Black Friday Podcast

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http://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/twin-cities/  

                It’s finally here, the podcast interview between me and Brett is out! And on Black Friday of all days… I feel like there might be a symbolism there but I don’t want to figure it out.

                Brett is of course the guy I hung out with at the Fall Rally and the owner/creator of the Food Truck Empire Podcast/Blog. Here we chat a bit about the food truck scene, the concept of trend and some of my favorites. Apologies to all of my favorite trucks, I wish I could have talked about so many of my favorites, so many awesome trucks that deserve conversation about, but I only ended up mentioning some of the older guys (at least Brett was able to give a shout out to Motley’s in his re-done intro).

                Sadly, I should warn, due to my almost-international distance from the States on the day of the interview, a very large chunk of our conversation had to be cut out because of a not so good connection (you can still hear some of the issues with what’s left… that and my frequent umms and stuttering. I’m not good with interviews!!!). Which is why at one point it actually cuts off while I’m answering one question and starts partway through another without hearing the next question; I swear, that is NOT me going off on a giant tangent, even with my personality! I do that enough with other things.

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                So all in all a 45+ minutes phone call turned into a little over 12 minutes of me nervously discussing my favorite topics. But either way it was still a fun experience to be had, and I thank Brett very much for the chance to appear on his awesome site! Hopefully we’ll have the chance to do it again and hash out some other fun topics of Truck-related convo, or at least grab another bite at the next Rally event.

                A sincere and firm Good Luck to him in his many many new Truck Casts and Adventures in the coming year, and Good Eating to those readers and listeners to both of our blog. Thank you for your attentions, we both hope our efforts have been able to cause at least a bit more inspiration to try our local street foods.

SFC: Who Cares if I don’t use the Right Fish?

               I think Tuna Salad is usually a two way street; there are those few, few people who actually enjoy and look forward to eating it, and then there are the sensible rest of us which often cringe as a result of past memories. There are some grey area people of course, as there always are with ANY topic, in this case mostly composed of those particularly food-conscious people aware of what a properly balanced, quality mixed (preferably handmade) mayo sauce can create when combined with GOOD canned tuna.

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                Or other things; in this (my) case, some leftover baked Trout, which I needed to transform into something I could take to work (oh yeah, I’ve got more working hours now, so that may affect my future post rate btw). And that is a good sized slab of trout that deserves more than just reheating in a micro.

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                And overall, it’s quite the simple dish to put together, starting with simply combining the many ingredients for the mayo base. Whichever Mayonnaise you prefer (I would have made it myself, but with everything I’m adding to it its various qualities would just get covered up), some Sour Cream for fun, a good dollop of Dijon Mustard, minced Garlic, smashed and chopped Capers along with a bit of their “Juice,” a few drops of Worcestershire, seasoning of course, and plenty of Fresh Herbs (in this case, chives, which are so nice to finally have in the house).

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                We also need some form of acid, usually provided with a squirt of lemon or other citrus; but as I didn’t have any lemons, I substituted one of the fun vinegars in our fridge, a Fig Balsamic to help emphasize the worcestershire. Mix them all up, taste, and adjust balances based on personal taste.

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                Shred the Trout, Salmon, Tuna, or whatever Fish you’re using for the sandwich; I like differentiating between big and small chunks. Add to the dressing, mix thoroughly, and taste once again to make sure the balance works; I sorta found the sharp and intense flavors stay well like with the initial balance, but the subdued herbs, mayo, and other flavors that were in original balance need more adjustment.

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                We’re almost ready to sandwich this up, but we need one last element: Celery. It’s not a fish sandwich without celery; either diced into the mix or placed on top. I still sliced it in my favorite thin slivers as a garnish, along with the leaves of the celery. Which is a good thing to note if you haven’t used them, celery leaves offer a great opportunity for use in many applications, either in salads or as a replacement for parsley (I actually took the leftovers and chopped them fine to use as extra herbs in the rest of my trout salad afterwards).

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                Prepare your bread, in this case toasted, as only a proper “tuna” salad can be made with; I only used untoasted to pack it for lunch later on. Stuff it with your mix and any “garnishes” and enjoy.

