Meatless Monday: Balsamic glazed carrots and edamame grilled cheese

Carrots and edamame in a grilled cheese sandwich – why not?

Grilled Shane
Balsamic glazed carrots and edamame give an added layer of texture and flavor to a grilled cheese sandwich.

The time has come. The cat is out of the bag. My secret has been revealed. My (new) boss now knows my true identity: GrilledShane. Not only is she interested but is also extremely impressed. She lent me a panini cookbook and allowed me to “have” a loaf of our signature bread, Milton’s Wheat, to use in a grilled cheese. (Don’t tell anyone though…*wink, wink*) From there, I used my Grilled Cheese, Please cookbook to gain inspiration and create this particular grilled cheese sandwich.

ingredients for balsamic glazed carrots & edamame grilled cheese…

grilledBalsamic Glazed Carrots & Edamame (out of the shell)
Kaltbach Alpine Extra Cheese
Grafton Village Raw Milk Cheddar
Milton’s Wheat

cheese #1: kaltbach alpine extra cheese

Product: Swiss semi hard cheese, made from silo-free raw milk, with dark-brown rind, specially cave-matured
 Flavour: Strong and harmonious, yet not at all strong or salty
 Ageing Period: 7 months (Emmi-Kaltbach)

I had no idea what cheese would fit with the ingredients I was going to include. I almost chose beer cheese, but the sous chef talked me out of that. Instead, after searching Whole Foods, I went with a cheese I had never seen before, Kaltbach Apline Extra Cheese.

"KALTBACH Alpine Extra is a new creation aged to perfection by the cellar masters at the Kaltbach caves located on the edge of the Wauwiler Moos area in the canton of Lucerne, Switzerland. (PerishableNews.com)"

How can you go wrong with a cheese that is aged in caves in Switzerland? Really, you can’t. Emmi, the company that is responsible for this yummy cheese, also makes a Gruyere variety as well as Emmentaler. All of these cheeses are in the same family, with slight differences. In the case of the Kaltbach, it has a nutty, creamy and very delicious flavor.

cheese #2: grafton village raw milk cheddar

Originally I stumbled on this raw milk cheddar and thought I would use it as the only cheese but as I continued looking, I saw the Alpine Extra and preferred it. Then I thought, why not use two cheeses? One can never have too much cheese in a grilled cheese. I bought a large chunk of the Alpine Extra and small chunk of the Grafton Village to use as a secondary cheese.

Grafton cheese handcrafts artisanal cheddar cheese that is aged from one to four years. This award-winning cheddar is made from primarily Jersey cow milk (raw milk, hormone free), all from small Vermont family farms.

Raw-milk cheeses have depth and complexity of flavor so appreciated by cheese lovers; aged cheddar, like fine wine, is a living, breathing product of the earth. (Vermont Cheese Council)

I do love my cheddars and the Grafton Village variety was no different. It was soft, creamy and very sharp. It provided a great contrast to the nuttiness of the Alpine Extra.

the ingredients: balsamic glazed carrots & edamame

I was looking through my Grilled Cheese, Please cookbook and stumbled on a balsamic glazed carrot grilled cheese recipe. I was going to follow it exactly when a lightbulb appeared over my head. Lately, I have been addicted to edamame and therefore thought, why not include it in a grilled cheese with the carrots?

"Edamame is a green vegetable more commonly known as a soybean, harvested at the peak of ripening right before it reaches the 'hardening' time. The word Edamame means 'Beans on Branches,' and it grows in clusters on bushy branches. To retain the freshness and its natural flavor, it is parboiled and quick-frozen. In East Asia, the soybean has been used for over two thousand years as a major source of protein. Edamame is consumed as a snack, a vegetable dish, used in soups or processed into sweets. As a snack, the pods are lightly boiled in salted water, and then the seeds are squeezed directly from the pods into the mouth with the fingers." (Edamame.com)

In a sauté pan, I placed the shelled edamame with the peeled carrots (instead of sliced) and a little bit of balsamic vinegar and cooked them for only about 5 minutes, stirring to make sure the veggies were covered with the vinegar. How much balsamic vinegar is used depends on your personal tastes.

the bread: milton’s wheat

When the restaurant where I worked remodeled, came with it a new concept and a new menu. Gone was the multi-grain bread I was used to and in was this Milton’s whole wheat that I had never heard of. I was a little skeptical, I tend towards multi-grain. The minute I tried it, I was converted. Ingredients such as honey and, I believe, mollasses, make this San Diego bread so yummy and so unique. Thanks to my boss for allowing me to “obtain” a loaf to use in this sandwich.

the sandwich:

grade: A

With the assistance of the sous chef, I ended up creating two versions of this sandwich. One was heavy on the cheese (photographed) while the other went light. The two versions provided very different flavors, but both as excellent as the other. If you are looking for a creamy, strong flavor, with an interesting texture, include more cheese. If you enjoy more of a mild flavor with great texture, limit the amount of cheese and include more of the carrot/edamame mixture. You cannot go wrong either way.

Related post: Balsamic Glazed Portobello Clothhound Cheddar Grilled Cheese 

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