Monday, February 23, 2015

Tuesday night fun cooking! on Sunday with Stuart

Tuesday night fun cooking! is not happening this Tuesday because I have a long block of rehearsals right around dinner prep time so the kids will be eating leftovers or hot dogs or something while I'm running contest pieces with high school students. Not my ideal schedule, but some weeks are just like that.

In any case, we thought it would be fun to move Tuesday night fun cooking! to Sunday! and include Stuart. We've all been hankering for Banh Mi lately, and since it was just Vietnamese New Year, it seemed an appropriate dish to make together.

(Aside: we are not Vietnamese, nor do we have any particular ties to Vietnam. However, one of Daniel's good friends at school was born in Vietnam, and their family celebrates Tết so we've been learning about the traditions associated with it.)

In case you are new to Banh Mi, not to worry. I'd never heard of it before a few months ago when my brother Joe texted me. We text about food a lot, which is normal, right? He texted me that they were making banh mi and I texted back that I'd never heard of it so he texted a link to a recipe, which I made a week later and we all loved it. Of course that link has long since been buried in a backlog of other texts about food and other things, but in the meantime I've made it enough times that I can pretty much do it by feel. In short, banh mi is Vietnamese-style sandwiches: pork meatballs served in French baguettes with pickled vegetables and hot sauce. There are probably a thousand variations, but the recipe I'm sharing below is the way I've been doing it.

Having the whole family cook together is an experience. The kids do pretty well when they're given instructions but they need to be told every little step. Stuart and I kept going back and forth on who was in charge of what (I was telling everyone what to do but didn't want to get my hands dirty because I was putting the whole thing on IG, like you do). And we were all stepping on each other because our kitchen is so damn small. Still, we had fun, the final result was delicious, and mostly importantly, there are leftovers (I have a lot of rehearsals this week).

So, here is your parade of pictures! These are all on IG, too #tuesdaynightfuncooking #cookingwithkids

Recipe follows the photos. Enjoy.

PORK!

Daniel is silly

I don't think it occurred to Anya that she could move that chair out of the way before chopping herbs.

Adding salt

Daniel is still silly. Also, our sink is so gross. 

*whimper* "My hands are frozen!"

Stuart gets in the action.

Redheads making meatballs

Browning the meatballs

It seems like my food photos never look as good as everything tasted. I need to work on that. I bet the quality will improve once we have natural light in the evening.

In any case, here's how I make Banh Mi:

Pickle:
Finely slice a variety of vegetables (we used the slicer attachment on the food processor) and gently mix together. We used:

  • cucumber
  • carrot
  • scarlet turnip
  • red bell pepper

Other vegetables that work nicely are: radishes, green onion, cabbage, kohlrabi, or basically anything crunchy and colorful
In a small saucepan, combine the following, bring to a boil, then pour over the sliced vegetables:

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
OK, I'll be totally honest here and admit that I'm totally guessing at the amounts I just listed. And you can leave out the mustard if you want; I just like the pickle to have some kick. Anyway, let the vegetables sit in the brine while you make the meatballs and get everything else ready. It will keep several days in the fridge, too.



Pork meatballs:
Mix together in a bowl

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 T soy sauce (we added salt in the picture above before I remembered the soy sauce! oops)
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (I actually left this out accidentally and we didn't even miss it)

Form into meatballs and brown on the stovetop for a few minutes, then bake at 350 until done, about 20 minutes. (Tip: these freeze really well after they're cooked. Sometimes we make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for another time.)

You'll also need  good baguettes (we always just buy them, but one of these days I'll make baguettes from scratch just for this dish), and a mixture of mayo and sriracha, and some finely chopped lettuce. For the spice-sensitive amongst you, plain mayo works fine without the hot pepper paste. To assemble the sandwiches, cut the baguettes long ways like a hot dog bun and line up the meatballs inside. Top with pickle, the spicy mayo mixture and serve the lettuce either on the sandwich or on the side. 

Trust me, it was delicious.

4 comments:

Jessi said...

Well, that sounds incredible!

Suze said...

They are tasty. And really really easy to make!

canadahauntsme said...

pho is next!

Amy Korba said...

Thanks for this! I made it tonight. My kids weren't huge fans, but my husband and I just LOVED it. I get my kids cooking, too, so it's so nice to see how other families do it.