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                And we have a properly created, edible version of the classic schoolyard horror. Rich and creamy dressing, some sharp flavors, thin and fresh snappy crunches from the celery, and aromatic herbs compliment a tender (but sorta dry… the person who cooked it overdid it a little… again), fatty fish. I think the only thing it could use for improvement would be a few chunks of quality pickles (which I forgot to put in! Agh!).

                Not sure if this post helps convince others to try this old cold fish application once more, but I figured I have to at least try. Besides, I already ate all of my sandwich filling so it’s your turn. I’ll see you all around once more in the coming weeks with some more recipes and recounting, enjoy your times spent until then. Good Luck and Good Eating.

SFC: France’s Gift

(ugh, one day after I start this post I see America’s Test Kitchen do an episode on the subject w/ ingredient ratios and all that!! Durnit!!)

               Almost every country has that one street food that’s just iconic, either to them or those who know of them, whether we’re aware of it or not. Japan has Takoyaki, India practices Dosa and Chaat, Mexico their own “Corn on the cob,” Italy idolizes the Gelato and Pizza, and the list goes on. But I think foremost of this lineup of stereotypical deliciousness will always be France and their Crepes.

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                With their easy batter preparation, long history, holding ability, and amazing versatility in meals and flavor matching, it’s not surprising their popularity has moved from the street to the home kitchen. They can have a habit of holding a slight difficulty and trickyness in the cooking process, though if anything that’s probably made them more endearing in our eyes.

                It of course then fell upon me to attempt their creation sooner or later (especially since I have this totally awesome crepe machine/pan/thingy!!), and with a recent departure of a family member to Paris and their desire for a birthday dessert soon beforehand, the occasion presented itself.

Basic Crepe Recipe (a la Jacques Pepin)

2 Eggs

¾ cup Flour

½ cup Milk

1/8 tsp Salt

½ tsp Sugar

1/3 cup Cold Water

1 Tb Canola Oil

1 Tb Melted Butter

                Crepe recipes abound throughout books, websites, etc, all with the same ingredients but slightly different proportions. My past searches and experiments have led to countless, countless results of something that tastes sorta the same but yet never even close to my memory of that proper French result. As of now I don’t know if it’s simply HOW they cook it, a mixing preparation, or maybe they just use buckwheat flour (I’ve seen it in some recipes, but not a regular thing to get a hold on). Either way, I like to think a fun way to approach crepes is trying different base recipes each time to see what you enjoy; can also give one a good idea on which “sweet” versions are better for dessert and which “savory” for other meals.

                Such an easy recipe to put together, whisk the first 5 ingredients together to a thick batter, then finish with the last 3. The result should be sorta thin but with consistency enough to stick (sorta like a sauce). You can do this in a blender too; the idea is there’s too much liquid for overworking the gluten, but I still like the whisk.

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                So we get to the tricky party, actually cooking the guy; now, in this situation I’ve been quite lucky to be gifted with this cool, amazing little electric non-stick flat “grill” highly reminiscent of those wide stones used in France. Most people don’t have that luxury however. Besides this, people also sell these special “crepe pans,” which sort of look like a thinner-metalled cast-iron skillet but much wider with very tiny, angled edges, giving easy access to grab the curling edges and flip.

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                Good chance one won’t have these either, but it gives an idea of what kind of pan you should pick. If anything, the main importance in the cooking of crepes is ORGANIZATION of your station; get everything set up close and neat together in whatever way is easiest for you to produce. Find the widest NONSTICK sauté pan you have, preferably with lower edges. Good chance they’ll be rounded and you won’t be able to make as large of crepes as other pans, but they’re still yummeh!

                Move the pan to a medium-high temp; it should be VERY hot, but not to that extreme level ya know? One should still have some time to move the batter around the pan before it completely seizes.

                Brush a thin, even smear of oil or softened butter over the hot surface (I like using a paper towel, like when oiling a grill) before working; some recipes may have you doing these before every crepe, but depending on pan it may only be needed a few times while working, or even once (but you WILL need to ensure the pan is “clean” and free of any leftover bits of batter after each crepe; just a few wipe with a  dry paper towel should do). Scoop up a medium to large ladle (depending on size of pan, I hear ¼ cup for a 12” pan is proper) into the pan, OFF-CENTER (not in the middle, to the side) so that it spreads over more of the pan; there’s a mechanic to it, but I don’t feel like going into it.

