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A Special Grilled Cheese for John's Birthday

It's John's Birthday today, and while he might kill me for doing this (if he can catch me), he is 30 today!
I thought I would take this time to tell you a few things about John and why he is an awesome brother: 

1. He fields my various witty remarks (anxiety attacks, pleas for more blog content, harassment about his weekend plans) that I shoot at him via gchat with apparent ease and only occasionally ignores me.

2. John has two general reactions:

Positive reaction: "Great." Sometimes things can be "glorious," and then you know it's really great.

Negative reaction: "S*&T!" The delivery of this remark is always the same regardless of the magnitude of his disapproval. 

3. I can only sometimes detect the fear in his eyes when I tell him my latest crazy scheme.

4. He gives dating advice! My personal favorites are these:
a. Do as I say, not as I do.
b. Do not laugh excessively at a dude's jokes.
c. Stop dancing like that.
d. No fear, naw mean?
Side note: I literally have no idea what he means. Especially about the dancing.

5. Regardless of what is going on, what we had been talking about previously, John will divert my attention to Vespas. I receive links to them all day long accompanied by his Vespa negotiating tactics:

"Let's low ball these people and take no prisoners: We're willing to pay $2400 over 6 months.  Throw in the helmets and the automatic, in-dashboard cannoli dispenser or there is no deal." 

6. He will practice his golf swing, (sans clubs) anywhere. In public, out in a bar, on the sidewalk, etc.

7. My dog, Toby hates him. But John will walk him for me anyway.

8. When I moved back from California, he let me sleep on his couch on weekends for a whole year and hang out with his friends. I got very good at beer pong.

9. He likes to sing "Shout" in public. To rave reviews.

10. John used to eat some weird stuff when he was younger. One of his favorites was, "grilled cheese dunked in yogurt." this was a classic American cheese sandwich which he dunked in Dannon vanilla yogurt as he ate it.


However! I have updated this gastronomic disaster and created something truly delicious. So in honor of John and his birthday, I give you Comte and Scallion Grilled Cheese on Focaccia Bread with Honey Mustard Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

What You Need:

For the sandwich

4 slices Focaccia bread, sliced about 1" thick

Comte cheese, sliced thinly: enough to cover the top of two of the Focaccia slices. I used a "Tewksbury" cheese from Valley Shepherd Creamery that I bought at the Union Square Greenmarket.

1 bunch scallions: chop the white and light green parts only, discard the dark green leaves.

2 tablespoons butter

For the honey mustard yogurt dipping sauce

See this recipe from a previous post about a sangwich.

What To Do:

Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the chopped scallions and sauté until they are soft, about 7 minutes.

Take your bread slices and one by one, dunk them in the pan of butter and scallions, pressing both sides into the mixture.

In the meantime, heat up the broiler of your oven.

Once you have coated both sides of all four pieces of bread, place the sliced cheese on top of two of the slices. Top these cheesed-up ones with the remaining two pieces of Focaccia and let simmer in the pan for about 2 minutes. Flip and simmer another 2 minutes for the flip side.

By this time, your broiler should be nice and hot. Transfer the sandwiches to a cookie sheet and pop them in the broiler so they get nice and toasty. But watch out for that broiler - don't let your cheesy masterpieces burn!

Remove from the oven and serve immediately with the honey mustard yogurt dipping sauce on the side.

Finally, in honor of John's birthday, we are giving away a prize. All you have to do is wish John a happy 30th in the comments of this post and you will be entered to win a prize.

What is this prize, you ask? John was recently in Italy and brought back another jar of this fabulous herbed sea salt.

We will randomly choose one commenter and award him/her the prize!

Happy birthday, little bro!

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    Celebrating birthday of your loved ones with their favorite food is a very nice idea and I am glad to find recipe for yummy grilled cheese. I will try this recipe some variation as per availability of ingredients. Thanks
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    John and Elana Talk About Food - Blog - A Special Grilled Cheese for John's Birthday
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    John and Elana Talk About Food - Blog - A Special Grilled Cheese for John's Birthday
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Reader Comments (17)

Happy birthday, John. My son likes peanut butter and jelly with a slice of American cheese.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy (Too Timid)

Happy Birthday John! Elana, your brother sounds almost as great as mine. Almost...

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa


April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTHE BOX

Happy birthday, John! And no offense, but I much prefer Elana's version of the grilled cheese and yogurt dip (although I appreciate your creativity). Looks great.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfreshandfoodie

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with pizza, grilled cheese and yogurt and golf (even if it is just practicing your swing in the office)!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren Biczak

Happy birthday neighbor! Elana-OMG, You crack me up!!!! I love the old pics, esp the one of you and John on the step looking disgusted at him. I can say that I have witnessed the "S*$T" "Glorious" and the golf swing (san clubs) on many occasions-and they truly are John-isms!!! Love it! I hope you BOTH have a happy Johns b-day.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Hartmann

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!!! Enjoy! How perfect that April is National Grilled Cheese Month!! oo la la

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeg Low

Happy Birthday John! You two crack me up every single day and I thank you both for that. 30 is awesome. Enjoy!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Happy 30th John! I too have heard "glorious" on many occasions mostly referencing what the weather is like when he makes it outside mid-afternoon... and I have also seen the golf swing in the back yard! See you guys soon :) Elana... great blog today!

Happy glorious #30, John! In your honor, I will dip my Kraft American on Wonder Bread GC sandwich right into my Chobani yogurt (updated tweak). Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, hope you manage to stand somewhere pretty grand (top of a monument?) and swwwwiiiinnnng!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJune

Wow! Tremendous comments from everyone. Thank you all so much for the wishes. Elana, nice little stunt - you clever sneaky snake! But thank you, as well. I have indeed retrieved some gourmet salt from Italy, and will be sending it to one of the commenters soon enough...

Thanks again.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohnandelana

He also comes directly over at 9:00 at night to move a bookcase for his friend's pregnant wife. Happy birthday, John! You're the best!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

You guys are too cute. Happy belated Bday.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermelanie paykos

Happy Birthday! If you guys take pictures, be sure to say (grilled) cheeeese!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa Floriani

Happy birthday John! Enjoy reading your blog every day--it is funny, clever and informative.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan B

I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? whether way keep up the nice capability writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichal Trojacek

Thank you so much! The template we use is a free one from Wordpress. We just added our own header graphic to personalize it a bit.

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohnandelana

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