Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Veni, Vidi, Ut Perii.

(Photo Credit: Brooklyn Brewery)

Some people who have been following the blog know that I was competing in the Food Experiments Tour, sponsored by the Brooklyn Brewery. My confidence was high after a really nice Happy Hour with the competitors, followed by a quick shopping trip to Market District to pick up supplies (with the gift card the competition supplied!) It turns out to make 300 pierogies, it takes a bit of shopping. For my recipe, I went with a traditional pierogie, only filled with a mixture of potato, cheese, sauerkraut, and kielbasa. In order to have enough pierogies, it took a total of 15 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of potatoes, 3 dozen eggs, 4 pounds of onions, 2 pounds each of butter, cheese, and sauerkraut, and a pound and a half of kielbasa.

The pierogies were formed by 11:30 Saturday night, and after waking up at 7 am the day of the competition to boil the pasta, and saute the onions, I was ready to compete, alongside mi mama. And compete we did. Now, I could drag out the suspense, but those of you who are versed in Latin already know the answer. I was thoroughly trounced. I was very happy with the pierogies, for making a large amount of a brand new recipe, I was extremely happy. I was even happier whenever I was asked a few (OK, my ego counted, 6) times what restaurant I was with. I at least know the pierogies were edible, as at the end of the day, all of 267 of them were consumed.

At the end of the day, so what if I lost? It was a lot of fun to compete, and I met some great people, and had really great food and beer. And there is some rumor the competition is returning next year. That means I have a year to plan, and my vengeance will be sweet...(insert maniacal laughter here.) Just kidding...or am I?

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dumpling Experiment: Day 2

It is now 5 days until the Pittsburgh Dumpling Experiment, and this led to the next round of training. After yesterday's serviceable trial (good, but somewhat disappointing) I tweaked the recipe. The specific issue with yesterday was the pierogie was 1) flat tasting, and 2) too heavy/ chewy. In order to counteract this, I upped the sodium chloride, and made the dumpling thinner. This seemed to work. And so, I present the results:

Title: Pierogies-Mark II
Positives: These are pierogies, and they are pretty good. I could eat a lot of these.
Negatives: The dough is a little difficult to work with, and as a result, the pierogies need some help in the cosmetics department.
Possible Improvements: I need to reshape them in order to present a better appearance. I think I have the dough down, and now it is time to perfect the filling.
Final Result: Good.

The Dumpling Experiment: Day 1

It is now less than a week away from the Pittsburgh Dumpling Experiment, and I have decided to enter. Now, I can't reveal the full details until the day of the competition, but I have chosen the truly Pittsburgh dumpling to represent in the upcoming culinary battle. However, before I rush too far ahead in excitement, let me take a moment to explain what is going on.

On Sunday the 20th, there will be a competition of amateur chefs in Pittsburgh, with everyone vying for the title of "Best Dumpling." This is part of a larger national tour, where each city has a theme. (http://thefoodexperiments.com/2012/05/14/pittsburgh-dumpling-experiment-what-to-do-with-all-these-prizes/)

Now, if you have been reading this before, you know I am a fan of pierogies (see here: http://notourist.blogspot.com/2011/02/food-for-thought.html), so naturally I was excited about this theme. I could finally put those recipes I learned to the test.

In keeping with the theme of training, yesterday was the first of a few test batches, to make sure everything is ready for the competition. I mixed up a batch of dough, and got to folding.

Not bad for a test, and at least they look right. After boiling them, and then adding the butter, I have come to the conclusions.

Title: Pierogies-Mark I
Positives: They look right, and they smell right. They are definitely pierogies, and are edible.
Negatives: The dough is flat and chewy, and they are truly "gut-bombs." These things will sit like a rock in your stomach.
Possible Improvements: I need to up the salt in the dough, and it also needs to be rolled out to be even thinner.
Final Result: Fair.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Record Arts

A few pieces I painted for submission to an upcoming show. Tho only requirement was that the art was to be painted on records. All of these pieces are currently for sale. Here is what I came up with:

Wild West
12" x 12"
Acrylic on Vinyl

12" x 12"
Acrylic on Vinyl

12" x 12"
Acrylic on Vinyl

12" x 12"
Acrylic on Vinyl

Compass Rose
12"x 12"
Acrylic on Vinyl