If this post looks familiar to some of you, it’s because it was published last Tuesday, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, at The Daily Meal.com. Since they edited it and didn’t include the recipes, I thought I’d send you the complete article, along with 3 recipes for 3 great sandwiches. So here goes:
|Photo Credit: Laura Chenel
Goat Cheese doesn’t naturally spring to mind when you think of that good old American Grilled Cheese Sandwich. That’s a shame because Goat Cheese has much to recommend it. It’s far healthier than cow’s milk cheeses because it has 30 to 40 percent fewer calories and fat. And it has considerably more vitamins and minerals — 13 percent more calcium alone. To cap it all off, Goat Cheese has less lactose and it’s Gluten-Free. But all of this ignores how versatile and varied Goat Cheese has become. And no American producer is more responsible for that than Laura Chenel.
|A Girl and her Goats. Photo Credit: SF Gate Frederic Larson
Yes, there is a Laura Chenel. As a young Californian, Ms. Chenel was America’s first commercial producer of Goat Cheese. And arguably no one has done as much to popularize Goat Cheese in this country. In the 70s, Ms. Chenel’s passion for goats led her to France where she learned the art of Cheese-making in a series of apprenticeships with French makers of Chèvre. Returning home, she worked odd jobs while selling her cheese at local farmer’s markets and to shops. Her big break came when no less than Alice Waters herself put “Laura Chenel’s Chèvre” on the menu of her iconic Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. It’s also believed that this may have been the first Goat Cheese Salad on an American menu. The standing order for 50 lbs. of Goat Cheese a week allowed Ms. Chenel to quit her day jobs and pursue her passion full-time.
|Photo Credit: Laura Chenel
Every year since, the company has moved the boundaries of goat cheese, creating a portfolio of Goat Cheese flavors. Their quality is unmatched and their variety seemingly endless. Logs of Goat Cheese are now flavored with Summer Figs, Crushed Olives, Black Truffle, Pimento and Garlic, Garlic and Chives and Honey, all with the underpinning of Ms. Chenel’s superb Chèvre. Small wonder, the company now sells more than two million pounds of cheese a year. Their standards have never varied.
|Photo Credit: The New York Times
To celebrate National Grilled Cheese week, there’s one more reason for choosing Goat Cheese. This time of year, Laura Chenel runs a “Celebrate Spring Milk” campaign which signals the arrival of the new “kids” which means goat’s milk is particularly plentiful, and fresh Goat Cheese should be top of mind. You could choose to make your sandwich with any one of the many flavors mentioned earlier. Or you could try one of these recipes to make National Grilled Cheese Month a Goat Cheese event to remember.
1. Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring until well blended. Spread 1 tablespoon goat cheese mixture on each of 4 bread slices; top each slice with 1 1/2 teaspoons preserves and 1/2 teaspoon basil. Top with remaining bread slices. Lightly coat outside of bread with cooking spray.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is lightly toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook). Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve at once.
2 tablespoons softened butter, plus additional 2 tablespoons for cooking the sandwiches
1 large avocado, lightly mashed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces softened Laura Chenel Original Log Goat Cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
|Photo Credit: Solstice for Murray’s Cheese Shop
Recipe for Murray’s Cheese Shop’s Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Pecans and Sage
Makes 1 Sandwich
1 oz (approx.) fresh Laura Chenel Chevre,
4 fresh sage leaves
Vegetable oil (enough to fill a small pan to 1/4″)