I have a motto to live by: "The only thing better than cheese is hot cheese." I think author and cheese expert Laura Werlin feels the same way. Her book Cheese Essentials is a must-have resource for cheese lovers. And Werlin has written not one but two books on grilled cheese. Her latest, Grilled Cheese, Please!, has been released just in time, since April is National Grilled Cheese month.
Do you need a cookbook to tell you how to make a grilled-cheese sandwich? Probably not. Does Grilled Cheese, Please! have interesting flavor combinations and recipes for things other than grilled cheese? Absolutely. Werlin also has a knack for combining multiple cheeses to create unique flavors, plus adding ingredients like kim chee, cherries, and apples to sandwiches for one-of-a-kind creations.
Werlin suggests several techniques for grilled-cheese success. Among them are buttering the bread, not the pan, and grating the cheese. In addition to grilled-cheese recipes like camembert with Comte and mushrooms, and cheddar and chorizo, there are recipes for Philly cheese steaks and arepas, a kind of cornmeal pancake from Venezuela, that Werlin serves filled with jack cheese, plantains, and black beans.
There are recipes for some select sides and condiments like deep fried pickles and grilled tomato soup, plus a couple of jams and chutneys. A fun addition to the book are recipe contributions from popular food trucks and restaurants that specialize in grilled cheese, including the Cheesus Burger from a school bus in Portland called The Grilled Cheese Grill.
Laura Werlin is visiting Seattle next week to promote Grilled Cheese, Please! She'll be at Beecher's Cheese on Monday, April 11 at 2 p.m. for a book-signing. She's also teaching a cheese and wine pairing/grilled-cheese class the same day from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ($65 includes wine, food, and a copy of the book).
Read Part II of this week's Cooking the Books and a recipe from Grilled Cheese, Please!