May 31, 2010

Apologies and Grilled Cheese

I'm sorry I've been neglectful. Here: have a grilled cheese!

I know that I haven't posted anything lately, but life has been truly insane these past few weeks. Without going into too much detail there was an interview that lead to a series of (emotionally draining) interviews that have resulted in a new job. I am no longer at the museum--which makes me very sad--but I am now a proud member of AmeriCorps: I will be working as an AmeriCorps member through the Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation at the Richmond Main Street Initiative. This move was completely unexpected and came to fruitition through the generous, and unwavering, support of my aunt and uncle, and an amazing informational interview with one of their contacts. Negotiating a new schedule at the bookstore (I'm still there because the AmeriCorps position will only last through September), figuring out the logistics of travel and making everything official was a bit of a nightmare, but I am very happy with my new work and the experiences and opportunities that I will gain from it.

And after all that, I will be even more busy until I fulfill my 450 hours of service: a typical day will mean that I either work in Richmond all day, or start at the bookstore at 8am, travel to Richmond at midday and get home around 7:30pm. I am not worried about getting my crafting done (I can do that on the bus and on BART); its just finding the time (and good light) to photograph my projects and energy to write about them.

But I've pulled through it all for what will hopefully be a renewed commitment to sticking to a (semi)regular blogging schedule. And for staying loyal and forgiving me of my brief, unannounced leave, I give you a tale of a delicious grilled cheese sandwich:

I love grilled cheese sandwiches. Just about any kind will do. I, of course, have an affinity for the good 'ol American standby of 2 Kraft singles melted between white bread. This classic of my childhood (and occassional adulthood) will forever remain near and dear to my heart. However, my palette has grown more sophisticated and my urge to experiment with various flavor combinations has grown. I find myself wondering what types of cheeses would taste good melted together between two slices of bread. As I walk home or absentmindedly shelve books I daydream about various pairings of cheese, condiments and bread.

One of my favorite combinations is provolone, chicken breast and a quick, homemade kalamata basil tapenade. And it goes a little something like this:

Two pieces of whole grain bread with a little bit of butter to aid in delicious browning. (Freebie tip: a cold stick of butter rubbed directly on frozen bread results in even disbursement of said browning agent.)

2 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), 4-5 pitted kalamata olives, a generous handful of basil and some vigorous chopping=easy peasy homemade tapenade good enough to eat by itself. But don't; its much better in between melted cheese and crunchy bread.

Open face grilling produces evenly crispy outsides and perfectly gooey insides. I like to set the range to medium heat and cover the pan with a lid; this way the direct heat from the pan grills the bread and the residual indirect heat melts the cheese.

TA-DA: The finished product.
Unlike fast food commercials and recipe books, my cheese does not ooze profusely...but believe me, its more than enough to satisfy any grilled cheese junkie.

Another gratuitous shot for all those cheese and crispy bread lovers.

Now go make your own and be merry!

P.S. Despite the craziness of these past two weeks--and the months to come--I will be able to indulge in some sweet, sweet time off this week. Evan and I are flying to Maine so that he can visit his parents/metropolitan hometown of Monmouth and I can satisfy my appetite for touristy activities, salt water taffy and lobster. A post from Maine to come (most likely when I get back).

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