Thursday, November 11, 2010

spicy joes meet Mister's belly

Let's play a game of pretend.  You be the cook, I'll be the storyteller.  Here's the set up:  Your spouse has been sick to the stomach for three days, unable to eat without experiencing pain and nausea.  When you return from work tonight, your spouse's condition appears to have improved and you find that he/she even had lunch today!  You set yourself to making dinner for the first time in days.  Do you make:

A. Tunisian Soup with Grilled Cheese, omitting the harissa in order to be gentle on Spouse's tender belly
B. Pasta e Fagioli, due to it's mild flavor and your spouse's affinity for pasta
C. Snobby Joes with all three Tbsps of chili powder + spicy mustard

If you chose C, you think like me!

Why go gentle?  I wanted to make sure that Mister was sure his belly was better, so I figured something spicy would be an adequate test.  I got a few bites in before I started to wonder if Snobby Joes from Veganomicon usually came out this hot.  Glancing over, I saw Mister was eating a little more slowly and gingerly than his usual gustatory gusto, so I asked, "Are they usually this spicy?"  Mister laughed at me and then confirmed my suspicions - No, they are not normally this spicy and Yes, Mister was finished after his first and only serving.  So was I. 

They are really very good, so I'm trying to figure out what I did differently this time.  Here is what I've come up with: I bought Dijon mustard a while ago, intended for use solely in recipes.  Along the way, I discovered that Mister likes all kinds of mustard and is an Equal Opportunity Sandwich Builder.  What I'm trying to say is, the only mustard I had to put in my lentil mixture was Spicy Brown mustard.

I asked Mister if he thought that could be it and he looked at me like a second head was getting ready to sprout out of my neck.

"You didn't do anything else differently?"

Well, I used all three tablespoons of chili powder.  It is possible I've never done that in the past, because even as I was sprinkling it over the lentils, I thought it looked sufficiently coated after the second tablespoon.  It is likely that in the past, I haven't used all of the chili powder and that might be the difference.

It's funny - whenever I eat a really spicy dinner, I have a strong urge to end the meal with dark, bittersweet chocolate.  It seems like that is the most efficient (and tastiest) way to quench the burning (aside from Banana Daiquiris).  Coincidentally, as I was cooking dinner, I was teasing Angst about how he didn't get me any chocolate much so that Mister was getting ready to go out and get me chocolate while I cooked.  I assured them both (because if you know Angst, you know he was concerned...) that I was fine and would not require chocolate until tomorrow, but halfway through my Snobby Spicy Joe, I was wishing I'd let one of them fetch me just a little piece of dark chocolate...

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