Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese (Inspired by Joni Mitchell)

THE DISH
Tomato soup with an apple-cheddar grilled cheese sandwich (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
Joni Mitchell will forever be one of my all-time favorite artists, and while there is always at least one song of hers that’s fitting for any given season or mood, I associate her most closely with fall and winter (and not only because of the song “River”). In “Urge for Going,” a song she wrote in 1966, she sings about the year’s first frost swallowing up the summer (“I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town/ It hovered in a frozen sky and it gobbled summer down”).

It’s sorta perfect for New York’s weather right now, since we’ve had small tastes of winter throughout the last couple weeks, and now we have what I expect is our final run of nice weather before winter swallows it up for good. And when that happens, I’ll want to crawl under my covers and escape. But since I won’t actually be able to do that (I’m going to Chicago next month; certainly not a warm-weather getaway), sitting at home with a warm bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich will have to serve as my “escape” for now, or at least my way to make the weather more bearable. In college, my friend Julie and I would stop at The Dairy Store for lunch in between classes, which was particularly rewarding in the winter: On Mondays we could get a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for just $2.10, and it instantly made us forget about the slush we had just trekked through.

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Apple Sandwiches with Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Every month or so, I’ll be partnering with one of my favorite local sites, Brooklyn Based, to bring you an exclusive song by a Brooklyn band, recorded at Nadim Issa’s state-of-the-art recording studio in Gowanus, Let ‘Em In Music. Then, I’ll create a recipe with — or inspired by — the featured artist. This month’s mp3 is Lady Lamb the Beekeeper performing Cher’s Phil Spector-produced cover of Bob Dylan’s “All I Really Want To Do” (get the free mp3, watch the video, and read my feature on her here), and here are the apple sandwiches I made with Aly Spaltro, aka Lady Lamb. All photos by Dominick Mastrangelo.

THE DISH
Baked apple and coleslaw sandwiches (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
When I first approached Aly Spaltro, aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, about cooking with me for ETB/BB Songs, she said, “How do you feel about apple sandwiches? I’ll tell you all about ’em.” When she came to my apartment last month, I learned that her mom had started a blog of random childhood memories, and a recent post had been about sandwiches Aly’s grandfather used to make for her mom: toasted bread with butter, baked apples, honey and cinnamon-sugar. Not only was this perfect for October (because of National Apple Month), but it’s also fitting for Aly’s music, which is perfect for fall and, coincidentally, she happens to mention apples quite a bit. In a lovely song on her record Mammoth Swoon (called “Apple,” of course), she sings, “So suffice to say, if you walked away, I would be a lonely apple,” and she says there’s a song called “You Are The Apple” on her forthcoming LP (read more about that here. “I don’t know what my deal is,” she says. “I just love them. I love the word … I don’t even realize it when I’m writing, I’m just like, ‘Yeah, this makes sense; apple, apple.'”

So, here’s a delicious twist on Aly’s grandpa’s apple sandwiches. These are all veggie, but for meat eaters she recommends adding some turkey to it, too.

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