Friday, August 2, 2013

What I'm Into: Grilled Cheese Edition

I have to say that I am a bit flabbergasted that it is AUGUST already. Where, oh where, did July get off to?

We have had a cooler week here in the mitten, and that is suiting me just fine. If I could live somewhere that is perpetually sunny and in the 70s all day and 50s all night, all year round, I'd be in heaven. Well, who knows, maybe that will be the temp range in heaven...

I know I have said this in past weeks, but we are in TRAINING. Whole hog. I've put in 25 running miles each week for the past 3 weeks. Plus I am trying to get 2 bike rides in of at least 11 miles each, and one that is a whole lot closer to 18. I personally put Meres' seat on my bike, and she loves riding with me. "Faster-faster." Yeah, she's gonna get her little legs a pumpin' one of these days. Then I'll be the one hollering, "faster-faster." I also have managed 2-3 swims each week. This all shakes down to 3 days that I am doing 2 disciplines. Which is good training for our tri.

We are doing practice triathlons most Friday evenings this month, with an actual short, but official tri the last Saturday of August. I am kind of excited. I am sure I will wonder what brand of crazy I am as I do it but...

Our bucket list tri is only 5 weeks away. (who's wondering about July? Where did the last year go?) And then we have our annual half marathon at the end of September. Which is why we are ramping up our running miles.

Funny thing is...the scale is not reflecting any decrease as a result of the increase. Maybe it's because I'm building muscle. Maybe because I am over compensating in the calorie department...

I read/finished 2 books this week. The first was Montaro Caine by Sidney Poitier. It was sci-fi, and not the best or the worst I've ever read. The second was Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store. This is flat out fiction. A light read that had me reading in to the next chapter each time, unable to put it down. It made me laugh, and I love books that make me laugh.

I have been thrifting a lot this week. I found several treasures which I shared yesterday. The two main treasures I was looking for, the hutch and the floor vase, are still alluding me. Well, actually, we decided to buy a custom built Amish corner hutch. It is an investment, but it will last forever. I am really excited about it. We are making it our combined anniversary and birthday presents.

The three oldest offspring went to day camp this week. This has been a mixed blessing. Great in that they are having fun, my house is much quieter, and I don't have to break up as many fights. Not so great in that Meres has been sticking closer than a tick on a stick. (yes, I just made that up.) A flea on a dog? Butter on bread? Point is, she is by me, talking to me, sitting on my lap, ALL THE TIME. Because she has no one else to entertain her. Sigh...Miracle of miracles, just when God knew I was about to lose my mind, she actually went down for a quiet time today. I haven't heard a peep from her in over an hour. Which could mean she is getting in trouble...

This week I have also been mulling over canvases...our home as a canvas. Grilled cheese sandwiches as a canvas...

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the perfect canvas for culinary exploration. They are simple, but they can be complex. They are easy to do right, and hard to do wrong. They are delicious, and colorful, and packed with butter, bread and cheese-the 3 food groups.

Today you don't get so much a recipe as my perfect grilled cheese tips... can use any kind, but I find that a solid sour dough makes the absolute best grilled cheese.

-Butter...not margarine. Salted butter. Spread generously on the outsides of your bread slices.

-Heat...medium. Not high, because the bread with burn, not toast, and the cheese won't melt. Set you dial at medium. cheddar is the all around perfect cheese. It's sharpness is compensated for in the bread and butter. We also like Dubliner, which is an Irish cheddar. Basically any cheese in the deli cheese section of your grocery store is going to be a winner. Think havarti, mozzarella, gouda, and various ethnic cheeses. The sky is the limit and you really can't go wrong. Notice that I didn't mention American cheese. I do put the limit on that. It is what is known as an abomination.

-Variety...plain grilled cheese is wonderful. Adding thinly sized tomatoes to your sharp cheddar is phenomenal. Shaved deli meat or thinly sliced chicken adds a nice flavor burst also. Something new that we tried last time was a very thin layer of pesto on one slice of bread, topped with Dubliner or cheddar. Ah-ma-zing! You can add preserves if that is your thing, or fruit, or whatever. You probably can go wrong, but there is no harm in trying something new.

-Eat with...dill pickle spears. Kettle chips. Tomato soup. You can eat tomato soup from the can, or you can experiment, like I will be doing in the near future, to come up with a tomato soup like Panera Bread's.
you just can't deny that those look pretty good...

Have you ever experimented with grilled cheese sandwiches? What is your favorite combo?