Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Meat. Gooood.

Bread. Gooood.

Pickled Vegetabes. Good.

Creamy Soy Sauce. Good.

Put it all together to make the best sandwich ever. Verrrrrrrry good.

It actually doesn’t seem fair to call this a sandwich. These days, the word sandwich evokes a picture of two pieces of some sort of floppy bread, smeared with PB&J, or cream cheese stuffed into a condensation filled plastic bag, pulled out from the bottom of a knapsack, 20 degrees hotter than it was when I put it in there in the morning.

That is not what’s happening here.

The banh mi is a sandwich at it’s best. It’s basically the little black dress of sandwiches. It consists of 4 very simple components that can be switched up or accessorized in a ton of different ways. No matter what you do to it though, the basic premise is a good French baguette, quickly cooked protein, flavor bomb pickled veg, umami packed mayonnaise and fresh herbs keep this sandwich down to earth, easy to make, portable, and simple but sophisticated.

The banh mi is what happened as a result of Vietnam being a French occupied colony from the middle of the 19th century until Vietnam’s independence in 1954. Like any good group of people, the Vietnamese took the incredible baguette that the French brought with them, made it their own and stuffed it with a combinations of France’s best delicacies and their own deeply cultural pickled veggies. The Banh Mi, which really just translates to mean “bread of wheat”, became a staple across Vietnam because it could be filled with anything and carried around easily. 

The first banh mi sandwiches were spread with a thin layer of French liver pate, then filled with a thin layer of thinly sliced meat, topped with pickled vegetables (usually carrots and radishes) and fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves. It was the perfect east meets west combo.

Over time, the Bahn mi has transformed to mean any kind of sandwich as long as it’s in a Vietnamese style French baguette, filled with some sort of protien and loaded with pickled veggies and coriander. They sell them on the streets of Vietnam filled with thinly sliced beef, scrambled eggs, crushed pork meatballs, roasted pork belly, tofu for the vegans out there, grilled chicken and even sardines. 

For pretty obvious reasons, I chose to go the route of thinly sliced meat. In my house nobody is vegan, eggs are for breakfast, we keep kosher and if I served my husband and sons a sardine sandwich they would trade me in. 

Liver pate was optional so for those that unwisely chose to skip it I created a soy sauce-mayonnaise to add in some of that creamy umaminess they were missing. 

Traditionally Vietanam style French baguettes actually have a bit of a thinner crust than regular French baguettes but I couldn’t find that so I just went with I had access to. You can, of course make your own baguette, but then this would not be an easy to make sandwich anymore.

                   

Pickled veggies are a staple in my fridge. They come in many forms, flavored differently and grace basically every dish I serve. If you aren’t obsessed with pickled veggies, you will be after you make this sandwich so  double or triple the recipe so that you too will have a well stocked pickled veggie fridge. I also added thinly sliced spicy peppers for some heat and although you can leave it out, I urge you strongly to try the banh mi with it.

However you do it, whether with meat, chicken, tofu, eggs, sardines or really any other protein you can think of just make sure to cross this dish off your list of “I want to make that one day but not today” dishes because you will absolutely fall in love with it at the first bite. And all over again with every other subsequent bite you take. 

For the printable Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe click here

 

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TATERTOSCHEN, The Better Way To Get Your Purim On This Year!

              

DEFINE:
[tay-ter tahshen
 
nounplural  [tayter tahshuh n] (Show IPA). Jewish Cookery.
1. a small triangular (often sweet) dough made with yeast and filled with a mixture of poppy seeds and honey or with prune paste, prepared especially for Purim.
 
2. The replacement of grated potatoes in the dough takes the regular, boring, usually unevenly cooked cousin of the TATERtoschen, the HAMANtaschen, and elevates it it to the best version of a tater tot. EVER!
“Mommy, pleeeeeaaasssee make us TATERTOSCHENS for Purim this year instead of regular hamantaschen.”
 
Origin of tatertaschen
<From the PL&C  English/Yiddish mash up language, TATER equivalent to “tater tots”+ tash pouch, pocket (compare Middle High German tasche, Old High Germantasca; akin to task )
 
 TOUNGE TWISTER CHALLANGE:
“Tatty took ten TATERTOSCHENS to town today.”
 
