Archive for April 12th, 2017
For me, today ranks right up there with my birthday and Christmas and is definitely a day to be celebrated – it’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!
Who looked at bread and cheese and thought, “I’ll put the cheese between the bread and heat it in a pan until the bread’s toasty and the cheese is melted and ooey, gooey delicious?”
This is an individual to be celebrated! At the very least, their picture should appear on a postage stamp, or a day should be named after them!
Alas, no one is sure exactly whom that individual is.
According to food historians, cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, enjoyed across the world in many cultures. The United States modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available. Originally it was made as an open-faced sandwich.
United States government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling “American cheese filling sandwiches” during World War II.
Research was unable to find the creator of National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day.
This just means we can concentrate more on celebrating the sandwich!
There is an art to making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Don’t choose a hard cheese. They’re usually aged longer and require higher temps to melt… which equates to burned bread! I like to mix Gouda, Havarti, and a soft, sharp cheddar.
Bread is key to the ultimate grilled cheese. Fresh bread works, day-old bread is better! The bread needs to hold up during cooking time and hold in all the wonderful, melty, cheesy goodness. Bread that is too fresh has a tendency to get mushy. Ew. Rye and pumpernickel always work for me, but sourdough is my favorite.
A light spread of butter on the outside of the bread enhances the browning effect and adds a nice crunch with a great buttery flavor. Coconut oil or truffle oil can be substituted for the butter, and also add amazing flavor!
Don’t be afraid to add fillings to your grilled cheese! Meat generally comes to mind first, but I was adding fruit and veggies to my grilled cheese long before Foodnetwork and being a foodie were the rage. (Much to the horror of my siblings!)
You also no longer have to miss you out on the grilled cheese experience if you follow a diiferent diet. Most retailers stock vegan breads and imitation cheeses, or you can make your own. My mister is a renal patient and cheese is a no-no for him. However, I can whip up a decent substitute in minutes using cashews and seasonings!
Mushrooms are my favorite grilled cheese filling, and when I came across Kevin Lynch and his Closet Cooking, I found the perfect sandwich for me! It’s also the one sandwich I don’t have to share since the mister and his minions do not like mushrooms! #WIN!
Oh, my! This sandwich is amazing on so many levels, and you do not need to be a vegetarian to enjoy its awesomeness! Make it exactly according to the recipe just once, and you’ll be hooked!
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine or broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
- 1 cup fontina or gruyere, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- 4 slices bread
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Melt the butter and heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the cremini mushrooms and saute until the start to caramelized and turn golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the wine, deglaze the pan and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and remove from heat and let cool a bit.
- Mix the cheese into the mushrooms.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread and place 2 in the pan buttered side down.
- Top each with 1/2 of the mushroom mixture and finally the remaining slices of bread with the buttered side up.
- Grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side.
Celebrate the grilled cheese sandwich today or any day you need some good old comfort food!
Images from Google and Closet Cooking.
It’s also National Licorice Day, but I hate licorice… so, whatever.
Wishful Wednesday is a meme hosted by *Didi Oviatt – Author* where we can share the books we could see ourselves living in. Whether it be pillow-talking with your book-boyfriend (or girlfriend), casting a sleep spell on your arch nemesis, or even crossing swords with a pirate. If you could pick a book to live in, what book would it be, and why?
The options are endless, and the beautiful part is that we can change our minds every week!! If you want to list your *Wishful Wednesday #ICouldLiveThere* book, then join in the fun!! You’re welcome to use Didi’s WW picture, or not, whatever you prefer! Just list your book choice of the week and link back here to *the main Wishful Wednesday Page* and she’ll link you in her weekly pick!!
It’s been over two years since I read Whipped, book 2 of the Hitched series by Alex Lux, and I still break into a grin when I think about it!
