If you're really into cheese, you know to wrap it in waxed paper (not cling film) and to take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. You may know cheese from A to Z (anari, say, produced in Cyprus, to zamorano made in Spain from sheep's milk). But did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month?

It may be gouda news that Preston’s Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center is adding grilled cheese to its menu for April. Chang-Lei Yun, Preston's new executive chef, shares his recipe, which features everyday favorite cheddar. It's easy peasy and very cheesy.

Country Ham and Pimento Grilled Cheese

Servings: 6

12 slices Texas toast                                

12 tablespoons pimento cheese spread (see below)

6 slices country ham (thin)                                        

6 teaspoons mayonnaise

10 ounces sweet potato and peanut soup (see below)

Use 1 tablespoon pimento spread on each side of Texas toast. Place one slice of country ham between the pimento-spread toasts.

Brush the outside of the sandwich with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise. Place on hot flat griddle or saute pan until the bottom side is crispy and golden brown.

Flip the sandwich and repeat step while giving the sandwich a press. When ready, the pimento will melt a little from the sandwich.

Cut into four triangles, corner to corner.

Heat peanut soup and pour into six 2-ounce shot glasses evenly.


Pimento Cheese Spread

Servings: 1 quart

1/2 cup mayonnaise                                                                                      

1/2 tablespoon Sriracha

1/4 teaspoon white pepper                                                                                       

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2 ounces cream cheese                                                                                

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika                                                                                   

1 each pickle spear

2 ounces pimento cheese                                                                                           

1/2 each red pepper

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Drain and rinse pimentos.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor except for cheddar cheese and mix well.

Fold shredded cheddar cheese into mixture evenly.

Chang-Lei Yun, the new executive chef at Preston's

Chang-Lei Yun, the new executive chef at Preston's, standing with arms crossed
Chang-Lei Yun, the new executive chef at Preston's, shares his grilled cheese recipe, which he recommends pairing with peanut soup.

Southwest Virginia Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

Servings: 1 quart

1 baked sweet potato                                                                        

1/2 onion rough chopped

1/4 carrot rough chopped                                                                 

4 cauliflower florets

1 can coconut milk                                                                                          

1/2 cup chicken stock/broth

1/4 teaspoon cumin                                                                                                       

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorn                                                                                

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika                                                                                   

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon canola/vegetable oil                                                                           

1 teaspoon table salt

Bake sweet potato in 400 F. oven until soft.

Saute carrots, onions, cauliflower and spices until soft.

Add coconut milk, peanut butter, baked sweet potato, and chicken stock to the sauteed vegetables. Simmer for 30 minutes and blend thoroughly.

Pass soup through fine mesh sieve, adjust seasoning and serve.

Note: Serve soup with some toasted peanuts

Samantha Drew of Herndon, Virginia, contributed to this report. She is a junior majoring in literature and language, professional and technical writing, and political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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