HIMYM SandwichesStory Recipe
It took a few days for the Stoned Soup gang to recover from the shock and disappointment caused by the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. It is almost impossible to believe that the same writers who made us say, “Ah!” over the romantic perfection of Marshall and Lilly, surprised us with Barney’s depraved antics and made us cry over the loss of Marshall’s father would go out with such a pointless twist. (No I’m not going to tell you what it was. Not that I’m above publishing a spoiler, it’s just that I don’t want to dignify the last episode or even the last season with a synopsis.)
It’s not all the writers’ fault. A big part of our disappointment was driven by the anticipation that we let sweep us up. For weeks, we dedicated time to binge watching all the old episodes. Frank had not seen any of them and the rest of us wanted to refresh our memories. We caught up just in time for Jennifer to set up a table by the bar that looked just like the one in MacLaren's Pub where so much of the show took place. On the day of the show, Cook disappeared into the kitchen to work on his contribution.
He reappeared ten minutes before show time with a tray of subs in his hands and a silly grin on his face. He set the tray down next to the bottle of scotch and pitcher of beer that Leslie provided to complete the refreshments.
The sandwiches were Cook’s little joke. I was grinding my way through a croque monsieur when I got it. Remember the flashbacks where Ted or Marshall are back at Wesleyan? Whenever Bob Saget talked about marijuana, he used the euphemism, “Sandwiches.” Cook flipped the joke, on the show pot was sandwiches, in our TV room, the sandwiches were pot.
The recipe was part of Cook’s recent experiments with oil extractions. In this case, he cooked seven grams of Jack One in a half cup of canola oil. He added water while it cooked to manage the temperature and wash away some of the grassy flavor. He cooked the mixture for an hour before straining out the plant matter and pouring off the water with a gravy separator. The resulting oil has a mild pot flavor and a heavy pot kick. Cook slips a bit into the roux he uses to thicken soup, salad dressing and random other treats. He seems to enjoy seeing if anyone notices where he hid the pot before we realize we have been dosed. Sounds like fun, but it not really cool. No one around here has been to work in three weeks.
For the sandwiches, Cook added four tablespoons of oil to warm water, sugar and yeast. He combined the liquid with a pile of bread flour that had some salt in it. He used the volcano method where you pile the flour on the counter, make a lake in the middle, fill the lake with the yeast liquid and stir the flour in until the whole mass comes together into a smooth lump of dough. Then comes the kneading. Cook likes his bread chewy, which means he has to knead the dough long enough to really develop the gluten. The ball of dough gets smoother and stretchier the more he works it. I timed him often enough to know that time alone is not how he decides the dough is ready. Anything from 15 to 30 minutes seems to do the trick. I asked him the secret and he handed me a bit of dough and said, "The dough is ready when it feels ready." The bit of dough was smooth and almost dry. When I pulled it, it bounced back over a few seconds.
After the kneading, Cook put the dough in a big bowl with a towel over it and placed the bowl in a warm corner of the kitchen. It rose to double the original size before Cook punched it down, kneaded it some more and let it rise again. After the second rise, he formed skinny little sandwich rolls. These rose again before getting shoved in the oven for 20 minutes. He hid the bread somewhere so that Frank wouldn’t eat it all while it was still soft and warm.
Once the bread was cool, Cook sliced the rolls and filled them with ham and cheese. I had two which was plenty to keep me happy even as the end reveal brought every other viewer in the world down.
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