Tag Archives: grilled cheese

April 25, 2010 – Recipe for Korean Grilled Cheese With Braised Short Ribs

25 Apr

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Here’s my recipe for my entry from last year’s Grilled Cheese Invitational. For some reason, no one took an actual picture of the sandwich. It’s a time-consuming recipe that’ll take at least two days to make. There is no way I’m making this again unless there’s a cash prize to be won. Instead, here’s a stock photo of Abondance cheese. I found a photo of a grilled cheese I made the next day with leftover Abondance cheese and bread. This is the closest photo evidence I have of my sandwich.

For galbi jjim

4 pounds of beef short ribs

1 1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sugar (I prefer brown)

1/2 cup plum wine

2 1/2 cup water

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

1 carrot, cut into large slices

1/4 cup gingko nuts (optional)

8 cloves garlic

1 scallion diced

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

1/2 Asian pear, peeled and grated

tbsp of toasted sesame seeds

ground pepper to taste

1. Score the short ribs cross-wise, so it’s divided into 4 pieces on the bone. Bring water to a boil in a large pot to a simmer. Parboil the ribs for 30 minutes (Parboiling for a braise is normally not the way to go. But the braising liquid in a galbi jjim is strong, and Koreans don’t like their ribs as greasy as a traditional pot roast. But if you want a more tender cut of meat, you can skip this part and add more water to the braising liquid)

2. Combine all the other ingredients and stir to taste. You can adjust the sugar depending on how sweet you like the dish. I actually use 2/3 cup brown sugar, because I like a more sweeter dish.

3. Place meat in the braising liquid. Simmer on low heat for at least 1 1/2 hours.

4. Once it’s fork tender, take ribs out and let it cool.

This galbi jjim recipe is only for the grilled cheese. I usually make a slightly more complex version if serving this as the main course. That’s for another time.

For pickled shallots (white kimchi shallots)

4 shallot bulbs, sliced into thin strips

2 cups water

1/4 cup sea salt

2 tbsp. sugar

3-4 cloves garlic, diced

1 red chile, seeded and diced

1 Asian pear, sliced into thin strips

1. Bring water, salt and sugar to a near boil to make a brine. Let cool

2. Sterilize a pickling jar in boiling water.

3. Stuff shallots, chiles, garlic and Asian pear in the jar. Top to the brim with brine.

4. Seal the jar (make sure it’s airtight by not leaving any space at the top) and cool in the refrigerator for at least a day, and up to a week.

For the grilled cheese

2 pounds galbi jjim short ribs, pulled into pieces (I used my hands, which leaves bigger morsels than pulling with a fork)

pickled shallots

8 slices sesame bread (I got mine from La Brea Bakery)

3 cups Abondance cheese, shredded

unsalted butter, softened

1 clove garlic, sliced

black sesame seed

1. Either grill the slices of bread or toast in a 500-degrees oven for 2-3 minutes.

2. Take the garlic clove and slice it in half. Rub both sides of the bread slices with the cut side of the garlic.

3. Butter one side of two slices of bread. Layer one slice with a handful of shredded cheese, some galbi jjim, another handful of cheese, a few slices of shallots and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. Top with the other slice.

4. Grill on one side for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Flip sandwich and grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Weigh down the sandwich with a brick wrapped in foil or a heavy pan (greased) to meld all the ingredients together.

5. Eat and/or enter in a grilled cheese competition.

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April 24, 2010 – My Time In Last Year’s Grilled Cheese Invitational

24 Apr

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Hilary (red head) delivers grilled cheese sandwiches (Source: LAist)

“Are you going to enter the Grilled Cheese Invitational this year?”

I got asked this question numerous times over the last month as the Grilled Cheese Invitational, which took place on April 24th,¬†approached. Every single time, I answered with an emphatic “no.” Then I had to go into an explanation as to why I thought the event was a travesty. Last year, it too over two hours to get into the venue. Then there was another line to get into the beer garden. And yet another like to get a quarter grilled cheese sandwich made with Kraft individually-wrapped slices. The only thing that didn’t have a line was samples from the contestants. That involved an anarchic scrum that you fought through. Then you had to yell really obnoxiously or show boobies to get the attention of whoever was handing out grilled cheese samples. Needless to say, it was not fun.