     
 

When I first woke up in the middle of the night dreaming about a Tater-tot/Hamantashen hybrid I could not go back to sleep! I knew that my alternate dream life had lead me to Purim gold! Although extremely tired from my lack of sleep, I spent the whole next day and writing down a list of why tater tots rock and how to properly incorporate their awesomeness into a triangle shape. I quickly realized that the triangle would work to my advantage because 3 corners = 3x more the crispy edges. So, from their I wrote a list if criteria that my TATERTOSCHEN needed to meet.

  1. must be easy to make
  2. must freeze well so that people can prepare them in advance
  3. must be vegan and gluten free so that everyone can enjoy them!
  4. must be crispy
  5. must NOT be fried. Because. Frying is annoying

          Last but not least…

6.must be completely and utterly addictive.

                       

So, for the past month, I have made these so many different times, each time adjusting the recipe to enhance and simplify the recipe. Then once I finally settled on a recipe that yielded results that tasted and were just as crispy as their fried counterparts I spent days testing the best way to freeze and reheat them! 

But, no. My work did not end there. Because once I created a vegan and gluten free version, I obviously had to take and junkyify (another word brought to you by the PL&C language) it. Which meant adding a ton of cheddar cheese (because, cheese) and filling them with the yummiest, most delicious brunch foods of all time. 

                      

So, this Purim, if you only do one thing. TATERTOSCH. 

You can fill them with pulled red wine braised short ribs like I did, or stuff them with some shredded bbq chicken, imitation crab salad or tuna tartare for a fish course, or do what my kids did and fill the hole with ketchup and just eat em straight up!

(warning: if your family goes the ketchup route, close your eyes and back away slowly, because a little piece of your foodie heart may die)

However you choose to serve these, just make sure you are already fed when these come out of the oven. Because if not, it is very likely you will consume the whole tray, by yourself, in the kitchen.

For the printable TATERTOSCHEN recipe click here

For the printable CHEESY CHEDDAR TATERTOSCHEN recipe click here

For the printable PULLED RED WION BRAISED SHORT RIBS recipe click here

 

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“Pho” Style Soup with Super Thinly Sliced Steak + All Asian Soup Base

Soup is everything. 

Its a meal, it’s a snack, it heals you when you don’t feel good, it can be a fridge cleaner, it can be meaty and hearty, it can be light and refreshing, it can be eaten with a soup for a dignified experience, it can be slurpped up with a huge chopstick full of noodles(my personal fav) and it is, most importantly, always delicious. 

I’ve said this before and I can not stress it enough, that a good soup is something that every single person can make. They are not hard and in my opinion the main contributor from taking a soup from good to great is merely the addition of time. For the most part, you can basically dump anything in a pot, add some seasoning, cover with water and if you let it simmer for long enough it will taste delicious. 

BUT. If you want your soups to go from great to INSANE, it does require a little bit of technical work so that you can layer flavors and build a soup that is so complex in it’s taste but simple in it’s appearance. 

To me, that is what this soup is all about. It is a combination of a chicken soup stock, layered with a mushroom broth and infused with Asian aromatics that gives this soup it’s absolutely addicting flavor. 

Since I make a version of Asian soups basically every week, I’m going to do you all a favor and give you my base recipe. From there you can either follow this exact recipe (which I highly recommend because it was the freakin bomb) or you can use whatever you have in your fridge to make your own incredible Asian soup bowl.

If you don’t have an ingredient I use, just leave it out or swap it for something similar. The only component that I would say you absolutely should include is the mushroom broth. It is very simple to make as it requires only dried mushrooms and water and you can freeze it in one cup containers so that you to can easily make these soups on a weekly basis from your leftover shabbos chicken soup.

I’m going to break this recipe up into 2 parts for those of you who just want the base. Please, please, please use this recipe as a jumping off point to create your own amazing Asian soups!!!!!

Happy slurping everyone!

For the printable Asian Soup base recipe click here

For the printable Asian “Pho” with Philly Sandwich Steak recipe click here

To watch the making of this soup and see how easy it really is click here (don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel while your there…)

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Kitchen Destination: Brazil

I know that dinner time in many homes is not easy. Even in my own house I would say at least once if not twice a week dinner is actually a struggle. Whether it’s coming up with what to make, or finding something to make that everyone will eat, or actually getting people to eat the food that they normally love, it can be really challenging. 

After months of arguing with my kids about dinner times I finally hit a wall and realized I needed to fix things. That’s how Kitchen Destinations started. Once I tested the concept and realized how effective it was I knew I had to incorporate more of them into our routines.

