A Grilled Cheese Recipe for the Indulgent Hippie

Lena Dunham shares her favorite recipes from The Butcher's Daughter.

More From Lenny Letter No. 31
5 articles
How It Ends
Anorexic Alice and Her Fat Former Friend
Grace Coddington's Next Act
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I have two eating personalities at war within me: one is a real '70s California Girl. She gets genuine pleasure from sprouts and sesame dressing and jiggly blocks of tofu. She lives for brown-rice pudding and chia seeds blended into a gray-green smoothie that has a texture akin to getting sand blown in your face. She wants to take all her meetings in the back of a dingy health-food store, surrounded by women with long grey braids and purple hemp Nehru-collar coats. She will always try an algae shot or some aloe water.

More From Lenny Letter No. 31
5 articles
How It Ends
Anorexic Alice and Her Fat Former Friend
Grace Coddington's Next Act
Amanda Peet: Never Crossing the Botox Rubicon

But then there's the girl I like to call Luxury Foods Pizza Queen. She subsists solely on hamburgers, fancy prosciutto sandwiches, and late-night pizza, possibly followed by a Funfetti doughnut. She feels a unique mix of nausea and elation at all times. She is living her truth — and it's also giving her diarrhea.

In an effort to streamline my adult life and stay healthy as a woman with a chronic illness, I've had to kiss Pizza Queen good night for the most part. But sometimes she comes roaring out with a vengeance, demanding to be heard. Which is why it was so amazing when my friend Jessica Murnane, founder of One Part Plant, introduced me to Butcher's Daughter.

This place is more than a café — it's a lifestyle. Founder Heather Tierney's mission is to treat veggies like you would meat and create the kinds of dishes (a spaghetti-squash carbonara, an egg sandwich with tempeh bacon, avocado, and homemade ketchup) that both California Girl and Pizza Queen can get behind. I also love the ambience of the place (the Nolita location in NYC is my home base, although it's also popping in Venice Beach) with its proto-Etsy hanging plants/reclaimed wood energy. Plus, the color-blocked graphic design on the prepackaged juices is so on point that Pantone should take a look and get inspired.

Butcher's Daughter has been generous enough to share two of my favorite recipes — a grilled cheese that can easily be made vegan and a smoothie that tastes way more indulgent than the ingredients would suggest — so you can capture some of this magic at home. And even if you're culinarily challenged like me, these recipes are simple enough that you could impress a friend without even boiling water.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We've all had that "I goddamned deserve this!" moment with a brownie or In-N-Out (pick your poison) and the "I guess I need this" moment with a salad or three. It turns out the two realities can live in sweet, sweet harmony — just ask the Butcher's Daughter.

SEASONAL GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

GRILLED ASPARAGUS WITH BRIE

(Please note that you can substitute vegan cheese as well.)

Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

2 medium white onions

3 tbs. grapeseed oil

Salt and pepper

1 bunch of thyme

3 tbs. butter, plus more for grilling sandwich

1⁄2 cup Vegenaise "mayo"

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1⁄4 cup horseradish

2 bunches of medium asparagus

1 loaf of sourdough, or even brioche

1⁄4 wheel of Brie (soft ripened cheese) or Camembert

_________________________________

Directions:

Step 1: Start with caramelizing your onions. Place onions, either diced or sliced, in a large smoking-hot pot with the grapeseed oil. Let onions cook down, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even browning. Once onions have a dark chocolate-brown color, season with salt and pepper. The taste should have a nutty and caramelized depth to it. Finish cooking onions with 1⁄4 cup of chopped thyme and butter.

Step 2: Mix Vegenaise, Dijon, and horseradish in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper; make sure it has a nice balance of spice from the horseradish and Dijon.

Step 3: Grill asparagus until major char marks take place. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Slice bread into 8 pieces; generously smear mayo mixture on one side of all 8 slices. On only 4 slices, place asparagus lengthwise on the face of the bread. Repeat with a generous amount of sliced Brie, followed by the caramelized onions. Place other 4 slices on top of the assembled slices and grill the sandwiches in a medium-hot pan with a little more butter until golden brown and delicious. Cut in half, and enjoy!

SMOOTHIE RECIPE

This is a seasonal version of the Seven Minutes in Heaven: the "Spring Fling."

Ingredients:

4 oz. frozen raw coconut meat

1 tbs. coconut yogurt

6 to 7 frozen lychees

3 dates

1/2 tsp. vanilla-bean liquid1 tsp. Tocos

_________________________________

Directions:

Put in blender and mix!

More from Lenny Letter: