Traditional Pork Banh Mi


I love fall for many reasons.  Cooler weather, lots of fun holidays, and the opportunity to wear my favorite sweaters & scarves.  But most importantly: the television.

Sure, there are some good summer hit shows and my favorite year-long reality shows, but I love fall when there are so many new shows to try out.  I haven’t gotten an opportunity to watch all the shows I wanted, so this weekend Hulu and I are going to get real close and personal.  Tell me- what should I be watching?

If you tell me what to watch, I will tell you what we should be eating as we watch TV (because let’s be honest, lots of us eat diner in front of the TV, right?).  I love a good sandwich, and I especially love any form of banh mi.  Banh mi is the main sandwich of Vietnamese cuisine, and they usually have lots and lots of good stuff stuffed into them.

I have made a sweet potato vegetarian banh mi before, but I really wanted to try a more traditional pork version.  The original recipe involved cooking pork belly, but I just ain’t got time for that so in came pulled pork to save the day. (If you are looking for an amazing crock pot pulled pork recipe, feel free to check out my recipe for carnitas.  I would just advice to leave out the dried spices but do everything else the same).

I may have to whip up one of these babies and watch some good TV soon.

Adapted from White on Rice Couple


For the Pork:
2 1/2 cups pulled pork
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt, to taste

For the Banh Mi:
French bread, sliced into rolls
Liver pate, thinly sliced
Pickled carrot and daikon
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Jalapenos, thinly sliced


For the Pork:

In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, fish sauce, and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in pulled pork and cook until warmed through and most of the liquid is gone.  Keep warm

For the Banh Mi:

Wrap French bread in foil.  Warm in oven.  Cut slit in bread.  Spread mayonnaise on bread.  Top with liver pate, pork, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, and jalapenos.

Makes 5-8 sandwiches.


Watermelon, Avocado, and Feta Salad

7-23 Watermelon, Avocado, Feta Salad 2

TGIF for real today.

For the past few months, I have only really had to worry about classes, and my summer courses have not been so bad.  And really, right now I am probably the least busy I will be within the next 4-5 years.  Help. But having 4 hours straight of classes is killing me.  And it’s only 3 days a week. So, Friday, you are most welcome, my friend.

Summer is not sitting in class.  Summer is lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and eating your weight in watermelon.  Summer is staying up too late doing nothing in particular.  Summer is eating at least one s’more.  Summer is taking the time to read lots of good books.  Summer is hitting up lots of happy hours to get as much free food as possible (I have gotten a few completely free dinners with this).  Summer is spending time outside, whether at the park, by the pool, or beach.

Well, since all sunscreen gives me a full body rash for 3 days after using (I am mess, yes), so some of my summer plans may need to be adapted a little bit.  I should probably invest in one of those big floppy hats I will have to stick to all the other summer activities.  I have been doing lots of reading, and  I have done my part to eat lots of good summer food.  This watermelon, avocado, and feta salad was like summer on a plate. Salty, sweet, and juicy- this salad is awesome.

Please do yourself a favor and put all work aside this weekend (at least for a little while) and have some great summer fun.  Then you can re-fuel with this salad to be ready to get back to the grind next week (Ugh).

7-21 Watermelon, Avocado, Feta Salad

From Cinnamon Freud


For the Poppy Seed Vinagraiite:
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

For the Salad:
6 cups lettuce
1-2 small avocados, sliced
3/4-1 cup chopped watermelon
1-2 cucumber, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta
Salt and pepper


For the Poppy Seed Vinaigrette:

Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds.  Set aside.

For the Salad:

In a large bowl combine lettuce, avocados, watermelon, and cucumber.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss with vinaigrette.  Sprinkle feta on top.

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish.

Vegetarian Banh Mi

I have always loved Chinese food (excluding a large period of my childhood when I burnt out on stir fry after my sister requested it constantly for dinner), but in my early years my love was mostly devoted to Americanized Chinese food.  Fried, salty, and covered in soy sauce were my requirements, and I always managed to pick around any vegetables that snuck their way onto my plate. I remember being baffled when I went to my aunt’s house and people chose to wrap their egg rolls in lettuce.
While those dishes are still delicious, I have now learned the value of more traditional dishes and including vegetables.  Not only have I begun wrapping my egg rolls in lettuce, but I have also begun to try new Asian cuisines- just recently I went to a good Korean place here in town, and I am now addicted to kimchi   Korean food here in the Texas panhandle- who knew?  I have also begun to try some Vietnamese cuisine as well and have begun experimenting in my own kitchen with Vietnamese dishes.
Banh mi are Asian sandwiches, a result of French colonization in Vietnam.  In general, banh mi sandwiches have fresh herbs and vegetables like cucumbers, do chua (pickled carrots and daikon), and cilantro   Real variety comes with the protein you put on your sandwich: pork, beef, chicken, tofu, meatballs are all possible options.  My version is a vegetarian version of the banh mi.  As soon as I saw the words “tempura sweet potato”, I knew I was had to make and love this sandwich.
This sandwich does require some work: advance prep to let components chill and develop flavor overnight and deep frying- but it. is. so. worth it.  The tempura sweet potato is to die for (please make extra so you can have some tempura sweet potato fries on the side, you will regret it if you don’t), and the mix of the salty veggies and the fresh cilantro is wonderful.  I definitely will be making more banh mi soon.
Adapted from Serious Eats

For the Do Chua:
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 medium daikon, julienned
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

For the Scallion Oil:
4 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the Tempura Sweet Potato:
2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup cold soda water
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt, for seasoning

1 loaf French bread
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Cilantro, chopped
Pickled jalapeños


For the Do Chua:

In a large bowl combined carrots, daikon, salt, and sugar.  Massage vegetables until salt and sugar is absorbed.  Add water and rice wine vinegar.  Stir.  Chill overnight.

For the Scallion Oil:

In a bowl combine scallions, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  Set aside.

For the Tempura Sweet Potato

Heat oil to 400°F.

Slice sweet potato in half and cut into 1/4 inch strips.  In a large bowl mix flour, cornstarch, and salt together.  Stir in cold soda water.  Dip sweet potatoes in batter one at a time.  Shake of excess batter and repeat with remaining sweet potatoes.  Fry for 3-5 minutes, agitating often, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Salt immediately after.

For the Banh Mi:

Wrap French bread in foil and warm in oven.  Slice into four pieces and create a slit in each.  Spread avocado on one side of bread and top with scallion oil mixture.  Layer cilantro, cucumber, jalapeños  and do chau on top.  Place tempura sweet potato pieces on top.

Makes 4 sandwiches.