Fat Tuesday: Grilled Cheese for Grownups

When I was a kid, my family took a yearly vacation together. We would rent a big house either on Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake or the Truckee River and we’d all hang for a week. I didn’t realize until I was older how lucky I was. I just thought everyone did that. Turns out, they don’t and the fact that I was very fortunate to do so, is not lost on me. The memories that I have from those trips are priceless. Getting car sick on a trip to Virginia City, watching my Gramma pluck my cousin’s fallen ice cream from the ground and plop it back onto her cone to stop her crying (haha sorry Heather), finding my baby brother’s dirty flip flop in the Goldfish Crackers carton… These stupid little things are the greatest! That’s the real stuff right there, the things that make life wonderful. The threads in the fabric that is who we are.

One of those memory morsels is my Gramma’s grilled cheese. She made it with buttered bread and cheddar just like everyone else, but she LOVED to put a whole “Ortega Chile” in with the cheese. As a little kid, I was horrified and would eat it without the chile every time, but by the time I became a teenager, I was a convert. This schnazzy little treat is an homage to that sandwich but in a gourmet cheese, grown folk kinda way. Gramma would have scolded me for paying so much for the cheese but, she would have eaten this sandwich with me and she would have loved it.

You will need the following:

  • Bread, your favorite seedy variety
  • Butter, enough to butter your breads
  • Brie, about an ounce per sandwich and cold
  • 1 canned Ortega chile per sandwich, halved


  1. Slice brie about 1/4 inch thick slices
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread
  3. Heat a skillet on medium. Once heated, place one slice of bread per sandwich butter side down, lay cheese on top. Next add the chiles. Use a half or a whole depending on the size of your bread and how much coverage and chile flavor you want.
  4. Top off with the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Use a spatula to flip the sandwich when the bottom is crisp and golden. Remove to a plate once second side is done, cut in half and serve immediately.

We just had these for dinner and they were legit. The mild tang of the cheese with the chiles and the seedy bread killed it! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Swearing Mom out.



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