Monday, October 17, 2011

The 'Wiching Hour

It's that time of year. . . . You can't swing a witch's stick without hitting a ghost or goblin. Soon it will be the witching hour of Halloween. But for some of us (well, at least me), that hour comes every day around noon. That's when I am overcome with a wave of hunger. I cease to be able to concentrate on anything until food has been put in my stomach. With each passing moment, I become more impatient, annoyed and downright unpleasant to be around. When I worked in corporate, people would always plan to have food on hand if there was even the slightest chance the meeting I was attending would run into the witching hour. Trust me, it was for the benefit of all. And if they were asking me for approval on something, they would be doubly motivated to feed me. I was much more apt to sign off on something with a slice of pizza in my hand. I could honestly never understand how anyone could work out at the gym during their lunch hour. It's one of those great unanswered mysteries to me, along with why someone feels compelled to talk on their cell phone when they're in a public restroom.

These days the witching hour still comes right on time, but I'm less likely to be in a meeting when it occurs because I have more control over my schedule. I'd like to think that I'm a somewhat flexible eater, but I've come to realize that I get a little agro when it comes to food classifications by meal time. I know some people out there go gaga when breakfast is served for dinner. But I like my breakfast in the morning and my dinner in the evening. I think the only gray area is a burrito which I will eat at breakfast, lunch or dinner — but of course eggs are only allowed in the breakfast burrito.

I guess I'm just a traditionalist at heart. As such, it's probably no surprise that the only time you'll find me eating a sandwich is for lunch. For me you might say lunch is the 'wiching hour. [Yes, terrible pun intended.] I often wonder how people can give up carbs. I mean what on Earth are they eating for lunch if the sandwich is the official food of lunchtime? Regardless of your leniency towards meal creep, I think you might get pretty excited about these sandwiches. They're fast to whip together and super tasty. Because really, who wants to eat food that doesn't make your taste buds smile? That's almost as bad as eggs benedict for dinner!

Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tbsp mayo
3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 cups chopped, skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
8 bread slices (this is delicious on rye but I love it on wheat too)
Lettuce leaves (red, arugula, whatever you have on hand)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in chicken and onion until mixed well. Slather between two slices of bread along with some lettuce.

Grilled Tuna Sandwich with Asian Mayo

4 ahi tuna steaks (approximately 3 oz each)
6 Tbsp - 1/3 cup mayo
1-3 tsp sesame oil
Arugula leaves
8 slices bread (wheat or ciabatta rolls)

Preheat a grill pan to high. Dry ahi steaks and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When grill pan is ready, quickly sear the steaks on each side, approximately 2-3 minutes depending on the thickness of the steaks. You want the tuna still pink in the center and it will keep cooking when you remove it from the pan. Mix the mayo and sesame oil together. Adjust ratio to your liking, but it should taste like sesame-spiked mayo not mayo-spiked sesame oil. Slather it on both sides of the bread, pile on the ahi steak and some arugula leaves.