We had so much fun at Friday’s Biblioball, though we are both still recovering from several major days of sammich production, including scrubbing sloshed sauces off the kitchen floor. The Biblioball was great because not only did we get feedback on the sammiches we made (more on that later), but we got to meet other local food makers. Sweetie Pies Brooklyn was there selling delicious homemade mini-pies with lattice crusts. I (ECW) could not resist the jalapeno pear pie with a pepper jack crust. La Tia Faby was also there with some delicious empanadas and cake pops. Another fantastic local product we got to sample was locally distilled Bourbon from Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner, New York. They give distillery tours, so you can bet we’ll be heading up there when the weather gets nicer.
It was fun to watch people eat the food we had spent so long preparing. One enthusiastic vegetarian remarked the fried tofu and red pepper spread sammich was “like a vegan hamburger!” This seemed to be a good thing, as our vegetarian and vegan friends kept coming back and buying seconds and thirds. Another person remarked that the pulled pork sammiches made the night worth it and they got the nod of approval from a few “real” southerners, including Victoria Bott of Sweetie Pies Brooklyn. Since both SMH and I are from north of the Mason Dixon line this was high praise.
The cheesy beef was the least requested, but people still responded well to it. We made a lot more provolone bechamel than we needed, but I plan to make an innovative baked mac’n’cheese with it soon. Sorry to all the vegans reading this, which reminded me that zinester Jenna Freedman remarked during the course of the evening I had gone from, “a vegan zinester to a meat-eating blogger!” Though I am sure worse things have happened.
The Biblioball was the first time we have presented our food to a larger public than friends invited over for dinner or snacks. What did we learn? A lot!
Next time we serve sandwiches the first thing we want to pay more attention to is the bread. While pre-made hamburger buns were affordable, we could have baked our own roles for the same price and treated our “customers” as it were to buns that were less squishy. Though considering our schedules this would have been impossible this past week.
We will also include more vegetables. Both SMH and I are obsessed with vegetables, but chopping and storing them on a massive scale is time-consuming, so we decided to exclude them from this round of sammiches to focus on the flavor of the proteins and sauces. However, vegetables add an important crunch and flavor compliment to the main act. They make the sandwiches more substantial and less dense. One of the satisfied vegans who had eaten several of the crispy fried tofu sammiches suggested that if we added carrots and cucumbers it would be nearing a vegan Vietnamese Banh Mi. Not a bad idea at all!
Finally, scale. While it was really fun to have 1/4 of a pig roasting in the oven overnight but we admit it, we went a little overboard and made too many sandwiches. Our friends, band mates, and co-workers are currently benefitting from the excess, but we stressed ourselves out to have a lot of extra in the fridge. Next time we will practice restraint, which is hard for us to do when it comes to food. Thanks to everyone for their feedback and we look forward to providing you with tasty treats again soon.
One last highlight of the evening was the raffle. I managed to win three amazing cookbooks courtesy of Houghton Mifflin (ironically an employer of my aunt for many years). I am now the proud owner of “The Gourmet Cookbook” and “Gourmet Today” edited by Ruth Reichl and “Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus & Beyond” by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox, complete with beautiful photos. Each is a substantial tome in its own right, so it’s going to be a tasty winter here! However, I have a point of jealousy, as my band mate MC won a heavy metal book bundle, including the Heavy Metal Cookbook. This we need to borrow.