Kale Grilled Cheese

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Since I spend plenty of time cooking for other people at work, I sometimes arrive home in the evening and wish that someone was cooking for me. When this happens, I make something that is quick and easy — a dish that is simpler than pasta, like scrambled eggs or a pita pizza. If the resulting meal happens to be incredibly delicious and I happen to have the ingredients in large quantity, I end up making it over and over again.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve had this kale grilled cheese four times in the last week! The first time I threw it together and I didn’t think it would be anything special. A mediocre grilled cheese perhaps, but nothing to praise on this website. However, after the first bite, I was surprised and happy. It was way more scrumptious than I had imagined. The bitterness of the kale is balanced by the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes; the creaminess of the cheese balanced by the heartiness of the bread.

It ended up being so satisfying that I immediately wrote out the recipe and vowed to make it again the next day. And the next and the next. This recipe makes one sandwich, but it’s not rocket science, so increase the amount of cheese, kale, tomatoes, and bread to make more sandwiches. Let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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Kale Grilled Cheese

2/3 heaping cup of good white melting cheese (Monterey Jack, havarti, manchego, mozzarella, etc.), grated
2/3 heaping cup of small kale pieces
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of butter, room temperature
2 slices whole wheat bread

1. In a medium bowl combine the grated cheese, kale pieces, and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss everything to mix well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Spread butter on each slice of bread on one side.

3. Place one slice of bread, butter side down in a small skillet. Top with all of the cheese and kale mixture. It will be heaping and seem like way to much, but cheese melts and kale wilts, so bare with me. (See photo below.) Top with the other slice of bread, butter side out. Press to flatten with a spatula.

4. Place the skillet over a burner set to medium low heat. Cover the skillet and sandwich with a lid. Cook for 4 minutes. Remove the lid and press down on the sandwich. Flip the sandwich and cook, covered, for 5 minutes taking care not to burn the bread. Remove the lid, press sandwich down and flip. Cook, covered for 2 more minutes on this side. At this point the cheese should be perfectly melty and the kale wilted. Set aside to rest for 2 minutes, then slice in half on the diagonal and enjoy immediately.

Makes 1 sandwich.

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240 Bottles of Mumm Napa Used at Giants Post Game Party

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I don’t know about you, but I’m super stoked that the San Francisco Giants won the National League Division Series! While we’ve still got to beat the Cardinals to get to the World Series, I believe we can do it, and to show my support I’m sharing the 4-1-1 on how the team celebrates after a win like last night’s: They head straight to the locker room where they open a bunch of champagne and spray each other with the bubbles.

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Mumm Napa is the official sparkling wine of any and all Giants celebrations and the champagne house makes a special commemorative label of their signature sparkler, the Brut Prestige. The Giants originally started shaking things up with Mumm during the 2010 World Series and now they use it for all of the post game festivities. Last night the Giants went through 20 cases (that’s 240 bottles!); after winning the 2012 World Series, they went through 30 cases (360 bottles!).

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It looks like so much fun shaking and spraying the bottles to celebrate that I’ve decided I’ll have to host a shake it and spray it party at some point in my life. Until then, I’ll just pour myself a glass of Mumm Napa and toast to the boys of October. Cheers!

NLCS Game 4

Images courtesy of Mumm Napa

My Favorite Things August 2014

IMG_1521.JPGI can’t believe we are four days into September! I’m kind-of totally freaking out because it’s the end of summer and my birthday is in 12 days. This happens every year around this time, so I’m focusing on planning a spectacular party, enjoying the little things, and am looking forward to the fabulousness that is to come. I’ve taken on a new writing gig, as a contributor to SF’s Haute Living, so stay tuned for some fun higher end stories. That’s what’s on deck for the next month, but before I dive in, I want to share my favorite things for August. Here is what I absolutely loved.

IMG_1583.JPGMeadowood. I spent one glorious night at a two-bedroom suite at Meadowood in Napa with one of my best friends, Sonia. We had the most amazing time. Not only was the property beautiful and the staff kind and accommodating, but the beds were exceptionally fluffy and the champagne perfectly bubbly. From the moment we arrived, I could not stop smiling.

IMG_1582.JPGKrug. Dom Perignon has always been my preferred champagne as it’s what my grandfather likes to have on special occasions. However, after spending an afternoon sipping on Krug’s lovely elixir, it’s quickly becoming a new favorite. Especially the rose – it’s simply to die for. If you ever get the chance to taste it, do it!

IMG_1604.JPGSequin tapestry at Hall Winery. I went wine tasting at the recently remodeled and newly opened Hall winery in St. Helena and was stunned by the architectural beauty of the entire space. The wines were provocative and complex, but what really stood out to me was a piece of artwork in the lobby. It was a giant tapestry of sequin costumes stitched together in the most absurdly wonderful way. I want a smaller version for the wall above my bed in my apartment.

IMG_1682-0.JPGScharffen Berger. I was totally bummed when the Berkeley-based Scharffen Berger sold their chocolate company to Hershey back in 2005, but now I’ve realized it was probably for the best. I went to a tasting where I tried the new flavors from their #wonderfullycomplicated line and I was blown away. My favorite was the dark chocolate with sea-salted pistachio. Accessible and delicious chocolate for the masses? Woo-hoo!

IMG_1516.JPGReading by the lake. Recently my friend Max asked me if I got bored being at the cabin in Arnold by myself with my parents. I was surprised by his question because boredom isn’t something that I allow in my life and because Arnold is the very last place on earth I would be bored. I spent every day doing my favorite summer activity: sitting by the lake reading a book. It’s quite dorky, I know, but it’s nice to have some relaxing quiet down time.

IMG_1448.JPGDahlias. My favorite flower for end of summer and fall is in bloom and I just keep snapping photos of them and arranging them in vases and putting them on my kitchen table. They are just so beautiful!

Party Fabulous: Rustic Woodsy Tablescape

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I recently went to the most amazing party at Meadowood in Napa. It was a croquet tournament hosted by Krug Champagne. After the tournament, everyone set down to a delicious alfresco lunch. While I can not stress how fabulous everything about this event was, there is one thing in particular that I knew I had to share with you: the genius tablescape!

IMG_1609.JPGInstead of using a tablecloth, the wooden table was covered in a handsome, neutral Ikat-print runner. On top of the runner, was a bunch of dirt, branches, grass, greenery, and wooden stumps in various sizes. When I sat down, I admired the table’s earthy chic-ness and couldn’t help but marvel over how truly beautiful the table was – and without a flower in sight! Plus, a bag of dirt from the local gardening store and foraged branches from the great outdoors have to be much cheaper than several bouquets of roses, alstroemerias, and dahlias, right?!

IMG_1598.JPGI was even more impressed when the waitstaff brought out the family style lunch and placed white glass bowls (filled with delectable things like yellow beets with fresh goat cheese and raspberries and crispy garlicky broccolini) on the stumps which now served as stands for the food. I definitely plan on recreating this simple, but refined outdoor (it would be a pain to clean up indoors!) tablescape in the future.

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