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                Spreading can be accomplished traditionally with an awesome horizontal wooden spreader thingy, sorta looks like a car window squeegee but flat. For the rest of us, you’ll want to quickly lift and rotate the sauté pan at a high angle to have the batter slide over and cover the whole bottom. Really, do this FAST, and hope you have enough batter to fill a full circle; if it seizes up beforehand though, no worries, just add a little bit of extra batter into the empty areas and wiggle about. It won’t look so perfect, but who actually cares?

                This should cook quickly, so NO MOVING! After 15-30 seconds, the bottom should brown nicely, and the edge will (if done properly) start to curl slightly (lending crepe its name). Run the edge of your flipping instrument (most likely a spatula or, in my case, an awesome tradional long, thin wood paddle) under and around, pinch an edge to hold firm and lift, using the spatula to stabilize and help flip (gotta do it with both hands to get it right, not just one).

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                Before I continue, I should mention that, good chance, you will not accomplish a good, or decent, or even something even closely reminiscent of a crepe in your first one or two (or 5…) attempts. Don’t worry, that’s natural; if anything, it’s often just something one has to do to get the pan to a good temp.

                That said, the second side will take a lot faster to cook than the first, though it can stay on longer safely. And sadly won’t have that same, completely even and smooth browning to it; Most likely it’ll be sorta spotty. As it’s cooking, this is your chance to add any spices and ingredients to complete whatever crepe you’re making! This can be done quite easily with a pat of butter, spread over to melt, and topping with some jam, fresh fruit, some sugar and citrus juice, chopped (cooked) meat and/or veggies, etc. Fold, I like the doing it in halves to turn into the triangular wedges when it’s flat and able, or folding each side into a square package when there’s a savory mound in the middle.

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                Or, one could forego instant gratification and stack your crepes onto wax paper and, once cooled, into the fridge for later. One of crepe’s renowns is how AMAZING they store; people love them for parties, because you can cook them all up the night before, store in the fridge, and then just reheat them in a warm pan with whatever desired fillings on the next day for quicker service.

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                Then again, if you have all those crepes saved up, you could make something a little special… which is of course what I just had to do for that birthday dessert.

                Gateau Crepe Millefeuille (thousand-layer crepe cake… though it’s only 20 layers, ish), a very unique and very traditional preparation of stacked crepes with a pastry cream-like filling. A very, very simple but somewhat time consuming dessert which leads to a delicious and beautiful result.

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                Since I didn’t have 20 crepes, the pan made them too damn big for the amount of batter (and I did a double batch too), I decided to cop out and just cut each one in half, make a fully layered semi-circle cake. This also yields the possibility of cutting out shapes from your French pancakes, maybe making a small, tall square cake, or smaller individual circles. Many fun potentials!

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                While that’s kept away in the fridge, we can prepare the filling. Find any good looking pastry cream recipe (I was gonna list down mine, which was a simple Pepin recipe that used flour instead of cornstarch, but I wasn’t too thrilled about its final outcome) and prepare the ingredients. Could keep it simple, or like me you could add some flavor through infusion; in this case, adding some fresh basil and orange zest (along with half an actual vanilla bean, scraped) to the milk and/or cream while warming to get their flavor. Doesn’t need to sit in there too long, otherwise the flavors can overpower easily, so one just needs them for the scalding phase before straining.

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                Mix all the eggs, sugar, starch, and other ingredients together, temper once the dairy mixture has scalded (gotten hot, do NOT let it get even close to boiling and curdling!). Transfer back to the pot, turning the heat somewhere between medium and low (which you may have to increase as time goes on, depending on the recipe).

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                Based on your heat, the pastry cream will thicken either really fast or pretty slow. Whichever the situation, we must stick to the one golden rule: KEEP STIRRING! Never, never stop unless it’s in the very beginning, and use a whisk! One can start off slow easily, but as the mixture starts to thicken and give that little glossy shine the speed should increase. We are naturally taking this milk and dairy mixture to a temperature that it normally curdles at, but the starch addition is allowing it to survive and aiding in its thickening properties. That doesn’t mean it’ll do all the work, however; keeping it still will only serve to burn the bottom and let it set like a scrambled egg. Keep it moving, don’t let it stay on the bottom and sides any longer than it needs, and sooner or later you’ll be rewarded with a rich, creamy pot of congealed custard.

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                Quickly move this into a container (ideally a metal one which has been in the freezer for a while to chill it down), scraping off as much as possible, and cover it with parchment or wax paper covered in cooking spray. Move to the fridge, and let cool at least a few hours or ideally overnight (it should also thicken even further during this, so don’t feel you have to get it to the perfect consistency when cooking; go a few notches under unless serving immediately).

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                After cooling, we can move to the next step, or go right to setting up. Now, you COULD fill the cake with just the pastry cream as-is; many recipes do, and it’s a great suggestion if it came out exactly how you want it. There are other recipes though, and I sorta like the idea, that fold it with whipped cream, sorta making a mousse.

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                So I thought I’d do that with what cream I had, and I also whipped up some leftover egg whites from the yolks I used in the pastry cream. Fold in with the basic technique, “slicing” down the middle, gathering it with your spatula and “folding” it over the cut with a turn of the wrist and bowl.

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                Hell, if I was serving this mousse as is, I’d stop here, have those beautiful streaks of white and orangish-yellow. Put it over a beautiful, crispy tuile, some fresh black currants… so good… BUT we’re sliding it between crepes today, so a full mixing it is.

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                And putting it together is simple. Spread a thin, even layer over your bottom piece, top with another, spread a thin layer and repeat until either all your crepes are used up or all the pastry cream (sadly, the latter in my case… knew I should have made more whipped cream).

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                Also, by now I’m sure your crepes aren’t all perfect. That’s fine; take your largest (or one of them) and smoothest, best pieces and reserve it on the side (what I did was choose the best of my first two pieces, and if better ones came along during stacking I’d switch ‘em out) to place on top. This will act as a great presentation, and its larger size (amongst other large, good pieces placed near the top) will help hide the questionable ones below.

                Can serve immediately or keep it, covered, in the fridge for later. If doing the latter, make sure to remove 15-30 minutes before eating (… sorta like cheese… I don’t know if that excites me or makes me cautious). During this time we can finish it off the traditional way, with a Brulee of the top, best done maybe 5-8 minutes before ready at the MAX.

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                Spread a THIN (very important, otherwise one gets clumps of it), completely even layer of sugar over the top; should look like when one spreads sugar around a buttered ramekin and then taps out all the access (ideally… which I still have yet to master). Take your torch (hopefully you have some kind, handheld or those big clunky tanks or something; if you don’t, and want to attempt this, you could try doing it directly under a hot broiler) and simply run it over that granular top, holding it over the melting sugar until it turns a nice goldenish-brown, caramelized color. Do your best not to burn the crepe below.

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                We could stop here as well, just dust it with a bit of powdered sugar for the traditional crepe… but as we know I’m not one to “stop here” (and I’m sort of on a roll with adding things on with these guys!).  I have to get a good sauce to make this cake complete, and the Pepin recipe came with additional things to make a Suzette, so I couldn’t help but make a similar orange sauce.

Suzette Sauce

6 TB Butter

¼ cup + 2Tb Sugar

1 Tb Orange Zest

1/3 cup OJ

2 Tb Cognac

¼ cup Orange Liqueur

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                You’ll need to zest about 3 oranges to get all you need (and an additional 2 or more for infusing the cream earlier, hominah hominah lotsa citrus fruit…). Combine with the butter and ¼ cup sugar, either by hand, processor, or mixer.

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                The recipe states to add the orange juice to the butter; which, if using a food processor or maybe a mixer probably shouldn’t be to difficult. I found it hard to do by hand (at least in a smooth bowl… maybe a rougher plastic to get holding friction), if doing so yourself add in VERY slowly, a bit at a time. I ended up doing too much at one point and had to just add it to the sauce directly. I mean pretty easy, but having it in the butter just pumps up the flavor, in case you have leftovers that you might want to use in something else. Move butter to fridge before making.

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                Mix alcohol, sugar, and leftover oj in sauté pan, bring to a boil and move off heat. Whisk in COLD butter (of which you might only need ½-3/4 of what’s made) until fully emulsified and incorporated.

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                Assemble plates as desired; CAREFULLY slice cake with a sharp knife, revealing all those beautifully simple layers. Spoon sauce onto plate, maybe onto the side of the cake (not the top, don’t want to accidentally soften that crispy sugary crust). Garnish with thinly sliced basil and serve.

