A facebook friend who lives in India posted this on my wall the other day: “r u or have u been in India?”
No kidding, it felt a bit like being taken down to FBI headquarters. “Yes,” I felt like replying, “but, I was never a member of the communist party.”
It was the profile picture of me standing in front of the Taj Mahal that gave me away. Admittedly, I look every bit the relaxed tourist waltzing around India without even letting my friends know I am there. Very rude.
Such is the fate of the business traveler – zipping in and out of cities, countries and even sub-continents without the chance to see friends and relatives while you are there. When I was on a recent four-day trip to Delhi (yes, four whole days), I wasn’t going to leave without a side-trip to see the Taj but, truth be told, I was there for approximately 45 minutes. Hardly a relaxing excursion.
People sometimes say things to me like, “It must be nice to see so much of the world on somebody else’s dime.” I guess they are right on one level, but anyone who thinks business travel is glamorous, has never traveled on business.
Last week was no different. New York and Tampa. Waiting in airline lounges and enduring airport patdowns, riding in cabs and more cabs (each and every single cabbie claiming his credit card machine didn’t work), sleeping in unfamiliar beds drinking bad coffee. Yes, it was warm in Tampa (the palm trees looked lovely through the meeting room window) and, no, I did not have time to shop in New York.
After fives days on the road all I wanted was my own bed and a home-made meal. There really is no place like home.
Especially when you have a brand-new panini maker.
I bought mine after last Saturday’s lunch-time visit to Edgar, the hip and happy little place that has just opened up to rave reviews (read about it here, here, here and here. There are links to even more glowing reviews on Edgar’s website). L and I each had a great panino and I was inspired.
Then I had to away for the week.
I could hardly wait. First thing yesterday I bought my own press. And, inspired by a similar sandwich at she eats bears, this is what I made (I opted for multi-grain rather than raisin bread and I added some great artisan bacon from the Piggy Market along with a good dollop of Dijon for extra bite.)
The sharp, salty, five-year old Cheddar in this sandwich played played well with the layers of sweet-sour Granny Smith apple sliced so thinly they almost dissolved into the cheese and the not-quite-crisp bacon. We will definitely make this again. Perhaps when I get back from Toronto, Edmonton and Regina (and please don’t be offended if I don’t stop by; it’s not personal, it’s business).
Grilled Cheddar, apple and bacon sandwich
For each sandwich:
2 slices of good quality multi-grain bread, thickly sliced
A good handful of well-aged Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 (approx) Granny Smith apple, sliced very thinly (a mandoline is perfect for this)
2 rashers of quality, thickly sliced bacon, cooked until almost crisp
Smear one slice of bread with a good dollop of Dijon and add a layer of shredded cheese. Add a layer of sliced apple and then the bacon. Top the bacon with another layer of cheese. Top with the remaining bread and butter the outside (optional if you are using a non-stick panini press).
Carefully flip the sandwich, butter side down, onto the press (heated to medium high) and quickly butter the top. Close the lid and grill until cheese is melted and the bread is nicely toasted.
Note: if you do not have a panini press, grill in a cast-iron pan on medium high heat, flipping carefully after a few minutes. Enjoy.