Chicken, Fig, and Goat Cheese Pressed Sandwiches, Brussels Sprouts, Arugula Salad

You’d think the pressed sandwiches (I’m intentionally avoiding calling them panini because I’ve decided the Italians didn’t invent smooshing stuff inside bread with heat and pressure) would be too moist, but they actually held up way better than my usual attempts at melding cheese with non-cheese.  I think next time (who am I kidding – I never repeat recipes, if you could call them that) I’d add a few pieces of shallot.

The bread is a standard Trader Joe’s brioche.  Having lived in France I’m of course not immune to the self-loathing we all experience when buying baked goods at a grocery store (Harris Teeter’s La Brea, I’m looking at you), but as far as locally available brioches go I don’t think those at TJ’s are all that bad.

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Anyway, the goat cheese is more a triple-cream cow’s milk in texture and flavor than your standard goat.  I suppose there’s not a “standard goat,” but you know what I mean.  What I’m saying is that it’s not very goaty.  I didn’t realize this going into the panino (Damn! There’s not a better word…George-Foreman-Wich?), though I have no regrets.  My mother is supplying Eats Meats West with four varieties from Cowgirl Creamery, this (Mt Tam) being the first and least pungent.

The arugula salad has a simple Dijon vinaigrette.  On any given day, we have at least three nearly empty bottles of Dijon mustard in the fridge.  I don’t know how that happens, but it does.  It’s something you can count on, like the F train – oh wait.  Let’s just put this out there: I’m not usually a big arugula fan; I think its flavor is overrated, the texture is nothing special, and it’s hard to spell.  For the effort of munching on leaves I’d rather have something more interesting like endive, radicchio, or dandelion greens.  Plus, dandelion leaves remind me of running around in the yard playing Power Rangers.  That’s how salads should be.  We predictably have arugula in stock because J recently discovered that when mixed with goat cheese and mushrooms, it’s not that bad.  This discovery, being the only salad J has ever endorsed, of course came originally in the form of a pizza.  Nevertheless, I’ll take my victories where they come!

The sprouts are just sauteed with some salt and pepper.  Brussels Sprouts could read the phone book, and I’d be happy.

Oh, and the wine.  I only recently realized that I never mention the wines.  This particular quantity is what my friend D would term “an ambitious glass,” as in, “I have a glass of wine every night,” which makes you seem both healthier and classier than your average drunk, ambition-lacking as they may be.  To spell it out for you: there be a lot of wine in that glass!  It’s some random Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine I grabbed for $10 at Heights Chateau. I admit it was a panic purchase after not finding my usual $14 Long Island traminette whose name is escaping me at the moment.  You know what I mean: You pace along the aisles scrutinizing the labels, patiently waiting for one to pop out and say, “I don’t look cheap even though I am!”  In a French, though not Parisian, accent.  If you’re like me, than 80% of your wine purchasing decisions are based on avoiding the inevitable (though perhaps made up) looks from the otherwise friendly sales people, whom I imagine to be Harvard-class oenophiles.  What would be the Harvard of oenology?  I’ll let you know when I make my first case purchase.

Oh, and yes, that’s how you spell Brussels Sprouts.  I looked it up too.

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