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                Quite a long journey from a typical French pancake to a dressed up layered cake, but that’s just how the modern world of street food has gotten to where it is. Well, that and as we know I like to ramble and add things. Either way I do hold hopes that you were able to enjoy and find inspiration in one or two sections of this long narration and recipe on Crepes.

SFC: Candy Concoctions (or Having Fun with Diabetes!)

                  So it’s the day, and weekend and the day or so after that, after Halloween, and despite the neighborhood children’s best attempts (or perhaps BECAUSE of it if some of them are your own), you still have quite the pile of leftover and/or gathered candy. The immediate solution is pretty obvious of course, just eat it all (either slowly over a week or binged that night), but it’s just not as fun or interesting as it could be. Why just eat the same sugary bars over and over, slowly picking away at a gargantuan pile, when one could just transform over half of it into something special and delicious?

http://www.somethingswanky.com/50-recipes-using-leftover-halloween-candy/

http://www.recipegoldmine.com/candybar/candybar.html

                And lucky us there are a few websites with lists and lists of different recipes featuring all the traditional holiday candy, used in cookies to brownies to bark to pie, confections to drinks and baked goods all around. Though I only decided on a few simple, portability-inspired decisions to use with my stash, I certainly suggest one visit a couple of these sites for other fun ideas, whether it’s using up leftovers or upcoming parties.

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                I was quite determined to transform all 4 candy bars in our little pile to something different, and after one fun thought and a bit of looking stuff up, I came up with three interesting ideas (two bars are used, separately, in one of them). So I thought it might be nice to go over my (not so perfect) experiences with each.

                Starting small, the Crunch Bars lead the pack with the one skill they hold over the other three: meltability (or the fact they’re almost all chocolate, not much to screw up the process). Taking a cue from their simple Hershey Bar older brothers, I just HAD to melt these guys down and coat something with that creamy chocolate and crunchy rice. Happy happy me, I found a recipe for Bourbon Balls among the B listings in the latter site.

                You know bourbon balls right? They’re these little rich spheres of soft, chocolate covered and alcy-centered goodness. I of course just have to try making them with this recipe (which… may need some adjusting on our part).

Recipe #1: Bourbon Balls (home version w/ Crunch)

1 ½ cups Bourbon (it said whiskey, but come on… it’s bourbon balls, who uses Jameson?)

Nuts, toasted or non

½ cup (2 sticks) Butter, soft

3 lbs (about 10+ cups) Powdered Sugar

Large Handful Crunch Bars, ½-1 bag chocolate chips and Milk

(And yes, I scaled this down when I made it)

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                We start with the Nuts, however many you want/need/etc; consider how big you want to make your bourbon balls and adjust their size to fit. Pecans would be the best with bourbon, of course, but I didn’t have any so pistachios it was (cut in half, but later realized could have left whole). Soak them with the Bourbon for several hours or overnight to swap flavors (could add extra nuts to not only get an extra-rich flavor into the bourbon but for a special, tasty bar snack on party nights).

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                When ready, prepare the filling by simply mixing all of the butter, powdered sugar, and nut-whisky together, could probably do all at once but gradually adding sugar and alcohol is best to be safe. You’ll basically end up with bourbon-flavored frosting.

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                The idea from here is to melt the bars in a double boiler (originally it was a Hershey bar and they also used paraffin… which if you know what it is sounds disgusting), shape the filling around the nuts in a ball and dip to coat.

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                However, the filling wasn’t exactly liking the idea of molding; it was VERY soft and moist, and I had to get it into the freezer for a while before I could shape it into balls (which, as you can see, I did with a glove; nut in the middle people, give you and your guests an inside treat!), plus they kept falling apart when I dipped (had to hold them in a spoon as the toothpick wouldn’t stick). Recipe uses way too much bourbon… I know, how can I even say that… either way, if you want a proper bourbon ball, increase your proportion of butter and (most importantly) sugar (I seriously have no idea what this recipe was thinking).

