Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Breakfast Sandwiches #89 & #90 - Hot Tips aka I Swear This Isn't A Cooking Blog

Sandwich #89: Nueske's ham, smoked gouda, chicken egg, Cholula original hot sauce, Bay's multi-grain English Muffin
Location: The Laboratory
Date: April 24, 2017

Sandwich #90: Nueske's ham, American cheese, chicken egg, Cholula green pepper hot sauce, Bay's multi-grain English Muffin
Location: The Laboratory
Date: April 25, 2017

I've been getting a lot of hot tips lately on the sandwich front and I appreciate all of them. The first was regarding Bay's Multi-Grain English Muffins. I'm already a fan of Bay's but I hadn't tried the multi-grain so I knew I had to get on that. Then I heard that my local neighborhood market had Nueske's ham on sale for about half of the normal cost. (If you aren't familiar with Nueske's ham and bacon I'm not sure what you're doing here and it makes me feel a little bit like I've failed you). After that I stumbled across info on cooking an egg in a Mason jar lid to give it that fast food puck-like appearance. I knew I had to try that. Finally, I learned of the newest addition to the Cholula hot sauce family (and they are like family to me), the green pepper variety. Specifically, it was mentioned that the green pepper sauce is great on eggs.

On top of all that I cleaned my toaster oven on Sunday. After a trip to the grocery store(s), some time in the lab was clearly in order.

Although this is most definitely not a cooking blog the majority of the info that follows pertains more to cooking than simply enjoying delicious sandwiches. If that idea enrages you (which would be understandable) then it's best that you leave now or just skip ahead to the photos.

Let's talk about cooking those eggs. The larger, wide mouth jar lids are about the same diameter as an English Muffin and are clearly the right choice for this. The first time I tried it I didn't use enough cooking spray and I overcooked the egg a bit. This resulted in egg bits getting stuck to the edges of the lid. You can see these egg edge bits in the photo of #89 below, I peeled some off and plopped them on the ham. They look a little sad. I also waited too long before flipping the egg - I was waiting for the egg whites to set up before I flipped it and as a result the bottom was overcooked a bit. You can also see this in photos of #89 below. The egg is somewhat covered with Cholula original hot sauce but it's apparent that it is a touch overdone, at least for my tastes. I cooked the other side only for a minute or so but the yolk was mostly cooked through. Not bad, but not my intention.

When cooking the egg for #90 I used a lot more cooking spray, focusing on the edges of the jar lid. I flipped it when the whites were mostly set up. I used tongs on the edges of the jar lid and had a spatula ready to try to contain the egg should it try to escape. It held in the lid well but I flipped it a little aggressively and the yolk took a beating. You can see in photos of #90 below that I had broken the yolk as soon as I cracked the egg. They don't call me The Incompetent Chef (TM) for nothing. As with the last egg, I only cooked it on this side for a minute or so.

Aside from the broken yolk, egg #90 turned out much better than #89. You can see there is still some runny yolk. Overall I'm in favor of the jar lid cooking method. I'm not sure how often I'll do it but it makes for a beautifully stacked sandwich. Just look at those photos of #90 and tell me this research wasn't worth it. Even #89 looked good with the top on.

#89 Egg. My first attempt at cooking an egg in a jar lid. I have to admit I was a little bit excited about this.

#89. Egg bits that stuck to the jar lid evident in upper right.

#89. The top hides my egg flaws. That gouda melted nicely.

#89. The egg wasn't totally cooked through, but almost. 

#90 Egg. I broke the yolk right out of the gate.

#90. That turned out much better.

#90. Just look at it. LOOK! AT! IT!

#90. You can't beat Kraft American Singles for that gooey cheese effect. 
The Sandwich - Breakfast Sandwich #89. Nueske's ham, smoked gouda, chicken egg, Cholula original hot sauce, Bay's multi-grain English Muffin. I was worried that the smoked gouda would be too much with that delicious smokey Nueske's ham flavor. My concerns were unfounded, it blended nicely and had a good melt to it. As noted the egg was a bit overcooked. I like the multi-grain English Muffins, they have a slight nutty flavor to them and give the impression that perhaps this sandwich might be somewhat healthy.

The Sandwich - Breakfast Sandwich #90. Nueske's ham, American cheese, chicken egg, Cholula green pepper hot sauce, Bay's multi-grain English Muffin. The real goal here was to do a better job of cooking the egg. Mission Accomplished. However, I didn't want to make the same sandwich again, so I picked up some Kraft Singles and a bottle of the green Cholula. Those slices of American cheese melt so well and add a wonderful viscosity to a sandwich. They may not exactly be cheese but you can't beat the functionality and that salty flavor. They taste like a happy childhood. The green Cholula is also a winner - it has a bit more of a tangy, raw bite than the Original. I'll probably keep both on hand from here on out.

