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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Middle Eastern Sufganiya Egg Sandwich

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zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, cough, zzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, achoo, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………. Uch gross, why is my key board all wet? Oooooh, drool. Nasty.

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So, that pretty much sums up what happened to me when I went to type this up last night. This week has been so hard and so long. If someone told me today was Friday I would completely believe them because it has also been never ending. I don’t want to complain to all of you because this is really supposed to be about the food, but I’m going to anyway, so if you don’t want to hear about my sucky week, scroll down to the bottom of this post and just skip right to the recipe!

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I’m gonna start my rant by painting you a picture of what I look like right now. I’m sitting at my computer, Muddy Waters blasting in the background, because only hardcore blues will do right now, half dressed. I have my slippers on, which yes, stayed on through my gan drop offs because I forgot to change to real shoes, I am wearing an actual sweater and skirt, however, on my head I have a giant oversized pink knit hat, that doesn’t really work with my outfit. 

All of this pales in comparison though to the state of my eyes. There is a dark shade of purple on the bottom that I could not be bothered to cover up because I dislike make up even on a good day. I am certainly not going to take the time to deal with it on a bad day. Also, if I covered up the purple it may make the giant bags they rest upon all the more noticeable.  

Anyway, now that you know how crappy incredible I look, let me tell you why. 

The week started off with my oldest son waking up and complaining that his bones hurt and he had a head ache while coughing a loud, barking cough. Off to the doctor we went, who told us….FLU. “Your son has the flu, no school for a week” he said. I mean, he may have actually said more than that but that’s all I heard. Because in the depths of my own thoughts that no one could hear all I could think was “Thank you G-d for giving my son the flu, on a week when my husband is away and I have a million things to do.” 

Clearly though, G-d did not approve of my lack of gratitude for really, all the amazing things I have and the fact that besides, a little flu my family is, thank G-d, healthy. SO, He decided to teach me a little lesson. 

Within minutes of returning from the doctor, my cleaning lady, who anyone that has a really good cleaning lady understands is so much more than that, informs me that she pulled a muscle in her neck and needs to leave in an hour to go to the doctor. Okay, I thought. I can manage this. I am really fond of her and am sad that she is in pain. It’s one afternoon, and shell come back tomorrow as good as new.

HA!

Nope. She did not come back. The doctor told her the only way to get better is to rest. And, honestly, I am happy for her to take the time off and rest. She does so much for me, the least I can do is be gracious and understanding if she doesn’t feel good. I’ll just call my babysitter to come help me with my five kids, around bath time.

DOUBLE HA!

She too is unavailable. So, thats it. She was my last hope. 

And now I’m broken.

I don’t sleep at night, because flu child is up all night coughing. During the day I’m busy with a million things I don’t really have time for, and any spare seconds I have I retreat into the kitchen to cook something because that’s my happy place. Then however, I’m left with all the clean up because, well….. this week. But as I write all this down the only thing I can think to do is laugh. Because if I don’t laugh, I will cry. And cry. And cry.

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I guess this is just life. Some weeks are harder, some go by faster, some are filled with happiness and accomplishment and others are more trying. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we deal with things that matter. And, we all know that the best way to deal with a murphy’s law kind of week is to fry some dough, stuff it with aioli, sautéed kale (because, health) and a fried sunny side up egg. 

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Thank you all so much for letting me vent here. I really hope you are all having an easier week than me, and if not call me. You can pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to my blues music through the phone while we find something to laugh about!

Just FYI, this recipe has a bunch of different components so I split up the recipe into 4 different parts so that yo can pick and choose which elements you want. Fell free to mix and match and use any of the components for other dishes you think they will go with! I did not give a recipe for a sunny side up egg, because I believe in you!

Peas & Love,

Danielle

For the printable Sufganiya recipe, click here

For the printable Harissa and Preserved Lime Aioli recipe, click here

For the printable Sauteed Garlic-y Kale recipe, click here

For the Sumac Pickled Onion recipe, click here

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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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