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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Life is all about balance, isn't it?  Right now I'm up in the sitting room on the alternate computer since the one I normally use is no longer working.  The good news is that with the loads of bedclothes and rugs and regular clothes, we've probably got 10 loads of laundry to do this week.  We've got company coming in next weekend so all of that's got to be done.  The laundry room is next door to the sitting room.  This means I don't have to traipse up and down stairs to change out the laundry.  YAY!  One bonus.  Convenience balances out in-convenience...

It's our busy season and as Connie said today, he doesn't remember a busy season being so busy - ever.  Neither do I.  We both wake up in the morning talking about which dreams we had about the office.  As my buddy Bob from my banking days always said, I can't tell whether I'm pitching or catching!  How true.

So, we've got a house that's a mell of a hess, a to-do list at the office that's huge, plus we've had this lovely early spring and the weeds are just taking over.  Oh, and did I mention that Mom's decided she's going to move from her condo to independent living?  Time to clean out her condo and get it on the market.  She's like us - tons and tons of pictures on the walls.  Most of them need to be taken down and then the walls need to be spackled and sanded and painted.  We've set a date to do that.  She's very upset to be leaving some well-loved things behind.  I think most of us are that way.  I have a lot more clutter than Connie likes and it's not going to get better.  The good news is that we've got the ability to store a lot of things for my niece and nephew.  But, there will be plenty of things that come to my house - her china cabinet and a couple of side tables are the primary big things.  Goodness knows where we'll hang all the pictures!  Two wing chairs will go to the waiting area at the office.  Into all of that, toss in a board meeting in Chicago for a couple of days, a due diligence meeting for a couple of days and a family vacation.  I'm feeling more than a bit overwhelmed.  That's when I'd typically bust out the cookbooks and try a bunch of new recipes because cooking does soothe me when I'm overwhelmed.  But, there's been little time to even do that. 

That's why tonight I made a concerted effort to try something new - banh mi sandwiches.  I first read about them on Sommer's blog - A Spicy Perspective.  Then, I'd catch blurbs here and there.  They sounded great.  Finally, last weekend on our way to our friend Judy's 70th birthday party I saw an article in Indianapolis Monthly about the Super 46 Sandwiches.  We just hosted Super Bowl 46 and one of the things that happened was state-wide voting for the favorite sandwich.  Well, a Banh Mi Thit Nuong from Saigon Restaurant was listed.  Here's the description, "This standout brings together hunks of sweet grilled pork, thinly sliced pickled veggies, daikon, carrots, springs of cilantor and bits of fresh jalapeno that are stuffed inside the bun for the perfect contrast of flavors."  We have a ton of cilantro in the herb garden and I've been itching for something to use it in.  Next, I opened the new Food and Wine.  There was a banh mi sandwich from Luke Nguyen.  I combined ideas from both to make our sandwiches. 

What did we think?  As soon as we were done eating and Connie'd left to go play bridge, I headed to the kitchen and grilled the rest of the pork slices and sliced veggies so we can have these again for lunch tomorrow!  You'd think with all the strong flavors that something would jump out and take over, but nothing did.  Everything played nicely together.  I love the fact that there's very little meat and a lot of fresh veggies.  This will be a regular at our house!

Banh Mi Sandwich
serves 2


8 thin slices pork tenderloin
1/4 c Asian fish sauce
1 T honey
2 T sugar
1 t freshly ground pepper
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 long, soft rolls, split
hoisin sauce
Siracha chile sauce
1/3 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks (peel it if you'd like - we didn't)
handful of snack carrots cut into matchsticks
daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
handful of cilantro


In the blender, prepare a marinade with the fish sauce, honey, sugar, scallions, pepper and garlic.  Add the thinly sliced pork and marinate it in the fridge for 2-4 hours.  When you're ready to put the sandwiches together you can either skewer the pork slices and grill them or toss them in a pan and broil them like I did.  The grill will give you all the lovely grill marks and beautiful brown edges - and one less pan to wash, Christiane!  The broiler has the benefit of being VERY quick and you don't have to mess with the skewers.  Now, to assemble the sandwiches, you need to drizzle on the Siracha sauce.  It's hotter than blazes so drizzle accordingly.  I had a few dashes of the stuff on mine.  Connie had a full drizzle on both sides of his sandwich.  Then, you schmear hoisin sauce on.  I decided to schmear only one side of the bread so we wouldn't have too much of one flavor.  Next, lay your pork slices on the bread. 

Top them with your veggies

and finally with a big bunch of cilantro.  Press the sandwich together well and serve. 


The Mom Chef said...

Once less pan to wash always gets my attention. :) You crack me up. I made a Banh Mi via Bon Appetit once and we loved it as I recall. They're spicy delicious.

If you don't mind, I'm going to borrow "mell of a hess" since it describes our house so perfectly. :)

Lizzy said...

When my sister visits at the end of the month, I need her to make me her version of the banh mi...she sent me the recipe, but I haven't made it yet! Gosh, I think my life is have me beat. Keep that balance...and help me find some too ;)