Results - These were damn fine sandwiches. That's all I have to say. This was an unprecedented amount of work in the lab for a Monday and Tuesday morning but the results speak for themselves.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Breakfast Sandwich #88 - Field Table aka I'm Flying Blind Here

Sandwich: Breakfast Sandwich
Location: Field Table
Date: April 15, 2017
Cost: $8

I received a hot tip that the facebook page for Field Table mentioned the first outdoor Farmers Market of the season and that they would have grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches. As luck would have it I had to drive through the downtown area in the morning and I had been wanting to get to Field Table for several months. I'm the kind of person that will only go to the Dane County Farmers' Market if I can be out the door by 8:00 am at the latest. Any later than that and I can't deal with the slack-jawed hordes of shuffling gapers. Having my progress impeded by puzzled people staring in wonderment at a pile of arugula sends me into fits of rage. I have accepted this and therefore my trips to the market are limited. It's better for everyone this way.

The written menu above the counter listed breakfast sandwich, but no details. They may have had a printed menu with more info but I didn't see it and I didn't ask for it. I'm not much of a journalist but I'm pretty good at eating.

At the counter they said they had to check with the kitchen to see if they had breakfast sandwiches as they sometimes only have them for brunch. Not surprisingly, at least for me, the news from the kitchen was that they were offering breakfast sandwiches and I ordered one to go.
I don't even know why I ordered it to go and then it came in a plastic container and I felt like a terrible person for having wasted petroleum products to make a container and I knew I was going to eat it right then and there. 

I was quite taken by those black and white sesame seeds.  

I didn't have a proper plate, or knife, so instead of the standard cross section shot you get a "first bite" shot.

The Sandwich - Breakfast Sandwich. As I said above, there was no description in sight so I didn't know what I was getting. What I got was bacon, a perfectly cooked egg and romaine lettuce on that sesame seed bun. The bun was fantastic, light but able to keep everything together. I swear I thought the black sesame seeds added a touch of earthy flavor but I looked it up just now and it seems that most people think the flavor difference is subtle at best. So, I'm probably full of shit about being able to taste the black sesame seeds, but the sesame seed flavor overall was a great addition to this sandwich. There was no cheese on this as far as I could tell. I thought there was some extra viscosity, besides the runny yolk of the egg, but I don't think it was cheese. Perhaps an aioli? If there was cheese it was sparse and light and melted right into the egg. The bacon was a little overly crisped for my tastes, it got a bit crumbly. I mentioned the chicken egg, which was perfect for me, leaving a bit of yolk in the container that I mopped up with the last of the bun. Romaine lettuce was a nice, healthy addition. 

The Result - 3.85 Mystery Sandwiches out of 5 Mystery Sandwiches. This was a good sandwich but the bacon was a bit overdone and I would have liked a bit of cheese (or more cheese). I think a sharp white cheddar would have really been something on this. I haven't been complaining about sandwich costs much lately but I think $8 is a little steep for this. I get it though, rent on the Capitol Square is not cheap. Also, I don't know kind of coffee they serve but it was excellent. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Breakfast Sandwich #87 - Back In The Lab With Bacon & Pimento Cheese

Sandwich: Bacon, Pimento Cheese, Avocado, Chicken Egg, Red Pepper Spread, English Muffin
Location: The Lab
Date: April 11, 2017

At the risk of appearing as though I'm padding my stats, I'm reviewing another creation from the lab. Let it be known that I have made and eaten several breakfast sandwiches in the past weeks that I did NOT include here. Those were fine sandwiches but this particular sandwich merits inclusion due to the pimento cheese.

If you follow golf at all you know that The Masters Golf Tournament took place this past weekend. You probably don't care about golf but you may care to know that The Masters is famous for the pimento cheese sandwich they sell at the tournament. A few years ago I found a recipe and have been making it ever since. I searched for the recipe today and there are several versions online, all of which are probably tasty. Southern Living, some Chef Guy, and a weird Golf Unfiltered web site are just a few of the places that can tell you how to make pimento cheese. Take your pick. They are all a little different and likely not the real Augusta National recipe.

Anyway, I made pimento cheese and rather than put it on crappy white bread I picked up a nice baguette from Batch Bakehouse and took it to a party. As I was mixing the cheese I thought that it would probably be good on a breakfast sandwich and I knew there would be some leftover, so, here we are.

There is a lot to like here.

Ohhhhhhhhh BABY!

OK, so I overcooked the egg a little bit.
The Sandwich - Bacon, Pimento Cheese, Avocado, Chicken Egg, Red Pepper Spread, English Muffin. Specifically, Usinger's bacon, Roland Red Pepper Spread and Thomas' Light Multi-Grain English Muffin. The real bonus of using pimento cheese is that it melts so nicely and gets into every nook and cranny of your sandwich, and thus, your tastebuds. The recipe I use has pepper jack cheese in it so it has a slight kick. What else can I say about this sandwich? Look at it. It was beautiful. It was tasty. It should have been put in a museum but instead it went into my belly and I have no regrets. Wait, I do regret overcooking the egg a bit, there was scant yolk-ooze. 

The Result - Delicious. Just go make some pimento cheese.