Book Club- American Girls
This month we read American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. It was a truly eye-opening book about girls between the ages of 13 and 19 and how they use social media. It definitely prompted a lot of discussion in our group and we all agreed it was worthy of a read by anyone and everyone. While it’s about social media, it’s also about the societal pressures girls (and then women) face. I think it’s an important book for everyone to read to really understand gender inequalities in our country. I should warn you that there is a lot of crude and explicit language in this book. While we all agreed it was hard to read about some of these girls’ experiences, we were all very glad we did.
Book rating: Something every adult should read (9/10)
Since American was in the title, I centered the menu around things that seemed like what American girls might eat, with an adult flair. Here’s the menu:
- Nectarine Hand Pies (recipe in the near future)
- Trio of side salads from the grocery store: macaroni, quinoa and broccoli salads
- Grilled cheese, rosemary and apple butter sandwiches (recipe below)
I thought a Riesling would go well with this menu. My husband and I had a Riesling when we were on vacation in Napa Valley that we fell in love with. It’s actually a German wine and is called Dr. Loosen 2014 Blue Slate Riesling. It’s slightly sweet, but not cloyingly so and has a hint of apple. It’s a nice wine to drink alone, especially in the summer. It also pairs well with dishes that have an element of sweetness, or are a little spicy. I found a bottle at Whole Foods for about $23. Later I was pleased to also see it at Costco for only $14! Dr. Loosen makes a number of Rieslings that we love, so don’t be surprised if you see that same name again here in the future 🙂
Wine Rating: Loved it (9/10)
What are some of the books you think everyone should read?
The next book we’ll be reading is The Green Road by Anne Enright.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Rosemary and Apple Butter
Grilled cheese sandwiches seemed like the perfect option for this menu. They seem to me like the quintessential American food but I wanted to make them more refined. I made Apple Butter in the fall and still had some in the freezer. I used that as my starting point and then thought about what cheese and maybe other items that would go well. I decided on Gruyere for the cheese. It melts beautiful and has a wonderful nutty taste that just works in this sandwich. The combination still needed something, so I added fresh Rosemary to the mix. Rosemary is great for home gardens. We’ve had some growing in our yard for a couple of years now and we get a lot of use out of it.
When selecting a bread for these sandwiches, I recommend something hearty but not too crusty. You want something with a lighter crust so that it won’t get hard when grilled, but sturdy enough to withstand the moisture of the apple butter. I chose a thickly sliced French-style bread.
Mix together the apple butter and chopped rosemary. Lay out your slices of bread and spread the apple butter mixture on one side for each sandwich. Next, top each with half of the shredded Gruyere. Put the other slices on top to create 2 sandwiches.
Melt half of the butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Put the sandwiches in once the butter has melted. Cook on one side for about 4 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Don’t worry about using your spatula to take a peak, these are pretty forgiving. Add the rest of the butter to the pan.
Flip the sandwiches and cook for 2 minutes. Now cover with a lid and turn the heat off. This is the trick to ensuring the cheese melts but the sandwich doesn’t burn. Leave the sandwiches covered in the pan for about 3 minutes. They are done with the cheese is melted and both sides of the sandwich are golden brown.
Slice in half and serve. This recipe makes 2 large sandwiches , which is enough for 2 hungry eaters (I made 3 for a book club of 4 people).
- 4 slices white bread
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons apple butter
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Mix together the apple butter and chopped rosemary.
- Lay out your slices of bread and spread the apple butter mixture on one side for each sandwich.
- Top each with half of the shredded Gruyere.
- Put the other slices on top to create 2 sandwiches.
- Melt half of the butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet.
- Put the sandwiches in once the butter has melted. Cook on one side for about 4 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Don't worry about using your spatula to take a peak, these are pretty forgiving. Add the rest of the butter to the pan.
- Flip the sandwiches and cook for 2 minutes.
- Now cover with a lid and turn the heat off and leave the sandwiches covered in the pan for about 3 minutes.
- They are done with the cheese is melted and both sides of the sandwich are golden brown.