Yesterday's lunch and other eating

The most evil and delicious sandwich that I know of is the Monte Cristo. Not the most delicious of all sandwiches, mind you, but the most delicious of all *evil* sandwiches. It's a ham, turkey, and cheese sandwich that is batter-dipped and then deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with a side of raspberry jam for dipping. I hadn't had one in at least 4 years, the last time being when my mom was in town and we split a Monte Cristo and a salad (since salads are the opposite of Monte Cristo sandwiches). On Saturday, though, I had a craving. A strong craving. Jack and I went to Bennigan's to find one, and he was also pleased to find a veggie burger for himself. I couldn't finish the whole evil, delicious thing in one sitting, though, so I brought some home and had it with chips yesterday for lunch. Something I discovered, whilst dipping my sandwich in raspberry jam, is that I also like potato chips dipped in raspberry jam. Crazy, you say? Well, think of all the other sweet/salty combos that work, like crackerjacks, peanut butter and chocolate, and fried chicken and honey. I've always liked dipping potato chips in Coke, so I figured this wasn't too far removed from that idea. Boy, is it good.

Yes, go on thinking that I'm crazy. That's okay. More for me.

While I was enjoying my evil and delicious lunch, Kent was enjoying what can best be described as his first Big Boy lunch ever. He had some banana pieces, some ham from my sandwich (he loves all pork products), and a PB&J sandwich. Throwing caution to the wind, I served him peanut butter on a toaster waffle (one of my favorite snacks, and hey, another sweet/salty combo I adore) for the first time a couple of months ago, even though most recommendations are to wait on peanuts until a child is three years old in case of allergic reaction. All the warnings made me feel like I should have an epi pen at the ready. I realize peanut allergies are very serious (his school, and most others I know about, are now declared Nut-Free Zones), but the allergy is still rare, and I didn't want him missing out on two years of eating peanut butter. So there ya go. Lock me up for child endangerment... but now I know that my kid loves PB&J.

I've also had two more triumphant Bobby moments in the kitchen this past week (yes, I'm just calling him Bobby now). The first triumph was some chicken legs that I was going to grill, until 14 matches later I realized I was never going to get the grill lit and should just broil them instead. I hadn't ever bought a package of just chicken legs — I'm usually a boneless-skinless-breast kind of girl — but I wanted to give dark meat another shot, and I figured Kent would like it as well. They broiled just fine, coated with a little olive oil, some salt, and pepper, but the big finish came with the orange glaze I applied toward the end. I reduced a mixture of orange juice, honey, and soy sauce (listed here from most to least) until it was thick and dark orange, then brushed it on the chicken legs a few times when they were almost done. DELICIOUS. And not evil at all. It gave all the chicken a great orangy, sweet flavor, which was the perfect accompaniment to that night's Thai red curry and has also been handy to have in the fridge for supplementing some of Kent's other recent meals. I've watched chefs reduce orange, lemon, and tangerine juice to concentrate the flavor, but I'd never tried it myself, and now I'm sold on the technique.

The second Bobby triumph was surprising: chiles rellenos, from (you guessed it) a Throwdown. Halfway through the cooking process, I thought it was just going to turn into a huge mess and make me cry. I had roasted the poblano chiles to get the skin off, but they were too soft and were falling apart, and I thought I'd never be able to stuff them and have them stay together through the frying process. I made Jack's first, out of the chile that had a bit more structural integrity, and it surprised me by staying together as soon as it hit the hot oil, rather than exploding and gushing cheese and mushrooms everywhere. The chile I had saved for myself, though, was going to be a different story, as it already had several holes, and I didn't think I could even get it into the batter without it totally coming to pieces. Jack sauntered in, took a quick look at my impending kitchen disaster, and brilliantly suggested that I wrap it in a tortilla. This was like the story about the truck being stuck under a bridge because it was too high to make it all the way through, and a bunch of adults standing around can't figure out what to do until a kid comes along and says, "Why not just let the air out of the tires?" Jack's moment of insight rescued me in a similar manner, though I'm not sure whether I'm the group of adults, the truck, or the bridge in this analogy. I got two tortillas out of the fridge, wrapped them around my poor chile, stuck some skewers through the sides, and managed to batter and fry it with great success. It was a mess to eat, but it tasted wonderful with the fried tortilla on the outside. I think I'm going to have to do that every time I attempt this recipe, whether out of necessity or deliciousness.

Is your mouth watering yet? I think mine is.

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The offer still stands for you to come to my house and cook anytime you want.
Too bad I read this whole thing after eating, or I would have made chicken legs with orange glaze wrapped in Chilies wrapped in Tortillas wrapped by my mouth. After you leave little apple's place stop over here and stay for some time! If I'm in the shower washing my hair with baking soda just start cooking, I'll be out with the vinegar as soon as I get finished.
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