Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hot Dog, It's the Holidays!

Hey, is anyone else exhausted?

Christmas is over, the presents have been unwrapped and oohed-and-aaahed over, and calories have been consumed in excess.

It's the circle of life? that Elton John sang about in The Lion King.

Today's post will be short, because I am in dire need of a nap.  Then, I'm Date Nighting with my sons to see Star Wars.  But yes, I am continuing with the Kitchen Alphabet Challenge, and I realize I'm way behind.

Every year, at my in-laws, one of the "gifts" we bring for my mother-in-law is a meal.  Each of the four brothers and his wife prepare a meal for the family, so that MIL can relax and enjoy the grandchildren.  This year, the hubs and I had Tuesday: Lunch.  And since most of the brothers would be leaving shortly after lunch, we needed to keep it quick and low-key and light.

What epitomizes all those things? Hot dogs!

Usually, there are no hot dogs in the house unless I'm gone for a long period of time and Brent's in charge of the groceries or, it's summer and we're grilling out with a bunch of family or friends. But hey, it seemed to fit the bill today.

Visible here: The Kansas City Reuben and the Chicago
Had I decent access to a decent hot dog selection, I would have gone with Kosher National or similar.  But as it were, Oscar Meyer were all I had to choose from.  I thought at first it would be fun to have a whole slew of hot dog styles to choose from, but in the end I realized that with the number of children that would be in the house, not to mention particular adult eaters, four options would be a great number of choices for the 19 people.

Honestly, I wasn't too incredibly stoked about this meal.  I would have preferred an evening dinner, when we could have really done something nice and little more elaborate...but two things, as it turns out:

1. We eat a meal for every meal timeframe we are the in-laws.  Even if we aren't necessarily hungry.  We also graze on snacks all day.

2. My expectations are usually too high for the event.  I plan something, something goes wrong, I get cranky, people don't appreciate the food anyway (okay, that rarely happens, but you get the idea)

The other two that were tough to see: The Detroit Coney and the New York
And to be clever and cost-effective, I chose styles that would reuse ingredients like mustard, onions, and sauerkraut.  Because, limited budget these days, you know.


The Kansas City Reuben - Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, 1000 Island dressing

The Chicago: Tomatoes, pickles, onions, mustard

The Detroit Coney: Chili, onions, cheddar cheese

The New York: Sauerkraut, mustard

Turned out to be the most popular meal of the whole weekend.  The most talked-about anyway.  I'd done four "models" for the family and labeled them, so people would know what they looked like, and it went over well.  We had no hot dogs left and very little of the garnishes left as well.  And that's what I'd call a success.

Anyway, happy holidays all and let's have a great rest of 2015!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

G = Greenwheat Freekah Equals Redundant

Almost three weeks have passed since my last post.  Yeah.  This wonderful, great kitchen alphabet challenge.  And I have fallen off the wagon but hard.

I realize I have lost all credibility with my readers.  There is no reason to read Be Food or believe a word I say.  So, while I still write this blog for you, dear readers, I mostly write now for myself.

Okay.  At last post, I was enthralled by the whole grain farro.  Which, upon further research, turns out to be sold as a whole-grain...but is a wheat-type grain...bad news bears for any of you gluten-free folk out there (and I know of one).

My latest grocery store discovery a couple of weeks ago was this little prize:

Freekeh.  I know you want to pronounce it like 'freaky'...but no, it's free-kah.  It sounds so very exotic and Middle Eastern-originating.  It's used in similar ways to farro or quinoa or bulgur or even rice.  I substituted it for farro in a mushroom soup and it worked well.  Personally, I like the nutty chewiness of the grain.

This is the super-yellow filter on my iPhone...what was I thinking? It does nothing for the appealingness of the dish. Grrr. Anyway, this was our dinner last night, along with a nice chunk of bread.  I had one bowl and was quite full...which is the nature of whole grains like farro, freekeh, etc...it's a WHOLE grain and that means you're getting the bran, the chaff, the germ...all of it...because all of it is good.  It's a spoonful of mini fiber-bombs.

But I have to question the packaging of my local grocery store.  "Greenwheat Freekeh"?  By definition, freekeh is a young, green wheat that's had some minor processing done to it (cracked, roasted, etc).  So why put the greenwheat adjective in there, when it's clearly redundant?  Probably to give not-so-worldly consumers a descriptor they can buy into...greenwheat.  I guess that sounds mildly recognizable?  Like that would have been the deciding factor!  They already had me at 'Freekeh'.