Monday, September 12, 2011

"Hoagies and Grinders, Hoagies and Grinders..."

Cravings are born of what's close to your heart....and unfortunately for my fat-wrapped human engine, mayonnaise is fairly close to the top of my list. I love the stuff....not by itself, it has to have a vehicle to propel it into my mouth, but there are so many viable options I could not list them here without the police issuing me a "cease and desist" email threatening to cut me off if I don't stop blogging about Best Foods. I blame my mother, mostly because that is our national past-time, but because shoot mi madre knows her condiments.

As part of a 5 kid family with only one income, we were subjected to many unsavory things in the interest of stretching a dollar (or in some cases, a nickel) I've eaten a LOT of weird things that were called a "sandwich" simply because they were encapsulated in between two pieces of bread, but that would cause many a peer to blanch, quail, and recoil with horror when a lunchroom trade was suggested. They had their bologna and peanut butter and jelly, crusts cut neatly off on wonder bread that was softer than a puffy white cloud, nestled neatly in their Mod Squad lunchbox with a thermos of chicken noodle soup, a Twinkie, and a piece of fruit so perfect it was a shame that they tossed it in the trash without even thinking of eating it. be a "normal" kid.

We occasionally had lunchboxes, but with slovenly habits and the grace of a charging buffalo in the fine china department of Macy's, they were generally discarded early in the school year due to a broken thermos and a science experiment in how nasty an enclosed metal device can get if you forget to clean it out in favor of the disposable paper sack. The scene in "Uncle Buck" when Miles opens his full-size grocery sack and starts to unload the lunch his Uncle most likely cleaned out the fridge to attain always takes me back to the lunch room....the milk in a jar with a plastic bag rubber banded to the top was CLASSIC. (OK, it might not have been a bag on top, but that is what WE got.

PBJ was always an option, but I was never a fan....something about a warm peanut butter sandwich reminds me of stuff under the couch cushions. (NO....I was NOT the one who put them there....) Tuna mixed with mayo and sweet relish was a staple, bologna, salami with the whole peppercorns in it, so it was always fun to peel the bread off before eating and pick 'em out so you didn't spend the afternoon gagging and tearing up after biting down on one. Olive loaf, head cheese (it's really like square bologna with tiny cheese cubes in it), and cheddar or jack cheese - all were some of the more normal selections.

One that I loved, but not many others would touch with a ten foot pole was Braunschweiger.....yup, liver sausage. It looked like meat playdoh, tasted vaguely of liver and had the consistency of...well...hmm....nevermind, it's grossing me out trying to describe it. And none of this makes any sense because I despise liver with a white hot passion, but would still eat this every single day with mayo on white bread if it wasn't filled to bursting with even more delightful fat I don't want to buy bigger undies because of. And of course, every single one was liberally lubricated with that devil-in-a-jar. Delicious.

I suppose you have to grow up eventually - my big sister shared this recipe with me and we love it; I made it a lot when Handsome Stranger was doing can eat all the mayo you want, just not on bread. To which I said "Why bother livin' if you ain't gonna enjoy yourself once in a while?", to which he replied through a mouthful of bacon "Mmmm....bacon..." And I'm just gonna say it: you Adkins Addicts all have the worst breath on the planet. I don't care if you're burning ketones, you stink - eat some fruit and use some shout on your butter, bacon grease and mayonnaise stained shirts. And try this on some bread...your intestines could use a break from that giant meat log working it's way through your lower 40.


4 C. diced cooked chicken

I like to use a whole rotisserie chicken from the store, and rip the whole thing asunder and chop up both dark and white meat...dark meat has all the flavor, you know. BUT, sometimes I don't want to stop at the store, so I pull frozen breasts outta the freezer, put them in a pot and cover with water and a skosh of salt and pepper, then cook at a slow boil for 30 minutes, remove from heat and cover and let stand another 30. Cool until you can handle and chop up. Or you could over roast, or even grill for a nice smoky flavor....'sup to you.

1-2 C. add ins

Go wild, use what YOU like - my pref is cranberries and either pecans or toasted are a few suggestions:

Dried cranberries
Chopped apple
Diced peaches
Dried cherries
Green onion
Diced roasted red pepper
Chopped marinated artichoke hearts
Chopped black or kalamata olives
Capers (BLECK!)
Chopped green olives
Minced sun dried tomatoes
Toasted chopped almonds or hazelnuts
Chopped pecans or walnuts
Pan toasted pine nuts
Asiago cheese
Diced pickled jalepeno
Mini marshmallows (haha, kidding...but then again....)

OK, it's getting ridiculous....I never meant for you to use ALL of them, but 2 or 3 that will complement each other. So for instance jalepeno, artichoke and asiago would make it much like that delicious dip you get in restaurants to dip crackers or bread into. Peaches, almonds and green onion would be a delightful sweet/savory taste. I like the idea of apple/celery/walnuts for a Waldorf-ey experience too. My original recipe had green olives, roasted red pepper and almonds I think....but I have never made one that wasn't delicious!


Super simple so the flavors of your add ins come through....

2 T. seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 C. Best Foods (Hellman's East of the Rockies) Mayo
Salt and FRESH GROUND PEPPER to taste

Mix the chicken with the add ins, then sprinkle the vinegar over all, add mayo to YOUR liking, then season as needed w/salt and pepper. Mayo has a lot of salt in it, as does vinegar....always add that last so you don't over salt it.

You can serve this so many's especially good on croissants, but bread, tortillas, crackers, pita, or on leaves of whatever lettuce turns your crank....romaine, butter, endive (I've never had that, BTW), or even in a celery stick if you chopped it fine enough will make an excellent vehicle for deliciousness. It would also be delightful spread on a baguette with some cheese on top and broiled, or rolled up in crescent roll dough and baked into a yummy strudel-ey thingy...I have always dreamed of putting it in puff pastries hot out of the oven and eating them off tiny doilies on a silver tray. But last night I dreamed that Son #2 was wearing purple suede pumps so I'm not sure I want anyone attempting to follow through on my nocturnal imaginings.
Sorry for that last image - it disturbed me greatly, but mostly because they were too big for me to borrow..."MEATLOAF SANDWICH".

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