Another Austin Summer

It's June, which marks my third summer back in Austin, and also the start of 90+ degree days and slightly cooler nights. I'm not complaining (yet). The heat reminds me of that great moment in Atonement (movie, not book, in this case) where Leon says, "What do you say, Cee? Does the hot weather make you behave badly?"

The heat does bring a little bit of mischief, even if it's just staying out a bit later due to those extra daylight hours, sneaking out for gelato once or twice... a week and slightly smaller clothing to combat the increasing temperatures. In a few weeks I'm sure I'll be hiding indoors, thanking my lucky stars for air conditioning. But for now, I'm going to picnic like my life depends on it. And eat more gelato.

Birthday Cake Macaron and Topo Chico from Walton's Fancy and Staple.
Birthday Cake Macaron and Topo Chico from Walton's Fancy and Staple.

A Grilled Cheese Sandwich to Brighten Your Day

This has been a rough few days, people. With bombings in Boston, an explosion in West (a town I make frequent stops in on my drives to and from Dallas) and a bus crash that hit a little too close to home, both personally and professionally, I'm feeling emotionally drained. Combine that with long work days and a traveling husband, and you have one cranky writer who has to fend for herself for dinner. Not a pretty picture. After two nights of frozen chicken tamales, I wanted something different. In a sheer stroke of genius (and Googling), I scrambled together the following recipe, which I've now dubbed the most amazing sandwich I've ever made. This isn't gourmet by any means, but it certainly hit the spot.

Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese with Green Apple Serves 1

Ingredients: 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half 1 tablespoon of butter, softened (or if you're like me, good ol' Country Crock) 2 slices of honey wheat bread 3-4 slices of smoked Gouda cheese Freshly ground black pepper 3-4 thin slices of green apple, sandwich-maker's choice (I think I used Granny Smith)

Method: Preheat skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat.

Rub one side of each slice of bread with the halved garlic, then thinly coat with softened butter.

Place the first slice of bread, butter side down, into the skillet. Top with enough cheese to cover the slice.

Top cheese with thinly sliced apples and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Cover sliced apples with a second layer of cheese and top with second slice of bread, butter side up.

Grill sandwich until golden brown on each side, making sure the cheese is melted. If the cheese is being stubborn, cover the pan with a spare lid while cooking. If that doesn't work, pop the pan and sandwich in a 200 degree preheated oven.

Slice and enjoy!