The reasons I like Big Bang Theory have nothing to do with my taste in food and everything to do with my taste in humor. Still, I wonder what it would be like if Sheldon and Leonard took a cooking lesson. I wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall at the lesson because, like Sheldon, I believe that flies are unsanitary and don't belong in the kitchen, except maybe in Sheldon's native East Texas where kids shoot at them with BBs so they can practice their gun-totin' skills before they go to high school and get their gun-racked pickups . . .
I would love to be the one teaching that lesson. It would be a great challenge -- sort of a Leonard-friendly-lactose-free Iron Chef with sliced hotdogs as the secret ingredient (Sheldon and his mother consider them an essential addition to spaghetti for a real Eye-talian treat). Of course, the day of the week would be important since Sheldon only eats foods on specified days. Monday is Thai takeout night, Tuesday is Cheesecake Factory night -- and I'd have to make a hotdog hamburger . . . Thursday is Anything Can Happen Night once a month -- but it's also Pizza Night three weeks out of four. Friday is Chinese Food.
What follows are the synopses of four Big Bang-inspired recipes...
My self-imposed challenge really boils down to whether I could make Sheldon happy and Leonard gas free. Theoretically, cooking is the practical application of physics. Sheldon made an armed robot out of his sister's Easy Bake Oven. I made a cake in my sister's. There's a thread of similarity there so I will, indeed use hotdogs as the building blocks of my culinary Big Bang Universe.
Monday: Grilled Hotdog Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce Cut the hotdog in half lengthwise. Skewer it, grill it, and slather it with a silky blend of peanut butter, mustard, and garlic, and chiles. Even better, use hot links. I liked this enough to consider adding the mustard-infused peanut sauce as a cookout staple.
When Tuesday night switched from Bob's Big Boy to Cheesecake Factory Sheldon continued to eat this burger. A food processor is essential to success here, but it's not nearly as pricey as a Hadron Collider and there are more practical applications. Put all hotdogs, bread, bacon, and a little mustard in a food processor and let her rip. Form patties and cook in a lightly oiled skillet. Turn once and top with cheese and BBQ sauce while you cook side two. Serve on a bun. Note: mustard is an emulsifier, and helps hold the meat together.
Thursday: Anything Can Happen Caramelized Hotdog and Pinto Bean Pizza This was my least favorite recipe -- but my guinea pig testers said it was pretty good. It would be great for kids. Cut the hotdogs into very thin slices. Place in a hot oven and roast until the sliced dogs begin to brown (feel free to use a laser if you have one). Remove from the oven. Place pinto beans, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a food processor. When creamy add some Parmesan. Roll out the pizza dough, spread with the creamed beans and top with the caramelized hotdogs and some cheese. Be sure to leave a portion cheese-free for Leonard.
Friday: Baked Ginger-Beef Hotdog Pot-Stickers -- a.k.a. Oh My Shu Mai these were my favorite. I knew they were hotdogs, but my testers did not. And, like Sheldon, who doesn't enjoy a little whimsy -- as long is it's on the right night. Pulverize the hotdogs, ginger, and garlic in a food processor. Fill wonton wrappers and brush with sesame oil. Bake until crisp and golden.
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.