Are you noticing a golden hue to the sunlight, the earthy aroma of bonfires and a slight chill in the evening air?
As autumn officially kicked in Sept. 22, we’re turning our thoughts to all the good things that come with the season, including football, cozy sweaters, apple orchards, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the warm comfort food that pairs well with crisp fall days.
A longtime cool-weather favorite is the classic grilled cheese sandwich in all its crisp, meltingly gooey varieties. These days, restaurants and at-home chefs are serving up the deeply satisfying American concoction with a number of scrumptious toppings designed to pair in perfect gourmet harmony with the flavors of the bread and cheese. The sky is really the limit when it comes to devising new takes on the classic dish. In the autumn that may mean pairing traditional favorites with seasonal choices such as sliced apples, pumpkin or even Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.
• Apple Picker’s Harvest: Thinly sliced freshly picked apples, brie and some smoked ham onto your bread, slathering on a bit of honey and thyme butter before your creation hits the grill or pan. The results are perfect for a fall picnic or family lunch before hitting up the corn maze.
• Nine-Layer Dip: If you’re a fan of the classic seven-layer dip (chopped layers of pepper jack cheese, refried beans, avocado, corn and pickled red onions), you’ll love this savory concoction sprinkled with cilantro and grilled between buttered bread slices. Cook up a warm, gooey batch for the gang gathering around the TV for the next big game, or bring it to your next game-side tailgate.
• Pumpkin Mac: Whip up your favorite mac and cheese recipe, season it with pureed pumpkin, top it with gouda and bacon, add slices of Golden Wheat bread and get busy grilling. The sweetness of the pumpkin balances the bacon’s saltiness for a gourmet treat that may well become your family’s new favorite.
• Halloween Grilled Cheese: Concoct a boo-tiful sweet-and-salty combo of brie, creamy mascarpone and chopped chocolate and peanut butter candy bars (leftover from trick-or-treating), then top the mixture with a thin layer of raspberry jam. You’ll be amazed how the flavors complement each other when melted and book-ended with warm, crisp-yet-fluffy wheat bread.
• Gooey Gobbler: Optimize that mouthwatering leftover turkey by spreading it with cranberry jam, sage butter and gouda slices, perfecting your dream sandwich on the griddle and enjoying every balanced, blended bite. The taste will have you wishing every day was Black Friday.