Another dinner-time story.

Tonight was a game night; which meant four friends plus my SO and myself for dinner. Typically I “say” I only spend about $5 a head for such a meal. The ground rules are simple. Bring food to supplement the meal, or give me $5 to cover the cost of your portion. I gave up costing out these meals when I realized that I wanted to cook elegant food.

But tonight I opted for something simple: Monterey Jack cheese with Jalapeños and steak sandwiches with homemade tomato & bell pepper soup.

First, the bread.
She was tired from being fresh yesterday, and didn’t really react until I cut and tore her wide open. Only then did the reminder of her tantalizing fresh smell fill the air. She was crusty to begin with, but now the crust was thickening and she was hard to cut. I tried to sweeten her up with a light coat of grainy mustard; the yellow and brown seeds glowed on her pearly-white insides.

Then I covered half of her with a luscious white blanket of sliced Monterey Jack Cheese. This was, however, a sultry blanket that had pockets of Jalapeño in it. I could tell it was a good match at once as the blanket completely hid her smell and the bread seemed to snuggle-down under its weight.

The steak was read with envy. Cut thin, I knew it was going to shrink on me. In fact, I was depending on it. I threw the steak into a hot grill pan, flavored slightly with a thin spray of olive oil, and proceeded to ignore it as the steak hissed and spat at me. When the spitting got too much I put a cover on it and waited until the steak started to weep before finally giving it my attention.

I turned it and the weeping continued. When it was evenly gray in color, and the pans high points had given a pleasant set of stripes to its hide, I introduced it to the cheese. They immediately bonded and stuck together throughout the meal.

The bread and the steak didn’t get along quite so well. I popped the whole sandwich into a hot oven for 10 minutes and left the ingredients to get better acquainted.

On another burner there was a pot filled with a soup I’d beaten into submission some time ago. It was cold, clumping together, and sluggish. But I knew where it had come from and what it was made of. The heat slowly warmed it to a fragrance that was familiar and subtle. Tomatoes, fresh from the season, pared with sweet red bell peppers and red onion, melded together into a thick soup.

By the time the soup was boiling, dinner was ready.
The only regret was that I had not made more.

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