I’m just going to put this out there – I LOVE INSTAGRAM. I know, i know i know, you’re probably like “yeah, well duhhhh, who doesn’t?” I’m sure we’re all completely aware that it’s like the most awesome thing ever, but recently my love for this little app has increased by like a million percent. Here’s why.
I’ve spent my entire life horrified of the possibility of being scared but also completely obsessed with spooky things. I was the type of kid that rented Goosebumps from the library, proudly carried ’em around all week, ogling at the awesome cover art, only to return them unread because I would get paralyzingly scared of where my mind might wander. If I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I’d sprint. Taking trash out after dark? No effing way. If my mom didn’t go with me, it wasn’t happening. When I’d take off my coke-bottle lensed glasses at night, my super bad vision would create shadows and shapes that looked just like people or creatures sitting around my room, waiting to choke me out in my sleep. Maybe I have a demented mind, well… I’m pretty sure of that, but I’ve just always felt like I was going to get murdered by a scary clown hiding in the bushes or something. I don’t know why or what made me so scared but I’ve just never been able to handle it.
It didn’t stop there though. I’ve been avoiding scary movies my entire life. I remember making the decision that I wasn’t ever going to watching anything scary again. When I was in 5th grade, My older neighbor friend made me watch Poltergeist with her and because I didn’t want to seem like a pussy, I did. What happened after? Well, I ended up sleeping on a cot in my parents room for 6 months because I was 100% sure that I was going to get swallowed up by my closet. I’m still this way. I always check my non-existent NYC closets, under my bed, and behind the shower curtain just to make sure there’s no angry ex-boyfriends psychopaths hiding anywhere.
When I moved to NYC, something changed. Maybe it was the lack of scary bushes combined with constantly lit streets or something like that, but I was no longer scared of possible goblins with giant claws or a vampire with the need to feed. No, instead I decided that it was probably a good idea to focus my fear on real things like the possibility of getting mugged at 4am on Bushwick or some freak show pushing me into the subway tracks when I wasn’t looking. So since it’s Halloween and I’ve realized that I haven’t really felt that scared, panicky, heart beating in my throat kind of feeling in a while, I decided that it would probably be OK if I watched a scary movie… alone… without roommates or friends or a body guard.
And ya know what? I did it AND i slept soundly. I mean of course I woke up in the middle of the night a few times because it felt like someone was standing over me, but I calmly told myself “be chill girlfriend, you could seriously use some beauty rest, you’re lookin’ busted these days” and then there I went, back to sleep, without one horrifying care in the world. So because I’m super excited about this new development, I also thought it would be fun to revisit something else that I hadn’t done in a while. That’s how this pizza grilled cheese came to be. I did one a few years ago [HERE] but I wanted to make a fresh and new one so here it is – a white pizza inspired GC with taleggio, fresh ricotta, basil, spinach, BACON, and some red pepper flaked olive oil all on a sliced focaccia loaf.
Here’s what you’ll need:
– Fresh Ricotta
– Red Pepper Flakes
– Olive Oil
I started with the fresh ricotta because if I hadn’t, I would have seriously just ate the whole thing before the sandwich was event built. I actually have an addiction problem with the fresh stuff. It’s seriously the best thing my body’s ever tasted.
So do as I do, start with the fresh ricotta, and smear on a super thick coat. Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top to make it have an extra pop of flavor.
Now it’s bacon time which I’m pretty sure is everyone’s favorite time ever in the whole wide world. Except for you veggies, I’m so sorry. Y’all should just omit it and then re-evaluate your life choices. JK sort of.
Ok, onto the next step. Basil time! Just add a few fresh basil leaves for some added herbal earthiness.
Pile on a ton of fresh spinach…
Then top with some semi-thick slices of Taleggio.
If you’re not familiar with taleggio, then let me fill you in. It’s a washed-rind cheese that has a texture similar to brie. Although mild to the taste, it packs a super strong flavor and a pretty serious aroma along with a fruity tang. It also melts perfectly and without much heat. It’s the shit.
Since that’s all of the ingredients, go ahead and top your sandwich with the other piece of bread.
Drizzle a little bit of olive over both sides of the sandwich and sprinkle on a pinch of red pepper flakes if you’d like. C’mon, you gotta do it – it’s pizza themed after all!
Now turn your burner to medium and let that baby cook. It”ll just take a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt and the the bread crisps up into an irresistible golden crust.
Once it’s done, take it out of the pan and let it sit for a sec. Because the taleggio melts pretty rapidly, you’ll need to let it sit or else it’s all going to fall out all over the place.
So now that I ain’t scared of nothin’…except creepy babies, mean boys, psycho girls, spiders in my shoes, running out of fresh ricotta, the mad hatter from alice in wonderland, sharks, big snakes, getting frostbit, being trapped in a walk-in freezer, maggots, any bug that eats dead things, tiny cockroaches, big cockroaches, humans dressed up as clowns, people that put a slit in their tongue, zombies, vampires… wait I actually like vampires, never mind, alligators, crocodiles, mean bears, being alone when I grow up, being abandoned when I actually like someone, and the like…. let me know what scary movies I’ve been missing out on!
Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN BABIES!
So here’s my spin…
– about 4 slices fresh mozzarella
– 2 hearty slices of a Bâtard
– 5 slices of sopressata picante
– 1 tbs of red pepper flaked butter
(combine 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
with one tablespoon of real salted butter, MIX)
– 1 tbs of basil infused honey
(fresh basil leaves and tupelo honey, OF
Ok, so I’m totally obsessed with tupelo honey (and it doesn’t have anything to do with my obsession for Van Morrison either. I swear.). It’s the only honey I’ll eat and you might remember it from the Floridian honey mustard that so deliciously starred in The Homebody. I even get my mom (love you mom!) to ship it to to me, because sadly, I can’t find it ANYWHERE in NYC. It’s a bummer. If you don’t have any, you should buy some. Seriously.
To make the basil infused honey, julienne about ten small basil leaves and stir them into a tablespoon of honey. I let the mixture sit overnight to let the flavors of the basil steep into the honey. When I was searching for a basil laced honey recipe, I found that a lot of people said to heat them together but I didn’t think it was necessary. I found that covering the mixture and letting it sit overnight worked wonderfully. After you’ve got your mixture ready, just spoon on about a 1/2 teaspoon (or more, depending on the size of your bread) onto each slice of the bâtard.
Then add a layer of mozzarella. Fresh mozz won’t melt but it will get super stretchy and warm and delicious.
Then add some spicy sopressata. This salty dry meat pairs perfectly with fresh mozzarella because of how moist and mild it is.
And now add on the last layer of mozz.
Then the top piece of bread… AND THEN…
IT’S TIME FOR THE RED PEPPER FLAKE BUTTER. This stuff is for real. It’s super spicy and it balances perfectly with the sweetness from the honey infused basil.
Then turn your burner up to medium and set your sandwich in. The lower the heat, the better. You’ll want to cook it at a lower temperature so the red pepper flakes don’t burn and have a chance to infuse the butter.
Cook it for about three minutes on each side or until it gets golden brown. WATCH OUT though, you don’t want to burn the pepper flakes because they get nasty and bitter and no one wants that.
Before you chow down, let the sandwich rest for a minute so that the cheese isn’t super stretchy and doesn’t slip out when you try to cut it.
So there ya have it. And even though you might not be thinking about bees like I had originally intended, at least I got to talk about them without making people cry. For that, I’m thrilled. Enjoy!