Cranberry, Cheddar, Kale Melts

This time of year, in addition to eating ALL THE COOKIES IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE, I'm looking to eat bowls of pasta, sautéed greens, soup (all the soup) and so many other things. It's comfort food season, ya know?

On cold Chicago days, (you know, the days that are all 'this is why you moved to Georgia' LOUD AND CLEAR) a tangled mess of kale and cheese and toasty bread sounds like music to my freezing cold ears that I can't feel any longer. And since I can't live on cake alone (try as I might), a melty, salty, spicy, bitter, sweet sandwich sounds like a pretty OK substitution.

Cranberry, Cheddar, Kale Melt

Makes 2 sandwhiches

4 slices good quality crusty bread (I bought that pictured-above seedy gem at Trader Joe's)

1 Tablespoon mayo (Hellman's, Duke's, homemade if that strikes your fancy)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (you can add more if you'd like to taste, however I find that a little flavor goes a long way with the other flavors in this sandwich and didn't like it as well with more garlic - which is practically unheard of for this garlic-lover - or you can use a little bit of fresh garlic!)

2-3 Tablespoons cranberry preserves

3-4 oz extra sharp cheddar, sliced thinly

~1 cup chopped kale (I don't know, like one big handful)

Butter

Stir the garlic powder or fresh garlic into mayo. Set aside. Heat your grill pan or other pan of your choosing that's large enough to toast your sandwiches. Spread the outsides of each slice of bread with butter and the insides with garlic mayo. Put the bottom slice of bread in the pan. Layer on a slick of cranberry preserves, cheese and kale. Spread a little more cranberry on the top slice and close up your sandwich. (Then do that again with the other sandwich.) Make sure your heat is low enough to melt the cheese without burning the bread. When the cheese starts to get all nice and melted, flip your sandwiches and toast the other side. Cut in half if that's your sandwich-eating routine and sneak a few bites at a time while making last minute Christmas cookies (that's how I ate mine) or, you know, sit down at a table and actually eat lunch like a civilized person. Choose your own adventure.