Welp, it’s my birthday. More importantly, it’s my GOLDEN birthday. For those of you who are unfamiliar (and if you are, salutations! I wonder if we might get along, because for most of my life, I had no clue what on earth one of these was), a golden birthday is the one time in your life in which the date aligns with the age you are turning. YUP! You guessed it. My quarter-of-a-century life crisis is over. Ages 20 and 25 are both landmarks in the past. I am now officially headed on the path to 30, and there won’t be any looking back. Granted, this is in part because I totally got carded going into an R-rated movie recently and seriously feel great about that.
THAT SAID, I was also called “Ma’am” at work the other day, which might confirm my mother’s inkling that the uniform I wear for my position as a barista is slightly sub-par. Perhaps it’s time for a change there. I’m going to say that that change will likely not involve punching the fellow who said it. Mostly because I like getting paid. Though I did pretty much throw up in my mouth when it happened.
There are, however, nice things about being a grown up, excluding the names you sometimes get called. Things like stinky, runny, melty, gooey brie, and adding fruit, caramelized onions, and avocado to childhood sandwich favorites. Things like looking behind you at hurdles you’ve jumped over and realizing you’ve made it.
I’ve been celebrating my accomplishments lately (read: listening to this a lot). These include, but are not limited to: suddenly being able to do the splits, suddenly binding in baddha padmasana, starting a bunch of graduate school applications, working on my personal statement, mending a handful of friendships, and surprising myself with courage that I didn’t know previously existed anywhere in my general vicinity. And in a multitude of ways!
This is the kind of glitzy, glamorous, perfectly well-rounded sandwich to commemorate such general fantastic-ness. Sure, it requires a little extra love. But a sandwich so grand deserves it. AND SO DO YOU! You might just find yourself toasting up both pieces of bread-because let’s face it, there is NO flipping this sandwich successfully, and that’s okay-and high-fiving yourself for making it happen. Go ahead and thank me, but don’t call me “ma’am” or you will get a pie in the face. You’ve been warned.
Birthday Brie Grilled Cheese with Raspberries, Avocado, and Caramelized Onions
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
sea salt and black pepper, as desired
1 tbsp high quality, salted butter (such as Kerrygold)
2 slices of sturdy white bread (sourdough works perfectly here)
2-4 ounces brie cheese (depending on how much you like), thinly sliced
8 fresh raspberries
1 tsp chives, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced into long thins
3 tbsp Sartori Raspberry BellaVitano (substitute gruyere or asiago, if not using), thinly sliced or grated
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil on medium high. Add onion, salt, and pepper. Stir frequently, allowing onions to brown and become translucent, about 10 minutes total. Every two minutes, add a small splash of water to the pan, stirring to combine. Once onions have completely cooked and caramelized, remove from heat, but reserve the pan for grilling the sandwich. Evenly butter one side of each of the slices of bread. Top the non-buttered side of one slice with brie slices. Evenly distribute raspberries atop the brie, followed by the caramelized onions. Sprinkle with chives, then lay out avocado slices. Top with Raspberry BellaVitano. Meanwhile, heat the same frying pan on medium heat. Carefully transfer to frying pan to grill open-faced. Place both slices of bread buttered side down and cook until the cheeses have melted and the bread has browned. Place the other slice of bread on top of the sandwich and serve.