quick fix: grilled cheese


Again, never a big fan of cheese, but I did used to eat grilled cheese with a single, perfectly mosaic’d-to-fit-the-bread layer of Kraft fat-free American singles. These could hardly be called cheese—I once had these things in the trunk of my car for a week (long story) and they looked as perfect and happy as they did on the shelf. Gross, right? Well, that’s probably why I liked them, because they were nothing like real cheese.

Tom, on the other hand, loves cheese. The first time I saw him make a grilled cheese I wanted to dive in the way, as if to take a bullet for him, so he wouldn’t take a bite. It was at least an inch thick, with big ol’ slices of cheddar on rye, I think. What? He grew up eating crazy German grilled cheese, on brick bread. How far he’s come. That’s why the “I couldn’t go vegan because I just couldn’t give up cheese” excuse doesn’t wash with me. Tom took a long time to wean himself off cheese, but here he is, sprinkling nutritional yeast on just about everything and loving it. (Remember, he’s allergic to tree nuts so most of the “I can’t believe this isn’t cheese” vegan cheese will kill him.)

ChReese is something we can both live with. I’ve mentioned it before. We buy it from veganessentials.com, but I just found the manufacturer’s website and if I’m not completely crazy and/or stupid, it’s about half price when you buy direct. I didn’t look into their policies, but even if shipping is $5, you still come out ahead. It’s a powder, mostly nutritional yeast and some spices, and you just add boiling water and olive oil. We add a bunch of extra nutritional yeast to thicken it up and drown out the other spices a bit. We used to just mix it up with a fork but have found that the whisk attachment on my hand mixer works incredibly well.

Making the sandwich can be tricky, since you’re not dealing with a solid piece of cheese. I sparingly spread Earth Balance on the would-be bottom piece of bread, lay the two pieces in the pan, then spread EB on the top piece. After lifting the top piece to a safe place, I spread on some ChReese—not too thick or it’ll squish out the sides but not too thin because then why bother (and Tom hits his with a bit of Herbes de Provence but I think he’s nuts)—then lovingly replace the top piece of bread, EB side up, of course. The mid-grill flip is also done lovingly, so as to not have cheesy goo all over the place, but it should be pretty well set up by the time the other side is grilled.

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