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                As for the coating, as usual milk chocolate doesn’t melt too smooth, so I tried adding some mini chips to help even it out. Even then it was a bit thick and difficult to work with. It wasn’t until it seized up and I had to add milk that it thinned out and shined up nicely; a little too thin actually, but it shows potential. My final verdict: find your favorite, or a good, recipe for glazing, and swap out SOME, only a small amount, of chocolate for Crunch Bars.

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                Will still be best to pop them into the fridge or freezer after dipping to properly firm up. And here you go.

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Recipe #2: Butterfinger Popcorn Balls

6 cups Popped Corn

Equivalent to 2-3 whole bars Butterfingers

¼ cup “Margarine” (my fun nickname for Butter)

3 ¾ cups marshmallows (using minis)

                Considering the time of year, rice balls seemed a suited direction to go for my next venture. We start by, of course, popping the corn: simple method for those who have yet to try it. Add the kernels to a LARGE Dutch Oven-type pot with enough oil to coat all of them (just a little), do not overfill, should only have one, maybe two “layers” of kernels on the bottom when spread out. Cover, turn to medium-high, shake every now throughout and wait until it starts popping. Take it off once the popping stops or gets really slow.

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                Depending on how early one pops the corn, you can keep it warm (apparently you should) in a 200F oven. I did things all in one go though, using the same pot to melt the butter and marshmallows (I didn’t measure, just used what I had… coulda used some more, hehe).

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                You can chop up the Butterfingers while doing this; I like differentiating fine and large chunks to give variance in the final product. As for how much, I guess there’s no set amount… there probably is a too much, but I haven’t reached it yet.

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                Add the melted marshmallows and mix thoroughly with a spoon; best done in a bowl with at least some friction in it, like plastic; really hard trying to mix in smooth glass or ceramic (just keeps going in a circle…). Since these need to stick together, you’re gonna want to have a good amount of marshmallows (just a note for those not measuring specifically). Speaking of sticking together, you’ll also want to grease up those hands (pam spray works) before rolling them into balls. Make sure to press TIGHT and firm, and let cool on wax paper.

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                Eat now, or store later either in airtight container or, traditional Halloween style, wrapped in clear plastic and tied off. Though it should last, best to consume quickly (oh darn).

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                Oh, by the way… should make sure that you really separate all the popcorn from the kernels before mixing begins… just a thought (ow…)

Recipe #3 and #4: Baby Ruth Waffles w/ 100 Grand Maple Sauce

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                Ok, no actual recipes to list for these. For my final transformation, I figured I’d take a cue from the Waffle Van to make a simple but delicious morning treat (gotta admit it works well, with the various pockets of chocolate and other goodness). And the addition of the candy bar is quite simple.

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                Chop up those Baby Ruths, rough but not large. Pop these onto a pan and place into the freezer; one of the main tricks when it comes to doing any quick, hot applications of candy where one needs to worry about the risk of melting (apparently deep-fried candy bars have to do this).

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                Freezing shouldn’t take too long, so you can whip up your favorite, or the most currently convenient, waffle batter recipe while you wait. Once one gets close to serving time, they can set up the waffle maker and start making the “sauce.” (If you don’t have a waffle maker, then pancakes it is!!)

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                I kept the sauce pretty simple; chop up the 100 Grand, pop into a pan with maple syrup (decent amount) and melt. Whisk in a cold pat of butter at the end for some fatty richness and a nice shine (best done right before serving).

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                Finish is simple; pour a ladleful of batter and frozen Ruth chunks (I just put them into the ladle as I’m scooping batter as opposed to mixing them into the whole bowl; don’t want to risk them warming up as you wait for them to cook). Cook, on high (ALWAYS on high… I haven’t made a single waffle that cooked properly on a lower temperature, seriously), until golden. And yes, sadly, despite our efforts there will be some meltage and mess into the iron (a bit annoying to clean, but it’s worth it).

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                Garnish with your chocolatey-caramelly-mapley-crunchy sauce(name patent pending) and some more baby ruth and you have a breakfast rich in diabetes goodness!! Can you think of any better morning meal or evening dessert to eat the day after Halloween?

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                So here we have it, 3 separate possibilities to creatively (well, maybe not… I just like feeling special…) use different candy bars. Sadly I don’t have many left for further experimentation, but you can bet once the next year turns around I shall revisit the idea, offering up many a more fun ideas. But until then, I’m sure to be busy with some other upcoming holiday ideas, and various other things to distract me from the lack of new Food Trucks.

