Last night I had a special treat: I got to see Gloria Steinem speak at the 92nd Street Y.
My dear friend Debbie Phillips of the fabulous women’s network Women on Fire invited me and a few other fabulous ladies to a delicious dinner followed by a heaping helping of empowerment for dessert. (Forgive me my cheesiness, I’m owning it today).
I’m embarrassed to say that because I didn’t purchase the ticket myself, I didn’t look into the actual subject of the talk. As it turned out, the event was a panel showcasing some other amazing women who were part of the Makers project. If you haven’t yet watched this documentary or visited the website, you should relinquish all hope of doing work today and have at it. The site features hundreds of influential women, many blockbuster names you’ve heard of, and many who have changed history in monumental ways without wide media recognition (therein lies the problem, no?).
I was raised by a feminist, who was always going on about the lack of strong female characters in movies and real life ones behind the camera. I’m sure because of my upbringing, every chance I get to be around women in an organized way – through Debbie’s events, and leadership organizations run by my alma matter – I seize and cherish. But I’ll admit, in our so-called post-feminist age, that word has felt a little tainted and outdated.
But after hearing Gloria, the self-proclaimed hope-a-holic, speak with all her poise and wisdom, I’m singing a different tune (and the chorus goes something like this: f-f-f-f-f- FEMINIST. Yeeeeeeah.) Catchy, right?
Ok, sorry to get off topic. But I had to kvell! On with the grilled cheese…
I mentioned last month that I was working on a recipe development project for La Brea Bakery – 5 grilled cheese recipes to be exact. My dishes were all over the culinary map, but his Mexi version was by far my favorite. I had originally envisioned it with this spicy black bean dip slathered on each side. But it’s easy enough these days to buy refried black beans in a can, so why not do so in the name of convenience? I used a can of Amy’s Organic, and it was the bomb.com.
La Brea will be featuring the other fruits of my labor come April, so stay tuned for that. And in the meantime, snack on this gooey Mexi goodness while lifting a glass to all these women who’ve made it more and more possible for us to have our cake and eat it too. And not have to be the one in the kitchen making the cake, though, so long as I had a choice in the matter, I might not complain.
Mexi Grilled Cheese with Avocado, Pepper Jack, and Refried Beans
- 8 slices whole grain bread
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- ½ lime
- 1 cup refried black beans
- 1/2 pound sliced pepper jack cheese
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Toss the avocado slices with the lime juice in a small mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the refried beans in a microwave safe bowl until warm, stirring until smooth.
- Arrange the bread slices in pairs on a cutting board. Slather each piece of bread with a scant tablespoon of refried beans. Arrange the cheese on half of the of bread, followed by the avocado. Top with the remaining bread, bean-side down.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over a medium flame. Brush the pan with olive oil. Cook the sandwiches in batches until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the grilled cheeses to a baking sheet.
- Bake the sandwiches in the oven until the cheese is very melted, about 3 to 5 minutes more.