Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dear Diary, I Bought A Toaster Oven aka Breakfast Sandwiches #74, #75, #76

Dear Diary,

With 2016 coming to a close I have found myself increasingly uncertain about the future of the country and the psyche of Americans in general. Like many Americans I sought to quell my anxiety by participating in the fetishized consumerism of Black Friday. If there is one thing that can calm a tizzied mind it's a small kitchen appliance and lots and lots of cheese and bacon. That's more than one thing but you get my point. Diary, this may be nothing more than the ramblings of a man gone mad for sandwiches but if you need me I'll be in the lab making breakfast sandwiches. Beyond the settling of a harried consciousness I think that the sandwich might be the key to uniting a divided country. There is research to do. Nothing less than the future of our country is at stake.
What happened is that I needed a new toaster and while shopping I realized that a toaster oven costs only slightly more than a regular toaster yet offers so much more. PROS: increased sandwichibility. CONS: reduced counter space. Sandwiches win, naturally.

There are a ridiculous amount of toaster ovens available. Black & Decker, Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Breville, and Hamilton Beach are all in the toaster oven game. Shit. I'd never heard of Breville but their toaster ovens look really nice and cost more than twice that of a Cuisinart. When did Black & Decker start making kitchen appliances? Does Cuisinart make chainsaws? After much deliberation I ended up with the Cuisinart TOB-60N1 which looks adequate for my needs.

For a variety of reasons, not that one needs a reason, I already had a plethora of cheese on hand. Whole milk Swiss, butterkase, brick, extra sharp cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey jack, some kind of Gouda. That's just what pops into my head right now and that seem like good options for a breakfast sandwich.

I also already had bacon. One package of English Muffins later I was ready to get to work.

Breakfast Sandwich #74 - bacon, butterkase, red onion, egg.
#74 - My first sandwich in the Cuisinart.

#74 - Proper chicken egg
#74 Result - A strong first take. Butterkase is a good cheese for a breakfast sandwich, it melts nicely and is creamy. I should have used more bacon, this was only two pieces. Scant usage of red onion was the key here. Pound for pound nothing adds a little zip to a sandwich like red onion but you have to use it sparingly. This sandwich emboldened me and gave me hope.
Breakfast Sandwich #75 - bacon, whole milk Swiss, mild giardiniera, egg.
#75 - That's the last of my whole milk aged Swiss cheese. I'm feeling melancholy. 

#75 - How pretty is that? Yes, that is a kitty cat coffee creamer pourer in the background. 

#75 - Nice, but I should have drained the giardiniera a little more. The kitty is waving for your attention. That squash don't give a shit about you though.  
#75 Result - Strong, but needs work. It was tough to say goodbye to the last of my whole milk aged Swiss cheese. It was purchased in the Cheese Tent at Cheese Days and I don't know when I'll be able to get more, but damn, it was some good-ass cheese.  I used three strips of bacon this time and mild giardiniera. Cooked the egg just a little too long but that turned out to be for the better. I buttered the muffin and didn't drain the giardiniera enough so this got a little sloppy. A runny yolk would have made this a full on mess. This was a very tasty sandwich but could have been refined. 
#76 - bacon, extra sharp cheddar, Sriracha mayo, egg. 
#76 - Take a little turn on the catwalk sandwich, you're looking fine!

#76 - Oh fuck. That's a hot mess. Also, I need some new plates that are less visually distracting. 
#76 Result - the yin and yang of sandwich making? In terms of flavor this sandwich was a real dynamo. I thought that the Sriracha mayo and extra sharp cheddar would blend nicely, and they did. Those flavors pair wonderfully with the salty bacon. Yeah! I had some missteps in production though. I tried putting the tray in the bottom of the toaster oven to help with dripping cheese clean up and that affected the toasting of the muffins. I overcooked the egg so there was no runny yolk. Then I tried to cut the sandwich with a butter knife, but the muffin was too squishy from lack of toasting and you can see how that turned out. Well, shit. My only excuse is that I was trying to get ready for work and was also making my lunchtime sandwich at the same time. Did I mention how tasty this was? It was amazing.

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