Since I’ve been back in Florida for about a week and a half now, I’ve come to a startling realization – Florida thrift stores are RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. You’d think that by living in Brooklyn I’d be spoiled by all the secondhand stores that litter lower Manhattan, but nope – not true. Most of the thrift stores in NYC are overpriced, over-picked, and just sort of
sad because I can’t afford anything blahhhhh. In Florida however, the exact opposite is true. The low cost of living and the elderly population here in FL really makes for an awesome thrift market and I just can’t stop buying (and having allergy attacks for that matter, F U dust). But anyways, because I have already filled my suitcase to the brim, I thought I’d focus my energy on something else and make a new grilled cheese that’s inspired by all the vintage and retro things that I’ve found in the good ole’ Sunshine State.
When I was thinking about which ingredients to use, I wanted to pick foods that reminded me of the old days but also were making a reemergence in the hip restaurants of my neighborhood in Williamsburg. So I decided to use kale, beets, and ‘shrooms, because let’s be honest they’re on almost every menu in the ‘burg…
-2 slices of white mountain bread
-1/2 cup of goat cheese
-2 tabs of real salted butter
-2 tbs sauteed kale
-2 tbs sauteed oyster, portabello, shitake mushrooms
-2 tbs diced roasted beets
*I didn’t include the exact recipes for the kale and ‘shrooms on this post, but feel free to refer to the hyperlinks that I’ve connected above if you’re unfamiliar.*
After you’ve got all your ingredients ready, go ahead and dice up a few slices of the roasted beets. I only had red on hand, but it would be absolutely beautiful if you had some yellow beets as well. After you’ve cut them up, stir them in with the goat cheese. I chose this sort of geometric cut because I think it sort of gives a fun vibe and the mixture sort of resembles those old retro jello salad dishes that were so hip in the 60’s and 70’s.
Once you’ve got the beets evenly stirred up, spread the goat cheese and beat mixture evenly onto both of the slices of bread.
Then put a layer of the sauteed mushrooms on top of one of the pieces of bread. I love mushrooms so it was hard to pick just one to use, so I just said eff it and used a mixture of oyster, shitake, and portabello mushrooms and sauteed them in butter with salt and pepper over medium/high heat for about five minutes.
After that, you’ll want to put on the kale. This was my first time cooking kale and it was actually really easy and super delicious. I basically used a recipe I found on the food network and modified it by chopping up some organic bacon, frying it for a minute, and then drained some of the fat but left a little for the kale to soak up for flavor. Once the kale was in the bacon grease (I bought a bag of the pre-cut/pre-rinsed stuff), I stirred it up, salted, peppered, and vinegar-ed it, and added some chicken stock, covered it and let it cook down for like 15 minutes, and it turned out really swell!
At this point, all the ingredients of the sandwich have been used so it’s time to put on the top piece of bread, OH BOY!
Like some of the grilled cheese’s before, this sandwich is pretty big so you’ll want to follow the “big grilled cheese rule”. Add a pad of to the pan, start to melt it on medium heat and put the sandwich on top of the melted butter. Then place another pad of butter on the top of the sandwich to let the heat start to melt it.
Then when it’s ready to be flipped (once that pretty golden brown crust develops) you’ll want to smear the melted pad of butter that was on the top and flip it carefully. I didn’t have a problem with the ingredients falling out because the goat cheese sort of glued everything together but if you do – just basically reassemble and keep going!
When it’s like that on both sides, it’s time to take it off the skillet and eat it!
If you’re feeling nostalgic for a time
that myself and probably most of my readers weren’t even alive for where Elvis was the only king that mattered, greasers and screamers were the bee’s knees, and a hipster wasn’t defined by riding a fixie or for one’s taste for Pabst Blue Ribbon then this is the perfect treat for you!