Special cheese dreams


Carolyn March 2012Ingredients:

Italian bread

sweet butter

cheddar cheese

garlic salt

Parmesan cheese, grated

Romano cheese, grated


Slice Italian bread into slices about ½-inch thick. Allow at least two slices per person.

Butter very lightly with sweet (unsalted) butter.

Cut very, very thin slices of cheddar cheese. Place these on bread slices.

Sprinkle garlic salt on ever so lightly.

Shake grated Parmesan on next, making sure to cover cheddar with a fine mist.

Top with a tiny, even shake of Romano (not very much!). The secret is to evenly distribute all the ingredients, keeping each one as light as possible.

Place on the top rack of the oven under a hot broiler for just a few minutes, until cheeses bubble and turn golden around the edges.

Serve immediately.

This makes a great midnight snack too.


The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. Easy Covid lockdown food that pleases most people – a simple sandwich… 
    “A Fabulous Grilled Cheese Potato Veggie Leftovers Sandwich”

    Got leftovers of my special mashed whipped Keuka Gold potatoes? Save to make an amazing leftovers sandwich. Park two reserve compound butter coins on the potato mound. Ideally add a few mounds of leftover buttered room-temperature previously oven-roasted broccoli, just on top. If you have on hand my very special caramelized onions now’s the time to use them.


    Using fresh multi-grain bread, smear the outside sides of the bread after you have the sandwich ready to sear with homemade mayonnaise high-lighted with my gentle hot jalapeño oil. Just a couple of drops works well.

    On one slice of buttered (use a choice of my Compound Butter Coins from your frozen Coin-Reserve) multi-grain bread, lay down a generous mound of potatoes (maybe an ice cream scoop full) topped with broccoli. Drizzle with my date syrup made with Elderflower marinated Medjool pitted fresh dates. Add a layer of my Caramelized onions or a layer of onion jam.

    Using the large hole side of a box grater add a half cup of medium aged white cheddar cheese or Celebrity brand BellaVitano raspberry ale cheese. Add a quarter cup of fine-side grated fresh real parmesan from your wedge. Sprinkle with heart-healthy cardamom dust grains. Add the coin reserve buttered second bread slice smeared lightly on the outside with the jalapeño mayo.

    Sear both sides in very hot ghee (clarified butter that requires no refrigeration) ideally in a preheated cast iron fry pan, or you could even use a cast iron grill stovetop pan brushed with ghee.

    If you have a pannini press use it or add a heavy weight smaller cast iron pan to press the sandwich. Place a small sheet of parchment over the sandwich in the cast iron fry pan when you press. Remove the sandwich from the pan when golden on both sides, when it looks just like a grilled cheese sandwich.

    Using a sharp thin serrated bread knife cut on the diagonal and serve with your favourite salad or just enjoy the very special sandwich on its own, a different kind of grilled cheese, maybe paired with a tall cool Caesar (easy on the ice as it dilutes) using a leafy very fresh crunchy celery rib as a stir stick. A delightful taste bud enhancer.

    © Lady Ralston’s Compound Butter “Coin Reserve” ~ because Butter makes it Better. A different kind of currency…

  2. Bread and Butter Pickles Sandwich – So Special

    I grew up eating bread and butter pickle sandwiches, in Canada as a child of British heritage.

    Bread and butter pickles were lined up on salted butter white Wonder Bread post WWII.

    Later when Kraft Cheese (Velveta) appeared the cheese was spread on the buttered bread and then bread and butter pickles lined up evenly.

    As was the custom with “English” sandwiches, crusts were removed. The sandwiches were cut in soldiers or quartered. Overseas they are still served that way at home and in restaurants. In fancy fare, it has been known that the Queen Mother enjoyed Gin. She might even have spritzed gin over the cucumber sandwiches or the bread and butter pickle sandwiches. Gin pairs nicely with cucumbers.

    I have written often about food rationing here in Canada after the War, from childhood memories. I had just recently referred to paper thin fresh ordinary garden cucumber sandwiches as a childhood memory. Again, crusts removed.

    Of course unsalted butter had not yet been heard of this side of the ocean in my growing up years. A visit to a family-owned dairy farm sometimes brought homemade butter to the table. Memories of the dairy centrifuge separating the milk and then a broom handle like plunger paddle used in a wooden vessel to pound the cream into butter.

