My favorite recipes: French-onion grilled cheese

So I haven’t done any cooking posts in long time. This isn’t a cooking blog, so it’s cool, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy making awesome food. I wanted to share some of my favorite dishes that I’ve discovered in the last year, starting with …

French-Onion Grilled Cheese

French onion grilled cheese

I found this one in a magazine, and the only thing preventing me from making it every month is the cost. Gruyere cheese is not budget-friendly, but this meal tastes amazing, and you don’t have to be crazy about French onion soup (which I don’t even eat) to enjoy it.

It’s rich, so you should probably only make it now and then, anyway. As you can see from the pic, even the recipe got a little greasy. ;)

Annie’s Eats has a comparable recipe that uses Gouda and Gruyere cheese, along with baguette slices — yum. But I liked it a lot with sourdough bread. Wine is optional.

This is a great pick for fall. You can click the image above to see the full clipping or follow the steps that I’ve copied below.

Prepare the onions:

1. Melt 3 Tbs. butter over medium-low heat in pot.

2. Add 1 medium onion, thinly sliced. Cook and stir until softened, 3-4 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper. Cover.

4. Over medium-low heat, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. About 25 minutes.

5. Increase heat to medium-high, stir in 3 Tbs white wine, scraping up from browned bits from bottom of pot. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Assemble sandwiches:

1. Heat large skillet over medium heat.

2. Spread each side of 4 slices of sourdough bread with butter.

3. Place 2 slices in skillet. Top each with 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, half of onions, and another 1/4 cup grated Gruyere, then bread slice.

4. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and cheese is melted. 3-4 minutes per side. Makes two sandwiches.

Awesome book cover Friday: Company of Liars

Why not start this Friday off with panic and disease?

By checking out this cover of Company of Liars: A Novel of the Plague by Karen Maitland, I mean.

Company of Liars

Here’s a description:

The year is 1348, and the first plague victim has reached English shores. Panic erupts around the country, and a small band of travelers comes together to outrun the deadly disease, unaware that something far more deadly is — in fact — traveling with them. The ill-assorted company — a scarred trader in holy relics, a conjurer, two musicians, a healer, and a deformed storyteller — are all concealing secrets and lies. And at their heart is the strange, cold child — Narigorm -—who reads the runes. But as law and order breaks down across the country and the battle for survival becomes ever more fierce, Narigorm mercilessly compels each of her fellow travelers to reveal the truth, and each in turn is driven to a cruel and unnatural death.

I absolutely love the detail and attention to design in this cover. It’s very symbolic, and it looks old-timey in an England way. Plus, the book sounds awesome. What do you think?

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m heading to a friend’s potluck tonight and then rewatching Judge Dredd on Sunday. Making delicious, delicious spinach and artichoke dip, too, and I printed out a recipe for a peanut butter “cheese ball” because YUM. ;) And playing lots and lots of games because I took on too many reviews as I’m clearly nuts.

Also, our furnace broke in the apartment, so we’re getting that fixed. :( It’s been 10 degrees outside, but fortunately, we’re not freezing to death because at least some hot air is getting through.

What are your plans for the weekend? Enjoy!

A toast to an awesome cooking blogger

Thanks to blogger Sarah for holding a contest and choosing me as a winner of a one-year subscription to Bon Appetit Magazine! There’s little I love more than getting goodies in the mail, except my fellow writers and readers.

Sarah runs an amazing cooking blog over at Sarah’s Place. Believe me, it’s awesome and very non-cook friendly—meaning she’ll turn you into one with her great recipes and pictures of delicious food. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

So stop by her blog and—oh my god, look at that French onion soup. I don’t even like French onion soup! Wowza.

Thanks, Sarah!

Eleven unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

I have a special gripe with Valentine’s Day: Everybody has to express their disgust with it. Believe me, I understand why so many people hate it. I used to be single, too, and for many it’s a painful reminder of a fruitless search for that “special someone.” It’s also an overblown Hallmark extravaganza (but then again, so is Mother’s and Father’s Day) that leads to a lot of mushy rom-coms and diamond ring commercials. But you know what, Christmas is commercial, too, and who doesn’t love Christmas? Scrooges, that’s who.

Okay, there are valid reasons for not liking Valentine’s Day. It can put a lot of pressure on couples to be perfect and extraordinarily romantic—like, of superhero proportions. But some couples prefer to simply crack open a bottle of wine and spend the evening watching their favorite movies.

I just want to enjoy my holiday in peace without having to hear people whine about it. That just spoils all the fun for those of us who like it. Valentine’s Day is about more than cards and chocolates and long-stemmed roses. It’s about taking the extra time to do something special for your sweetie (though you should be doing that all year round)—or the people you love. Elementary school taught us you can have more than one Valentine, after all.

So here are ten ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your better half—or your own wonderful self.

1. Read a book! Big surprise here, huh? There’s lots to choose from—from the romance section to young adult to holiday specials like Love Monster by Rachel Bright. Comics are always a good pick, too. I really enjoyed the NEW MUTANTS #37 Valentine’s Day special this year.

2. Learn about the history. Fact or fiction: People in France and England believed that February 14 was the beginning of mating season for birds, making the day a perfect one for romance? Take a quiz on Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world.

3. Write a love letter. The official National Card and Letter Writing Month isn’t until April, but some are starting the challenge early. February has been declared a month of letters. Not much of a writer? Send a free, classy digital card (much nicer than many e-cards, in my opinion) instead.

4. Play a video game. Twisted Metal (for PlayStation 3) is hitting retailers today, on Valentine’s Day. If you and your snuggle-poo like to play video games together, nothing says love quite like killer clowns and Rob Zombie. You can also get a four-game indie bundle of various PC titles for ridiculously cheap.

5. Make arts and crafts—they’re not just for kids, you know. Check out cool ideas at the Better Homes and Gardens website (like a case wrap for beer or caffeinated drinks, an “I Love You” library card and journal, and 34 other snazzy gifts). The Martha Stewart website has 48 other suggestions, like heart-shaped pot holders and lacy votive candle holders.

6. Concoct and bake your own super candy bar. Blogger Erica at Erica Takes Over the World will show you how.

7. Review ten of the greatest kisses in literature. Perfect for living vicariously.

8. Learn about the Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia, which among other mementos features a smashed garden gnome that was hurled at a car during an angry breakup.

9. Watch twenty-five Valentine’s Day movies for twenty-five different relationship stages. This one made me giggle: “You love Nicolas Cage no matter what anyone says: Moonstruck.”

10. Cut costs with a romantic dinner at your favorite fast food chain, with restaurants like White Castle, Waffle House, Chick-fil-A, and more participating.

11. Take Valentine’s Day less seriously with these disgruntled quotes by famous comedians. Why not?