Coconut Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

With coconut butter at room temp, this is very easy

First off, Melissa and I both really love sprouted whole wheat bread. It’s course texture is just about the furthest thing from the white bread more commonly used for these sandwiches, but we find it to be more flavorful and appreciate it’s nutritional value. It also brings excellent mouth feel when toasted, very crunchy but not hard. It’s courser texture also holds up better to being toasted with a griddle. Most white breads seem to collapse and become saturated if you aren’t very careful during cooking.

I also like to use coconut oil instead of butter. I’m not convinced that there’s much health benefit here, but I do find that it results in a more crisp toast, and the sweet hint of coconut melds very well with the earthy bread and creamy cheese.

These presses are quite handy

Finally, Melissa and I aren’t fans of American cheese, but we do have a special place in our hearts and stomachs for quality medium to sharp cheddar. I find the stronger flavor of the cheese helps it keep up with the sprouted whole wheat bread, maintaining an appropriate balance of gooey, creamy, crunchy and toasty.

Preparation is simple. Coconut oil is very shelf stable at room temperature, which means it’s always at the right temperature for maximum spreadability. I find I can use much less coconut oil than I would butter because of the way it spreads – it reminds me of working with shortening. I apply the coconut oil to the outside of the sandwich only, and use 2 slices of cheddar in each.

If the cheese is oozing a little, you are all set

Once on the plate, I let them rest for a moment while I clean up a bit and put things away, giving the cheese a little more time to equalize in temperature ensuring consistent gooeyness. A quick diagonal slice later and it’s ready to eat.

I highly recommend trying coconut oil in place of butter in other applications. Like coconut milk in place of cow milk, there will be some applications where it’s more effective than others – but in the applications where it does work well, it brings a unique yet complimentary flavor to foods that I always find surprising and enjoyable.

Sea Scallops with Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

When I go to a restaurant, there are certain foods I will always go for. There’s the exotic foods that I don’t get at home, such as sea scallops or Kobe beef, but then there are foods I have such an affinity for it doesn’t matter how much I get of them at home, I just want more – like blue cheese and bacon. I’ve been meaning to bring scallops into that latter category, but for whatever reason Melissa and I have always been intimidated by them.

So today, I finally got a chance to prepare some scallops, and to make the most of them, I used them as a substitution for tilapia in Melissa’s amazing panko-crusted tilapia with mango salsa and coconut rice recipe. It took two trips to the store and lots of trading off cooking and holding children, but at about 9:30pm, our dinner was ready. I was so hungry, I totally forgot to take a picture… Sorry, maybe next time.

I used Alton Brown’s scallop recipe which is very simple, involving oil and butter in a very hot pan where the salted and peppered scallops become seared in just a minute and a half per side. The butter was in my view the most critical part of this process, as it lends itself so nicely to browning while providing a creamy salty addition to the scallops.