    I now have more than 2000 original recipes I have developed since 1976 when I wrote my first weekly gourmet cooking newspaper column and taught gourmet cooking classes in my home. I am not a chef, but like Ina Garten, I am a home cook. And I develop my own original recipes.

    I am currently under contract with a NYC publishing house (also in London UK, UAE and Australia), who is preparing my first cookbook, 45 years in the making:

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

    I am working on a new manuscript:
    © Spirits in My Kitchen: Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas – Good Food Made Better Adding Spirits

    I don’t drink per se, but rarely a day goes by not cooking with alcohol. It’s in many of my recipes, actually naming brands I was first introduced to as far back as 1972. I was only thirty years old back then.

    Thank you for the bread and butter sandwich trip down memory lane, Eric. Some people make their own bread and butter (sweet) pickles. All the better to enjoy the nearly paper thin pickles.

    Any readers out there remember?

    © Spirits in My Kitchen: Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas – Good Food Made Better Adding Spirits

    • In addition:

      Wikipedia says:

      … The cucumber tea sandwich in particular is considered the quintessential tea sandwich.

      Traditional British preparation:

      As the thinness of the bread is a point of pride in the kitchen, a dense-textured white Pullman loaf is cut with a wide-bladed knife, which guides the cut; daylight should pass through the resulting fine pores. The peel of the cucumber is either removed or scored lengthwise with a fork before the cucumber is sliced. The slices of bread are carefully buttered all the way to the edges in the thinnest coating, which is only to prevent the bread from becoming damp with cucumber juice, and the slices of cucumber, which have been dashed with salt and lemon juice, are placed in the sandwich just before serving in order to prevent the sandwich from becoming damp enough to moisten the eater’s fingers. The crusts of the bread are cut away cleanly, creating tea sandwiches.

      From Google Search


  3. I thought of Sabine when I posted this, as she said she doesn’t cook, yet one time she mentioned something about her ‘Stollen,” not such a simple undertaking.

    This isn’t really cooking, as such. And anyone can make it. Even students away at university can impress their friends. But everyone will want to eat it, for sure. Breakfast, lunch or a light supper. Or during the game, hors d’ouvres.

    You might want to share it in your own real estate newsletters.

    “Cheese Dreams of a Different Sort”

    Cut bread rounds from slices. You could use a glass if you don’t have a round cutter the right size for the bread slice. Or you could even make mini-rounds using the sharp edge of your tips for your forcing bag to make great bite-size walk-about hors d’ouvres.

    Dip both sides just quickly into a plate with a whisked egg yolk and a teaspoon of cream. Pan fry the dipped bread rounds in just a little sizzling unsalted butter till just golden.

    Using one round as a base, while still in the sauté pan, top it with a matching size quarter inch thick, round slice of mozzarella cut from a ball.

    You could use coins from your marinated Canadian cream cheese log. Just make sure your toasted bread rounds are about the same diameter.

    Sprinkle with dry granules of Parmesan and Romano, equal portions. Top with another round of pan-toasted bread. You could always add a crumpled rasher of crispy bacon.

    You don’t need to double up the bread; you could make as open-face round cheese dreams.

    You might enjoy these cheese dreams made with rounds of rye bread or whole grain bread.

    ALTERNATE: Place each pan-toasted eggy round on a warm plate. Top with several teaspoons of wilted spinach and a runny, just barely set, poached egg. Of course you could always top with Hollandaise. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little sweet paprika.

    Different for sure: Got leftover oxtail ragu? Reheat the ragu. Top a full size bread slice eggy toasted round with the ragu.

    Allow three topped with oxtail ragu, toasted bread rounds per serving if a supper meal. Serve alongside sprinkled with nutmeg creamed leek, creamed Belgian endive, or spinach. A nice bowl of homemade cream of kohlrabi soup would be a tasty supportive accompaniment.

    For a seafood cheese dream, top the open face cheese bread round with a coin from your compound butter collection: maybe use the lobster butter. Just put the frozen coin on the pan-fried toasted bread round on top of the cheese. By the time you eat, the butter will be perfect temperature. Maybe even add a small chunk of lobster claw meat.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  4. Although this sandwich is part of the Sandwich Collection: Simple Simon Sandwiches, I thought I would attach it to the old “Cheese Dreams” column.

