I had spent the day fantasizing about making some brussel sprouts or fava beans. They're on my mind from a weekend of food related chat and produce ogling in Lake Tahoe. Eating some tasty brussel sprouts at Chef Johnny Almamilla's Mar y Lago kept the veggie passion burning (more on the Mar y Lago meal soon).
Reality check. Bad news messes up menu ideas, pronto. Towards the end of my workday, I was told some upsetting information, which altered the night's meal plan dramatically. Eating a healthy green salad or artichokes with lentils didn't excite me one bit. No. I craved ooey, gooey, cheesy greatness in the form of a Pyramid Valencay grilled cheese sandwich ($16.50 for nearly 11 ounces).
According to the Le Village website, "this cheese from the region of 'Berry' was originally shaped like a perfect pyramid. On his return from the disastrous campaign of Egypt, Napoleon stopped at the castle of Valencay and seeing the cheese that reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids, drew his sword and chopped off the top. When making a Valencay, the drained curd is cast in a mold. When removed, it is covered with salted charcoal ashes, and ripened in a well-ventilated room at 80% humidity."
The cheese has been nestled in the fridge ever since I went to the Made in France Le Village warehouse sale and blew almost four hundred dollars. We are trying to work our way through all the duck, cheeses, and pate. Strong cheese and cured meat smells escape when the door is open. The Pyramid Valencay is the likely cheese culprit. When I pulled away the wax paper, I noticed white mold spots on the bottom. I sliced all the charcoal ash off, and tasted some. It was firm, tart, creamy, and had a mildly pungent aftertaste. This was going to be goooood.
I pulled a small cast iron skillet out of the oven. Turned on the flame. I like to use butter or extra virgin olive oil when making a grill cheese sandwich. There's something about the way the oil seeps into the bread that makes it taste wonderful. After a swirl of oil, I put a slice of wheat bread down. Then I layered thin sheets of cheese, on top of each other, and topped it with another slice of bread. As soon as I smelled the bread browning, I drizzled more oil on the top slice of bread, then flipped it. Depending on the cheese, I sometimes cover the skillet with another skillet or lid, so the cheese can melt. I didn't cover this time, and noticed the cheese wasn't fully melted. Into the microwave the sandwich went, for twenty seconds.
I savored the bubbly, scrumptious slice of heaven. Some cider or Sancerre would've tasted good, and complemented the cheese's tart pungency. Making and then eating the grilled cheese comforted me, and calmed me down. Nothing can be that bad, when your belly is full of good food, right?