Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches au Jus

Like many couples, Stan and I have different ideas about what makes a good meal.  I take more of the foodie approach.  I like variety; I want different flavors and colors and textures.  I like to try new things – even when they take a long time to make and turn our kitchen into a disaster.  I like the process almost as much as the eating.  I also think vegetables are a necessary component of every (non-breakfast) meal. 

Stan, on the other hand, is more of a stereotypical man.  He sees food as fuel.  To him, trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen merely delays getting food on the table – and leaves more dishes to wash.  He most certainly does not consider vegetables a necessary part of any meal.  Stan likes meat.  With a side of meat.  And some potatoes.  And ideally, some bread for dipping. 

Considering our different approaches to eating, I feel pretty lucky that Stan will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him, including vegetables.  Since he eats kale, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and other assorted green food on a regular basis, I like to “reward” him from time to time with a “man meal”.  Like French Dip Sandwiches au Jus. 

When I told Stan I was going to be making French Dip Sandwiches for dinner, he actually got excited about food.  (This is rare unless we’re talking about Doritos.)  When he came home the next night and I was shredding the beef, I actually had to kick him out of the kitchen so he wouldn’t eat all of it before I had a chance to turn it into sandwiches.  (I felt a little guilty about that since I couldn’t stop snacking on the meat myself.)  And then the sandwiches were ready - crusty bread filled with tender, salty, savory beef and sliced provolone cheese with a cup of jus (the beef’s cooking liquid) for dipping.  I even made roasted potatoes to go with the sandwiches. Stan was a happy man.  So happy he didn’t even mind the kale salad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding is one of those foods I associate with childhood.  Growing up, my mom would make pudding for us using the box mix.  Sometimes she made instant pudding.  That was fun because it required putting the pudding mixture in a sealed container and shaking the daylights out of it to mix it up.  (At least that’s how we did it when I was helping.)  More often, Mom made the kind you had to cook and then let chill. That was also fun because we never put plastic wrap on the top of the pudding cups so they got a nice thick film.  (Am I the only one who thinks it’s fun to eat pudding skin?)

I never was into the pudding cups you could buy at the store.  My mom’s “homemade” pudding seemed far superior in taste.  Plus I was weirded out by the idea of pudding that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  That went against everything I knew about dairy products at that point in my life.  (Shelf-stable boxed milk would have probably blown my mind.) Homemade pudding from scratch was not something I knew anything about as a kid.  As an adult, I knew you could make pudding yourself, but I’d never tried it.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve saved several pudding recipes to try.  For whatever reason, I’ve never gotten around to making any of them.  The other night however, I was having a serious sweets craving.  Stan was at the store getting groceries, and while I’d texted him a request for ice cream, I had my suspicions he wouldn’t remember to bring any home.  (I was right.)  I didn’t want to take any chances, so I went looking for the chocolate pudding recipe I knew I had stored away.

And I gotta say… I’m glad Stan forgot the ice cream because homemade chocolate pudding rocks.  It is richer and more chocolaty and more decadent than anything you can made from a box mix.  And much to my very happy surprise, homemade chocolate pudding is just about as easy to make as the pudding you cook from a box.  All you have to do is whisk a few things together, heat everything up, and whisk a little more.  See?  Easy.  Perhaps the very best part about scratch-made pudding is that you probably already have all of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry so you can make it anytime you have a craving.  And I suspect you’ll be having lots of cravings once you have a taste of this homemade pudding.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spicy Honey Chicken

For most people, summer is the perfect time for grilling.  Not so much for us.  At least not this summer.  Stan does our grilling, and this summer he avoided our grill like the plague.  Not because he has developed an aversion to one of his favorite toys, but rather because it was approximately 150 degrees all summer long.  (That may be a slight exaggeration, but you get where I’m coming from.)  We have a charcoal grill and convincing Stan to stand outside for extended periods of time in the sweltering heat was just not going to happen.

And I was okay with our lack of grilling… mostly.  What I missed though, was the opportunity to try the many recipes I had lined up for summer grilling.  Fortunately, Stan decided to brave the heat a couple of weeks ago and let me pick out the recipes.  Enter today’s recipe for Spicy Honey Chicken – otherwise known as possibly the best chicken we ate all summer.

This chicken recipe is fabulous for many reasons.  First, it is easy.  Ridiculously easy.  Rub on a spice mixture, grill, and brush with honey-easy.  It is also insanely delicious.  The chicken is spicy, but not too hot.  It is smoky from the grill.  It is sweet (but not too sweet) and caramelized from the honey glaze.  It is economical.  And in addition to all of those reasons, this chicken recipe is great because it works just as well in a grill pan as on a real grill, making it perfect for year-round cooking. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails