Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5/23/10 - Tomato Basil Open Faced Grilled Cheese

The best ingredients make the best meals..... this advice is true no matter what you might be cooking. And I think it might be even more applicable when you are cooking some thing simple since each ingredient makes a big impression. It seems that all my posts recently are revolving around the Greenmarket in Union Square and I have to admit, the first sites of spring have me a bit giddy! There is something about walking around among like minded foodies knowing that everyone is in search of the perfect tomato or cheese to make thier dinner just right...unlike the super market where I often find myself tsk-tsk'ing (I know I shouldn't judge!) behind a cart filled to the brim with processed foods, sodas, cookies etc. As some one who doesn't have children, I know that I can't even begin to understand the time (and energy and money) needed to raise a family, but sometimes I wonder just how convenient some of these pre-package foods are? Do they really save time or is it just the marketing telling us that we don't have time and we deserve a treat/ time off/ to relax etc? I mean this delicious fresh meal only took me about 10 min tops to make and only about 1 min to clean up!

Usually my way of relaxing involves getting into the kitchen and cooking up something good...from scratch! But even I take a shortcut here and there...while I love to bake bread (and would love to learn more about cheesemaking) I just don't always have the time (not to mention my jeans have begun to revolt again me eating a full loaf of bread each week!) This is why the Greenmarket rocks! I can get something delicious that I know someone hand baked.... not a machine or assembly line 5000 miles away. Today's loaf was a half of tomato basil bread....delicious as is but even better with a little garlic and oil and best with some fresh cheese and tomato. We couldn't wait to get home and grill some of these open face grilled cheese/ bruschetta hybrids up! This is a perfect snack for an electric skillet which is today's Daily Special on Foodbuzz! unlike a pan on the stove, an electric skillet heats up evenly guaranteeing nicely toasted bread and even melting of your cheese. Pair it with a nice fresh green salad or a hearty cup of soup for a delicious meal.

Open Face Grilled Cheese (serves 2-3 for dinner or 6 for a appetizer/ snack)
1/2 loaf tomato basil bread (or other rustic italian loaf) - in 1/2" slices (cut slices in half if used for an appetizer)
1 large red ripe tomato (first of the year!!! yay for greenhouses!) - sliced
6 slice of fresh mozzarella (I think mine was actually from goats! since all the other cheese the woman was selling was goat milk)
3 tbsp very good olive oil
2 cloves of garlic - cut in half
salt & pepper & garlic powder
6 basil leaves - chiffonade (from my very own garden! ie window box)

1) Heat your electric skillet, brush oil onto both sides of the bread, rub with garlic half and toast on one side for 3 min (until slightly browned)
2) Flip bread over and layer a slice of cheese and slice of tomato, losely cover and allow cheese to melt
3) Once cheese is melted remove using silicone spatula (to prevent scratching) and top with spices and a pinch of basil