maple Hawaiian grilled cheese

So it was my birthday last week! The family tradition for birthdays in recent years, is that we all take work off, and try to spend the day together. And birthdays are awesome, because you put thought into what it is exactly, that you would be happiest spending the day doing, and have everyone participate in. So when my parents asked, I pretty quickly came up with a day of making sandwiches. I invited them over, and had them bring odds and ends from their ever-full kitchen of untold wonders, and made a variety of sandwiches for them, and of course stopped to photograph, so I could get some blog posts out of it. Here's one of them, and you'll see a few more in some past and coming days. 

It was a nice birthday. I like having something totally unnecessary, but satisfying to do. And I think the sandwiches were a hit? I was going to make 3 of this one, so we could all have, and I was kind of looking forward to this one in particular, but as it turns out, I couldn't eat this sandwich because unless expressedly stated, cured meats are NOT gluten-free. But I snacked on some of this delicious Quebec raw milk cheddar. And everything smelled really nice. 

Oh, and then at night, I had a little booze picnic in the park with friends. There were sparklers. That was nice too. It would be great to spend every day doing exactly the things that make you happy, and I try. And of course, it's easier when your wishes and tastes are simple. 

So here's a double cutting board shot of a totally off proportion of the fixin's. I used half the bacon, and would have needed double the cheddar for 3 sandwiches. 

sourdough bread (gluten-free optional)
bacon chunks (not strips, do yourself a favour)
raw cheddar cheese (grated)
shiitake mushrooms
red onion
MAPLE SYRUP (the real, Canadian shit)

I fried-up the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and ginger with the bacon chunks. Bacon chunks are awesome. I don't get people who eat bacon in strips, and then cook them 'till they're crispy. Wtf is the point of getting the fattiest cut off a pig, and then cooking all the fat away? Bacon chunks, properly fried until crispy on the outside, but still tender, is in my opinion the perfect way to enjoy bacon, and it really gives you something to bite into. You get the fleshy hamminess of ham, with the fatty goodness of bacon. I think if anything, it shows respect to the pig who died for your lunch. Towards the end of cooking this, add maple syrup. It stews into this slightly thicker, and sweet coating to the savoury concoction. And it's gotta be the real shit, or go home. I get my maple syrup from this maple syrup farm run by Mennonites, in Ontario. It's liquid gold. If you can't get good maple syrup, use honey. Use brown sugar, use molasses. I emptied the pan, then cooked the pineapple on high in the same pan, with some of the remaining liquid, just enough for it to get a bit browned, but stay hard.

Grate the cheese, it melts faster that way. 

Put it in a pan with lots of butter, and let it fry! 

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