Tomorrow is the first day of spring and we are expecting 3 to 5 inches of snow. Spending the past week in Hawaii with family and friends has lessened my bitter and caustic feelings towards this winter, but I can't say I'm thrilled for —fingers crossed— one last day of icy slush on the streets of Manhattan. This winter has been long and unforgiving and in need of indulgences such as this.
I've been considering adding meat to my recipes on grateful grazing for some time now, after all I enjoy meat on a regular basis. When my friends suggested having a night of grilled cheese, it seemed appropriate to go all out — welcome bacon to grateful grazing.
The key in this recipe is finding the perfectly meltable cheese with a mild flavor that doesn't overpower the other ingredients. I used muenster which worked wonderfully. The bacon and avocado speak for themselves, and sweet chili sauce is at the top of my list of favorite condiments. Sweet chili sauce can easily be made at home, but if you are in a pinch for time the jarred versions will work just fine. They both taste great, making your own just ensures that you know exactly what is going into it, and that there is less added sugar and no preservatives.
SWEET CHILI, BACON AND AVOCADO GRILLED CHEESE
1 pound bacon
8 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 pound muenster cheese, sliced
1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated
2-3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, recipe below
2 ripe avocados, sliced
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with a wire rack or parchment paper. Lay bacon onto sheet and bake until crispy, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
While the bacon is cooking, butter the outside of each piece of bread and assemble sandwiches by placing a few slices of muenster and a sprinkling of jack cheese on the bread and top with a buttered piece of bread.
Heat a large pan or skillet and add one or two sandwiches to the pan depending on the size. Cook over low to medium heat to brown the toast and allow the cheese to melt, adding more butter if needed. When the bread is golden brown carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
Open each sandwich, drizzle with sweet chili sauce, add bacon and avocado and close the sandwich. Cut in half to serve.
SWEET CHILI SAUCE
makes about one cup
2 red chilies
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ c brown rice syrup
¼ c white vinegar
1 t salt
2 t arrowroot
½ c water
Combine chilies, garlic, brown rice syrup, vinegar and salt in food processor and blend, add about ½ the water until a thin sauce consistency in reached.
in a small bowl, dissolve arrowroot in remaining water. Transfer blended mixture to sauce pan, whisk in arrowroot and stir constantly over medium heat until sauce has thickened.
Extra sauce can be kept refrigerated for about two weeks.