Not Your Basic Grilled Cheese

I'm practicing my food photography skills. They are quite basic. I am experimenting with lighting but most of my shots have been during the day, using a combination of window light and a strobe bouncing off the ceiling. For my first few attempts, I mounted the camera on a tripod and shot the food from above. For this set, I tried a direct front composition for one of the shots and I also played around with a reflector. I think it works but I would prefer to have a lighter background.

I made a "wooden table" to create surface for shooting the food but I have yet to stain or paint it. My design is a combination of four different designs -- DIY Distressed Wood Photo Backdrop from love and olive oil, Wooden Table Top Tutorial by the brewer and the baker, Reversible Wood Table Top Tutorial by semi sweet, and Wood Table For Product Photography by DIY Photography.

For this capture I modified a recipe I found on the food joy. The recipe is called Adult Grilled Cheese which my teenage daughter Kiran thinks is stupid because she doesn't understand what's grown up about it. I explained that I don't think kids would eat a sandwich with smoked Gouda, fig jam and apple slices. She disagrees because she would eat it and ... well, she's a kid. So my sandwich is called "Not Your Basic Grilled Cheese" since kids and adults can eat it.

The original ingredients included Fig Jam, sliced smoke Gouda and thick turkey bacon. I could only find Fig Preserves and a brick of Gouda. Turkey bacon isn't, so I use real Applewood smoked bacon and baked it in the oven.

Not Your Basic Grilled Cheese

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A grilled cheese with grown-up ingredients.

Harpoon Black IPA makes an excellent accompaniment to this sandwich.


  • 8 slices of semolina bread
  • 16-20 of smoked Gouda
  • 8-12 strips thick cut Applewood smoked bacon
  • Fig preserves
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced thin
  • Butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place bacon strips on the top of a broiler pan and place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove the bacon and pat down with paper towels to remove any excess grease.
  2. Slice the smoked Gouda as thinly as possible.
  3. Butter the outsides of each piece of bread. On the inside, spread the fig jam on one side, then add 2-3 pieces of bacon, 3-4 slices of apples, and 4-5 slices of cheese. Top with the other slice of bread (buttered side on the outside!).
  4. Place the sandwich in a sauté pan on medium-low heat, browning each side of the bread. I use a cover while it's cooking to help melt the cheese.

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