The melted, soft center and toasted-brown exterior of a delicious Steak and Mushroom Grilled Cheese has all of the best qualities in a single bite; just as being both tender-hearted and open, yet discriminating, can be a good combination for a healthy and balanced life.
One of my favorite things is to discover the soft center of something that has a crisp outer layer of protection that needs some breaking through.
It’s like biting into a warm, freshly-prepared grilled cheese sandwich, with its cheesy, gooey interior loaded with grilled steak and garlicky mushrooms, held gloriously together with its golden-brown and crisply-toasted exterior of good, buttery bread.
Simply delicious and an amazing combination!
It reminds me of the human heart, the human soul, that precious and amazing tender place of reception and potential love, that is surrounded by our physical being, our vessel that is meant to protect it, and keep it safe and intact.
And in the best scenarios, though the human heart (or soul) is protected, it is still reachable, still penetrable by one’s outer experiences, and still able to be moved and be awakened by what is happening around it; there is still an osmosis that takes place where it can easily be affected and molded by what gently filters through that protective exterior.
But when the heart and soul of a human is too padded, protected, and insulated from anything entering into its realm and being-ness, then it can grow hardened and brittle, sad and lonely, unmovable, and the light that once emanated, sadly, grows dim.
The balancing act of life is keeping one’s inner self supple and soft, open and available, to new experiences of all sorts, while still maintaining that flexible barrier with a pliable and porous texture that is simply there only to hold things together in a sustaining way.
It is the beauty of life to be able to have together in one bite, in one being-ness, both a soul that is willing to be tender, loving, vulnerable, caring, merciful, yet strong; and a self-respect that offers outer support and a frame-work that keeps the wholeness wonderfully together, in a healthy way.
It’s like the perfect bite that offers just enough resistance to give texture, yet not so much that one cannot find their way to the “gold” within, that scrumptious and savory middle of melted goodness that awaits to be experienced.
Having a gentle, open, loving, and available heart at the center of our being that is protected by a flexible yet beautifully formed layer of self-care and nurture is like experiencing that delectable bite of something both gooey and crispy.
It is experiencing the best of what it means to be a human being: to be vulnerable yet aware, loving yet self-respectful, and open yet awake.
Taste whats good and pass it on.
Steak and Mushroom Grilled Cheese
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches
• Olive or canola oil
• 3 ½ ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thinly
• Black pepper
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 4 slices good quality sour dough bread
• 3 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter, for bread
• 1 cup shredded gruyere and swiss cheese blend (or other favorite cheese)
• 8 ounces either flank steak or ribeye steak, grilled to medium-rare (or preference), and sliced thinly
(I like to use a common brick wrapped in foil as a “press” when I make my grilled cheese sandwiches; it offers a good even crisping, and some pressure for the sandwich. However, if you don’t have one, just use your spatula to press down on the sandwich.)
-Place a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in a bit of the oil; once it gets hot, add in the mushrooms, and allow them to saute for a minute or so before adding in a generous pinch of salt and black pepper; once the mushrooms become a golden-brown, add in the clove of garlic and stir, and once that becomes aromatic, spoon the mushrooms out of the pan, and set aside.
-To prepare your grilled cheese sandwich, butter one side of each piece of bread, and place the buttered side down so that the unbuttered side faces you; add about ¼ cup of the shredded cheese to the slice of bread, then top with some of the sliced steak, plus some of the mushrooms, then another ¼ cup of the cheese over that; place another piece of bread on top, and butter the side that is facing you; repeat this with another sandwich.
-Preheat your oven to the “warm” setting, or 200° to keep the sandwiches warm.
-To prepare, place a skillet over medium-high heat; once it becomes hot, add in one (or both, if you have room) of the sandwiches, buttered side into the pan, and top with a brick, if using, or press with a spatula; allow the bread to grill on the first side for about 4 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp, then flip and grill the same way, with the either the brick on top, or using a spatula to press the sandwich down, until golden and crisp on the other side, and gooey and melted in the center.
-Hold warm, if necessary, in the oven.
-Slice on the bias, and serve.