I'm slowly but surely recovering from sending my oldest baby to preschool last week (cue the tears...again). Each day brings new challenges and rewards, but we are making it through and figuring how routines that work for us. I have often heard parents talk about how their children seem to move at a glacial pace when they need to be somewhere on time. That has been a difficult thing for me and my rocky relationship with early morning wake-up calls. Still, we have made it on time every morning and that, as many people will tell you, is a big win for me. I could go on and on about how wonderful and difficult this transition has been, but I'll save that for my Mommy Stuff page. The last thing I'll say is this: on the first day of school, I came home, put the baby down for a nap, and made myself this delicious grilled cheese sandwich piled with Pueblo chiles from Colorado, my mom's homemade strawberry jam, and not TWO delicious slices Tillamook cheddar cheese. Comfort food central.
Something about melty cheese, my very favorite jam in the entire universe, and locally roasted, gently spicy Pueblo chiles sandwiched between buttery bread helped make everything slow down for a few brief moments. Grilled cheese sandwiches have magical healing power. Of this, I am certain. I am also certain that this feeling that time is moving too quickly will always be there, lurking in the shadows and making me feel like I'm in a car that's moving too fast and the breaks are broken. Realizing this fact may help me to hold on to the small moments and simple pleasures a little tighter. Or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself.
While I figure all of that out, I believe another one of these sandwiches is necessary.
Grilled Ham & Cheese + Sriracha Aioli
- 2 slices white or wheat bread
- 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons strawberry jam
- 1-2 small/medium sized roasted green chiles
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- Begin by heating a cast iron or another heavy pan over medium low heat. I like cast iron because of the even heat and the picture perfect crust that forms on the outside of the bread.
- While the pan is heating, peel and seed your chiles and cut off the stems.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter on one side of each slice of bread making sure the butter reaches all the way to the very edge.
- Melt the remaining butter in the heated pan and, once it has melted, place one slice of bread, buttered side down, in the pan and place one slice of cheese on the bread.
- Place the chiles on top of the cheese, then place the second slice of cheese on top of the chiles.
- Spread the jam on the remaining slice of bread (on the side without butter) and place on top of the sandwich. Press down on slightly.
- Allow the sandwich to cook for about 5 minutes per side, watching the heat carefully and adjusting as necessary.
- Once the cheese is nicely melted and the bread is a deep golden color, transfer it to a cutting board and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before cutting in half.