In the second week of the grilled cheese competition between Betsy and Kim, we’ll see cheers, we’ll see tears and someone will win the highest honor, “Winner winner, chicken dinner!” as proclaimed by the right honorable judge, 3 year old Liam.
Betsy and Kim began the competition in the Leiden market, each choosing a cheese and agreeing on a single loaf of bread. Betsy settled on a hunk of Groene Hart Oud cheese after just a few samples and Kim was also a bit quick on the draw when she selected Trots Pikant. Both cheeses came from the abundant supply found in the friendly stall that can be found in the market on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
From the baker, a local sourdough was chosen, though much to the dismay of our competitors, it neither looked, nor ultimately performed like a San Fran. sourdough.
The judges, Louke, Dani and their son Liam arrived at the appointed grilling hour and settled in for what promised to be a delicious evening. Our judges came prepared with a highly technical rating system as seen below in the construction paper signs.
Betsy and Kim got to work, slicing and grating cheese, slathering butter and pouring a flight of three randomly selected beers to pair with the sandwiches (and chocolate milk for judge 3, of course). Beer 1 – a nice seasonal Bok from La Chouffe. Beer 2 – an IPA from The Flying Dutchman. Beer 3 – a white from Ginette Beer.
After a rather frantic grilling where both chefs shared a tiny Dutch kitchen, the sandwiches were quartered and served to the judges.
Within moments, the decision was in…
For Kim, who presented a less than stellar grill with somewhat gooey cheese on the dense bread…
For Betsy who plated the superior grill, using a salted mayonnaise to catapult over the competition…
And the highest honor went to Betsy when Liam exclaimed “winner winner chicken dinner!”
Tune in next week as both chefs are allowed to add one veggie to their grilled cheese creation.
PS – Three out of four lesbians preferred Ginette, beer that is.
Every Saturday morning, after our first cup of coffee, we weave our way over and along the canals of Leiden to the amazing Street Market. Stall after stall offers an amazing array of fresh fruit and veggies (the 1€ bowls of avocados are our favorite), fish, flowers, clothes and spices from around the world…and cheese, glorious cheese! As we wander by the numerous cheese vendors, it’s practically impossible not to snatch a sample, or ten, from the piles of savory cubes. We’ve fallen in love with the truffle, mustard, cumin and other cheesy goodness we can’t yet pronounce.
As the days grow shorter and colder, and the rains keep us inside more than outside, we’re cooking up new ways to entertain ourselves. With all of these cheeses at out fingertips, it makes perfect expat sense to have a great grilled cheese cook off! The Dutch call these toasties, grilled sammies all buttery and pressed to scrummy perfection, invariably dipped in a sauce that is some variation of mayonnaise…fancy ladies call this concoction an aioli.
For five weeks, Betsy and Kim will each pick a different cheese, prepare a sandwich and present them to the esteemed judges…our hungry friends and neighbors. The rubric is random and solely based on the tastes of the judges. Bribes of beer and chocolate are encouraged.
Last week we had our first cheese-off as a test-run – we were both the cooks and the judges and here’s what happened. In an effort to clean the fridge we limited ourselves to the cheeses left over from the progressive dinner. Betsy chose the risky red pesto option, while Kim settled on the mustard cheese, sadly the slightly moldy brie and dried up parmesan did not make the cut. We used the same freshly baked bread from our neighborhood grocery store, the Dirk.
Slathered in fresh butter and piled high with cheese, each chef pressed the thinly sliced bread to golden perfection. While Kim’s mustard grilled cheese was pungent and delicious, both judges agreed that the rich color and striking flavor of the red pesto grilled cheese won the night! Betsy is sure her grilling technique is also responsible for the superior slice of heaven. And though we may or may not have been enjoying a little fruit of the vine, we both agree that cheese is integral to the grilled cheese experience, here’s looking at you, Hannah Hart, lol.
Tonight, with fresh cheeses and a loaf of local sourdough acquired yesterday, we’ll present this week’s toasties to Louke, Dani and their son – the first victims, uh, friends, willing to be our judges.