Cookbooks have become one of my favorite Christmas gifts to receive. My family too loves seeing a specific book request on my list because my husband and I are notoriously difficult to buy for. Usually I’ve read something about the book and researched a little bit, but this year my smart and beautiful friend Rochelle surprised me with a little volume entitled Grilled Cheese: Traditional and inspired recipes for the ultimate toasted sandwich by Laura Washburn with photos by Steve Painter. Being the girl-about-town that she is, Rochelle was shopping at Sur La Table when one of their Chef Trainers raved about this cookbook, and Rochelle–who knows my love of cheese–bought it for me. It’s taken me a few months to make something from this slender tome, but what a delicious sandwich it was! For lunch today, I made the Balsamic Mushrooms and Fontina sandwich, sort of. I almost always go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and today was no exception. I had a list with me, but I was also thinking about luncheon on my way down the street. Inspiration hit me when I stopped at the La Farine stand and bought one of their sourdough rye loaves, my favorite sandwich bread (ciabatta is a close second). The mushroom lady was right across the aisle, so I visited her too. Proud of myself for my forethought, I returned home and suggested the lunch idea to my husband. He mentioned that we could also go out to lunch since it was such a pretty day and we were both clean. (Saturdays are pretty labor intensive for us, but we both had work obligations that forced us to shower this morning.) He then went out to work in the yard while I finished up some lesson plans. As lunch-time grew closer, I decided to just cook. I sliced up the shallot and my fresh mushrooms. I sauteed and grated. I buttered and grilled. We didn’t have fontina in the fridge, but we had gruyere. Not the same–but still excellent. Tom came in, washed up, sat down, took a bite and said, “what a great sandwich.” He took another bite and said, “If we had gone out, we wouldn’t have gotten anything nearly this good.” I beamed. Too bad I forgot to turn off the burner because I melted my spatula.