National Grilled Cheese Month

We generally laugh at how every-other day we receive an e-mail claiming it’s “national so-and-so month,” but this particular memo from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has merit — and, well, mouthwatering art.

What exactly makes April National Grilled Cheese Month? Who cares! This press release is filled with creative crisp bread and gooey cheese recipes from James Beard Award-winning author Laura Werlin’s new book, “Grilled Cheese, Please!” and the Wisconsin Board itself. Here are two to try out tonight:

Some of Werlin’s tips on achieving the perfect melt:

—  Grated cheese melts faster and more evenly than sliced cheese

—  Butter the bread, not the pan

—  Grill sandwiches slowly over medium heat

—  Use a spatula to press down on the sandwich while cooking; flip the sandwich twice

Creamy, cheesy, and smoky croissant

Creamy Cheesy, & Smoky Croissant from ‘Grilled Cheese, Please!’ by Laura Werlin

Ingredients

6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Salt
4 large croissants, cut in half lengthwise (see Note)
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
6 ounces Wisconsin Brie Cheese, rind removed
6 ounces Wisconsin Swiss Cheese, coarsely grated
4 (1-ounce) slices smoked turkey

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste. Set aside for up to 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 1 day refrigerated.

To assemble: Place the bottom half of each croissant on your work surface, cut side up. Spread 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise mixture on each croissant half followed by the sun-dried tomatoes. Lay the Brie slices on top, followed by the Swiss Cheese and turkey slices. Top with the remaining croissant halves, cut side down.

For stovetop method: Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Carefully turn the sandwiches, pressing each one with a spatula to compress the bread and filling. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the undersides are golden brown. Turn the sandwiches once more, press with the spatula again, cook for 1 minute, and remove from the pan. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.

For sandwich maker method: Preheat the sandwich maker. Follow directions for assembly above. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: The weight of the lid of some sandwich makers might be too heavy for the delicate croissant. You may want to experiment with one sandwich before cooking the rest.

Note: If you can only find regular-size croissants, you may end up with filling for more than 4 sandwiches. Also, be aware that because of their high butter content, croissants can burn easily. Watch carefully.

The Bianca

The Bianca
No. of Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk*
8 ounces Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
8 slices unfrosted cinnamon raisin bread
4 tablespoons raspberry preserves
Whipped cream for garnish, optional fresh red raspberries for garnish

Instructions

To make dulce de leche, place can of condensed milk in deep pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 90 minutes. Turn burner off and let can sit in the water until cool. Dry can and open. It will be caramel-colored (and hard to resist eating).
Mix Mascarpone with vanilla and stir to incorporate air and lighten cheese.

Heat skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Butter bread slices on one side; place in pan, butter-side down, and grill until golden brown and crisp. Remove and spread unbuttered sides of 4 slices with 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves, 2 tablespoons Mascarpone, and 1 tablespoon dulce de leche, in that order. Top with another toasted piece of bread, browned-side up, and more dulce de leche. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh raspberries, if desired.

*Prepared, bottled dulce de leche may be substituted.


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