Summer is officially over. Football has started again, the kids are back in school and the colorful leaves are giving Milwaukee a breathtakingly beautiful appearance. There are so many things to love about fall; beautiful colored leaves, the cool and crisp air, fantasy football, pumpkin everything, bonfires, haunted houses…the list goes on. Sure, there are a few things we could do without; daylight hours become less, and sometimes those beautiful leaves commit war crimes on our brand new suede boots. Fall is still something to cherish. What’s my favorite thing about fall? The salad phase of summer is over, and it is once again encouraged to indulge in comfort foods. A big steaming pot of chili on a 90 degree summer day that includes beach plans later is not an attractive option, but once the air is crisp and the house a little chilly, hearty foods find their way back into the kitchen. One of my favorite comfort foods is a classic grilled cheese doctored up a little to make it richer and cheesier. In honor of Halloween, I came up with this deliciously cheesy Ghost Pepper Habanero Grilled Cheese sandwich. It not only packs the heat but a ton of flavor, is extremely easy and quick to whip up, and will heat you right up in that chilly house!
If you don’t want to spice up your life, 5 Year Sharp Cheddar works well as a substitute. It’s very creamy, melts nicely, and gives you a gourmet grilled cheese without the heat of the ghost pepper.
Ghost Peppers (called Bhut Jolokia) grow north of the Himalayas and are listed in the 2007 Guinness World Records as the worlds’ hottest chili peppers! They give this Habanero Jack a big punch of flavor. This cheese is a little smokey, a little peppery and perfect to balance out the mild Gruyere and Wisconsin Colby.
- 2 slices of Italian Bread
- 2 slices of Colby Cheese
- 2 slices of Gruyere Cheese
- 2 slices of Ghost Pepper Jack cheese (or sub 2 oz 5 Year Cheddar)
- 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 oz garlic aioli (mix a tsp of garlic with 1 TBSP of mayonnaise)
- Preheat the panini grill or oven to 375 degrees
- Spread aioli on one slice of bread. Top with cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes. Close the sandwich with a second slice of bread.
- Grill for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden grill marks appear. Serve immediately and enjoy!