Editor’s Note: We are taking a break from our St. Patrick’s Day theme week for our Dark Days Challenge entry. This is the 15th week of a 19-week challenge, Dark Days, a pledge taken by 88 blogs spanning the country, to eat one meal a week as sustainable, organic, local and ethical possible. Honestly, these challenges are becoming harder & harder to pull off as we all get closer to finishing off the last of our summer 2010 canned goods, frozen fruits and veggies. Leslie rocked her final meal- way to go! – Christina
This past December, one of our school-age neighbors came to the door selling magazine subscriptions for a school fundraiser. In the midst of a cooking rut, I decided to seek some inspiration and I subscribed to an assortment of cooking magazines. One of them, Taste of Home, has been a long-time favorite that I had recently let expire…oops (still working on that whole organization thing). I happily re-subscribed and, once again, it has not disappointed!
I marked the recipe for “Deluxe Grilled Cheese” well before the Dark Days post was even on my mind. I’ve been experimenting with fancy grilled cheese sandwiches (for example, dijon mustard spread inside with a mix of dill havarti, cheddar, and thinly sliced dill pickles….w-o-w!), and this one was loaded with my favorite ingredients. Once I realized that all the ingredients were in my kitchen and local, it was a done deal.
The bread for our sandwiches tonight was a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, for a soft white bread.
Here are the ingredients called for, and what I used to meet Dark Days criteria…
3 c lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast–exception
1 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt--exception
2 tbsp sugar–I used local honey instead, from Lloyd Spear, beekeeper
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the top crust–I used Amish butter from the Honest Weight Food Co-op
7 cups all-purpose flour–I used half white and half whole wheat, locally ground flour from Champlain Valley Milling
Once cooled, I thickly sliced the bread and assembled my DELUXE grilled cheese, slightly modified from the original recipe (which called for broiling the slices and adding fillings, to cut down on fat…I just brought on the butter and fried ’em up!).
Spread fresh goat cheese (Nettle Meadow Farms) over one side of bread; top with thinly sliced apple (Saratoga Apple) and carmelized onions (Denison Farm); add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese (Palatine Cheese). Top with second slice of bread, and grill it up in some butter (more Amish butter)!
On the side, we had some roasted sweet potatoes (Denison Farm); thinly sliced, drizzled with some olive oil and kosher salt (exceptions), and baked at 350° for about 30 minutes.
I find that often my Dark Days meals are much simpler than they typically would be, if I were not limited by the challenge…depending on the recipe, I would usually add a particular seasoning not locally available, or a splash of lemon juice (if only we had lemon trees…), or a glug or two of sherry for flavor. This recipe, however, was absolutely fantastic, exactly as is.