17 Dec 2018

THE ULTIMATE VEGAN GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH


Greetings, greetings. How are you, darling? 

I recognize a greasy grilled cheese sandwich, albeit vegan, seems to have nothing to do with a so-called Rawsome Vegan Life. Grilled cheese is not even "healthy," right!? Let alone raw. What's goin' on here? Well, if you've been reading any of my recent posts on Instagram and Facebook you may have picked up on my new concepts about food. I say "new," but I know I've actually been meditating on these ideas for years. It's just in the last year or two I've really begun actively practicing better policies in regards to my own relationship with food. I am finally and truly recovering from over a decade of disordered eating. This is a long story and many of you have asked if I could share more about it, which I plan to do. For now, I will keep it short and say: healing from disordered eating looks different for everyone, and for me it looks like eating a lot of rich and refined foods. These foods are literally nourishing and life-giving for me. They include all-dressed potato chips, chocolate cake, white pasta, all the olive oil I want, ice cream in bed, pizza on the dance floor, and so much more. I am in love with Intuitive Eating and the liberation it has given me. I don't restrict food anymore and therefore I do not binge anymore. I listen to what my body tells me it wants. Lately, it's been a lot of grilled cheese. Nothing could be healthier for me right now.

This recipe is a major fave. I've been making it almost daily whenever I crave a rich, salty, savoury meal. If you want some colour, you can add veggies, but keepin' it pure (vegaaaan) cheese is damn good and classic. The short history of this recipe began a couple weeks ago when my two wonderful best friends made us sandwiches in the kitchen of a stranger's house. I was blown away because while I was expecting it to be yummy, I didn't realize it would be essentially the SAME as memories of grilled dairy cheese sandwiches I ate when I was a kid. Since then I have been evolving my own recipe and experimenting with different ingredient and techniques. I now bring you this sandwich, which I think nails all the categories I want in grilled cheese: crusty golden brown bread, gooey melted cheese, and a smidgen of colour and extra texture from some veggies.

I use two different kinds of cheese (Daiya and Toffuti) for a variety of texture and flavour. If you aren't keen on those brands because of their flavour, you actually can't discern their taste that much because it kinda blends with everything else. If you have any fancy (or non-fancy) vegan cheeses around, feel free to throw those in too / instead of. I've heard Chau works well for grilled cheese.

Personal updates for folks who care: I've had a magical weekend of delicious dancing, food, friends, family, forests and art work. I am positively overflowing with gratitude for the spirits and materials in this life of mine. Currently listening nostalgically to Neko Case (Fox Confessor Brings The Flood) and marinating in the flavours remaining on my tongue of a perfect Nanaimo bar I ate a few minutes ago (thank you, Aislin!): leftovers from a potluck I hosted last night. My anti-depressants are making me LOOPY with temporary side effects as my body adjusts to them (insomnia, heart flutters, head aches, anxiousness, agitation and nausea wooo), but I am dealing with the experience fairly well thanks to hard-learned coping skills and vital emotional support. YES! We can all get through this thing! I believe in you and I believe in me, whatever than means. 


THE ULTIMATE VEGAN GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH
Serves one or two; Print the recipe here!

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan garlic butter (optional)
2 large slices sourdough bread
1/4 cup Daiya cheddar pepperjack shreds
2-3 slices Toffuti cheddar slices
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup spinach leaves, more as less as desired
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Ketchup and/or hot sauce, to serve (optional)

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, then bring down to medium-low and add the oil until it's warmed. Add the slices of bread, and spread butter on the inner sides if you like. On one of the slices of bread: add the Daiya shreds, then top with tomato slices, spinach, and Toffuti cheddar slices. Place the other slice of bread on top of all of this and press down.

Cook the sandwich for 2-3 minutes, then carefully flip the whole thing over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until all the cheese has started to melt and the bread is getting brown and crispy. Be careful it doesn't burn, though! My technique to keep everything from burning, but still getting the cheese nice and melty, is to turn off the heat once the bread is browned, then put a lid on the pan and take it off the burner. This essentially steams the whole thing so it finished melting the cheese but doesn't burn the bread. I leave this for 2-3 minutes, then it's ready! (Another option is to simply throw the sandwich in the microwave.) Serve with ketchup, hot sauce, or whatever you like. Enjooooy!



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