Art of grilled cheese

illustration by MARK STIVERS

Every few weeks my boyfriend and I meet our friends Kate and Ken for a friendly night of grilled cheese and a game of hearts. The four of us have a fine appreciation for grilled cheese; it’s a culinary medium that encourages creativity within a tight budget. We often just end up using whatever ingredients we happen to have in the kitchen, and the cheeses we choose are usually ones that happen to be on sale or aging in the fridge.

Kate’s winning grilled cheese is brie and leftover turkey smeared with fig jam on whole-wheat bread from Grateful Bread Co. (2543 Fair Oaks Boulevard).

My last recipe was an open-faced cheese sandwich consisting of garlic-rubbed French bread smeared with chèvre from Taylor’s Market (2900 Freeport Boulevard). I added a smattering of chopped olives and scallions before tossing it under the broiler and topping it with some arugula I picked along the American River on my last foraging excursion. A recipe given to me from someone at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op (1900 Alhambra Boulevard) was melting Gorgonzola cheese with radicchio and pecans on rye bread—an outstanding combination.