The Week 31 challenge was drink pairings. I wanted to do beer since we had brought home quite a bit of beer from our visit to Dogfish Head, but since I didn't know much about beer pairings, I went to A for help. We decided that the best plan was to pair some spicy food with an IPA, so to go along with the kimchi potato salad from the fermentation challenge, I made a kimchi grilled cheese sandwich.
This wasn't the first time I made a kimchi grilled cheese sandwich. The last time I made it, I used one of the pouches of kimchi that Trader Joe's used to sell before everyone realized that they were prone to blowing up and potentially exploding. I don't think I've written about this sandwich before, other than mentioning it in passing, but it was such a good combination. I didn't really follow a recipe for it, but just used the same method as making the Kappacasein-style toasties and other grilled cheeses I've made in the past.
The ingredients for the grilled cheese sandwiches were:
- 4 slices sourdough bread ($1)
- 2 tbsp butter, melted ($0.40)
- about 1.75 cups grated monterey jack cheese (about 2/3 of that block) ($1.93)
- 1 cup kimchi, chopped ($1)
The total for the sandwiches was about $4.33, less than the potato salad that was the other half of dinner. Adding the cost of the beer and the potato salad, the total for the whole dinner was about $12.59. Not too bad considering how full we were by the end of it.
I assembled the sandwiches the same way I did for the toasties challenge. I buttered the bread and then put the cheese and kimchi on the non-buttered sides, and then made the grilled cheese in a nonstick pan.
Happily, at this point I seem to have internalized the lessons from last fall's Kappacasein toastie since I didn't even have to look at the post to refresh my memory. I just did what seemed right by instinct, and then when writing this post, I looked it up and found that they were all the same technique tweaks I had already incorporated (using sourdough bread with holes, grated instead of sliced cheese, and putting a pan on top to flatten the sandwich). Nice.
We paired our kimchi meal with Dogfish Head's summer IPA called flesh and blood. We were at the brewery in Delaware on the day that they officially released the beer so this was a trip souvenir for us. While the beer was good out of the bottle, the citrus notes didn't come out as well as they did from the freshly tapped keg at the brewery. That said, combined with the kimchi grilled cheese and the kimchi potato salad, the flavors were greatly enhanced and it was so much better. You could really taste the bright orange and lemon flavors that weren't quite there when we first drank the beer before eating the spicy food. Seems like it was a successful drink pairing!
We've always liked kimchi grilled cheese. It's a fairly easy and very tasty dinner, so I'm sure we will just keep making it, especially if we always have kimchi on hand (which I'm hoping we will, in the form of many more large tubs of kimchi).