Dinner for the night was my Mom’s “Chicken Noodle and Dumpling Soup” (yes, noodles AND dumplings… we like our starch), paired as always with a nice loaf of package-mix baked bread. This night’s was one of my favorites, Beer Bread, made with one of my own Doppelbocks. Sorta ended up tasting like that strong malt smell of actually making with wort…
As with every dinner of hers, the amount of leftovers was noticeably high; not that I’m complaining of course. It always makes for some of the better breakfasts and lunches.
Some of the best Street Foods are based off of home comforts such as this; either made as-is or twisted to better fit our hand. This thought gave me some inspiration late at night as I received that familiar craving for a little before-bed snack. With another almost-whole [small] loaf of Beer Bread and a giant vat of Dumpling Soup, I set out to make my own Street Food-like snacks.
Still have yet to actually get to trying something with the dumplings (couldn’t find the darn recipe, plus I’m quite busy with studies as-is), so for now I settle on a nice, toasty beer bread sammich. Like I mentioned, ours came from a box, but it’s a really easy thing to make at home! Here’s a very simple recipe:
The great thing about this is one can use ANY kind of beer, soda, cider, or other Carbonated Beverage you want. Makes for some fun varieties and experimentation, as well as pairing possibilities.
Had to think a bit about what I wanted to fill my little loaf with, but luckily for me I still had some Country-Style Pork Ribs (really thick) I recently used in my first Forray into Minion-style Smoking (See Patrons of the Pit for further reading into BBQ and Smoking). That figured out, had to look into toppings; if I had my choice, I’d immediately get some nice coleslaw or crispy, thin pickled vegetables, maybe even cilantro n jalepeno for a Bahn-Mi riff. Sadly that wasn’t the choice, but it’s not to say my options were horrible. A really thin slice of celery, some of this soft, pickled garlic we got from the neighbor, and a bit of the celery leaves in place of herbs, and I’ve got the making of something rich, smokey, crispy bright, and tart pungency from the garlic.
With that, all I need is to manipulate my bread to make a sandwich. Since I want to spread some butter on the top n bottom and crisp it in a pan, I slice off the uneven top, square it off for a small little thing. If I had a whole loaf, and a big appetite, I might slice the entire top and make a small hoagie-like thing.
Before we get to filling, a little word on slicing for the sandwich. Not a lot of people actually think about it, but what’s the proper ratio of thickness between the top and bottom slice of bread? We’re mostly used to, and quite accepting, of the basic “Same size, same thickness” idea, and if there is any difference (like in hamburger buns), it looks like the top is bigger. However, if one really wants to make the perfect sandwich, and are able to cut the bread for it, one should slice the bread at a Bottom/Top percentage of 60/40%, thus making the bottom piece slightly bigger.
There are, arguably, two main reasons for this. In a construction sense, the bottom slice is what acts as the foundation, keeping all the ingredients on, with the top and one’s fingers simply acting as stability. As such, it logically comes that it should have more “structure” to it. The real reason, though, comes down to Anatomy. Our jaw, the lower row of teeth, is much stronger than the upper row of teeth, due to the actual muscle constantly working it up and down. As such, it can cut through food much easier than its weaker upper half.
Some may still be wondering how this really matters; I admit, simple 50-50 sandwiches still taste fantastic. When you have the chance, though, try this: take two small, unsliced buns. For one, cut it where the bottom slice is noticeably smaller than the top, and the other do as I’ve already stated. Make a simple sandwich (make sure filling ratio matches buns) and try a bite of each. When applied, one can easily see this little lesson in biology can create a marvelous balance of texture and bite when eating.
Well, that said, slicing just enough to leave a small edge connecting the top and bottom, I finally moved on to actually finishing my sandwich. Spreading some mayo and bbq sauce on the bottom for dressing, then topping with the Meat and Veg. Now that I think about it, sorta looks like it’d be a good Stoner Snack between meals…
Fillings of course can vary, so can bread; heck, I probably could have sliced up some of those dumplings and put them between with a bit of the soup’s chicken, a little of the starchy broth to soak in, and some celery and parsley for starch and aroma. Woulda been a nice way to completely transvert the dinner into a Street Food twist-off.
But for now, I still have yet to get to doing something with those dumplings. Maybe I’ll make a sandwich out of them, or maybe fill with something and skewer like Japanese Dango. I’ll post something once I figure it out.
For now, what’s some of your favorite things to do for Late Night Snacks? Any favorite Dishes made from Traditional Family Leftovers?