October 26th, 2007


it's not easy being cheesy

so... tonight was the first NorCal Grilled Cheese Invitational - grilled cheese sammich cookoff, here in Oakland!

they've done it for two or three years down in socal but this was the first one up here. I'm not a gourmand (I'm really still just learning my way around a kitchen) but as soon as I heard about the contest I just had to enter.

I had these awesome miniature portobello mushrooms which I'd roasted in the oven, with good olive oil, salt, and cracked black pepper, which turned out really delicious. I figured I should be able to build a sammich around them.

next, I went to a local gourmet cheese shop, explained my project, and asked for their advice. I talked to the staff, tasted a bunch of samples, and wound up going with a fancy testuno de barolo - a delicious aged cheese flavoured with grape must (the stuff that's left over from winemaking) so the cheese tastes like red wine, along with it's own aged cheese flavours. incredible!!!

I crumbled it (as is its wont) and blended it with a grated asiago (a mellow, younger and softer white cheese - almost like a more technical jack) for meltability, and added my roasted portos, plus garlic chives (which I grew myself on top of the fridge, under our rad kitchen skylight.) the bread was a locally baked sourdough, and I used organic butter as the "skillet lube". Jovino helped me out immensely by managing the grilling. I'm really glad he did - I would have probably pulled my sammiches off the grill too soon (before the cheese was fully melted!) he was totally not afraid of that - he left them on for the perfect amount of time.

my lil' sis Bethy (a Dr from Iowa!) and her husband Tony (also a Dr from Iowa!) happened to be in town for the weekend, and we invited them to come out for the GCI. they had a great time - they said they'd never seen anything like it (which I totally believe, since *I* had never seen anything like it either!) %-)

the grilling took seemingly forever, and the judging took forever and a half! I was pretty much ready to go home, but I had to wait for the results. tick... tick... tick... finally, they announced my category. 3rd prize - a friend who is a total foodie! at that point, I figured I had to be out of the running, so I relaxed. after that, I was barely listening to the announcements. imagine my surprise when they announced first prize and called my name!

Jovino hugged me, and I went up to the stage, in shock. (at least I didn't cry like a beauty pageant girl.) I grabbed my trophy and whooped!


I've NEVER won anything like this, and I have to say, I'm pretty stoked! I almost thought it was a dream. I do have to admit it was a delicious sammich. there's no way I would have won it without Jovino's help. he is the master griller!

so, now it's time for me to head to bed, for some real dreams. :-) I hope some of you reading this will be able to join us for our Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Meeting on Saturday night (aka zombie film festival/marathon) need deets? comment here, call me (@ 4one5 sixnineninie4DJM (4156994356yo); talk to Jovino, or contact us through whatever means works for you. hope to see you!

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    happy victorious