Monday, April 15, 2013


I’m not really into those days that celebrate a certain food, like National Brussel Sprouts day, or National Ice Cream Day (I don’t know that those are actual celebrations, I’m just throwing words out there, and I like ice cream I just don't need a day to celebrated it), but if any food deserves to be recognized it is the grilled cheese! 

I thought that I read somewhere that April was “Grilled Cheese Month”, but then on Saturday I read that it was “Grilled Cheese Day”.  Really one day is not enough to celebrate this most beloved food. 
So whether I’m correct or not, I’m celebrating Grilled Cheese Month!

It’s kinda like how I celebrate my Birth week instead of my Birthday; it may not be correct, but I still do it and I have a great time at it!  When the girls get together to celebrate Birth week; some of our favorite things to eat are a good loaf of bread with Cambozola cheese, roasted garlic and red bell peppers, and olives.  

Naturally when I was trying to come up with yummy ways to make a grilled cheese this combination came to mind.  I did it...I grilled it, and was not disappointed!  The bread gets nice and toasty, and the melty cheese just brings all the flavors together; making each bite, the perfect bite.

Here's what you do.
Start with roasting the garlic.  You can even do this a day in advance.   Roasting the garlic makes the garlic sweet so you needn't fear of waking up with the smell of garlic coming from every pore.

Cut the top off of the garlic bulb. 
Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil. 
Drizzle the olive oil over the cut side and replace the top of the garlic.

Pull the sides of the foil up around the garlic and place in the oven.

Roast the garlic for about an hour and 15 minutes, so that it get soft and golden brown.

This Ciabatta loaf is about the same size as a baguette, if you can't find this smaller Ciabatta than go ahead and get a baguette.  I cut my loaf into thirds so that it will fit into my pan.
You may also cut the sandwich after it's assembled; either or you get the same result.

Cut the bread so that it can be opened up.

The garlic should easily pop out of its skin when you give it a gentle squeeze.
Go ahead and spread the garlic on one side of the bread.

Sprinkle a few chopped olives over the garlic.
Olive tapenade can be used in place of the roasted garlic and chopped olives.  Be sure to only spread tapenade on one side of the bread as not to over whelm the cheese.

The Cambozola is kinda like Camebert and Gorgonzola; hence the name.

Cut the cheese fairly thick and lay it on top of the olives and garlic.  Distribute the strips of roasted red peppers over the cheese.

Close the sandwich up, and brush just a little olive oil on both sides.

If you have a Panini press; go ahead and use it to grill your sammie.

I don’t have a Panini press, but I do have this cast iron bacon press that I got at Homegoods for six bucks.  I also use it when I cook steaks in the skillet; in this case I'm using it as a sandwich press!
You can also place another heavy skillet over the sandwich, or use a brick that has been wrapped in aluminum foil.

 Now get your skillet or griddle hot.  I use medium heat so that the bread doesn't burn before the cheese has a chance to melt.

Put the sandwich in the hot pan and lay the weight on top of sandwich.

When the first side is toasty and golden brown, turn it over.
Replace the weight and continue to grill until the other side of the sammie is golden brown and the cheese has melted.

 Remove the grilled sandwich to an oven proof dish and keep it warm in the oven while the remaining sandwiches are grilled.

This toasty sandwich is ooey gooey from the cheese, sweet from the roasted peppers, savory from the roasted garlic, and salty from the olives...everything I want in a sandwich!


Serves 2 to 4
1              loaf        Baguette or small Ciabatta
1              bulb       Roasted garlic, recipe follows
3              Tbsp.      Olives, pitted and chopped
½             cup        Roasted red peppers, cut into strips
8              oz.         Camboloza cheese, slice about 1/3 inch thick
1              Tbsp.       Olive oil

   1.       Slice the loaf of bread lengthwise.
   2.       Spread the roasted garlic cloves on the bottom side of the bread.
   3.       Sprinkle the chopped olives evenly over the garlic.
   4.       Lay the slices of cheese over that.
   5.       Top the cheese with the roasted peppers.
   6.       Put the top of the bread on the sandwich.
   7.       Brush a light coating of olive oil on the top and bottom of the loaf.
   8.       If you have a Panini press, go ahead and use it.  Otherwise get a heavy bottomed skillet, or griddle hot, heat it over medium heat until it's good and hot. 
   9.       It’s easiest to cut the loaf into 3 or 4 equally sized sandwiches and grill them one at a time. 
   10.   Place one of the sandwiches in the hot skillet.  Weigh the sandwich down by placing on top of it either a cast iron bacon press, or place another heavy skillet, or use a brick that has been wrapped in aluminum foil.
   11.   When the first side has toasted to a golden brown, remove the weight and turn the sandwich over, replace the weight atop the sandwich and grill until that side is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
   12.   Remove to an oven proof dish and keep warm in the oven while the other sandwiches are grilled.

*Note:  Tapenade can be substituted for the chopped olives and roasted garlic.  Spread the tapenade only on one side of the sandwich so that it won't over power the cheese.

  1              head      Garlic
  1              Tbsp.      Olive oil

   1.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
   2.       Cut the top 1/3 of the garlic bulb from the bottom.
   3.       Lay the garlic in the center of a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to wrap the garlic.
   4.       Drizzle the olive oil over the cut sides of the garlic; replace the top of the garlic. 
   5.       Pull the sides of the aluminum foil up around the garlic and pinch the top of the foil closed.
   6.       Place in the oven and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Roasted garlic is great as a spread, to add in dips and sauces, or to flavor olive oil.

Steak Sandwich with Blue Cheese
Greek Minute Steak (or pork cutlet) Sandwich

This recipe was shared at:


  1. Now this is a grilled cheese!! Looks awesome

  2. I love this. Roasted garlic can't be beat!

  3. First: love the idea of celebrating a birth week :)
    Second: these are the prettiest garlic pictures I've ever seen!
    Third: the Paninis look delicious!
    Great post, Kari.

  4. Thanks Daniela...and every girl should celebrate her birth week!

  5. Drool, this looks AMAZING. I love anything with roasted garlic, but the flavors in this panini looks especially delicious, nice recipe!!

  6. National grilled cheese day is one of the few national food holidays I can get behind too. I looove cheese and have never heard of cambozola but the way you describe it, I know I'd love it. Your sandwich looks packed with goodies and I've got to get my hands on one of those cool grilled cheese irons!

  7. Roasted garlic and bread is one of my most favorite things in all the world! Yum on these cheesy delicious beautiful panini!

  8. Now this is my kind of sandwich! Loving every single part of it.

  9. OMG Amazing cheeses in toasties - my weakness! This looks so amazing. I didn't have much of a lunch today and you have my tummy grumbling!

  10. WOW, these look delicious! I wish I could stop over for one. :0) Our Simply Create Link party is going on right now. I would love to have you link up, as I'm sure my followers would love to see your recipe too. Hope to see you soon!