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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Open Faced Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

My Mom was a ripe old age of 56 when I came to be and let me tell you she could cook!  She had been through the Great Depression and two World Wars.  More importantly she was a child of 11 from poor immigrant farmers.  She was actually born on the ship between England and Canada, but that is a whole other story!  My gosh she could cook, good old fashioned home style cooking.  All those recipes were tucked safely in her head, sure to please and yet long forgotten as the dementia became worse.  My Mom originally cooked on coal and wood but when I was a kid, she cooked on natural gas.  Both the burners and oven needed to be lit using a match.  Her household chore as a child had been to stoke the fire so to her the natural gas was a treat.  She was also quite frugal so her cook stove was narrower than the normal 30 - inches.  Part of this was due to her refusing to buy more than what she needed but part was not wanting to look pretentious to her family and friends.

open face grilled cheese
Melted cheese on bread is a classic.  Even Johanna Spyri (1881) wrote about how much Heidi enjoyed the melted cheese with bread her Grandfather often made her.  When I was growing up, I never knew what a grilled cheese sandwich was, or at least they way grilled cheese sandwiches are usually made.  My Mom made these amazing open faced grilled cheese sandwiches done under the broiler of her gas stove.  There is just something comforting about these sandwiches.  The cheese is warm and gooey while the bread is crunchy around the edges and soft in the middle.

All you need to make these delicious open faced grilled cheese sandwiches is bread and cheddar cheese.  Don't use American cheese slices as real cheddar really makes these sandwiches delightful.  I either slice or grate the cheddar cheese.  Then I place sliced bread on a Silpat lined baking sheet and place the cheese on top.  I bake at 350°F until the cheese melts then turn on the broiler and broil until the cheese starts to bubble and the bread is golden brown around the edges.  I place the cooked sandwiches on wire cooling rack for serving.  This prevents the bottom from becoming soggy.

While I have been able to get good results using an electric oven, the results are considerably better using a gas oven.  Electric heat is a dry heat which is fine for certain foods and for most of our married life, we have had an electric cook stove and oven.  However, electric heat can dry certain foods especially baked fish and foods like the open faced grilled cheese sandwiches.  When natural gas is burning, it releases water into the air which is quite noticeable on cold days by the condensation on the windows.  When the oven is first lit, there is condensation on the oven door as well.  I think this bit of moisture is what makes the difference, giving better results. for a lot of baked foods.

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