                Until then, I hope this holiday has gone well for all, along with the upcoming seasons! Do tell if any fun plans and stories have or will persist. Good Luck and Good Eating!

Halloween Hookup (and a small seasonal verse)

Pumpkin-Beer-Keg-for-Halloween

               It was Halloween Night, and where do you be, crafting a brew or stuck in a tree? Have you been gallanting around for a sugar snack, or stuck in a bar as a friend’s best slack? Maybe it’s hazy from the fluids you chug, after all we are human despite being smug. Though this is the night we pretend to thus change, hours and hours mixed only with strange. And what do we have after all these precedings, but a locked away memory that’s ever receding. So we’re left at our house, or a bar, or a tree, looking forward to next year to what strange can be.

                And I shall still sit here, whether from trial or luck, still reporting on happenings around our Food Truck!

                (alright, I got the Halloween Rhyme out of my head, on to the actual post)

                Well, I’m not sure where all of YOU were last night, but I decided to pop down to 612, who was doing a little Halloween get-together with Motley Crew’s. Since I had plans that night, I thought it would be a fun, brief little stop to do on this spookiest of holidays.

                Though of course, out of every single customer in the bar (and there was a burgeoning little crowd as I left) I was the ONLY one who had actually dressed for the occasion… at first I felt like a bit of a douche, haha, but now I’m just disappointed in all of you. How dare you! Put on a hat at least! No more sharing of my street food and beer for you! (… okay, I wasn’t sharing in the first place, but it’s the thought that counts)

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                As for my palette-based experience, I stopped out at one of my favorite trucks to be informed that they added some new additions to the menu. Though truthfully, all the “new” sandwiches are the exact same as the Hot Chick and Philly, they just use different sauces. It is nice for repeat customers, certainly, since it offers the favorite sandwiches but with variant base flavors so we don’t get bored (or just for those first timers that prefer BBQ over Thousand-Island-ish Motley sauce). I also found out late that they had started getting chili out, and I wish I didn’t! Woulda ordered a whole bowl of that good stuff!

                What I did order, though, was their Hawaiian Crews, piled high with grilled shaved Ham and Pineapple, and melted Provolone of course. These kind of sandwiches always make me nervous, so it was only fitting I try it to see how well they could salvage the usually-disastrous (not by nature, but by poor application) combo.

                And I enjoyed it, very much; it was a great, hot, messy ham sandwich. The pineapple didn’t overpower it, or get everything soggy, or anything. On the other hand it didn’t stand out or have any great “distinctive” notes to it (you could tell that pre-cut, canned pineapple was used… or at the very least that’s what it looked like), like a really good fresh pineapple with deep grill chars, but I can deal with that after the simple accomplishment of having a savory pineapple dish that everyone will enjoy. And the Motley Sauce provided a nice undercurrent, doesn’t stand out in opposition of the pineapple at all.

SAMSUNG

                To drink with, I decided to order a newer brew from 612, the Shere Khan. A distinctively dry hopped, Strong Amber Ale that’s been infused with “Indian Spices,” though really it’s just Cardamom and Saffron (can they use that description when they only use two, one of which is probably in minor quantities?). It was certainly tasty, though the hops were notably pungent and strong (not exactly the “sneak out from under the spices” they describe on the site). I’m not sure how much of the actual cardamom I got, though I think that’s cuz its natural aromas fused with the highly similar hops. And I have no idea why they used the saffron at all, except for maybe color; such a delicate, delicate spice should be going into even a medium/+ strength beer. Overall, I still haven’t found too much excitement in this adolescent brewery, though the offerings are certainly interesting.

                Oh, and an interesting little tidbit, the owner of Crew’s stopped in the bar for quite a while to chat with everyone (mostly on various Horror Movie details, awesome) and I picked some things up. First off, they’ve just recently bought the pretzel business that supplies them with the crunchy baked good for their sugary-hot snack. Secondly, and going off that, they’re working on getting a certain Food License, and once they do… let’s just say you’ll be able to enjoy more than beer at some of your favorite breweries, Truck or no Truck (I’ll make sure to keep you posted as things are finalized).

                Well, that was the start of my Halloween. Anyone else have a fun story, preferably beer or street food related?