So, at first it started out with just different locations. Luckily, there’s no shortage of countries with unique cuisines. Truthfully though, sometimes, I’m just not in the mood to start looking up facts, trying new recipes and doing everything that goes along with it. But, what I learned from my week-long culturally themed dinners, was that my kids were so much more excited and willing to try new foods that we, as a family, learned about and “experienced” together, that as long there’s a topic and something to discuss that we can sort of connect to food, dinner will run so much more smoothly.

That’s when I realized, that I’m not limited to only “Kitchen Destinations”. As long there’s a topic and something to discuss that we can sort of connect to food, dinner will run so much more smoothly. I can come up with tons of different “themes” that we can carry out through out the week. I just need to genuinely excited about it, build it up a few days before and get the kids will feed off my energy, get involved and they’ll love it. 

Now, although I still haven’t found way to solve my food-all-over-the-floor, tomato-sauce-covered-freshly-bathed-kids, and before-bedtime-crankiness, at least getting my kids to COME to the table and taste the food has been dealt with. 

Now, onto BRAZIL.

                                    

I am little embarrassed to say this, but in all of the different places my children and I have visited through out our “kitchen destination” journeys we have never done a single South American country. The only reason I can even come up with is that in my limited knowledge of South American cooking I really didn’t know there was anything more besides rice and beans or their version of barbecue. 

Once I got to talking to my friend and neighbor Nomi and her visiting sister-n-law Malki,  I realized how crazy it was to have never taught my kids about an entire continent! After Nomi and Malki agreed to be our culinary “tour guides” through Brazil, everything else fell into plus. Especially, how fitting it was that the first country we should choose to represent South America would be its largest!

                        

After having tasted their “simple” rice beans, I am know completely mortified that we waited so long to learn about Brazil. Although they require very few ingredients they are absolutely delicious and were only matched by the amazing Brazilian dishes we learned to make.

Getting into the kitchen with friends and family is always a recipe for good times and good food. Everything was sooooooo delicious!

I think for my family the highlights were the Beef d’milanese, the recipe we adapted from Leah Schapira and the Pao de Queijo (cheese balls). I don’t think anyone was surprised that the cheese balls would be good, but who knew you could make them gluten free and bake them and they would be just as yummy as the best fried mozzerella stick.

                      

The oven fried beef steaks though, those were a huge shock! hen I forwarded the recipe from Leah to Nomi, I was secretly hoping Nomi would say we shouldn’t make it. Instead she spoke to her mother, adapted the recipe and said it was on. I was nervous that we were basically going to ruin three beautiful bone-in rib eye steaks. Not only were the y not ruined, it was one of the most delicious pieces of steak I’ve ever eaten! So, moist and tender on the inside, but perfectly crispy on the outside. I mean, what more do we really need?

This was the first time we got to experience our Kitchen Destinations with other families and have them come into our kitchen to cook their authentic food right along side of us. It was so fun and special and we are truly so grateful to Nomi and Malki for giving up their time to us. We learned so much this week about Brazil and the Amazon and we really hope you incorporate some of our Kitchen Destinations into your own homes. 

If you have any fun ideas or input for other places we can visit through our kitchen be sure to reach out through email or any of my social media platforms. Would love to hear from you!

Peas and Love,

Danielle

To print out fun facts we learned about Brazil click here

For printable Brazilian Beans recipe click here

For printable Brazilian Rice recipe click here

For printable Brazilian Farofa (loose stuffing) recipe click here

For printable Brazilian Beef d’milanese recipe click here

For printable Pao de Queijo (cheese balls) recipe click here

To watch the Kitchen Destinations: BRAZIL video on you tube click here (Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel while you’re there!!!)

 

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Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Crispy Potatoes

 

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Sometimes, in life, all we need is a huge, fatty, pre-historic looking hunk of protein. And when that happens to me, not just any meat will do. I need the meatiest, most succulent, incredibly tender and packed with flavor protein ever. That can only mean one thing…

LAMB.

Not just any lamb, but a whole roasted lamb shoulder. It is so good that truthfully if you just stuck into your oven for a few hours with out any spices or seasoning it would still taste good. But, if you want to up your lamb game this is the way to go.

I have no idea how this idea popped into my head. I was racking my brain trying to come up with all sorts of ways to cook my lamb. My first thought was to put it in a huge roasting tin on top of the potatoes.

Oh, sorry. Let me back up a minute. We need to talk about the potatoes.

