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I was recently treated to a local restaurant called YOLO for a lunch with my boss and his daughter and girlfriend to celebrate Christmas.  Having been well-trained in the past to read all menus from right to left and respectfully order a reasonably priced item, I chose the moderately priced Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich.  Wow!  A love affair has begun.  The flavors were intoxicating.  I began trolling the internet for recipes and discovered that there are so many variations, we can have a “Banh Mi” type sandwich on a regular basis, since the ingredients usually used are non-shadetree (good for my arthritis) and I love, love, love freshly pickled onions and the like.  For New Years, since pork is traditionally considered a good luck meal, I’ll be trying out my own first Bahn Mi using pork.  Even though I don’t have pictures yet, I decided that working through the planning process by blogging it might be fun.  I’m also potentially going to do a side that includes, what else, black-eyed peas.  The picture above is from Martha Stewart, and the pictures below from Taste of Home, sites I visit regularly for ideas.  Another favorite of mine is Damn Delicious.  Food Network also provides a good cross section of styles.  I also love America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country.  My love of cooking was also enhanced by Lidia’s Italy and Fort Lauderdale’s own Chef Jean Pierre of Sunshine Cuisine.

The first step is deciding on the pork portion of the recipe.  Alton Brown (who I love) uses ground pork in his recipe.  As a devoted sale shopper, I will likely be opting for whatever good quality pork is on a great sale, and cooking it in the crock pot.  It will likely be a loin or roast.  I will thinly slice or shred, depending on the meat’s texture.  The internet is full of variations using steak, chicken, fish, you name it.  The idea is a crusty bread, tasty protein, pickled veggies, and a spicy condiment.

The bread is important too.  YOLO used a super crusty baguette.  The words “bahn mi” actually mean baguette or bread in Vietnamese.  My thoughtful daughter gave me a gift card to Lucky’s so I can sip and stroll, and they have freshly baked baguettes on sale most of the time.  It’s a good bet I’ll get my bread there.  They also have a killer produce department, so the veggies to be pickled can be bought there.  Depending on what the sales are next weekend, I may be able to one-stop shop!!

Almost all the recipes called for a sriracha or spicy style mayonnaise or aioli.  This I will likely make myself, since I always have sriracha and mayonnaise in the fridge.  Let me clarify, however, that for some people on a shade tree free diet, sriracha is a big no no because of the hot peppers used to make it.  However, I seem to still be able to have sriracha with no pain.  Ketchup and pizza sauce have proven to not be something I will be eating anymore, though.  My pain returned within an hour of very small amounts of both.

The juices from the cooked pork should also be cooked down for a dipping sauce, so this is kind of like a Vietnamese “French Dip”.

Writing this has helped to build enthusiasm for food again.  After a huge Christmas Eve of Ham, Bacon-Wrapped Carrots, and Roasted Squash, followed by an even bigger Christmas feast of turkey and all the usual trimmings.

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