There is a space in the sky that sits in that cozy spot right before the sun dips and disappears into a different world. We call it dusk but it’s a small word for how the world catches fire for a split second before it gets dark and we all settle in for the short period of rest. It’s the tiny area right above the horizon. The distance can be not-so-accurately described as “the space between your thumb and index finger when you’re trying to show someone how big 2 inches is”. Is this making sense? I’m trying.
When it’s clear enough up there, you can’t see any stark differences in colour on the world’s roof. It’s mostly all light, with a smattering of clouds that float on by changing shapes and just doing their cloud things like going to cloud work or cloud football games. This is summer light in the Pacific Northwest. When the world starts to spin differently come September, the sky gets heavy. The clouds are endless. Everything is grey. I’ve heard this term “marine layer” but as I write this, I’m not sure if it’s the same. Our clouds promise rain. Sometimes it’s a light mist and other times it’s endless, small drops that get bigger and then small again. The ground stays damp. It’s cold and it’s not a season for everyone.
But sometime the sun come out for a brief peek, just to see how things are going. Then it goes again. That space above the horizon remains waiting for its moment. Then at almost dusk it happens. It lights up like fire while the rest of the sky stays grey. It’s just a sliver but I’ve seen it with crazy eyes and much joy. It turns blue and pink and red all at once. It’s almost a promise that the cold will end and very soon, it will all be light again. It’s taken time but I’ve finally grown to appreciate this magic and poetry from that little space in the sky.
Apple and caramelised onion grilled cheese sandwich
This is one way I saw fit to use up some of the apples that grew on our tree. Last year, all we did was felt helpless and overwhelmed with all the fruit that was coming out of one tiny tree. It was my first experience with an apple tree so forgive me for my waste. I ate a lot of them after leisurely walks/runs/sitting down sessions. I recommended using brie because it’s the perfect cheese for these ingredients but it’s not as easily available all over the world (including India) so my next choice is cheddar. Or you know Amul cheese. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re happy.
- 475 gms/1 lb red onion, cut into half-moon slivers
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Your favourite sourdough bread
- Olive oil or melted butter, to grill the sandwich
- 2 small red apples, sliced in to 1/8 inch thick rounds
- A wedge of brie, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
Place a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat and add the butter to it. Once the butter melts, add the onion slices and stir them until they’re coated. Cook the onions in the butter, stirring occasionally so that the onions brown evenly. This whole process should take 30 minutes (sometimes more. Trust yourself). The onions are ready when they turn a deep brownish-purple and have some crisp edges. Sprinkle the chilli powder and pour in the apple cider vinegar at the end. Mix well until the vinegar evaporates/coats the onions. Transfer the onions to a small bowl. Scrape whatever bits of onion remain on the skillet and leave the skillet unwashed for grilling the sandwiches.
Brush the outside of the bread with butter or olive oil. Lay them buttered side down on a plate or cutting board. Layer one slice of bread with brie to cover the entire face of the sandwich. Top the brie with some of the burnt onion and spread it evenly. Next add a single layer of apple rounds and top the apple with more brie, if you prefer. Place the other slice of bread over its loaded new partner.
Put the skillet back on the stove on medium-high heat and cook the sandwich once on both sides, pressing down with the back of a flat spatula. Let the outside of the bread turn a deep brown colour and crisp up. It’s also important that the cheese melts. This process may take less time once the pan gets hotter with each sandwich you make.
Serve warm with hot soup or on its own.