Bloody. Mary.

I wish I could tell you guys that my house was a party pad the night the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. I wish I could tell you I enjoyed all the Giants fans on the Caltrain during my already-long commute home from work during home games. And I wish I could tell you that I skipped out of my conference in Boston to watch them sweep Detroit like it was nobody’s bizniss (although, I will admit that some conference-skipping did occur, but primarily for hanging out and catching up with lots of GC buddies).

I can’t say any of those things. Baseball just isn’t my thing. Winning is cool though, so it was fun to be around all the hype here at home during the last few weeks. For me, I totally prefer NFL season and watching the Bears, who aren’t half bad this year.

I won’t pretend that I keep up with all the stats, that I know the first and last names of all of the players, or that I attentively watch every second of every game (Chris would call me out on this in a heartbeat, because I definitely use TV-watching as a time to multitask). Regardless, when it comes time to watch games around here, on Sunday, it’s something that has to start early, and it has to be done right. Thank you, Pacific Time Zone.

Clearly, this means you need Bloody Marys, because drinking beer at 10 is only for tailgating at NC State games. Bloody Marys are way more classy, and you all know I am ALL about class.

super-spicy bloody marys
makes ~48 oz, or 6-8 drinks (depending on how thirsty you are!)

printable version

ingredients
garnish
1/2 lb thick-cut bacon
cherry tomatoes
pickled green beans
cocktail onions
whatever else you want to garnish with..

salty-smoky-spicy rim
1 T hot smoked paprika
1 T kosher salt
1 T granulated garlic
1 T celery salt
fresh cracked peppercorn
1 t cayenne pepper
2 limes, cut into small chunks

beverage
32 oz organic tomato juice
16 oz decent vodka (Svedka is what I used)
3 T sriracha
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t wasabi paste
juice of 1 lime
1 T chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 T brine from a pickle or olive jar
1 t celery salt
1/2 t kosher salt
a few turns of fresh-cracked black peppercorn

instructions
preheat oven to 400 F. cut strips of bacon in half and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet fitted with a rack for about 20-25 minutes. remove and let come to room temperature.

meanwhile, make drink, garnishes, and salty rim. make the garnishes by skewering the tomatoes, beans, and onions. and make the rim salt by combining all dry ingredients and dumping some onto a small plate (or special rimming salt dish if you have one). combine all ingredients for beverage in a large container. whisk to ensure that wasabi and other ingredients are well-dissolved.

once the bacon has cooled, assemble the drink by running a small lime slice around the rim of your glass, dipping the rim into the rim salt, and then add 1 bacon strip and 1 garnish skewer along with some ice into the glass. pour that tasty beverage on top and drink drink drink.

 

boy, this cat LOVES her bacon so much that she waits patiently at the oven for it. Okay, she looks to be patiently waiting, but truthfully she meowed for 15 minutes straight. and then i gave her one teeny tiny morsel. she lives a tough life…

Reuben.

Do you remember, way back in school, when you learned the phrase, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”?

Those Greek philosophers always had the coolest quotes, didn’t they? And then, we made stone statues of them, and stuck them in places we all like to visit, so we can stand in front of them and get our pictures taken. Good times.

But Aristotle was onto some shit. I mean, I’m sure the phrase doesn’t work for everything, but think about it for a second. Okay, a minute.

A building: sure, all the individual pieces are significant in the structural integrity of the building, but generally they all function together to create one whole unit that doesn’t topple over. A body: lots of organs, bones, muscles that truthfully aren’t too entirely useful on their own, but together, usually something pretty neat happens.

Food: duh, you can have dozens of individual components that separately may be a little lackluster, but if you know what you’re doing, they are magical when you put them together. A reuben sandwich could possibly be the best way to prove this.

Take corned beef. Sorta weird if you just picked up a slice and ate it for lunch. And sauerkraut – that mess is nasty by itself. I mean, you wouldn’t get to a restaurant and say, “I’d Iike a nice bowl of sauerkraut. That’s all.” Would you? Okay, I’m sure someone would. And cheese? Ok, totally not a good example, because I could probably eat a block of cheese. But you see what I mean, right?

I don’t really like corned beef. And I definitely don’t prefer sauerkraut. Swiss cheese isn’t my favorite either. And that orange colored Thousand Island dressing that is really similar to “secret sauce”? Probably only something I’d consider licking off my arm if it dripped off of my Big Mac. Or I suppose, in this context, my Reuben.

Because, even though these ingredients separately aren’t much to write home about, they are killer when you slap them all between a piece of rye bread, toss said concoction into a buttered skillet, and cook until warm and melty. And what’s maybe the best part? It’s all done in a matter of minutes, a true “whole” that is waaaaaay better than the “parts”.

Reuben Sandwiches
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2012; makes 4 sandwiches

time commitment: under 30 minutes

printable version

ingredients
dressing
1/4 c canola mayonnaise
1 T chili sauce
2 t finely minced dill pickle
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t grated onion

sandwiches
8 slices rye bread
3 oz Swiss cheese, shaved (about 3/4 cup)
4 oz lower-sodium corned beef, thinly sliced (such as Boar’s Head corned beef, top round, cap-off)
1 c organic sauerkraut, drained well
2 T butter

instructions
To prepare dressing, combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well.

To prepare sandwiches, arrange 1/4 of cheese on bottom slice, then 1/4 of beef, then 1/4 of sauerkraut. Slather 1/4 of dressing on top slice of bread and top sandwich.

Heat a cast iron skillet or saute pan over medium-hi heat, and add butter until melted. Place sandwich in pan (1 or 2 at a time, depending on size) and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Use a spatula to flatten the sandwich some for even cooking. Serve immediately.