If you’re like me, March is your favorite month of the year. You’ve had enough of cold and snow. March is when things start to change for the better. On television, we find baseball Spring Training games, telling us that up here in the North, we’ll see grass soon. We start having rain instead of snow, meaning that the temperatures are finally up above freezing. Most importantly, we have Fashion Week Cleveland, so we know that it’s almost time to pack away our parkas and get out our booty shorts.
When I think of Fashion Week Cleveland, I think of supermodels. When I think of supermodels, I think of the sausage, French fries, and coleslaw that they’re always eating. Coincidentally, those are the primary ingredients of Cleveland’s signature dish, the Polish Boy sandwich. In honor of Fashion Week Cleveland, why don’t we make a Polish Boy in our Easy Bake Oven?
So what exactly is in a Polish Boy? We start with a roll. Throw on some kind of sausage. Layer on some French Fries. Next is barbecue sauce. Top the whole thing with coleslaw. Before getting to the sandwich proper, I started with the barbecue sauce, since I wanted to make it as Cleveland-authentic as possible. I cheated a little bit here and made the sauce on the stove. I justified this by saying that it wasn’t strictly for the Polish Boy. The plan was to use it the first time the snow on my patio receded enough to cook some chicken on the grill. I used Cleveland chef Michael Simon’s recipe, going so far as to order Bertman Ball Park Mustard (a staple at Cleveland’s Progressive Field). When it was finished, the taste test resulted in a puckered mouth and watering eyes. There was way, way, way too much vinegar. Adding a ton more brown sugar helped, but not completely. Also, the Coriander was too much for me. Maybe it’ll be fine when I slather it on some chicken and grill it, but I didn’t care for it as a stand-alone condiment.
Without having to Easy Bake the barbecue sauce, the tough part was going to be the French fries. It takes forever to bake them in the regular oven using a big sheet. How long would it take using the Easy Bake’s tiny tray? The solution came from one of my kitchen gadgets, a slicer that can make Julienne cuts. Using these little mini-fries (okay, so they were really more like hash browns), I could fill the tray and cook them in 25 minutes per batch. They cooked a little uneven (crispy on the bottom and slightly soggy on the top), but after stirring them up a bit, they were fine. Next, I chopped up some kielbasa and ran that through the oven. I made my own coleslaw as well, using nothing more than pre-shredded cabbage, mayo, and sugar.
Finally, it was time to put everything together and have some lunch. It was awesome. Almost. What was the problem? Kielbasa, fries, and coleslaw sounds pretty awesome. You know when you throw a party and you’ve got that one friend who’s kind of a downer, but you invite them anyway, and they ruin the party and make everyone want to leave early? That was the barbecue sauce. I’d like to try this again and use sauce from a bottle (gasp!), but, honestly, I don’t think I have it in me. Do you know how long it took to make one sandwich worth of Julienne fries? I don’t, but it’s probably easy to figure out. Four batches, twenty-five minutes per batch. That works out to something like sixty-five minutes.
So there’s March’s entry in our salute to the United Nations International Light Celebration Technology Thing, or whatever it’s called. Up next: we honor the Netherlands’ Koningsdag (April 27) by making…I don’t know. Something Dutch.