It wasn’t that fun as a competitor either. Last year, I signed myself up to see how I’d do. I decided to sign up for the “Kama Sutra” division, which is the toughest one. Basically, anything goes. Meat, bread, accompaniments, whatever your imagination can come up with, it can go in the sandwich. The defending champion was Eric Greenspan, head chef at the Foundry and a competitor on The Next Iron Chef. He was the judge this time, but I entered the same competition as several professional chefs. I am not a professional, not even close. I did have three lovely assistants, Abigail, Ella and Hilary, and $200 with which to spend.

After a few weeks of deliberations, I decided on a Korean grilled cheese. It was when the Kogi BBQ trucks just got big, and I’m Korean, so I thought I had a decent chance to do well. After several test sandwiches at a dinner party hosted by my friends Mike and Becca, I decided on a sandwich based around galbi jjim, or braised Korean short ribs, Abondance cheese, a semi-hard raw cow’s milk cheese from France that tastes like a slightly more pungent Cheddar, and sesame bread. I actually stole the basic concept from Greenspan’s winning grilled cheese the previous year, which was braised short ribs and taleggio. Galbi jjim is a very traditional Korean dish, but it’s not too popular outside of Korean homes. Since the braising liquid is almost the same as a Korean BBQ marinade, I thought it’d be accessible enough. As for the cheese, Abigail got me in touch with Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica and after several tastings, Abondance was the best choice. At the last moment, I decided to add pickled shallots, made to taste like white kimchi or the Japanese tsukemono, for some crunch and a sharp flavor to cut the richness of fatty meat and fatty cheese.

The sandwich turned out pretty good. I brought my own pan for the competition, but the gas burner was too weak to heat it in time, so I used the smaller, cheaper griddle the competition provided. Because of heat issues, I also undercooked quite a bit of sandwiches, and my friend Katie said she got one where the cheese was still shredded. It was chaotic in the beginning, but as the 30-minute time limit elapsed, we all settled into a rhythm. Abigail did prep work in back, Ella was a one-woman assembly line, Hilary worked the crowd and won votes, and I cooked and flipped. The last sandwich was for the judges, and for Mr. Greenspan himself. Despite the undercooked sandwiches beforehand, this was the one that mattered. I cooked it carefully to a crisp, golden finish, and the cheese properly fused the bread and meat together. I delivered it to Eric, who asked what it was. “It’s a Korean grilled cheese, with short ribs,” I answered. He looked at it, took a bite, and then proclaimed it “awesome.”

The sandwich was awesome, but not awesome enough to win. I lost to a sandwich that had rabbit confit slow-cooked in duck fat. There was another sandwich that used foie gras. It seems that bigger was better, and the more luxurious ingredients, the better the result. Even though I spent a little over $200, I could not and would not keep up with the grilled cheese arms race. Our sandwich was well received, and at the end we only had a one word compliment from Greenspan as a reward for all our time, money and effort we put in. Awesome indeed.

The recipe for my Korean grilled cheese will run tomorrow.

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Feb. 5, 2010

5 Feb

9 am

2 slices of wheat toast with Nutella

12:30 pm

grilled cheese (American cheese, sauteed onions on wheat)

tomato soup

1 can of Diet Pepsi

More recipes! With the leftover ingredients from Wednesday’s chicken paprikash, I made tomato soup.

Tomato soup recipe

– Find some good quality tomatoes. Roma or heirlooms tastes the best for this. Coat it with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet, and roast it in a 400 degree oven for, well, until it smells good. Maybe 20-30 minutes? You can remove the tomato skins beforehand by blanching, but it’s a pain in the ass and easier to do it after cooking, I think. When it’s done cooking, reserve a few tomatoes for later.

– Saute diced onions and 1/2 a clove of crushed garlic in a pot over low heat until it’s sweated.

– Dump a can of tomatoes in the pot of vegetables, juice, most of the roasted tomatoes and it’s cooking juice, and equal parts chicken or vegetables stock. Add basil, thyme and whatever other herbs you want. Definitely add chili powder. Simmer away for about 40 minutes.

– It’s time to blend your soup. The easiest way is to get a wand blender, stick it in the pot, and blend the crap out of it. Work that thing around the pot like your old lady does with her vibrator. I find this one of the most enjoyable things to do in cooking, liquidating stuff. You think you can hide from my blender in that pot, errant piece of onion? Die! You cannot escape the hand of fate that is my Cuisinart.

– If you don’t have a wand blender, you can use a food processor or that blender you use for margaritas. But BE CAREFUL. Blending hot liquid is dangerous. Start at a slow speed, a small batch at a time and blend uncovered. If you blend too fast and don’t allow an outlet for heat to escape, then KABLOOEY! Your kitchen is going to look like Sharon Tate’s residence after Charlie Manson romped through.

