I like to share my favorite things with people. And one of my favorite favorite things happens to be cheese. When the opportunity popped up to host some of the SELF girls at my house on Monday for a cheesy (figuratively, and literally) game night, the cracked out Ina Garten in me went crazzzzyyyy. I sent out a quick e-mail asking for food preferences and wouldn’t you know it; every e-mail that rolled in said cheese, cheese, cheese. Very SELF Magazine of us, no?
I stuck to a pretty simple, fool-proof menu: my famous salted chocolate chip cookies (well, they’re not mine exactly, but you get what I mean), apple cider donuts, mini mac and cheeses (I modify this recipe from Martha a bit and it never fails me) and–my favorite part–a DIY grilled cheese bar.
Grilled cheese is one of those foods that instantly elicits a content sigh from everyone–it’s just so comforting and yummy. I loved the idea of making it a bit more grown up, so I laid out the spread you see above–really though, anything is fair game when mixing up your GC Bar. You’ll want to stick to a few main groups:
| Breads | I stuck with a fancy, crusty white bread, but you could also do wheat, pumpernickel or rye. Maybe even cinnamon raisin if you want to get a little savory and crazy.
| Cheeses | The star of the ‘wich, so make sure you get the good stuff! I laid out gruyere, cheddar, mozzarella and goat cheese (not shown), and I made sure to grate them beforehand. The cheese always melts better (and easier!) that way.
| Spreads | Here’s where the fun starts. Obviously you know you have to coat the outside of the bread with butter when toasting them up, but the inside is where you can get creative. I gave the option of pesto, sun dried tomato spread and honey mustard for the girls, but something like a sweet chutney or spicy chipotle pepper spread would be yummy too.
| Veggies & Fruits | Anything and everything belongs here! Avocado, tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms, pears, strawberries–you name it, you can probably slap it on some bread with some cheese and call it delicious. I stuck with onions and pears–kind of random, but they ended up in some pretty awesome sandwich combos.
| Meats | Ah, the dark horse of the grilled cheese world. You may think that adding meat veers things a little too close to panini territory, but I disagree–really, there’s room for everybody. I laid out a selection of Italian meets like sopressata and prosciutto, but thinking back on it WHERE WAS THE BACON?! Silly me.