This is Marie, whose usual contribution to the site is to get something different from my husband so he can have menu envy, or to write about something I cooked. This is the latter option.
Tonight’s dinner was curry apple chicken salad and grilled cheese sandwiches, and it was in no way as plebian as that sounds. The girlchild had her heart set on grilled cheese and soup, so she ate a slightly different dinner (and somewhat inferior in my mind, but she seemed quite satisfied and did have a little chicken salad on the side).
The chicken salad came from a recipe passed on by my aunt. We had our first encounter with the stuff on our honeymoon trip when we were going to spend the evening at her place in Philadelphia on our way to somewhere else. Since she didn’t know when we’d be showing up or how hungry we’d be when we arrived, she felt that it was the ideal thing to have in reserve. She was correct. It’s made with green apples, onions, diced peppers, and of course chicken. The original recipe calls for cooking the chicken by boiling it with a number of vegetables (making a really tasty broth in the process) but we didn’t need quite as much as that would make, so I just cooked a couple of chicken breasts with curry powder (a lovely blend by my favorite spice company, Penzey’s, called Singapore Spice) and let that cool overnight before slicing it and mixing in the diced apples, onions, and sweet red peppers, along with some of the white pepper I bought on our honeymoon. Left to my own devices I would add raisins to the recipe as well, but my family is unaccountably hostile to dried grapes. The salad is quite flexible. Others might add nuts or celery.
The grilled cheese sandwiches were made with some lovely gourmet Gouda that I mail-ordered from a dreadfully expensive but oh-so-good place called Zingerman’s. I think about the only thing that would get me to buy more from them is winning the lottery, because that’s about all I can think of that would let me afford their prices on a regular basis, but boy is their stuff good. I originally tried this particular cheese because I was doing an internet survey of cheeses for my father. He likes Dutch farmer’s cheese made from unpasteurized milk, and I was going on a quest to get him a whole or half wheel of something or other for Christmas. It was quite a delicious quest as it involved trying out a number of cheeses that he might possibly like, but had to be researched first. I knew on the initial order that it was NOT going to be affordable in the quantity desired, but tried anyway, and promptly became addicted. And no, as of yet he still hasn’t had any of this particular variety (at least from me). One of these days, when my willpower is high enough, he’ll get a box in the mail with a pound or two.
Anyway, each time I get an order I discover yet another way in which it is perfect and wonderful, and tonight’s meal was another addition to the list. Melted into toasted bread, in all the tasty variations, is my favorite choice. In this case, I found that alternating bites of the spicy curry and sweet/tart green apple with the crisp sandwich brought out the richness of the warm cheese, and the creamy Gouda made the curry pop. It was an entirely satisfactory meal but what’s particularly good is that some of the cheese is still left for later nibbling.