I can't say it's completely won me over yet, but I'm giving it a chance.
Each issue has a little feature that includes a few important food-related dates of the month - festivals, feasts, birthdays, and the like. As I was sitting on the sofa next to the Lt. one night a few weeks ago, reading my magazine, I pointed out to him that December 1 is, apparently, Dr Pepper's birthday (or, the anniversary of its original patent) and jokingly suggested we celebrate!
Now, what you need to know about my husband is that he has a great love for Dr Pepper. My earliest memories of hanging out with him, more than ten years ago, include him running to the corner store for another bottle. When he was in college, he drank a truly ridiculous amount. His consumption is more moderate now, but his deep affection for this particular carbonated beverage remains as strong as ever.
I, on the other hand, couldn't stand the stuff. For years I chastised him for drinking so much soda, especially soda that tasted bad! When we started dating, though, I would occasionally take a sip from his bottle - he had at one point told me and Sukie that if we had a sip of his bourbon (another love of his) once a week for 20 years, we would learn to love it. I applied the same principle to his Dr Pepper, and lo and behold: by the time we were married (he had overestimated how long it would take), I had developed a taste for both bourbon and Dr Pepper (though not together).
Still sitting on that sofa, but a few pages later, I came across an ad sponsored by the Idaho potato folks and featuring a dish made with none other than the Lt.'s favorite beverage!
Dr Pepper Braised Short Ribs with Queso Fresco Corn Whipped Potatoes and Caramelized Tobacco Onions
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? That's what we thought.
(For the record, the Lt. thinks it's hilarious that the first thing I cooked out of Saveur was a) a Dr Pepper recipe and b) from an ad.)
Fast forward to this past Monday, when I was making my menu plan for the week and actually remembered that Wednesday was Dr Pepper day! I dug out my magazine, looked up the link, and added the ingredients to my list. I was pretty proud of myself, and the Lt. was pretty excited when he heard the plan!
I'd never cooked short ribs before, so it was a fun cooking adventure for me.
And while this may look like a lot of meat for two people, the second thing you need to know about my husband is that he is a meat-loving Marine. He has a big appetite, and a great appreciation for red meat. I have never cooked too much meat - in fact, I once literally hid a steak from him so that we could have leftovers.
Browning meat is so satisfying.
The recipe actually calls for Dublin Dr Pepper which, for the uninitiated, is Dr Pepper made in Dublin, Texas using real sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup. You can buy it from them online, but the shipping costs are huge (we've looked into it). Over the past few months, though, our grocery store has carried 125th anniversary Dr Pepper, featuring cute vintage cans and real sugar!
|I think this was our last can.|
It was good, too! No wonder people obsess about Dublin Dr Pepper!
Sadly, however, the sugary stuff is gone from the shelves. I actually emailed the Dr Pepper people to find out whether it was gone forever, and received this disappointing response:
"Unfortunately, Dr Pepper Pure Cane Sugar is not currently in production. We have sent notice of your disappointment in the decision to our corporate team for further consideration."
|I never would have imagined myself doing this.|
So I had to use the normal stuff. (Sorry Mama!)
Of course, I made a few other substitutions as well, like using canned corn instead of fresh and cheddar cheese instead of queso fresco (I know they're not the same thing; I just simply forgot to buy the queso fresco). But mostly I followed the recipe. And you know what? It was really good!
The meat was tender and delicious, and while the onions packed quite a punch on their own, they were a tasty contrast to the mellow rib and potato when you had them all in a bite together.
And the Lt. proclaimed the potatoes "possibly the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten." It might have had something to do with the butter and half-and-half (not, mind you, that I used as much as the recipe called for). And the garlic and shallots. And the corn. Yes, I have to say - they were pretty darn good!
So there you have it - our first Dr Pepper Birthday Feast. We already celebrate the Marine Corps' Birthday, and now the Lt. thinks it's a great idea to add this one to the list. We'll see.
My family will laugh, but trust me - you would have enjoyed this dinner, too!