We were psyching ourselves up to suit up, grab our shovels, and get going; unfortunately, twenty inches of snow is just not going to move itself (bone-chilling winds or no winds)!  But before heading out (and maybe a good procrastination ploy) – how about a quick hot lunch to give us some energy?  Yeah, good idea.

We’ve been keeping a fire going all morning and it’s been so toasty and comforting to be parked in front of the cooking hearth.  Maybe I’m channeling the 18th century lady of the house, so anything I can think of cooking in the fireplace this weekend seems to be a natural.

I’m thinking grilled cheese would be the easiest.  But little did we realize that it would be the most unbelievably delicious!

I grabbed a good-sized cast iron skillet, placed it on a hearth spider that I nestled into the burning logs and coals.  When the skillet got really sizzling hot, I placed buttered (only on the outside) Portuguese bread sandwiches, filled with thick shavings of seriously sharp Vermont cheddar. Using a cast iron patty press helped the melting and browning process by flipping them only once. And voila – an 18th century inspired panini!  Just the simple grilled goodness of a summer’s campfire -but in our fireplace.  Ah, summer…a girl can dream.

Wishing you a warm and cozy weekend!

Love, Nora







  • Looks great. People think they need a panini maker, but your method is great on the stove top as well. If you are hard pressed to find something heavy to place on top of your sandwich you can use a pot filled with water with a circumference wider than the sandwich. That will give you the press effect you need. Since I have a variety of cast iron pan sizes, I just use the biggest one for my sandwiches and place one pan inside the next, until I get the pressure I desire. Good eats!

  • Another tip. If you like grilled cheese with tomato, put the cheese side down towards heat first on a low flame. This will accelerate the melting of the cheese. Once sufficiently melted then flip to tomato side for shorter duration, ensuring a less mushy and more firm tomato. Good eats!

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