Sunday was a day of 11s, apparently. Around 11, Dan and I headed up the road to Silver Queen Farm. We parked on the road and pulled out our bikes for a ride. We had no map, no definitive route in mind and no thoughts on distance. We just felt like riding for a bit in an area that didn’t require climbing several huge hills, which is what would usually happen if we were riding out of downtown Ithaca. We pulled back up to our car right as we hit 11 miles.
Then we packed the bikes back up, pulled out our basket and berry containers, and headed into the fields. 11 pounds of strawberries later, and we were on our way home. Since then, I’ve been working my way through those 11 pounds of strawberries, turning them into strawberry mint salad and jam and preserves. I’ve had to work quickly, because I have plans to go back to Silver Queen again this morning with some friends – I need my containers to be freed up!
Jam grilled cheese is one of my favorite easy ways to use my preserves lately. Jam and preserves add a little sweetness and a deeper flavor to the sandwich. Here, I paired strawberry red wine jam with cheddar and sourdough, but the flavor possibilities are truly endless. Try changing up the fruit preserve, the cheese or even the type of bread. This week, I’m playing with putting the grilled cheese in my waffle iron to cook, elevating the sandwiches to a whole new experience. It adds so many crispy nooks and crannies, and helps the sandwich hold together!
If you try this, note that you will need to use a Belgian waffle maker, rather than the thinner classic waffle iron. The Belgian models are thick enough that they can really press down on the sandwich, creating the criss-cross pattern you’d expect. If you use a classic model, the iron won’t be able to close, and you won’t have those deep indentations on the bread – plus it will take forever for the cheese to melt, if it ever actually does!
This recipe is so simple, it doesn't need any measured-out ingredients. The sandwich works best if the cheese is thinly-sliced, so that it melts evenly. Feel free to mix up the preserve, cheese or bread to make the sandwich your own!
- Salted butter (though unsalted will work as well)
- Sourdough bread
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Strawberry jam (I used strawberry red wine jam, but any would work)
- Preheat a Belgian waffle maker.
- Spread butter on one side of two slices of bread. Lay the bread on a plate, butter-side down.
- Top the bread with thinly sliced cheddar and a layer of strawberry jam. Sandwich the pieces together, and grill in a Belgian waffle maker until the edges are browned and crispy and the cheese is melted.