I was hoping to do something X-Files themed for the final episode of the series, but it snuck up on us. I thought that season nine was a standard-length season, but no–it stopped before 20! It was like this–scary monsters, alien baby, serial killers, super soldiers (your standard X-Files fare), weird monster-of the-week episode with The Brady Bunch (seriously) and then BAM! Mulder is back! He’s in jail! BOOM! Cigarette Smoking Man is still alive! Series finale! X-Files out! Finito. WTF?
It was like the week before the finale the execs at Fox called up Chris Carter and said: Dude, you’re cancelled. You gotta wrap this bitch up!
And that they did. Mulder was in jail for killing some military guy and then is put on trial. So (of course!) everyone who was ever on the show appears to testify on his behalf, the big plot points from the past seasons are rehashed, and some loose ends are tied.
Basically, it was the finale of Seinfeld.
So #23, Barbecued Chuck Roast, has nothing to do with The X-Files food-theme-wise. This just happens to be the meal that we ate while we watched the finale. But more about that later. Let’s talk beef!
#23 specifies for a 4.5-5 lb chuck roast. Well, I did the smart thing (which not what I always do–believe me, #73 Lasagna is coming up) and scaled things back a bit. The bone-in chuck roasts were HUGE and cost almost $20. No bueno. So I opted for the smaller, boneless version, which came in at 2.25 lbs.
Because I was using a substantially smaller cut of beef I initially thought to cut all of the marinade ingredients in half. So I went about measuring 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/8 cup red wine…well, screw that. There wasn’t going to be enough so I made the marinade as written in the recipe. One big change was that I only used 1/8 cup canola/veg oil (an aside: what exactly is salad oil?). I also amped it up with the addition of ground cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, extra chili powder, and 1.5 tbsp of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, which is one of Cleve’s favorite condiments.
So by 11:35am on the particular Sunday on which I made #23, the roast was in a Ziploc bag, marinating. Also, since I do not have meat tenderizer in stock (another ingredient that I don’t know what it is. Yes, I’m talking about you, salad oil), I just forked the fuck out of the chuck before it went into the bag.
In the meantime I made a little herb butter. Since a recipe wasn’t provided by DiS! I winged it.
- 1.5 tbsp margarine
- fresh minced thyme (frozen)
- fresh minced rosemary (frozen)
- dried marjoram
- black pepper
- garlic salt
I followed by making the corn relish. MEXICORN! I followed the recipe as written but I (again) reduced the amount of oil (Salad oil!) and augmented the seasoning, which amounted to black pepper, garlic salt, and a few red pepper flakes. I also chose red onion for a bit of color.
Fast forward to 4pm. I cooked the macaroni for the Macaroni Bake and assembled the casserole. I used a recipe from The Joy of Cooking (no surprise there). I could have included it in this post, but I chose not to. Here is the gist of it: in casserole put cooked macaroni, layer with shredded cheese, pour milk with spices (paprika and cayenne–I still need cayenne, damnit!) on top of it. Bake.
At 5:40 the Macaroni Bake was in the oven (covered in foil) and my marinated steak was on the pan to brown.
The damn steak was almost too big for my grill pan, but I made it work. After the initial browning I flipped the steak a total of four times. I know that I should not have turned it so much, but I’m still not too sure of myself with the grill pan and it looked like things were getting burnt and I do not like the taste of burnt.
6:16 the toasts, smothered in my Herb’ed Butter, went into the toaster oven.
6:21 I turned the toaster oven off but kept the bread in to keep warm.
6:35 All cooking completed.
Dinner is Served!
Dinner was served and it was good. Very juicy, flavorful, meat. The macaroni was a let down, but it was better reheated as leftovers. I don’t think it baked long enough. The relish was a nice change of pace to a cole slaw or green vegetable. It went well with the bean tacos I made for dinner the day after.
Also, my herb’ed butter on bread was really tasty. Very Boursain-like
Now onto the good stuff:
#23 called for watermelon as the dessert. Well, that’s nothing special (and I don’t particularly like watermelon); so I took this as an opportunity to commemorate, with food, our achievement in watching all 202 episodes of The X-Files. In lieu of the watermelon I made the gelatin confection that is Frosty Melon.
What is Frosty Melon, you ask? Well, it is a gift from the Jell-O gods. Specifically, the brilliant, benevolent, other worldly, test-kitchen-bound beings who gave us the treasure trove that is 1962’s The Joys of Jello.
It is a mysterious little marvel–a melon with SURPRISE! Jell-O inside. The Frosty Melon is like a question wrapped in a riddle folded into an enigma. How did that Jell-O get into that melon? What the hell is that white stuff? Let me assure you that The Truth is Out There.
First, I made the lime Jell-O, let it set until it was thick.
While the Jell-O was chilling out I tackled the difficult part of the Frosty Melon–the melon. How the hell was I going to peel the cantaloupe while keeping it whole? How was the Jell-O going to get from my fridge into that melon? Here’s how:
So there you have it. Frosty Melon. And you know what? This was good. Like, really good. Cleve said that it could have used a bit of confectioner’s sugar in the cream cheese, and that might work, but it was really sweet as is. And like I said, good. What’s not to like, really?
- Cantaloupe? Good.
- Jell-O? Good.
- Fruit Cocktail? Good.
- Cream Cheese? Good!
- So hell yeah, Frosty Melon!!!
But you know what was not so good?
You know it.
Exit here if you don’t want to see gratuitous fake-beard photos.
The end of The X-Files brought up many questions, but the one that loomed largest was thus: Why didn’t this show just end when Scully had the baby and we found out that it was Mulder’s and we could just forget that season 9 ever happened?
Cleve and I also watched the second movie, The X-Files I Want to Believe. This, too, prompted many questions like: was this movie really necessary? Why is Scully bringing up Samantha when it was SO clear that she is dead and was not abducted by aliens? And this, sweet baby Jesus, why was there this?
But even with this follicular facial folly, you bet your sweet bippy that Duchovny still banged Amanda Peete during the shoot.
Before we watched the finale Cleve said to me, “I know that this has been a long journey. There were highs (Seasons 1-5) and there were lows (Season 7–barf). There were times when I thought that I couldn’t go on any longer (I’m looking at you, Chris Carter and your lengthy voice overs!); but we forged ahead. And there is no one else I would’ve rather had with me.”
Well it was something like that. So we are officially done. It just took us all of five months. And my hair is finally growing back (Again, DAMN YOU, GILLIAN ANDERSON!).
But actually our X-Files experience is not yet over. I have one more X-Files goodie on tap. You might be thinking what could that be? Believe me when I say it is X-tra special. But that is for a later date.
I made the FROSTY MELON!