Poor Michael. What was supposed to be a quick visit to family for a dinner celebrating birthdays (there are three of them this month!) that would bring him back to NYC Sunday morning did not at all happen that way–issue after issue hindered his progress up the Northeast Corridor, and what should be a two-hour trek elapsed into one that lasted six. I knew that I’d have to work to cajole him out of his understandable funk, but I had a few tricks up my sleeve.
Step one: have dinner plans already in place for that night. Our plans for the afternoon consisted of going to Lincoln Square to see an afternoon screening of Valentines Day, followed by grabbing a drink at a nearby restaurant. This of course meant that an easy dinner was absolutely necessary, and while perusing the cheese section at Whole Foods on Saturday, inspiration struck: why not delicious grilled cheese sandwiches?
I’ve alluded to these before as one of the first things we started making together in college on a regular basis, and what struck me Saturday was how much things have changed. Eight years ago we’d have to gamble on whether the Wynnewood Whole Foods would even have the prosciutto we were looking for, and now we’re spoiled for choice between the fabulous imported stuff from Italy or the fabulous domestic hams from La Quercia. Not only that, having an array of goudas before us with varying levels of aging was a far cry from the smaller cheese cases back in the day. So I picked up a nicely aged cheese and some prosciutto americano, and debated on what to have with them.
Which led me to step two: make some roasted red-pepper soup. I needed lunch that afternoon anyway, after all, and grilled cheese feels naked if there’s nothing to dip it into. So I spent a good hour or so chopping, roasting and simmering, and the results were just as delicious on Sunday chilled as they were warm with some leftover young Pecorino on Saturday afternoon.
While Michael didn’t have significant input into this meal, he seemed happy to not have to worry about it on top of all of his travel drama. An unexpected moment of catharsis came, however, when he pulled out his beloved culinary torch to help melt the cheese a little faster. Something tells me he might have been imagining doing that to the broken-down car he was stuck in for so long that morning. But you’d have to ask him about that.
Did you enjoy your Valentines Day?