Between two bread slices lies a solution for everything, you guys. And by “everything” I mean “mostly hunger,” but, sshhh. We’ll get to the rest in due time (as in, I have a cocktail post for later this week). Life is mostly chaos and weird feelings and hot beverages flying straight onto your pants on a Tuesday morning, but sometimes… Sometimes, you get to eat a sandwich, so let’s keep hustling, #makeitwork, and always buy black pants.
…And black sesame to match. Right? Let me tell you about this grilled cheese sandwich.
I imagined this flavor combination every which way that is humanly (or robotically, I guess) possible. Obviously, I settled on the easiest and simplest route to enjoy peaches, miso, and black sesame simultaneously, because: (1) it increases the odds that somebody will actually make this, and (2) miso and black sesame compound butter = OMB. (Oh My Beyonce, obviously.)
I’m probably not your go-to gal for meat on a stick, cooked over an open flame. It’s okay. I’m actually spectacularly bad at this type of thing and am sporting a sweet burn on my arm to prove it.
BUT, we all have our primitive moments. Like eating uncooked oatmeal and milk like it’s cereal. (Except we call it raw oat porridge and pretend we’re Gwyneth, right? Ugh. Everybody needs a hobby, lovelies.)
Should you be wondering–it’s actually not bad.
Of course, spicy, sweet, char-marked chicken and juicy peaches, served piping hot with lime/cilantro freshness on top and a cold beer for your sweaty I’ve-been-grilling forehead? That’s better. Much better.
Like anybody else with good intentions to occasionally unplug from online media and all that, I have a stack of
leather-bound books on my nightstand of rich mahogany.
Most of them are there to be read, and stay there longer than I’ll ever admit. One, however, is a most special little snowflake that I need within arm’s reach when my mind wanders the most: when I’m supposed to be sleeping, of course. I have indeed sprung out of bed and gone searching for the Flavor Bible often enough to necessitate keeping it close by. It’s an encyclopedia of flavor pairings, essentially, that inspires me with recipe ideas and helps me out when I almost have an idea cookin’ but need an extra shot of good-idea juice.
It’s great for those times I’m basically Lou Pearlman assembling the next hot boy band and I’ve already got the Cute One, the Bad Boy, and the Shy One. The Flavor Bible sometimes brings me the wild card (i.e. The One With Dreadlocks).
Sometimes, though, it stuns me with something entirely fresh–something I’d never think of. When I was recently scanning it for ideas on what to do with plums, I saw a suggestion to combine them with bay leaf. What/huh/yes. I’m so into it.
I’m starting to think that that kind of bedtime reading is way too electrifying. I might have to switch to those Game of Thrones books.
Naturally, I ran with this plums-and-bay-leaves idea and made us ice cream.
I know I always say I don’t “do” cutesy. It’s partly a reflection of my personality/style, and partly because I’m too lazy/imperfection-loving (is imperfectionist a word?) to worry about things being just so. If you ever see me use tweezers on anything that isn’t a splinter or my eyebrows, please know that I am Not Myself, take them away, and buy me a Groupon for some alternative method of facial grooming. It’s just that I trust you–and that comes with certain duties.
So, this 6″ mini-cake isn’t cutesy. It’s practical. A perfectly-sized little fella of a cake, for a perfectly small and relaxing birthday celebration for your smartest, kindest, prettiest tax accountant rockstar friend. (Hey girl!)
What we have here is fluffy white cake, brushed with Maraschino liqueur syrup, filled with generous heaps of fresh-cherry-and-Maraschino mousse, and frosted with–get this–a buttercream that DIDN’T make me want to set my kitchen on fire and drive off into the sunset with “Everybody Hurts” blaring, a la Dwight Schrute.
More on each of those things below. (Except REM; I don’t think I have to explain myself there.)
The sneaky thing about moonshine is that its resurgence, on the surface, could seem like some sort of hipster practical joke.
“WHO CARES if this curly handlebar mustache is pretty much a ‘do not pass go, do not collect $200′ card for my face? It’s old-timey. And who cares if moonshine tastes good? It’s a rediscovered gem of Americana.”
The mason jars don’t help. Moonshine could be the (much, much higher-proof) PBR of the South.
There’s one important difference, though. Unlike PBR, which is for hydrating and keeping your wallet happy, moonshine can be–and often is–really delicious.
Because of its history, we don’t expect moonshine to be any good. Desperate times, desperate measures, and you know the rest. I won’t lie–I braced myself for my first taste of it. That was in Portland a few years ago, now that I think about it, which makes my point about moonshine’s hipster cred extra valid. Valid+. Valid with a bird on it!
Moonshine is unaged bourbon, and begins its journey the same way: as a mash of corn, mostly. As with whiskey–or anything else in the world of spirits–if your distiller takes pride in it, you’ll have something special in your glass. Luckily, Seven Troughs, right here in the greater Reno-Sparks area, is one such distillery. I got to visit not too long ago for a quick tasting and tour. Craft distilling is still new to the area, so it’s rather exciting to see it start on such a great note.
Happy birthday, America! My goodness. You don’t look a day over 237.
Speaking of the ol’ U.S. of A., you guys… Is it too late to Photoshop out the greenery in that background? It’s really killing the red-white-and-blue-and-chocolate vibe I otherwise would have had. We need Captain America back there instead. Or Louis Armstrong and Neil Armstrong high-fiving each other. Or a bald eagle eating a cronut.
I don’t know what I’m bringing to the July 4th party next year, but I’m thinking there will definitely be a collage involving hybrid desserts and jazz musicians.
This year, I just have this ice cream. Smooth, dark, smoky-salty chocolate ice cream, with ripples of spicy and bright raspberry. It’s not exactly polite, refined vanilla. It might punch you in the mouth, in fact–but surprisingly enough, you will keep eating and wonder why you ever wasted your time with boring old soft serve.
It’s also not exactly … traditional. But in my defense, the American spirit is wild, young, relentlessly individualistic, and not entirely subtle.