My name is Christy. I’m going to be visiting you this weekend. Now I know this is likely not anything for you to take notice of because apparently, lots of people visit you every day, but for me, its a pretty big deal. You see, I’ve never been out of the Southern United States except for a visit to Canada a few years back. On that trip I tried and fell in love with poutine, blueberry pie, and that maple candy which is just pure sugar and about as bad for you as Southern cooking but…well that’s not my point. Oh, in the interest of full disclosure, I also went to D.C. for a weekend but I am told DC doesn’t count as “leaving the south”. This confuses the heck out of me, to be honest but I’ll roll with it. I’m not really a troublemaker, California, honest.
Anyway, back to my point. You see, I am coming for a visit. This is a HUGE deal for me. Kraft Singles is sending me to see you! I’m being flown out of Alabama and arriving in L.A. Friday evening in order to attend the 7th Annual Grilled Cheese invitational on Saturday. I am thrilled, elated, overjoyed, and scared out of my mind. All of this equals to EXCITEMENT! I’ve literally been dancing all over the place since I was first chosen to do this! Just wait til you meet me, you’ll see how excited I am. I’m even excited about my layover! I may get to have it in Denver and that means I’ll get to see a real mountain for the first time! ~squeals~
To make matters even more interesting, this Alabama girl is going to be driving in L.A. I didn’t think too much of this until I heard from a friend that you actually have stacked highways. Having no idea what a stacked highway was, I looked it up. Wikipedia defines them as “The world’s most insane highway concept which can only safely be navigated by native Californians”.
Okay so I paraphrased that. I saw a picture though and nearly hyperventilated. They say the car has a navigational system so at least I’ll have someone to whine to if I get hopelessly lost. I hope I can choose a male voice for my navigator, every southern gal knows that men are the absolute best to have around when one becomes hopelessly lost anyway. Maybe I’ll name him Fred…oh no, I know, I’ll name him Bill after my reader Bill Gent. There, he seems nice already, even if he is going to burst out laughing the moment I start whining. I’ll get you for that, Bill.
I had not originally planned on getting a rental car, but Rachel from A Southern Fairy Tale is going as well and when I asked her what she was doing, she responded “I’m a Texas Gal, I’m getting the car!”, thereby forcing me to get the car in order to uphold the honor of all Alabama women. ~sighs~ Really though, how bad can traffic be? Highways sure were clear when OJ was driving them that time…
Back to the point of this letter. Kraft Singles (which have, at many times sustained my picky children when they refused to eat anything other than grilled cheese) is sending me to your wondrous state in honor of National Grilled Cheese month! The Grilled Cheese Invitational is going to be awesome as I get to photograph, video, and taste grilled cheese sandwiches (they are even giving me one of those new fangled FLIP cameras)! They are going to be preparing and serving up over 5000 grilled cheese to everyone there. I’ll be reporting back on Southern Plate with photos and video as well as tales of my adventure on your lovely freeways (I believe in the power of positive thinking!).
California, do you like grilled cheese sandwiches?I know you tend to be a bit more health conscious than us Southerners but they make this great fat free cheese too and you can always put it on light bread. Really honey, no one should deny themselves the ooey goodness and comfort that is the grilled cheese. To help punctuate this point, Kraft Singles has a great website iheartgrilledcheese.com where folks can go and enter their grilled cheese story in fifty words or less and be eligible to enter one of 500 coupons for free packages of Kraft Singles that they are giving away each week! How cool is that?
Psst, Cali. Between you and me, don’t you ever crave Southern food? You know we can southernize just about anything with a few magic ingredients. You look a little thin, why don’t you come sit down and let me make you my version of the grilled cheese. I promise not to tell. Let me do this for you because I’m hoping you’ll return the hospitality this weekend. See you soon.
Love (Us Southerners are an affectionate lot),
P.S. If you could postpone any earthquakes you had planned that would be great!
You know what? I think Southern Plate should give away coupons for free packages of Kraft Singles, too. I have a some extras so y’all just leave me a comment and I’ll choose a few of you at random while I’m out gallavantin’ with the stars this weekend and post who the winners are. For updates on how my trip is going, you can follow me on twitter or subscribe to Southern Plate by email because I am going to try my best to send my subscribers an email while I’m in the big city and let y’all know how its going!
Only in the south does a grilled cheese recipe begin with “Fry you up a bunch of bacon…”. Oh yeah, this is gonna be good!
You’re gonna need: Kraft singles (Two for each sandwich), bacon (I am not loyal to any particular brand, this is what was on sale), and eggs. The rest is gravy :).