It wouldn’t be hard for me to live in the Whipped-world since it takes place in a city I’ve already spent a considerable amount of time – Las Vegas. But with my lifelong love of laughter, the icing on the cake would be hanging out with Vi Reynolds and Lachlan Pierce, and their friends and family.
She’s a former Domme who’s sunk all of her money into Whipped, a sex shop. He’s a transplanted Aussie and popular male dancer on a mission to earn enough money and leave dancing behind to fulfill his real dream. He’s also an occasional, random customer of Whipped. Always with a different female on his arm, and always… shirtless!
Back up – don’t think too hard about it. It’s not that kind of story…mostly. Okay, it is that kind of story, but don’t think dark and mysterious, think light and fun! The humor and snark are off the scales in Whipped. The story also has a corny-cornball feel at times and it melds smoothly with the humor, and with the relationships between family, friends, and lovers.
Trying to cut corners and save money, Vi advertises for a roommate, and guess who answers the ad?
I wouldn’t even need a particular part to play in Whipped-world. As long as I could be on the fringe of every scene, laughing myself into a coma, I’d be the perfect tertiary character!
Meeting and spending time with Vi’s parents… Laughing.
The male dance revue…and Tate… Tears begin to stream down cheeks.
The paintball range…OMG! Falls to floor dissolving into hysterical laughter.
There are plenty of other added pluses in Whipped – the support of family and great friends, Vi’s refusal to lie to herself and become a whiny girl, Lachlan’s relationship with his mom, and former man-whore Lachlan turns out to be a true romantic – WIN!
I’ve been to Vegas a couple of times since reading Whipped, but couldn’t find Vi, Lach or the gang. Sad puppy.
Connecting with book characters and their story is what makes a book a 5-Star read. Whipped connected with my funny-bone and hasn’t let go yet.
Yes, I could live there.
Go ahead…get Whipped!
(If the story sounds familiar, but the author’s name doesn’t, Alex Lux is Kimberly Kinrade, who with her husband, pens the popular Vampire Girl series.)
“I bet I can untangle you.”
At an airport baggage claim, Penny Darling looks up from her knotted mess of ear buds to find the sexiest hunk of man she’s ever seen. He’s got a military haircut, a scar through his eyebrow, and he’s rocking a pastel pink dress shirt like only a real man can. But Penny is on a man-free diet so she leaves the airport without succumbing to his delicious double-entendres…or his dreamy dimples.
PI Russ Macklin can’t take his eyes off Penny. As she sashays out of the airport with hips swaying and curls bouncing, he suspects they may share more than just sweltering chemistry. That suitcase she’s rolling along behind her? It looks a lot like his.
Because it is.
When he tracks her down, he holds her bag hostage in exchange for a date. Their night begins with margaritas and ends in urgent care, and Russ proves that Cosmo’s theory about a very particular type of orgasm was oh-so-wrong.
In Penny, Russ finds a small-town sweetheart with a very naughty side. For the first time ever, he’s thinking about picket fences. Penny finds in Russ a loving, caring man who understands the power of massaging showerheads.
But Russ is only in Port Flamingo for a week. They agree it’ll be a fling and nothing more. Because really, they can’t fall ass-over-teakettle in love just like that…
99k words. HEA. Dual POV. No cheating.
Featuring a big drooly dog named Guppy.
There’s all sorts of sexy Russ-rustle-rustling as he tries on his clothes. It takes all my willpower to stop myself from running over to his changing room and pressing my eye up to the slats like I’m looking through a peep hole. He slings his shirt over the top of the changing room door, then steps out of his shoes and socks. I can almost hear a drumroll in my head and then it happens: his suit pants fall to the ground.
Maybe today’s boxer briefs are light gray, like a sporty heather gray, because that would just be…
I grab a random black dress off the rack and dash into the second changing room. As I shut the door, I hear Maisie saying something like, “Boy, I sure could use some help with all these sunglasses, ahem-ahem.” But I ignore it. As the rustling next door continues, I unfasten the knot on my sundress and let it fall from my shoulders, so I’m standing in my bra and panties in front of the very unflattering full-length mirror. I’m hoping it’s unflattering. It damned well better be unflattering. But then I notice a very faint bruise on my hip, in exactly the pattern of his fingers as he gripped me last night. I slide my fingertips along it and turn to warm caramel inside.
