Fridays with Frankie D: Volume 23
Let us rejoice, weekend warriors. It’s Friday.
I’m going to keep today’s introduction short and sweet because A) there is cheese in your future and I don’t want to keep you waiting, and B) because Frank sent me a sappy e-mail reminding me that this is our last weekend together and I’m trying not to cry.
As he so wonderfully put it, this has been one hell of a ride. A truly epic adventure. I will miss this place, but I’m so thankful for all of the memories (and food) that we’ve made at Club 522.
Thanks for everything, Frankie D. I’ll always be your Sous Chef.
And, because this post is already too depressing to handle, I’ll leave you with this:
“Frank, there was a harvest moon on Friday.” – Me
“I don’t know what that means.” – Frank
“Me neither.” – Me
“So dawn goes down to day, and nothing gold can stay.” – Robert Frost
Although it’s never easy to hear, this has always echoed through the proverbial hallways of life. It’s the chilling phrase; “all good things must come to an end.” Like a 24-hour casino binge, or a party that never seems to end, at some point you eventually need to walk outside, face the rising sun, and utter to any surviving souls, “LET’S GO GET BRUNCH.” Well, FWFD at Club 522 has been our out-of-this-world roll of the dice… but now it’s time for brunch, my friends.
I truly didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I moved in with Alyssa, but damn was it one hell of a ride. It’s always risky living with one of your best friends because it could, and often times does, take a “driving into oncoming traffic” style turn for the worst. Even though you “make bathroom” and sleep 15 feet from each other, even the best of friends can simply morph into distant acquaintances… and this is sad.
Not the case here.
Instead, the Lyss Face Killa and I turned our apartment into our ultimate workspace, where “business” meetings ran late into the night, and our finished product was always coupled with a little (a lot) of wine. Our time here has been well spent. Although I’ll no longer be able to wake Alyssa up by setting the smoke alarm off at 5am while making pizza dough, I know that the dream that is FWFD will never die (and we’ve already discussed getting long distance, high-powered walkie talkies). Like a prize fighter that just went out swinging 12 rounds to be crowned Champion of the World, FWFD at Club 522 ends with a knockout punch… but you know we’ll be back for more.
This week, we chose to create something that is near and dear to both of our hearts – gourmet grilled cheese. After diving face-first into a quality Milk Truck NYC grilled cheese last Saturday at Smorgasburg, I knew I had to prove to myself that I too could create gooey, cheesy magic. Sticking with one of my personal mottos, we aimed to create infinite greatness with limited ingredients, and I know that we absolutely killed it. How do I know? We left our friend Hayley speechless after just one bite of her first melted cheese masterpiece. When she snapped back to reality, she mumbled the phrase, “I’m sorry, I just need a moment, just me and my grilled cheese.” That’s how you know it’s good, people. When your guests need to be left alone with their sandwich, you’ve done something right.
Speaking of guests, all future invitees should take notes from Hay Hay, who showed up to her first FWFD with personal cards, three bottles of wine (aggressive, but I love it), and a box of Magnolia cupcakes. Obviously food is the way to my heart, but cupcakes and wine will also get the job done. Kudos, Hayley. You’ve set the bar quite high.
When Alyssa sent me and Hayley an email about making gourmet grilled cheese for FWFD, I responded with this quote (which also might be read at my wedding):
“When trying to find the words to tell her how much I loved her, I stumbled across the ingredients for grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s when I realized she was the melted cheese to my toast.”
Grilled cheese may seem super simple but, like true love, you can choose to make it as complicated as you’d like.
And that’s what this is. Our true, eternal, love for cheese.
Okay, I guess it is pretty hard to screw up grilled cheese, but I think the ingredients need to be great in order to truly enjoy your finished product.
Bread: We got ours from the Citarella bread counter. Yeah, definitely NOT some 100-year-old bakery, but the bread man was super excited about our grilled cheese project and that’s good enough for me. We went with wine bread, sourdough bread, and rosemary rolls. If you don’t have time to get fresh baked bread, then I suggest going with Martin’s Classic Potato Bread because it is definitely the easiest to grill. (Thanks for following me on Instagram and Twitter, @potatorolls.)
Cheese: Obviously you need to start with the classics — cheddar, mozzarella, American, etc. — but we found a nice smoked chipotle Gouda that really helped catapult us on our journey to Flavor Town.
Spread: A classic mustard will certainly do, but we also decided to get slightly fancy and made a roasted garlic pesto and a fresh fig-and-apple chutney.
Okay, it wasn’t truly chutney since I only cooked it for 20 minutes, but “chutney” sounds way cooler than “sauce.”
Since we don’t own a Panini press — and quite frankly, I don’t know why you would either unless you’re a sandwich aficionado — we just grilled our creations on the grill pan and then finished them off in a 425 degree oven until the cheese was oozing out like molten lava, about to completely engulf and demolish the barriers of crispy bread trying to constrain it.
Some of our fillings included caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, grilled ham, avocado, black beans, and tomato. We ended up making a total of 7 grilled cheese combinations, but the possibilities are truly endless.
Quick Tip: Don’t be shy with the butter, people. Don’t be all like, “Ohhh, I’m going to make a healthy grilled cheese.” Seriously. You’re eating melted cheese. And bread. There’s no “skinny girl” version of a grilled cheese. Slap on your favorite stretchy pants, load up on the butter, and indulge.
Or don’t wear pants. That’s fine, too.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese » Recipe HERE
Here’s to best friends. Here’s to Fridays in fall. Here’s to until next time…
Keep Calm and Dine On,