    “A New Old WOW BLT”

    First choose what bread you will use. Start out by buttering the outside of each slice and grill.

    On the un-grilled side, smear a little homemade mayonnaise or one of my homemade aioli sauces.

    Assemble the sandwich using three, all the same, slices of one of your favourite cheeses. Then add coins of creamy homemade-marinated Canadian goat cheese. Poke a pimento stuffed manzanilla green olive, spilt in half vertically, into each goat cheese coin. Add three crispy slices of bacon.

    Grill a few thick slices of firm fresh white button mushrooms. Sprinkle with a pinch of dried thyme, and a sprinkle of salt only after the mushrooms are seared. Layer onto the sandwich.

    Slice a small red onion paper-thin and lay just a couple of slices on the mound before you add tomatoes.

    Next a layer of firm fresh tomatoes (any colour). Gently place a few fresh basil leaves on the tomatoes. Top with crispy iceberg lettuce and then add two medium firm (just a little runny but nearly set, poached eggs. Position over top the eggs, a few strips of charred grilled red pepper strips. One egg for each half once the sandwich is cut. Dust each egg with salt, pepper, and a little paprika.

    Top with the second slice of buttery grilled bread, and slice corner to corner if using regular sandwich bread or cut in half on the diagonal.

    AMAZING! doesn’t begin to cover it. Beyond beyond. The old traditional grilled cheese sandwich just took on a new life.

    If you have a panini press, you could use it, or of you prefer, wrap the full sandwich in plastic wrap and place a full-size foil-wrapped brick on top for a few minutes to sort of squash all the fillings together. Or just make and eat immediately. ENJOY! For sure.

    You will want to serve this sandwich on an oversize plate, with a long blade steak knife and a fork. Decorate each sandwich plate with small sweet, not peppery, radish roses and split green onion flowers that have rested in ice water. Maybe add a split curled celery stick, and a large tomato rose, sprinkled with cracked black pepper. Add a handful of basil leaves or fresh Italian flat leaf parsley.

    This sandwich is a meal. Nearly all food elements are covered, made using things you already typically might have on hand in your kitchen, or easily pick up at any supermarket on your way home. A perfect supper after a busy work day, put together just using your imagination. Or, alternately a perfect weekend brunch.

    You won’t be hungry for hours, yet the meal is not just tasty but super delicious.

    ALTERNATE: You could substitute prosciutto in pale paper thin slices for the bacon, or even use sliced paper-thin sweet Genoa salami mounded generously (it’s important to be paper-thin; I have no idea why it tastes so much better), and choose any mixture of cheeses that appeal to you. You might choose to add a split large Black Mission fig from your Asbach Uralt cognac marinating jar. And perhaps drizzle a little congealed figgy jus over the lettuce.

    You could shred romaine lettuce and iceberg together; they always pair well. Or even substitute a large Boston Bibb lettuce leaf, or
    even shredded kale or radicchio if you love it.

    If you don’t like mushrooms, perhaps switch them up using a load of roasted multi-coloured grilled peppers.

    Make it your personal combo of favourites. But this sandwich doesn’t travel well in lunch boxes. And needs to be eaten as soon as possible. You don’t want the grilled bread to get soggy. (And if using filled Portobello instead of bread, don’t overcook/grill the fungus.) Drizzle with just a tiny bit of Mazola Corn Oil before grilling. No salt. Salt later.

    Note … For those interested, google says:

    “A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; technically mushrooms aren’t even plants. They are a special type of fungus—a notion that puts some people off. If you don’t mind the fungus part, though, mushrooms are a great addition to a healthy diet—not to mention totally delicious.Nov 16, 2010”

    For a completely different mix, instead of using bread, grill two generous Portobello mushrooms per serving and fill with the same stackable ingredients. Note that Portobello mushrooms love blue cheese. You might want to use sliced medium hard-cooked eggs instead of poached.

    Maybe add some homemade candied walnuts to the serving plate and or some candied grapes, a bunch on the vine, as edible eye candy.

    Either way, a mountain of deliciousness.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience


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