Lamb has tons of fat. When you cook the fat it melts. So, you could either let all the fat sit in the bottom of the pan, or you can use that fat to flavor something else. Therefore, potatoes.

Ok, back to the lamb.

I could have just plopped it on the potatoes and let it cook like that, but then what about the bottom of the lamb shoulder. I wanted 360 degrees of lamb crispiness with a completely tender inside. Then it hit me. Why not use my actual oven rack as a way to cook my lamb. This way I can allow the heat to reach the entire lamb evenly, and I can catch  all those amazing fat drippings! Then I though, wait!!!! Why catch the drippings in an empty pan when my potatoes can soak up all the salty, earthy, fatty goodness! So, that is exactly what I did.

And it was AMAZZZZZZZZING!!!!!

 

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It was sooo good! The outside of the lamb was seasoned incredibly and was irresistibly crispy. The inside was oh so tender that we were actually pulling the meat of the bone with our fingers. And the potatoes. Oh. Those potatoes. Crispy, crunchy, salty, soft on the inside, and completely addicting. 

I went with very traditional lamb seasonings. I have to say, I was a bit nervous about the rosemary, because I often find it very overpowering but it worked so well here. The lemon zest, although not traditional, balanced the rosemary and the earthiness of the lamb so well. It really all came together to make a show stopping main course. 

With the winter rapidly approaching, we’re all going to need a meatfest pick-me-up every now again to help keep us cozy and warm! 

For the full and printable Roasted Lamb Shoulder recipe, click here

 

 

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Sherry Braised Short Ribs

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Short ribs are the perfect meat.

They need to be cooked low and slow so, you don’t have to stand over them mixing and turning. They can go sweet, savory, garlicky, asian-y, mexican-y, italian-y etc. Which means there are endless variations that you can make to satisfy any mood you are in. And, anything leftover, if there even are any, can easily be repurposed into another delicious meal. 

I like to take my leftover short ribs shred them, and make tacos, or stuff them into egg roll or wonton wrappers. It’s the perfect side dish or appetizer. I sometimes even make and fill the wontons and then freeze them raw. This way, if I have last minute company, which happens pretty often around here (you know who you are), I can just pop out how ever many I need and fry ’em up.

This recipe is amazing on it’s own and repurposed. The sherry wine, which I pretty much put in everything because it’s amazing, gives it such a good rustic full-bodied but still light, flavor. It’s a really nice change from red wine braised short ribs and even though its basically a huge chunk of meat, it really doesn’t leave you feeling as heavy.

You are definitely going to want to serve these with something to soak up the insanely heavenly juice. I served mine with rice, because in my house, a meal wit out rice would cause a small riot, but think mashed potatoes or even really good crusty bread.

If you actually do have any leftovers, besides for just eating them cold out of the fridge, you can definitely put these into wontons. Serve them with a really good horseradish dipping sauce, and BOOM, best appitizer ever! In fact, double the recipe and make extra, just so you can do that. It’s worth it!

For the printable recipe click here.

Hope you all enjoy:)

Peas out,

Danielle

 

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Meatball Sub with Jalepeno and Caramelized Onions

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In my house we eat chopped meat at least two or three times a week. i know that sounds like a lot so, I’m gonna break it down for you. My boys are meat and potato kind of people. Only the don’t like potatoes. So that literally leaves me with only protein. In a way, it makes my life much easier because, I don’t have to bother with annoying side dishes, but, coming with different proteins every night gets old really quickly.

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To keep things interesting, and also for the sake of making only one dinner that can feed both my children AND my husband (what? you can get away with only making one dinner a night? YUP. I can) I’ve come up with a few recipes that I can, sort of, spruce up to become an adult meal. So the meatballs that my kids eat for dinner, get turned into this crazy awesome meatball sub for husband.
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The meatballs themselves are seriously amazing. They are bursting with flavor and pair perfectly with the tomatoey goodness that is real Italian gravy. You could easily serve these with a plate of spaghetti and they would still be the best thing on the table. But, if you love your husband if you want to rock dinner, make these subs and serve them with an ice cold beer.
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We are toppings people. You know what I mean. The type of people that need to put a million sauces and condiments in every sandwich, burger, salad, and wrap. This is how I make my subs, because we eat super spicy food around here, but you add whatever veggies, sauces or topping float your boat and just enjoy!
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For Printable Italian Meatball recipe, click here

For Printable Meatball Sub recipe, click here

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