrin beer (one of my favorite local breweries!)

I put just a little butter on one side of each slice of bread. Add one slice of cheese, then spread the Boursin (or goat cheese) directly onto that slice of cheese. I promise that’s easier than spreading the cheese onto the soft bread. Add the other cheeses and the top piece of bread.

Now here’s the key: a Cuisinart panini maker. I’ve had it for over a decade and I LOVE it. Forget trying to flip the sandwich in the pan, and then somehow burning one side, only to find a hunk of unmelted cheese in the middle of the sandwich. This griddler ensures both sides of the sandwich are equally toasted and that all of the cheese is melted. It has many other functions but I mostly use it for sandwiches. Preheat, spray with a little cooking spray, and then let it do magic on your sandwich.

Panini maker magic. Sometimes the cheese oozes out; that’s how you know it’s good!

As much as I love a grilled cheese, if it’s truly a grilled cheese (no bacon, tomatoes or anything else!), it’s best with tomato soup.

Drool.

What kind of cheese do you like on your grilled cheese sandwich?

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