Pass Me a Hoagie

Growing up in Pennsylvania we would have get-togethers focused around one specific food: the hoagie. I feel like the hoagie is not well known across the US; most people commonly refer to hoagies as “subs” or even worse “sandwiches.” In my opinion, those names don’t come close to expressing the beauty behind a hoagie (I can tell you its a helluva lot better than a measly sub). This week, I was so excited to introduce my friends from all over what a real hoagie was like (except for Mel since she’s a fellow Pennsylvanian too), but anyways this weeks menu consists of Herb and Cheese Oven Fries, Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hoagies, and Date Shakes. Let’s get cooking!

As with every other cooking adventure, this one started at the grocery store. I was so happy to have a buddy accompany me: my roomie Ashley! We didn’t have school on Monday (yesterday) for a Jewish holiday, and she didn’t work, so we were able to shop together for the first time ever. Ashley had never been to the 72nd street Trader Joe’s before, so needless to say it was a change for her. The store wasn’t super crazy since it was a Monday, but surprise surprise Trader Joe’s didn’t have the ingredients I needed except for cheese. It was a failure of a trip, and to sum it up in the words of Ashley “EW BYE.” (She did not like this Trader Joe’s).

We made a trip to Fairway two blocks up and I was able to get everything I needed there.

I’m going to go on a rant about Trader Joe’s for a moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love the store, but why why why do they not have a deli/meat counter. It’s a pain to have to go to multiple stores just to buy some stupid sausage…so, Trader Joe’s, if you’re reading this, it’s time for you to invest in a fresh deli counter!!

Anyways, we headed home and waited for everyone to come over. Mel, Martina, Dana, & Nicolette came and we all started by chopping, of course. Nobody wanted to chop at first, but I go a little she-hulk in the kitchen and made sure that no one was just sitting idle.

Nothing went as planned while we were cooking tonight. We had the potatoes on the baking sheet about to sprinkle some Italian seasoning over them, when Nicolette, who was attempting to open the seasoning, popped the top off and it all spilled everywhere! such a disaster. We quickly swept it up and put the fries in the oven…but the pan was too big for the oven so the door wouldn’t close the whole way and the apartment turned into a sauna.

Don’t think it could’ve gotten any worse? As I start cooking the sausage and peppers, the smoke alarm goes off which isn’t an uncommon occurrence, but when I went to turn it off it said “warning carbon monoxide.” All of us proceeded to freak out and not know what to do. I texted my super, and Mel called her stepdad for help. I was not about leave my food…I was determined to finish or I would die cooking.

Eventually my super texted back and told me to reset the alarm…glad to know Ashley and I’s safety was his main thought.

After that incident, though, cooking finished pretty smoothly. We broiled our rolls then brushed them with fresh garlic butter and piled the sausage and peppers on top. We each added some fries to our plate and then it was time for the moment of truth.

3..2..1 MMMMMM. The hoagie was out of this world! All of the spicy and sweet flavors created a party in my mouth. The peppers melted and had unique textures, while every bite of sausage exploded in my mouth with so much flavor. Having the bun toasted and brushed with garlic butter was the icing on the cake. The best hoagie I have ever had by far. The fries were a good side dish, some were a little charred, but still scrumptious and easy to make.

After we had finished dinner, we went on to make the date shakes. Nicolette was ecstatic because she loves dates so she took charge on this one. The shake appeared to be lacking thickness so we added ice cubes and more ice cream, blended a little more, and then served.

The best way to describe how they turned out was crunchy…the ice probably wasn’t a good idea, and all of the date pieces settled at the bottom. The flavor was fabulous, but the texture not so much. I have not been impressed by any of Rachael Ray’s dessert recipes yet. Hopefully there will be an impressive one soon.

Now comes time for the rating…the Herb and Cheese Oven Fries receives ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. I feel like this would’ve been a 5 heart rating if the seasoning hadn’t exploded everywhere…they were a little too seasoned, and if we shouldn’t have kept them in the oven for so long since some were burnt to a crisp. This recipe was very easy to make though, so this will be my go-to when I’m craving fries. The Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hoagies receives ♥♥♥♥♥ (5) hearts. This hoagie, like I said earlier was the best hoagie I have ever eaten. Every ingredient complemented the other perfectly. BRAVO  Rachael Ray. Finally, the Date Shakes receive ♥♥♥ (3) hearts. Nothing special about them at all…and they were crunchy…still waiting for the day to be amazed by a Rachael Ray dessert.

If there’s one thing I learned this week, it’s that obviously food matters more to me than my health because if there was actually carbon monoxide in my apartment I’d probably be dead, but at least I wouldn’t have died hungry!

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

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