Sunday, June 13, 2010

Family Meal

Firing up the grill.

Everyone works hard at our craft and once in a while, it's nice to sit down together for a meal. Tonight, after clearing down from a long weekend working HonFest, we brought our little family together for a little something to eat. Here's the menu:

- Local sweet peas, quick boiled then lightly sauteed
- Pan roasted Sesame Curry Potato "Medley"
- Quick Vac Pickled Red Onion and Cucumber Salad
- Steamed White Rice
- Grilled Roseda Beef Onglet
- Fish Sandwich
- Strawberry Ice Cream

Trimming out the onglet from Roseda Farms.

Quick vac-pickled salad.

Kimmy serves the rice.

Devlin, Derrick and Rebecca get started.

Pan roasted sesame curry potato "medley".

Cucumber and Red Onion Salad.

Grilled Onglet.

Sweet Peas in Old Yogurt Container.

Jeremy prepares his veggie sandwich.

Derrick shows off his skills.

Janet joins the party.

Molly arrives with beer in hand.

Conviviality, the reason for Family Meal.

Molly glows.

Serving Janet.

Getting ready for dessert.


Strawberry Ice Cream - Pacotized!

Everyone's ready to pounce.

Serving the ice cream.

HonFest: Day Two

The line starts early at HonFest.

Bex escapes from inside.

Kimmy happier in the air conditioning.

Lindsay bites the banana.

Derrick will be joining the cast of Entourage next season.

Jen, the jazz bassist.

Jeremy eats a banana behind Lindsay's back.

So many baristas, so much time.

To Another

Fiesta Filipiniana - Towson.

From One Festival...

HonFest - Hampden.

Bahn Mi This

The ingredients.

We're on a quest this weekend to provide simple, light and tasty staff meals. Yesterday was soba noodles and salmon, today it's house made bahn mi.

Derrick's lovely mom and dad went out yesterday and sourced us some veggies (his dad even took the time to shred the daikon and carrots - amazing), char siu, ham pate, cucumbers and cilantro.

On offer to our staff today were three bahn mi:

Pate Cha - ham pate forcemeat
Ca - sardines
Thit Do - char siu

In an attempt to follow the classics, we used a quick vac pickling of the daikon and carrots, a little liver pate (except for the Ca), a stalk of cucumber, fresh cilantro and a helping of wasabi mayo to punch it up a bit.

A stack of bahn mi for the taking.

The Three Dollar Breakfast Sandwich

Three bucks, made to order.

"That was the best egg sandwich I've ever had."
- Kathy McLane

Admittedly, it's not the most elegant breakfast sandwich in the world. In fact, it's hardly more thoughtful than any sandwich anywhere else. It features commercial grade ingredients and nothing local and probably not sustainable - but it also doesn't cost eight dollars.

One of the biggest challenges of offering local, sustainable and thoughtful foods are the costs. People who know me know that I'm not shy to charge a price appropriate to the ingredients and skill involved in preparation but for HonFest, we wanted something a little more downscale and down home, with a price that's easy on the pocket. Three dollars puts us in the McDonald's range of pricing.

Problem is, to get that level of pricing, one has to resort to McDonald's grade ingredients. Processed, sodium-packed and cheap are the orders of the day. Oddly enough, it's those same commercial-grade ingredients that hit the memory switches the hardest.

How many people grew up eating simple sandwiches of white bread and American cheese grilled in a pan? And while we, as "adults", may want to buy everything local and sustainable, once in a while we can't help but to savor those old flavors of youth. Hence the three dollar breakfast sandwich.

There's a pre-cooked sausage patty that we pan fry in butter, there's white bread from the local H&S Bakery that we toast with butter, and then there's the whole egg that we pan fry in (guess what?) butter. Take all that and add a slice of processed American Cheese, maybe add a dash of Tabasco sauce and you've got yourself a winner.

Let the egg yolk run free and now you've got a little sauce on your sandwich. It's a bit messy but, I have to admit, darn tootin' good. So good, I had to have one for myself - or maybe I might have been spotted eating two at some point today...

Certainly, our mission propels us towards sourcing eggs from Springfield Farm, pork from Woolsey Farm, probably a sharp cheddar from Cabot, butter from Cabot and artisanal bread - assemble all of those and then we're approximating the flavors of youth while trying to maintain an adult idealism on "how it should be." And while I fully support that approach, it also makes the Three Dollar Breakfast Sandwich into the $7.50 (or more) Breakfast Sandwich.