It's always good to have a back-up plan. My back-up plan for when this engineering career goes completely to shit is to to do computer and networking consulting. It's also good to have a back-up plan for the back-up plan. If all else fails, I will buy a food truck and sell Pirshki on the streets of Toronto.
Pirshki, for newcomers to the blog, is one part of the holy trinity of TBone Family Christmas Meals. Pirshki, Meat Sticks, and Roll-ups. I'm drooling just thinking about them. I considered a food truck concept that would serve all three of these epic dishes but I'm pretty sure that much concentrated awesome would result in my being trampled by an impatient mob of newly enlightened food fanatics.
Each of the three dishes would pose their individual challenges for preparing and serving in a food truck environment. Pirshki won the focus for being the most "streetable", easiest to eat on the run, for having the most crack like properties of addiction, and, hopefully, the easiest prep and serve properties of the three.
But could I be successful with just Pirshki? The stuff is heroin in fried dough, true enough, but it's still just one thing. I started thinking of different recipes that I could use to back up the champ. I had half a dozen alternatives that I thought might work but I needed some third party testing to validate these concoctions. We didn't have much going on this weekend so I decided to spend it cooking Pirshki and Pirshki Alternatives for evaluation by Jen, my brother, and sister-in-law.
Saturday was filling day. Most of the recipes had a ground beef base, like the original. But there was also shredded chicken, pulled pork, and chopped lamb to prepare. It was a carnivore's dream! Oh, and a pot of quinoa for the hipsters. I felt I had to at least offer a veggie Pirshki option even though it burns my soul to leave meat out of a dish.
Sunday morning I got to work on the dough. I had always dreamed of a quicker, faster way of doing Pirshki dough. I've finally accepted that the only way is the way my mom does it. No compromises. There's a lot of prep, and rising, and punching, and kneading, and more rising with this recipe. But the end results are worth it. The bread maker's going to be collecting a fair bit of dust after this experiment.
When the dough was finally ready, I packed 8 different recipes into about 70 Pirshki balls. After years of neglect, I dug my deep fryer out of the basement. Pirshki are traditionally pan fried but for a food truck, it would have to be deep fried or nothing.
And then the tasting. The clear winner was still the original recipe. There's just something about that combination of ingredients that is magical. There were some strong contenders though. The Buffalo Chicken and Mexican variations were popular with everybody and the Blue Cheese Burger was very tasty for those who liked blue cheese. The Pulled Pork BBQ was almost there but needs some work on the sauce. I was alone in liking the Rosemary Lamb and, surprisingly, the Kooky Quinoa. Very polarizing dishes. Jen had some suggestions that would likely really help the veggie option but I think I'll just keep those in my back pocket for now. The Cheeseburger was kind of bland but, again, some good suggestions that I'd likely implement to make a Bacon Cheeseburger down the road.
So, at the end of it all, a lot of work but some really good feedback. I got a bit of a taste of what it would be like to assemble and cook Pirshki on the fly. Could I actually make a go of a food truck? I think so. The product is amazing and people would go nuts over it in downtown Toronto. Am I actually going to do this then? Not likely. But it's always nice to have a back-up plan.