Welcome back, my lovelies! Last week, the topic was “elevated takes on childhood favorites” or “fancy stuff, taken down a notch.” I had so much fun reading your comments on this one, especially because so many of your recipes involved cheese.
There were grilled cheese recipes, macaroni and cheese recipes, and fried cheese recipes. A couple of you were kind enough to point out that there are a few fancy versions of melted cheese on a plate, their names are “cheese crisps” (or “frico”) and saganaki. Sean then pointed out that I should have known that, because I make cheese crisps at least once a month.
In the end, it wasn’t a cheese crisp that won ROTW, but a grilled cheese sandwich. Not just any grilled cheese, but a super fancy and grown-up grilled cheese with Brie, apples, and bacon.
I must applaud Dana Scully on her recipe-writing skills for her very specific instructions. I followed them as close as I could, though I forgot to pick up English Breakfast tea while I was shopping, so I paired this sandwich with gin.
Like Dana, I am a fan of buttering the bread instead of the pan, and have found that it makes for a very buttery, evenly cooked grilled cheese. After liberally buttering my sourdough, I distributed little cubes of Brie.
Then I layered crispy bacon.
Then the slices of Granny Smith.
Then I added a bit more brie and let everyone get familiar with one another and BAM! This beauty was born.
This pile of melty, bacon-y goodness was a perfect lunch for a chilly day. I love anything with cheese and bacon, but the apples were just as important. They kept the whole thing from being too rich, which kept me coming back for more. Good job, Dana Scully.
This week, I'm shaking up the trophy system. Instead of a picture, Dana Scully's trophy shall be a song, and that song is "With a Girl Like You" by the Troggs, because I want to spend my life with this sandwich.
Honestly, I wish I could give each one of you a trophy (and a hug). You've all been doing fantastic jobs with these recipes. In fact, whenever I find myself in a "What do I make for dinner????" hysteria, I just scroll through your comments for inspiration. You guys have really been knocking it out of the park and have made this column a real joy to write. So I'm giving you all a trophy, and I hope you like it.
I would buy you all a glass of blue whiskey, if I could. (Which I'm assuming is "blue label" whiskey, but I'm not really sure.)
Given how well you've done with food, I want to see what you can do with beverages. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but it's a bit cold outside. So cold that there's not much to do besides stay inside huddled around the fire (or radiator) and drink away the frostbite.
I actually don't have it that bad — it's in the 30s and 40s mostly — but it's still much colder than the Florida "winters" that I am used to.
So what I want from you, dear readers, is your best warming beverage. It doesn't have to contain alcohol, but it definitely won't hurt. (In fact, I think I'll choose an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic option for this one.) Feel free to play around with temperature as well. So far, my favorite "drink the cold away" cocktail has been a beer consumed in the bathtub while watching Friends on Netflix. It's not much of a recipe — or a cocktail — but it gets the job done.
Actually — scratch that — my favorite warming beverage is a pour of Pappy Van Winkle (20 year).
ANYWAY. What I'm trying to say is that I'm a simple woman, but my preferences actually don't matter that much as YOU control the upvotes and thus the outcome.
One more note and I'll leave you alone: I know that some readers are outside the United States, so if your beverage contains ingredients not available in U.S., I may have to make substitutions. (But I still love you.)
So have at it! Get me drunk (and warm)!