Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet My Beau, Reuben

Someone Like You by Van Morrison
Continuing on with my homage to Irish performers this week, I was so happy when my eyes rested upon this selection by soulful and bluesy Van Morrison.  This is not to be confused with another popular and amazing song with the same title by Adele.  I'll figure out something lovely to go with that fabulous song another time.  Today we're all Irish.  

And, why was I happy upon being reminded of this song?  Because I love it when everything clicks together so beautifully - recipe, story, and song.  Especially when the song is a personal favorite - which evokes the loveliest of memories from some of my favorite movies - picture Colin Firth sweeping Renee Zellweger into his arms at the end of Bridget Jones Diary!  Today is about favorites.  And Reuben?  Well, he's one of my "besties."

As long as I can remember I've had this attraction for Reuben.  Whenever he's around it's very hard for me to concentrate on anything else.  Philly tries with his sautéed onions and gooey cheese.  Dagwood is just too over the top for my tastes - show off.  And Elvis, well, that's a difficult one.  He puts up a very good fight, all warm and creamy, making me think he's good for me just because he's packing some fruit.  But you want to go with what you know.  That with which you are familiar.  And, for me, that's Reuben - salty, cheesy, buttery, flavorful Reuben.

This is the problem, though.  Reuben may not be good for me.  It's a debate.  You can read about it on the internet.  Reuben's "people" talk about the virtues of all the nutrients you get with him - protein and minerals.  His naysayers say his papers appear to be in order, but, in reality, he usually hides all sorts of transgressions.  He's inconsistent, people tend to embellish and make more of him than he truly is meant to be.  Ah, fame.  What'a a guy to do?

So when I see him in the offing our eyes are magnets for each other.  People who know me point him out saying, "Hey, look.  There's Reuben."  I respond that we've already acknowledged each other but I'm trying to be a good girl.  And then I begin my search for someone else that's like him.  My eyes scan and scan.  It ends up being a 50/50 thing.  Half the time I settle for something else that looks like it could be a new and healthy relationship.  But just as I'm talking myself into this new love, Reuben goes sauntering by on his way to another table, and, heaven help me, my eyes follow him all the way to somebody else's lips.  Sigh.

I had Reuben for lunch the other day.  I ordered some corned beef and swiss cheese at the deli, strained some sauerkraut, and found some beautiful rye bread at the store since I didn't have time to make my own.
To try to keep the conversation light I grabbed a low-fat Thousand Island dressing.  I was all set to grill him about his imperfections and decided instead that I'd really press him for some answers about his inconsistencies and why he couldn't just be a good guy all the time.  I pulled out my panini press and went to work.  Under the pressure, he said I wouldn't be happy with cheap imitations - that it was all his imperfections that drew me to him in the first place and I'd be sorry.

He was right, you know.  That low-fat attempt to turn him into a good boy left me wanting.  I'll never do that again - try to change him.  He is meant to be what he is - full of flavor, no excuses.  We just agreed to not see each other as often.  We parted friends.  But I know I'll see him around town - around the country - heck, we run into each other around the world!  But we have an understanding now.  I pray for strength to resist his charms too often!

Reuben Panini
sliced or shaved corned beef
sliced swiss cheese
Thousand Island or Russian Dressing
sliced Rye Bread
sauerkraut, drained

Heat your panini press to high.

Build your sandwich by slathering the dressing on top and bottom slices of bread.  Heap your corned beef on followed by the sauerkraut and then topped with the cheese.  Put the top on your sandwich and then spread butter on the top and bottom of the outside of the sandwich.  Place in your panini press and bring down the top plate to press your sandwich and cook until golden brown and the cheese is melty and the sandwich is heated through.  If you don't have a press, use a skillet and place another skillet on top to press the sandwich down.  Turn the sandwich over and repeat to brown the other side.  Remove the sandwich and slice in half.  Serve with a dill pickle and chips or fries if you like.

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