Note: that was just a saying. We aren’t really making gravy here but I bet if we did it would be even better! I just meant that the rest is just stuff you have around such as bread, salt, pepper, and a wee bit of optional milk or water.
Fry up a bit of bacon. This is a great time to call on the cast iron skillet because bacon grease is good for it :).
I always cook an entire package of bacon at a time. Any leftovers can just be placed in a sealed bag in the fridge and used throughout the week in salads, baked potatoes, or sweet and sour green beans. I really need to get around to posting that recipe for you soon! When you are done, you are left with the nectar of a Southerner’s diet : Bacon Grease.
This is the stuff of legend and if you throw it away I will personally come haunt you! I pour mine in a mason jar and put the lid on it. My granny always had a bacon grease jar sitting on top of her stove but you can put it in the fridge if it makes you feel better. Mine is sitting on the stove out of respect for my raisin’. Note: I didn’t just mention a shriveled up grape.
What are you going to do with that bacon grease? Well for starters, you can make Dixie Cornbread which is, in my humble opinion, the best cornbread I have ever tasted in all my born days. TWO whole cups of buttermilk go in that stuff! Anytime a Southerner pulls out the buttermilk you need to be a hangin’ round their kitchen and doing whatever you can to get in their good graces for when the oven timer goes off! Trust me on this.
What else can you do with bacon grease? The uses are endless really but personally, unless I have bacon grease around, I won’t even bother cooking eggs. Nothing makes eggs better than cooking them in a bit of bacon grease. Today, we’re going to make what my nephews all call “dirty eggs” for our sandwich.
Crack your eggs in a bowl. You’ll need one to two eggs for each sandwich. Add about a teaspoon of pepper.
Add about 1/2 a tsp of salt
and about two tablespoons of milk.
This makes your eggs a little fluffier and well..my mama always added a bit of milk so I do, too.
Imagine a problem in your life that is driving you half crazed and transfer that problem onto the eggs as you beat the living mess out of them.
Aww, now my eggs look all stressed.
Hey, it worked!
Look at our skillet! Some might look at all of those bits of crusty bacon in the bottom and think it is “dirty” but I look at them and think “OOH we should cook some eggs in that!”
Let your skillet cool slightly and leave about a tablespoon or so of bacon grease in there along with all of the bacony goodness that is in the bottom.
I always let my skillet cool a bit before I pour the eggs in because I really like eggs that are cooked on lower temperatures and for longer periods of time. My husband likes to fry eggs (it is the one thing he knows how to cook) and he cooks them REALLY high and REALLY fast. He only does this on Saturday mornings and I swear it makes the house smell like dead chickens. Yeah, thats not very pleasant.
So just make me happy and cook yours on a low temp, ok?
Thanks, I feel better already :).
Pour your eggs in the skillet and stir from the bottom so that all of the little bacon crumbs stir up inside them.
While those are slowly cooking, we’re going to prepare our bread by spreading it with a lovely product called Baconnaise. Thats right, Bacon flavored mayonnaise. The fact that such a thing even exists just goes to show that the world can’t be all that bad! Their slogan is “everything should taste like bacon”.
Now I spread my Baconnaise on whole wheat bread. Hey, the whole wheat and the calcium from the cheese are two healthy aspects of this sandwich so you can let the bacon and bacon grease infused eggs slide. Besides, eggs are protein.
See? Its a good thing. Really it is.
Put a Kraft Single on each slice
Top with a generous helping of dirty eggs
And put a few pieces of bacon on top of that.
Place this in your Mama’s heirloom cast iron skillet that she gave you and that Richard Hall was nice enough to season for you a few weeks back when you really wanted it done but didn’t want to have to do it yourself…
Wasn’t that nice of Richard? I think so. ~smiles~
If Richard doesn’t live close enough for you to con sweet talk into seasoning your skillets, you can read his tutorial on how to do that by clicking here.
Now I don’t use butter on my bread when I make grilled cheese sandwiches because while I don’t mind eating the grease (I AM a Southerner!) I don’t like touching it. So we just prefer our bread dry toasted. Brown that on both sides until your cheese is nice and melted.
Comment below to be entered to win a coupon for a package of FREE Kraft Singles!
To see another huge thrill for me, visit Average Betty and see where she mentioned ME, MEEE!!! Yes yes yes, ME in her blog post! I made it on Average Betty! I gotta remember to write California a thank you note for having people like her living there…
If you can dream it, you can do it. ~Walt Disney