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Potemkin dressing…

By Josh Steiner

Potemkin dressing… It’s like Thousand Island dressing, put on a hat with earflaps…

Welcome back tolerable readers to the food borne illness that is my blog; food porn in the people’s press project. Today we’ll nurse a hangover, call the U.N. for a sandwich, participate in Russian disinformation, find a Cossack in the dressing of a Thousand Islands and consult the C.I.A for perfection…

The United Nations and the corned beef injection…

As usual I woke up the day after St Patrick’s Day with two things I didn’t have the day before, a pile of leftover corned beef and a paralyzing hangover. Fortunately the prescription to cure both of these ailments happens to be the same thing, the readily available sandwich. I don’t know about you, drunken readers, but when I talk leftover corned beef, the language I speak is Reuben.

Reuben’s, like most notable foods, many people have stepped forward to claim to be the creator of this sandwich, but as with most notable foods I don’t care how it originated, for all I care the U.N. could’ve created this sandwich. Consider the diversity of its ingredients, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, German popular Sauerkraut, American corned beef, and rye bread which has been made in Europe since the Middle Ages.

Russian dressing is like a Potemkin village for corned beef…

Do you remember Catherine the Great? The empress of Russia from 1762-1796, whose ex-lover Grigory Potemkin, was appointed to the desirable post of Governor General of “New Russia” meaning the southern Ukraine and Crimea. In 1783 after annexing the struggling city of Crimea, Potemkin allegedly had false fronts and facades constructed throughout the struggling city. Surprisingly all along the very same route that Catherine’s entourage would take on their tour of the newly acquired lands.

Although, according to www.straightdope.com there is some truth to these reports, however exaggerated they may be. No fault there, we all spruce up the workplace a little bit before the big boss comes in and starts throwing his not inconsiderable weight around the place. No one does it better than the Russians, consider what Russian dressing does for a Reuben, puts up a tasty façade, that doesn’t completely hide your corn beef, just makes it better.

Russian Deception…

The odd thing about Russian dressing is; it originated in America, probably in an attempt to Potemkin up leftover corned beef. Russian dressing is essentially a variation of Thousand Island dressing, just add chili sauce. If you are anything like me adding chili sauce to anything is right up your alley, so grab your siracha and meet me in the kitchen. Today we are sharing the secret to Russian dressing, and fortunately, this is a Russian/American secret that we can share without the falcon or the snowman.

Here’s what we need; ¼ cup mayo, 1 Tblspn ketchup, 1 Tblspn water, 1 tspn siracha (or other chili sauce), 1 tspn Dijon mustard, 2 tspn vinegar, 2 tspn sugar, 2 tspn minced onion, 2 minced pickled jalapeno rings, 1 diced small crunchy pickle, 1/8th tspn paprika salt and pepper to taste. Combine, now make like a hippy and chill. This tasty concoction yields about ¾ of a cup.

Finally leaked C.I.A. secrets that won’t make a writer disappear…

Okay, not that C.I.A. if I had any actual C.I.A. secrets I sure the hell wouldn’t share them with you. Who the hell am I, Julian Assange? I’m talking about the Culinary Institute of America, where according to Michael Ruhlman’s book The Making Of A Chef, a memo from the President of the Institute to the Chef’s in the Pantry kitchen outlines the process of making a Reuben that doesn’t get soggy.

The secret to which is not unlike the secret to Chicago style pizza, the cheese goes on first to create an impermeable layer between crust so the crust doesn’t soak up the tomato sauce and turn it into mush. If the C.I.A.’s president recommends this method in his kitchen than, I figure it is good enough for my kitchen. How about yours?

Start with two lightly buttered rye breads butter side down over med heat, add a slice of Swiss to each slice on top of the cheese slather with Russian dressing and a liberal helping of kraut (taking care not to let the dressing or kraut escape the cheese boundaries) and of course corned beef or turkey. Grill for about 3 min until lightly grilled with a toasted texture, assemble and eat… Repeat!

Oh yeah and will somebody please, call the UN? I need a new sandwich, and it’s not like their busy…

Questions or comments contact Joshua Steiner @ steinerjoshppp@gmail.com

*Joshua Steiner is a food obsessed dude who has worked in restaurants and kitchens for most of his life and has held just about every conceivable job in the industry. Now he’s bringing his tips, tricks and travels to The High Plains Reader and @thepeoplespressproject.org for you to use in YOUR kitchen.

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