Vietnamese Banh Mi (Sandwiches)

Vietnamese Banh Mi  Bahn Mi for Me

We have three ladies who work for us here in our office without whom this place would fall apart. They represent The Money: from billing and AR, to payroll and HR; they handle it all.

Two are sisters from a large half-Chinese, half-Vietnamese family. I mention this because they have a lot of family get-togethers, and family get-togethers almost always involve food. In this case it’s a lot of food. Good food. A lot of really good Vietnamese food…and I totally benefit from the left-overs that they bring in, when it is all said and done.

It’s not always left-overs. On any given day you can find some tasty treat. Sometimes it’s fresh pork buns, still warm from the ovens of the bakery in Chinatown. Other times there are these cute, little egg tarts that are great with coffee. My favorite meal surprise is the Bahn Mi sandwiches. (My mouth is watering as I write this.)

I love Bahn Mi, and when they magically appear, my day is that much brighter. My favorite is the grilled chicken, but you can never go wrong with the classic. The combination of meat and pickled veggies with the cilantro and chilies on fresh French bread is rhapsodic, and worthy of enthusiastic discussion. In fact, we have been having a conversation about Bahn Mi in the office today—basically echoing the sentiments here. If I were a betting girl, I would lay good odds that I know what we will be having for lunch tomorrow…

Vietnamese Banh Mi (Sandwiches)
Serves 4

This basic recipe is for Grilled Chicken Ban Mi. See below for variations for Black Pepper Pork and vegetarian Lemongrass Tofu.  Read more…

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

Tomato Bruschetta Tomato Snob

I love tomatoes, but this love is not unconditional. In my mind, there is nothing worse than a watery, bland tomato. As a card-carrying food snob, I require full tomato flavor—which means that for most of the year, I don’t eat tomatoes. Frankly, an out-of-season tomato doesn’t taste as good.

Now that it’s July, things are lookin’ up.

In an effort to capitalize on the very best tomatoes possible, I planted some in my garden. However, I planted them late, so I’m not sure how well they’ll do. The fruit on the vine is taunting me, but they are not quite ready. So, I continue to wait. Meanwhile, the heirloom tomatoes in the market are fantastic, and I am able to get my fix while I wait for my plants to start producing.

Because home-grown, summertime tomatoes have so much flavor on their own, I like to serve them simply sliced up with a little vinaigrette, or on a toasted slice of French bread–bruschetta style. Throw on some fresh mozzarella and you have a tasty light lunch. I have been known to add goat cheese (or Bellwhether Farms Frommage Blanc for people with a goat cheese aversion).

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
I use this as my base recipe, and improvise. Read more…

Confetti Corn

Confetti CornConfetti Corn

I’m kinda obsessed with corn at the moment…I think I have had corn with dinner three times this past week. It’s so good right now.

By far my favorite is corn on the cob, but sometimes you gotta branch out and do something different. I have posted my Corn Pie before, and I highly recommend you try that now, when the local corn is like sugar.

There are many good corn salads, but I love this corn side dish from the Barefoot Contessa that my sister made the other night. (I think I had four servings.) I definitely want to try it using a poblano pepper instead of a bell pepper, or maybe even a jalapeño—I would swap some green onion or cilantro for the basil in that case.

Whatever you do, serve Confetti Corn alongside a juicy rib eye for a satisfying summer meal.

Confetti Corn
Adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network.
Serves 6 Read more…

Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad

Gams Bacon Potato SaladWhen it comes to the Fourth of July, there are certain rules that must be followed. Well, at least in my world.

There must be ribs and hot dogs. There must be fresh corn. Pies are a deal breaker…no pies, no party…and of course, there must be potato salad.

My favorite is the New Potato Salad adapted from The Barefoot Contessa. There must always be dill In my potato salad and hard boiled eggs. This my line in the sand.

Problem is, I am the only one who digs the dill, so there are compromises. When that happens, I make my grandmother’s version. The only thing better that potato salad with dill is potato salad with bacon…

For a crowd, I have been known to make both, because I am childish that way.

Hope every one has a Happy and Satisfying Fourth of July!!!

Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
(She called it German Potato Salad, but I think she was wrong) Read more…