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Bites of the Vendy’s

2015 marked the Vendy Awards’ 5th in Philadelphia, and my first time attending. It was one of those events I had always wanted to go to—being both a lover of food trucks and a huge supporter of The Food Trust and the PMFA—but the timing never worked out. This year the stars aligned and I was thrilled to attend for Geekadelphia. Check out my recap for some highlights.

To summarize, I was really impressed. The Vendy Awards are a fantastic event with expert planning and wonderful food.

Speaking of food, I wanted to share some of the bites I got to enjoy. I was able to sample almost every truck, and below are a few of my favorites.

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Hello Daiquiri

Making cocktails has been an interest of mine dating back to my early twenties. I was fascinated by drinks that tasted great but weren’t simply masking the flavor of the spirits involved. While throwing some vodka in twelve ounces of juice certainly makes a drinkable drink, it lacks something in the romance and presentation department. Making a drink can be a soothing ritual. When I made my first Long Island–at a time when I abhorred both gin and tequila–with just a splash of soda and touch of lime I was hooked.

How could something that was basically just booze be so delicious?

That said, I am not a mixologist and have never tended bar. I am however, an engineer, and I live for improving things where I can. I get to make drinks for Michelle and myself at home and enjoy striving for perfection as well as keeping things interesting. Otherwise, we’d probably just drink negronis or whiskey all the time. While there are worse fates, it’s easier to keep an appreciation for your favorites when you toss in a martini, daiquiri, aviation, or martinez every once and a while.

So about daiquiris…

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Blog changes, a hiatus, and a hoagie.

In retrospect, I should have probably written this before the busiest two months of my life began but unfortunately it did not work out that way. I just couldn’t help but spend the weeks leading up to the busiest two months of my life being as lazy as possible. It’s not my fault, I have HGTV for the first time in like 5 years.

This blog has been a bit of a struggle for me conceptually. I started it last year thinking I’d just create a food blog. And I tried that, but it just didn’t ever feel like the right fit. I know I’m not a chef. I’m a home cook who is in a constant state of learning. So, rather than creating blog that tells people how to do things in their own kitchens, I wanted to share what I learned—for better or for worse.

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Noshhh: Local Food & Drink Vendor Showcase

We were pretty close to going to Philly Cooks this year. I’ve always wanted to go but it was always almost a little too cost prohibitive. This year it was possible, but we had so much else going on that we missed out on the early bird tickets, then the regular priced tickets, and pretty soon the event had come and gone.

“Oh, well,” I thought, “there’s always next year.”

And then Noshhh came along.

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Key Lime Pi Day

What do you do when you have a Pisco sour party and wind up left with an extra bag of adorable little key limes*? Obviously, you make a key lime pie. And what better day than 3/14/15 to share this incredibly simple recipe? This was not only my first time attempting a key lime pie, but it was also my first time making a graham cracker crust and a meringue, and it came out as close to perfect as I can imagine a key lime pie being. This recipe is legitimately fool proof.

*We found our key limes at Huong Vuong in Philadelphia.
Bottled key lime juice works just as well, or you can tart-up some Persian lime juice with lemon juice.

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Key Lime Pie

Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook

Ingredients

Crust

10 graham cracker rectangles (5 1/4 ounces)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest (from Key or Persian limes), preferably organic
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

3 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice (from about 20 Key limes), or 1/2 cup fresh Persian lime juice (from about 4 regular limes) plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 about lemon)

Meringue

3 large egg whites
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust assembly

God, this recipe is so easy I can’t even stand it. Okay, so first things first. Make that crust.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C)
  2. Pulse your graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Don’t try to mash them up in a plastic bag like I did. Just get out the stupid food processor and accept the fact that you’re going to need to clean it later.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, lime zest, and salt until combined.
  4. Press into a pie pan, flatten with the bottom of a clean glass, and pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Filling assembly

  1. While that’s baking, beat you egg yolks with a hand mixer or immersion blender until they lighten a bit.
  2. While mixing, slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until it thickens.
  3. Add lime juice.
  4. After the crust has cooled a bit, add the filling then put it back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until set. It’ll have a slight jiggle but will retain it’s shape.

Meringue assembly

  1. Get out your stand mixer. I really don’t recommend doing this by hand, your arm may fall off.
  2. Beat the egg whites with salt until they start to get foamy.
  3. While mixing, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and beat until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Add the vanilla around medium-peak time.

Assembly-assembly

  1. Scoop the meringue onto the pie and smooth with a spoon. Get creative here if you want. Mound it up in the center or make it all the same height. You can even pipe the meringue on in designs. Just remember, the rougher the top the more yummy brown bits you’ll have when you broil it.
  2. I did this in a toaster oven so I could keep close tabs, because once this stuff starts to brown it has about a two second window before it burns, and a 5 second window before it flames up like a piece of paper. Keep an eye on it and when it starts to brown and smell like toasted marshmallows, you’re done. If you want to pretty it up even more, hit it lightly with a brûlée torch.

Happy π Day!

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