Originally posted November 2012.
As you must know, since you have a working Internet connection and are presumably not a time traveler who just arrived here in 2012 (and really, why would you want to come to 2012 if you were a time traveler? I’m digressing), you know that last month, we got sacked pretty hard by a hurricane. Or superstorm. I’m not quite sure what we’re calling it. Either way, it was pretty ridiculous. People were out of power for days/weeks — some are still waiting for their power to come back on! — and others tragically lost their possessions, homes and, in some cases, lives.
Despite living in a bayfront town, we were pretty lucky. There was no damage to our apartment or cars (though my car did almost get smashed to bits by a colossal pine tree — silly me for thinking my car would be safer at my parents’ house further inland), and while being without power or heat for a week was not even remotely fun, it could have been a lot worse. I went to the Jersey Shore to help a friend who was one of the unlucky ones. While I thought the term “devastated” and all its variants seemed overused, it’s really the only word to describe what happened down there. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen up close.
Before this gets too depressing, let me tell you about something I threw together before we got gobsmacked by a worst-case-scenario storm and alternated between living off of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (curse you, electric stove!) and going out to eat all the time in order to escape our 50-degree living quarters and put something lukewarm in our bellies.
My office was closed the day Sandy hit. Because the storm didn’t hit until the evening, this meant I had a whole day of fun ahead of me! Like…walking down to the waterfront and nearly getting blown over by gusts of wind! Making food that didn’t need to be heated up! Freezing water in Ziploc bags because bags of ice were sold out everywhere! Making lunch!
Because we didn’t have all that much in the way of food, so as to avoid having to throw a ton of it in the garbage after invariably losing power and therefore our refrigerator, grilled cheese sandwiches were pretty much our only option. Hard cheese supposedly keeps well, so we had plenty of that.
I realized, to my dismay, that we only had two slices of bacon left. Rather than putting one paltry slice on each sandwich, I made an incredibly selfless, saintly, grounds-for-receiving-the-best-girlfriend-ever-award decision and let Colin have the bacon sandwich.
I know. I’m surprised at me, too.
Rather than have just a plain old grilled cheese, though, I decided to figure out how to make my own sandwich a little different.
I had a block of smoked gouda (a.k.a. heaven in cheese form) and some apples. I decided, what the heck, how bad could this be?
And ladies and gentlemen, grown up grilled cheese was born.
Now, let me just state for the record that traditional grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty flawless. However, grown up grilled cheese is also flawless. I mean, it’s flawless if you like golden, buttery wheat bread; gooey, sultry smoked gouda; and tart, crispy apples. And if you don’t like that, well…
I don’t even know what to tell you. You probably don’t like Christmas music or puppies or happiness, either.
Speaking of puppies, here’s a fun little after-effect of the hurricane-superstorm-whatever-you’re-calling-it. We let Sam sleep in our bed for the week, since, y’know, the temperature in our room would make one think we lived in an igloo, and now our bed is his favorite place to be. I actually came back into our room after washing up this morning to find this little stinker curled up on my pillows. He is shameless.
Anyhow. If you’re looking for a new, more sophisticated and completely 100 percent fall-themed grilled cheese sandwich, you can rest easy.
Grown up grilled cheese
Two slices whole wheat bread
Half an apple (I used Granny Smith), sliced thinly
Sliced smoked gouda (I didn’t measure, but use your noggin)
2 tbsp butter
Create an assembly line of sorts using your bread, cheese and apples.
Everyone has their own idea of the “right” way to properly assemble a grilled cheese sandwich — or any sandwich, for that matter. Apparently I’ve been making peanut butter sandwiches wrong all these years.
I choose to start with cheese, then add a layer of apples, then a layer of cheese. I repeat this pattern on my second slice of bread. It evenly spaces out all my ingredients, and cheese, which is really the most important component, gets plenty of play.
Yes, your sandwich will be thick. It’s fine. You’ll just need some ninja skills to flip it. Or not, if you have a panini press.
Heat your butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Once the butter melts, place your sandwich in the middle of all that melty goodness.
To speed along the cheese melting process and avoid burning your bread (nothing less than a culinary tragedy), put a lid over your skillet as the sandwich cooks.
Use a spatula, tongs, or whatever implement you wield best, and using ninja-like quickness and precision, flip your sandwich after about five minutes.
Also, make sure to get plenty of butter underneath your second slice of bread.
Cook for another five minutes.
Can I have some? Please Mom? Please? Mom please?