Man, what weekend! Our pizza oven is so close, guys. We worked on it for four hours on Sunday. Dave’s fingertips are covered in tiny cuts. Mine are dry and gross, but I put on work gloves about halfway through because I couldn’t take it anymore. But you know what? We are SO close. We’re almost there. When we finished tonight, the oven was too tall for me to see what I was working on and it was dark, so I don’t have a good photo to share right now. But later, my friends. Promise.
Also, we ate some good food. Every once in a while I get to feeling like i have too many jars, bottles and half-full bags of junk in our kitchen. This weekend was one of those times. So instead of our weekly trips to Target and the grocery store, we picked up just a few fresh produce items and stuck with what we had at home.
The second part of this every-so-often sudden determination to finish what we already have is that it usually is not too accurate – there may be a few nagging leftover olives, or whatever, but we’re not exactly swimming in half-full jars of sauce. So then the second I realize I won’t have time to do a big grocery trip anytime soon, I start having the opposite feeling. What on earth are we going to eat? Nevermind that I have 90 percent of what I usually like to keep in the kitchen. What if I need more marinated artichokes?! I’m sure I’ll think of something.
Speaking of artichokes! In my determination to use things we already have, I made this sandwich. Further proof that either direction that I worry about what’s in the kitchen, it is usually totally overblown.
Here’s what you need for sandwiches for two:
- 4 slices of bread (100% whole wheat please, unless you are gluten-free of course )
- About 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- About 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (the canister kind will not work!)
- 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and stems removed.
- 4-6 artichoke heart quarters, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, sliced – I recommend using a paper towel to dry the slices just a bit
- salt, pepper and olive oil (YES, we are going to salt a sandwich!)
The key to making a good grilled cheese sandwich is to make sure that you actually get the insides melted at the same speed as you get that nice browning on the outside. And that nice browning on the outside won’t come without the addition of fat, so since you’re stuck with it I suggest using something that you really like the flavor of: olive oil or butter.
Start by wilting the spinach in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Just heat the oil in the pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the spinach and stir to coat with the oil, and watch it wilt – this should only take a few minutes. When wilted, pull the spinach but leave the remaining oil. Keep the heat on low and assemble the sandwiches quickly
Layer the sandwiches like this: on top of the first piece of bread, use 1/4 of the total cheese for a bottom layer. Stack the tomato, spinach and chopped artichokes together, and salt and freshly-grated black pepper. Then blanket it all with another 1/4 of the remaining cheese. Add the bread to the top and move sandwich number 1 to the pan, which you can turn back up to medium.
Cooking the sandwich should take a few minutes – you can peek under the bread to see how the browning is going on the outside. If it’s getting brown much faster than the cheese is getting melty, turn the heat down again. Flip the sandwich when the cheese is melted a bit and the color on the bread is what you like. If your timing is off a little, I suggest sticking the sandwich in your toaster oven or a low oven while you prepare the next one.