– After blending, stir in some cream and the reserved roasted tomatoes, chopped into pieces. Season to taste.

– I like to chiffonade some basil on top because it not only tastes good, it also looks pretty sophisticated and will impress your lady friend(s). It’s pretty easy to do. Take some basil leaves, roll it up tight, get a pair of scissors, and snip crosswise into thin strips. If you can roll a joint, then you can chiffonade basil.

Note: Here’s a cheap recipe for homemade tomato soup: Empty one jar of tomato sauce into pot and 3/4 jar of stock. Season, throw in herbs and bring to a simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add cream and more herbs at the end. Throw out Prego jar before anyone sees it and tell your significant that you made it from scratch.

I omitted the roasted tomatoes in my serving because I didn’t have fresh ones. And I used sour cream at the end which I did have left over and ended up working out well. And there you go, tomato soup that’s much tastier than the menstrual crap that is Campbell’s. I had extra sauteed onions so I stuck it in the grilled cheese with a little bit of mustard. I can give you a recipe for grilled cheese, but if you don’t know how to make one, then as Rahm Emanuel once called liberals, you’re “retarded.”

8:30 pm

chicken nuggets

1/2 box of Kraft mac n’ cheese

side spinach salad with goat cheese and grapes

1 20 pz. bottle of Squirt

5 Oreo cookies

Due to rain which pales in comparison to the East Coast snowstorm but I’ll complain about anyway, Abigail and I stayed indoors, ate junk food and watched an Oscar screener of “The Blind Side.” Since I have a ton of chicken nuggets left and will probably eat it the next day, I’ll reserve pictures and a post about this meal for tomorrow.

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Jan. 20, 2010

20 Jan

10 am

1 bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds

12:30 pm

1 pan-fried chicken breast

side arugula salad

2 glasses of water

3 pm

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

1 small mocha latte

7 pm

grilled cheese (Taleggio cheese and cranberry-apple butter on wheat bread)

side arugula salad with tomatoes, fennel and apples

1 glass of water

January 20 was both National Cheese Lovers Day and National Penguin Awareness Day. I don’t know who decides which day commemorates what, but I want in. Maybe April 12, my birthday, can be National Eat With Joe Day. No wait, that marks the start of National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. No one will want to eat with Joe if they have cancer in the neck. Oh well.

I decided to make a grilled cheese sandwich to commemorate cheese lovers like myself. For those of you who know me personally, you’re quite familiar with my past with the grilled cheese sandwich. Last April, I entered the Grilled Cheese Invitational, spent way too much on ingredients (my partner in the contest, Abigail, split the cost), recruited a 4-person-team and hoisted a ton of grilled cheese sandwiches on my friends as test subjects. After many hours of testing, I settled on my take on a Korean grilled cheese sandwich, with Abondance cheese (a French semi-hard cheese similar to sharp cheddar and Swiss), galbi jjim (braised Korean short ribs) and white kimchi made out of shallots on sesame bread. My friends all liked it and one of the judges, Eric Greenspan from the Foundry, said it was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything and that event was a clusterfuck that I can’t recommend to anyone. It’s just a mass of hungry, dehydrated and very angry people who paid $5 for 1/4 sandwich if they’re lucky. Not fun at all.

Anyway, I’ve made a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches over the year and I’m pretty adept at making them. My sandwich today was infinitely simpler and tossed together with whatever I found in my fridge. Taleggio is a semi-soft Italian cheese that stinks like a white person’s dreadlocks. Despite the funky odor, Taleggio has a pleasingly mild taste and it melts very well. It’s one of my favorite cheeses to keep around. I also stole some Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter from my roommate to add some tartness. As for the arugula salad, which you might have noticed in three consecutive meals, I made an impromptu salad for the previous night’s movie-and-pizza outing and had a lot left over. The vinaigrette is just acid (lemon juice yesterday, sherry vinegar today), olive oil, salt and pepper. Making dressing is infinitely better and cheaper than buying bottles, FYI. I also tossed in whatever I could find in the fridge, which in this case was a fennel, half a fuji apple and a tomato. It didn’t turn out that bad for a meal made out of resourcefulness, if anything.

10:30 pm

1 banana

1 glass of skim milk

handful of almonds

I um, also stole some almonds from my roommate.

Also, if I’m going to commemorate cheese lovers, I might as well do the same for penguins. It is, after all, National Penguin Awareness Day as well. Enjoy!

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