Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational

While Jeff sleeps in bed, I'm going to take the time to write up a post about this. I'd been putting it off-- not because I'm finally catching up with blog posts, and not because I'm completely lazy, but because I forgot what one of the cheeses I used was.

I know.

You see, we had them all packaged up in the cooler, nad by the end of the day the water that had collected from the ice melting has washed off the label (written in ink and sharpie ink) of that particular cheese. I didn't want to look like a complete moron on my food blog, but if I keep waiting I'll never post again. But with the use of the internet I researched and found my cheese.

so here I go

This, my pretties, was my entry into the "Missionary" style position. See, I only entered two positions (hahaha). Missionary, and the Honey Pot. Missionary is just Bread, Butter, Cheese. No added ingredients (though one guy used ketchup...... and won). The Honey Pot is dessert grilled cheese.

I wanted to do something both complex and simple. I'd never entered a food contest before, much less a grilled cheese contest. Heck, I'd never even really been to a food festival before, so I had no idea what to expect. Not to mention it was Jeff's last week of South Park, we had no time to prepare, we found out about it two or three days before it happened, and I've been working 10-12 hour days. All in all, had to be simple, had to be something I could come up with easily.

So I settled on thick sliced sourdough bread (which we got from Panera, ahem), coated liberally with butter. The cheeses inside were mozzarella, colby jack, and Fontal. I think most people are well aware of what mozzarella and colby jack cheeses are. Fontal is a semi-soft cheese that was originall a knock off of Fontina. It's apparently widely used in foodservice, and is pretty tasty. It's rich in flavour, and creamy so it provides nice stringy meltability. I kept calling it Fontal Quarters, because it was a quarter of it and I was nervous.

We used Jeff's roommate's cast iron skillet. Because one, we trusted it, and cast iron makes everything better (of course!). It cooked really well. I was able to finish my sandwich with a good amount of time to clean up. I should have let each sandwich sit a bit before cutting it-- but they turned out good anyways.  

This is me flipping and grilling. This is the same shirt I'm gonna be wearing in my Food TV thing. Isn't that a cute apron? I got it from Anthropologie.

Jeff was my runner, he would run the sandwiches to people who were judging while I made the snadwiches. We had a good time. Next year we'll be more prepared!!

I can't remember what the winner of this catagory was. It may have been the "cheese fries". I think it was bread that was crusted with cheese, with cheese on the isnide, cut into strips and served with ketchup. There were a lot of good sandwiches there. Jeff says if he could choose mine would have been the winner. ;) Anyway, you all should try the cheese combo anyway. I wanted to use super fresh buffalo mozzarella, but also wanted to save the money since my gig is ending soon.

For the Honey Pot competition, we had decided to use soft, creamy and rich cheeses to combine with the sweet flavors of strawberries, nutella, and honey on a croissant. These were a lot easier for me to make at home than at the actual competition-- the crossiants were flakier, and I guess with less time and waaay less prep space (than even in the first competition. So many people were competing we were elbow to elbow with very little prep space. It was difficult).

I wanted to use my lavender honey too, but I forgot it at my apartment and so we just used regular clover honey.

The croissants we bought from a bakery down in Hermosa Beach called Cafe Bonaparte. It's really tasty, with all their french goodies.

The cheeses we used were Etorki, a sheep's milk cheese that's sort of hard and nutty. Doux de Montagne (this is the one I forgot the name of) is a soft french cheese with a bronze waxy rind. It's kind of nutty, or fruity. Mostly it's tangy. We also used brie, because heck, brie and strawberries? I wanted my dessert to be very cheesy still. After all, this was a grilled cheese competition. I just wanted it to be sweet and cheesy. I also grilled it in cinnamon butter, so gooood.

It ended up cheesy, gooey, and messy however. Still delicious, but definitely a mess.

The one that won that competition was a concotion of sweet hawaiian bread, a layer of princess cake, a layer of peeps, and gouda cheese. It wasn't very cheesy, but it was definitely unique and tasty.

See how pretty they were in the pan? They kind of fell apart upon cutting.

Reallllly tasty though!!
I'm not sure why I used mostly french cheeses. I guess I liked the names.

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