Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Picky Timmy

One of the most difficult parts of being a good unexpected housewife is entertaining the in-laws. This task is made exceptionally hard if your father-in-law is the pickiest eater alive. We all know picky eaters, but Sean's Dad goes beyond anything I have experienced. He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, as in he will only eat meat and potatoes with a side of corn. Keep in mind he will not eat all meat. He will consume beef and chicken. (NOTE: One treads on shaky ground putting anything besides orange season salt on the chicken)
You may think this is no big deal and that there are plenty of options still available for a nice dinner, but you would be wrong. You don't know the rules. The rules are complicated and binding. They have secret amendments and can be changed at any time, sort of like The Patriot Act. Here are the rules that I can identify:

1. NO GREEN - this includes any vegetable as well as herbs or spices that are not masked.
2. NO VEGETABLES- corn is the only veggie allowed. Do not garnish with one, do not stuff with one. The rule is no veggies ever.
3. NO SAUCE- The irrational fear of vegetables has lead to a ban on sauce because of the chance that they could be hidden within. One acceptation to this rule is pasta sauce, which he will eat on chicken. This leads us to rule #4
4. NO PASTA- Though it is his wife's favorite food, the man will not touch a noodle.

These rules make it difficult to have them over for dinner unless we're having steak or burgers and fries. I have tried to venture outside the box on occasion and end up feeling guilty because he leaves hungry.
I thought I was within the rules when I invited them over for corned beef and cabbage. I knew the cabbage was out but I also made potatoes so there should be more than enough to fill his picky belly. It was over as soon as we sat down. He grabbed for the potatoes and loaded his plate. I passed him the corned beef that I had brined for several days and lovingly cooked for hours. He ignored it. IT IS BEEF! I followed the rules. Corned Beef!! The name might lead one to believe that it is corn and beef, which would comprise 66% of the food that he will eat. He took a slice or two after his wife pointed out that he only had potatoes on his plate. He tried it and said "oh, this isn't too bad".
When I was cleaning the plates after they left I found shredded beef hidden under the potatoes. And to think, I let him eat dessert.

(not my actual corned beef. I was too nervous and flustered to remember to take a picture but this is close to what it looked like...)

Non-Approved Corned Beef and Cabbage

For the Brine
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons peppercorns
1 teaspoon all spice
4 sprigs oregano
4 sprigs thyme 
2 bay leaves
3 lb. brisket

1. Mix all ingredients above (except brisket) in a large bowl or pot
2. Coat Brisket with spice  mix and add to large bowl
3. Add water to cover brisket add a plate on top if you need to weigh it down
4. take an egg and see if it floats in the brine...if not add more salt until it does.
5. cover and refrigerate for 2- 10 days...I did 5.

Step 2 Ingredients
3 tbsp. olive oil
6 carrots chopped
1 head of celery (including leaves) chopped
1 head of garlic cut in half to expose cloves
handful of oregano (fresh is you got it)
2 bay leaves
1 head of cabbage cut into 6 pieces

6. Heat oven to 300 degrees
7. Heat a large oven proof pot or dutch over (hahahah) over medium high heat and add olive oil
8. Throw in onion, carrots, celery, oregano and bay leaves and cook abotu 10 minutes
9. Remove the meat from the brine and rinse well
10. Lay meet on top of veggies and add water just to cover the meat
11. Boil and skim any foam
12. reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes
13. Add the cabbage and throw in the oven for 3 hours.
14. Remove the meat and cover with foil for 20 minutes. Then remove fat, slice against the grain and throw it on a plate with some cabbage and potatoes (cooked during that 3 hour window).
15. Serve to people who are not babies.

1 comment:

BNAC said...

Damn you Sean's Dad!