I think that everyone over the age of six knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Take a couple of pieces of bread, some cheese and apply heat. Bam. Done. Easy peasy. So when Abbie said she wanted a lazy night of grilled cheese sandwiches and a movie I was more than willing to oblige, despite the fact that cheese is my best frienemy. I mean really; how hard could it be?
Little did I know that catastrophe loomed overhead and if I weren’t so determined to impress my girlfriend with every meal, everything would have been fine. But no, I need to at least try to impress her with everything. The follies of love I suppose.
Let’s start with the ingredients; trust me it’s better this way.
1 12oz block of mozzarella cheese
A few slices of bread
3 cups of spinach
Italian Seasoning to taste
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
Now I know what you’re thinking “Mozzarella?! Spinach?! Italian Seasoning?! This isn’t a simple grilled cheese sandwich! You lied! You’re ruining a classic!” That may very well be true. So now that you’re afraid, and you should be, we can begin with the cooking:
I started off just like I would with any other meal: I opened Spotify and loaded my secret ‘Cooking Playlist’. Good cooking requires good music, or at least a positive attitude. While I lip synced along with some Tracy Chapman (don’t judge me) I dug out my favorite skillet and sautéed the spinach all at once, just until it wilted.Once wilted, I cooled the spinach in a bowl while I went about slicing the mozzarella and placing it on bread; like I would every grilled cheese ever. If you’re like me and have an aversion to things that are even slightly hot, get a bowl and a plate while waiting for the spinach to cool. Once I had these things I cracked open the eggs, placed them in a bowl, and beat until nicely blended. Remember that flour? This is when I placed (dumped) it on the plate. Figuring by now my spinach should be at a ‘safe’ handling temp. I placed the spinach on top of the cheese and sprinkled on some Italian seasoning and complete the sandwich portion (read: covered with the required second piece of bread).
Here’s where things get both messy and the catastrophe comes in:
I poured a rather generous amount of vegetable oil into the spinach skillet, turned the heat to mid and turned away. Then I took my now almost ready sandwich into the eggs to gain a very nice coating. Once coated, rolled it around in the flour to apply another coating. Sounds simple right? Well… it is. Using a pair of spatulas I very carefully placed the sandwich into the now simmering oil. I gave it about 1 minute on each side, removed the sandwich from the oil and placed on a drying rack to cool off a bit and drain off what little excess oil there was. The smell was absolutely intoxicating. Having made four of these sandwiches I assumed I could quicken this process by turning up the heat to High. Don’t do that, ever.
You see the moment I turned up the heat I should have seen my error. I didn’t, so instead I smelled my error. I had turned my back to the stove as I finished coating the final sandwich. What happens next is completely subject to speculation. What I saw was my skillet billowing smoke. What Abbie saw was me trying to burn down our apartment. In reality what we both saw was absolutely nothing. Before either of us could even react the smoke detector was going off and I was making a b-line for the stove to remove my pan of presumed charcoal before it actually did catch fire. Having now made sure that the apartment was in fact not going to be set ablaze I went off in search of the smoke detector to beat it with a broom until it shut up. As I claimed victory over the smoke detector, Abbie opened a window and turned on the ventilation system over the stove. Upon reentering the kitchen I gazed in absolute horror at my favorite skillet as I heard, from behind me, a giggle and then a full blown laugh. Aghast, I turned to see Abbie laughing hysterically her cheeks glistening with tears. Even now, I’m not sure if those tears in her eyes were caused by smoke or laughter… she won’t tell me. Defeated, I hung my head as she hugged me saying there were still three sandwiches.
As we plated up sandwiches and took refuge on the couch to watch a movie, Abbie asked if I would blog about what just happened and if so, would I do it honestly. Here’s about how that went:
“About grilled cheese? That’s a tad silly isn’t it?” I said trying not to make eye contact.
As she tried not to laugh she stated “Well you said dinner with me is always an adventure right? Well this adventure has those dragons you’ve been dying to put in.”
I sighed and tried to focus on the opening credits as she started laughing all over again.
I love her, I really do. I often question why though…