Friday, November 4, 2011

Cheese, glorious (rice) cheese!

You might say... "Seriously, just plain old grilled cheese?"

And I would say... "is there such a thing?"

Because grilled cheese is one of those things that makes childhood complete. Like splashing in puddles, or throwing balls in the house, or learning to ride a tricycle. It's just plain, well, grilled cheese!

It's easy, it's comfort food, and it's a celebration of warmth and happiness ~ all in one simple bite.

Looking for ways to include classic kids' edibles that are normally verboten due to food allergies is a hobby for me. If I'm able to find a soy and nut free peanut butter alternative (I'm thinking sunflower seed butter is a likely option), I will be making SB&J soon. In the meantime, I'm making grilled cheese sandwiches in all their glory.

Since I've found rice based cheese shreds (from Daiya dairy free), Q has been on a mommy-enabled cheese binge. Omlettes. Nachos. Now sandwiches.

The rice cheeses are OK uncooked, but a little salty and chalky, so I wouldn't use them in salads of anything. But when melted, they're fantastic! I've used their mozzarella style and cheddar style cheeses, but they also carry a pepper jack variety which looks promising for tacos. (aha! my next project has been decided...)

So, does one really need a recipe for grilled cheese?  Oil the pan (olive oil here), lay down the allergen-free bread (Udi's white sandwich here), put the cheese on, close the sandwich, and press down with a spatula to ensure the cheese melts into the bread. Get it nice and grill-y brown, and ensure there's melty-ness going on in there.  Serve by slicing it in half. (your choice as to straight or diagonal... I don't want to affect your camp on this, you hear me?)

Additions are all upside:  I like to add a slice of deli turkey to this, but you could add any veggies you'd like to hide inside: thin-sliced tomato (potential allergen there of course), avocado, and pickles are all delicious!

And best of all, stuff for dipping:  ketchup (if you have a corn allergy to work with, I hear Hunt's does not use HFCS), even allergen-free mayonnaise (most commercial mayo is soybean oil based, so I stock up during Passover for canola-oil based varieties or buy Spectrum Organics canola-based mayo)

Oh, the possibilities! 
Grilled cheese is kind of like the game of Othello: a moment to learn, a lifetime to master. 

It's the simple pleasures. Really.

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