The lowly cheese sandwich
Everyday I bring my lunch unless I have a lunch date out, but that is pretty rare (once a week or less). I have discovered that I enjoy eating office temperature meals that I can easily halve so I have lunch #1 around 12:00 and lunch #2 around 15:00. The happiest lunch for me these days is a simple cheese sandwich. I love that the cheese sandwich is so flexible and can usually stand being at office temperature for a solid part of the day without starting to smell funny (unless it’s a funny smelling cheese, in which case it’s ok to smell funny).
I have tried making other kinds of sandwiches for lunch at work, especially various deli meats, but have found that cheese sandwiches suit me much better. When I started making them, I would eat quite pitiful cheese sandwiches that were just two slices of wheat bread with two slices of pre-sliced cheese inside. Very pathetic, really. These days, I have been buying some nice bread and using high-quality cheese that I slice each morning with a wire. And where else to get these things, but the local farmers markets that the local cheesemakers and bread bakers frequent!
It’s taken me a while, but I think I can finally say that I have embraced my Northern Californian lifestyle and become a fervent farmers market lover. If you know anything about the food markets here in the Bay Area, it is seriously all about the farmers market and eating fresh and local. People are crazy about everything from broccoli to eggs to chocolates. They develop relationships with the people who sell them their food every week and they look forward to seeing what is freshest that week.
When it comes to Bay Area breadmakers, Acme Bread Company is pretty much the power player. I bought several mini-loaves of herb ciabatta. Maybe I’m just buying into the hype, but I do love this bread. It has a light, airy crumb, a little chewiness to give your mouth a workout, and the herbs aren’t too overwhelming, but at the same time they are present and give off a lovely aroma. Mmm… oh bread. I love you. I can’t do this low-carb thing, I swear!
Now, this is actually the first week that I have ever bought cheese from the farmers market here in CA. I used to occasionally buy cheeses from one of the small weeknight markets in MA, but I stopped buying market cheese completely when we moved here. For a few bucks, I got a white, square block of Dutch-Style Gouda from the Bravo Cheese stand. It is soft, creamy, and made from whole raw milk. I don’t eat a whole lot of cheese, but I do have a slice just about everyday for lunch. It’s one of the only dairy items in my diet since we don’t typically drink animal milk or eat yoghurt.
So yes, now I have the bread and also the cheese. Let’s put this cheese sandwich together!
But wait, this sounds a little boring, just a roll with a slice of cheese in it. Ah, then I should also let you know that I typically spread a flavoured hummus on the inside (this week’s is spicy hummus with red pepper flakes and jalapenos) and then throw in whatever greens I have fresh at home (spinach leaves this week).
And there we have it, my lowly cheese sandwich of herbed ciabatta with spicy hummus, fresh spinach leaves, and dutch-style gouda. I will eat another such sandwich every day this week, adding or omitting ingredients as necessary. Combined with a piece of fruit and followed by a cup of tea, this is a simple but very satisfying lunch that I look forward to each day. Ha, well, I eat it twice a day since I split my lunches. Ah yes, something to look forward to, twice in each day.