“What kind of movie is it?” I ask him as I finagle my hands through the spaghetti straps above my head and tug the new dress down over my body. It’s a size too small and hugs me like shrink-wrap.
“Romantic comedy.” His zipper slides up. “Workplace romance.”
I shimmy into the dress and stare at my reflection. There are times in my life when I am acutely aware of that devil-angel-shoulder situation, and this is one of them. Looking at myself in the mirror, and I can almost see the two of them in position. The devil is a real vixen. Combat boots, and a raspy, sultry voice. No bullshit and a very respectable smoky eyeliner. She likes her music feminist and her tequila straight. On the other shoulder sits the angel. She’s a dead-ringer for my fourth-grade librarian. She smells like mothballs, her lipstick flakes off when she talks, and she’s big into smooth jazz. I hate her. Also, she’s pretty much always exactly right. Double-demerit.
The angel says, “Penelope Eloise Darling. Why can’t you find yourself a nice man with a steady job? That eHarmony questionnaire doesn’t take that long. Just think: you could find a nice Baptist minister in Tallahassee! At least you’d live in the same state!”
I suck in my stomach so hard that I feel dizzy, and try to pull up my zipper. Not even close. I cinch the fabric shut with one hand, suck in harder, and give it a yank. It bites into me, and I stretch the dress to the side as far as I can, testing the tensile strength of 1% spandex to its limit.
The devil takes out her hip flask and downs a pull of tequila while she considers her black nail polish. “Fuck that noise, Pen. You want him, take him. Boom. Done.”
The zipper finally cooperates. I don’t even look like myself, this thing is so tight. I spin slightly and look at my ass, over my shoulder.
Which is when the door squeaks open. I fully expect it to be Maisie, brandishing her Kindle and saying something like, “I knew I’d seen that jawline before,” but it isn’t. It’s him.
“Oh, fuck. Sorry, I thought this was my…” He trails off.
The desire ricochets between us like a pinball trapped at the bottom of an arcade machine. He’s in shorts that fit him like a glove, and a soft navy T-shirt, with a vintage Pac-Man logo, washed out and faded. And he’s found a hat, like a super-stylish baseball hat with mesh on the back. Plus, flip-flops.
I thought he was handsome before, but this, this… Casual, and carefree, and look at those shoulders. Peeking out from the sleeve of the T-shirt is the bottom edge of his tattoo on the curve of his massive bicep.
Here lies Penelope Darling, who died of a swoon.
He lets out a breathy, quiet whistle. “I’m buying that for you.”
The way he talks, that dominance, makes me feel like I’m some new but treasured thing. I’m not used to it, but one thing is for sure: I like it. Except even in my haze, it’s the angel that answers first. “No, no, no. I’ll never wear it.”
“I don’t care.”
Frivolous retail purchases especially for me? “We…should get to work.”
His eyes move up and down over me again so deliciously slowly that I feel a shiver up my spine. “I’ll show you getting to work.” He takes a step toward me, and runs his hand up the side of my dress.
I grab ahold of the hanger rack behind me as my knees start to get a little wobbly. “I’ll take you to the boardwalk first. Rides. Ball-and-hammer. Funnel cakes.” He’s reducing me to bullet points. I can’t even string two nouns and a verb.
He pulls his hand away with a frustrated grunt. “Fine. But I’m buying it for you. No arguments. Got it?” he says finally, and then heads back to his changing room.
The devil turns to the angel, who’s got her lips in a tight, prudish line. But the devil? She gives zero fucks, and she raises her hip flask to me. “Here’s to romantic comedy.”
Toodles, Man Wagon.