Sammich Competition

Some of my friends had a fun sandwich making competition. I got to eat all of the sandwiches. ALL OF THEM. I love these people.

Turkey, bacon, red pepper hummus, vegetation on rye swirl bread. Yum.

Sweet apple & onion turkey panini.

A simple English inspired cucumber & cheese sandwich.

The sandwich that stole my vote (but missed winning by just a few points) – a breakfast sandwich with waffles as the bread, eggs over easy, bacon, and maple syrup.

A puddle of heart attack. So good.

Banh Mi-inspired sandwich (and kosher to boot!) of mini meatballs with the cuuuutest garnishing. This overcame the adversity of not containing bacon to win Best Sandwich because of its awesome flavor, texture, and presentation.

Winner of the most hate-fueled sandwich category. Bacon, olives, and cottage cheese on pumpernickel toast. My fellow judges and I had a few questions with this one. Like, “Why? Oh, WHY?!” and “What did we do to deserve this?”.

I followed up the round of sandwiching by splitting another delicious breakfast sandwich with one of my fellow judges.

Maker Faire

Hey, look at that – I went to Maker Faire with Garnish Marketing last month. Overall I thought it was a fun road trip and a worthwhile event, although it might just not be for me because there were so many people there and I’m weird about groups of people. It was easy to get lost in the crowd and wander, though.

The Maker Faire was at the NY Hall of Science in Forest Hills. As we were walking in, Albany John and I walked by a cart selling meats on sticks. Yes, please. Although a bit much at $4 each. But food inside the event was so expensive (and the lines crazy-long), I was glad we ate something before going in.

A lot of the Maker Faire displays are geared to the techie folk, but there was also some interesting stuff for us non-technical folk to peep. I liked this display for Compsi-Mold.

After we had seen enough we headed over to Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria, where they were having an Oktoberfest celebration going on. I thought the prices were a bit on the high side, but hey, that’s NYC pricing for you. The onion rings were $6, oily and oddly sweet. Sadface. The beers were cheap & plentiful, though!

The next day we headed out and stopped by my family in Flushing for dim sum. I got to see Yeh-Yeh and eat har cheung. Good trip.

Homemade Orecchiette

I love shaped pastas. They’re usually on the thicker side, and … oh, I don’t know. There’s just something so fun about them! I like making my own pasta, but I wanted to try making something shaped, something you don’t need a pasta roller for. Folks, say hello to orecchiette, the ear shaped pasta! Although I think they look more like little seashells.

I got the recipe from The Blender. It rocks. SO much semolina flavor, and a really pleasantly thick & chewy (but not tough!) texture.

They also weren’t kidding when they said the dough needs to be stiff and not too moist. This first batch I made had a bit too much water in it, so they took a while to dry & were a bit more pliable than they should have been (some got indentations from the drying racks). The next batch I made with less water came out fantastically. But even the first batch yielded some happy results.

I was curious about how shaped fresh pasta would hold up when boiling it. Would it lose shape & just turn into dough plops? Turns out they keep their shape pretty well. And they really only needed about 2 minutes of cooking time! So fast!

After a few batted eye lashes, Albany John made me a stellar sauce for the pasta. Bacon, blue cheese, onion, and some greenery. So savory-licious! Toss in some cream & left over pasta water for a sauce.

This sauce was great with orecchiette. Albany John thought it was a little too saucy & wanted to cook it down more, but I thought it was a great way to use the orecchiette to pick up extra flavor.

If you’d like an easy way to make pasta at home, orecchiette is the way to go. All you need is all purpose flour, semolina flour, a little salt, and some water – that’s it! No eggs, dairy, or fat needed, and you just pinch off a bit and roll it over one of your fingers to shape it. And seriously, that semolina flavor is awesome. I picked up my semolina flour from the Co-Op for something like $0.65/lb.

I Haz Beer!

My beer is complete! My beer has sat in my friends’ basement for 2 weeks and my Irish Red is now a bouncing baby beer! (Here’s the first steps of homebrew)

I did a single fermentation. This was so easy! The bottling process was easier than I thought, the most difficult step I thought would be sterilizing, but luckily my pals let me mooch off of their dish washer which has a sterilization setting.

Folks, meet Seamus. He’s is a little molasses-y right now, but overall it everyone was fairly happy with him. I’m hoping the molasses fades a bit with time, but overall it tastes like an Irish Red.
A group of tasters agreed it was better than Killians, decent for beer in general, and a good job for a first attempt at homebrewing. This was a nice starter beer & I’m happy it turned out so well & was so well received. I had anticipated a poor product, mainly since this was my first attempt, but the kit made it pretty straightforward.

I’m not quite sure what the ABV was since I didn’t test it before I added the sugar to ferment it, and it was reading at 3% after I opened a bottle. Based on the panel of willing testers, this may have been higher than 3%. I’ll nerd out on the next homebrew, this was just a “Can I do this without creating an unfortunate science project in a bucket?” and since the answer to that appears to be “yes” I will try to nerd out on my next round.

Also, if you’re looking for bottles, you can try a beverage center, they may give you their returned bottles for the $0.05 bottle deposit fee. Prior to this my panel of tasters did their best to empty a case of 22 oz Beck’s, which are non-twisty bottles.