Catch-up cookery

March 20, 2011

Spring has sprung, and burnt offerings have been sacrificed on the hillside.I guess it’s official. I must be a kitchen addict.

As you have heard, I haven’t spent a lot of time in the kitchen the past two weeks. I made up for a lot of the missed time today. And I’m not sure how it worked, but I still had time to sit out on the deck and drink beer and relax in the sun while I managed to turn out:

  1. Three loaves of bread
  2. A batch of hoagie rolls (much better recipe; this one is the keeper)
  3. Two dozen coconut macaroons (discovered you can use a full bag of coconut, three eggs, and up the sugar to a tad over 1/2 cup and do this)
  4. Steel-cut oatmeal in the rice cooker for breakfast. Note to self: if cooking two (uncooked) cups of s/c oats, don’t do it in the rice cooker. It bloops water out the steam vent and makes a hellacious mess on the counter.
  5. Banh mi wraps with pickled vegetables
  6. Grilled chicken breasts and pork chops, with mac and cheese and white corn/black bean salad

Aced it on this salad, y'all. This is the keeper version.

I have run the dishwasher twice and am in the midst of loading it for the third run. Miz Scarlett has done three separate recipes of bread. Damn, folks, I’m tired!

But I have aced some cooking today, I am here to tell you. And I made up from scratch my first bread recipe, and it doesn’t look too lovely, but it tastes good. And I’ve tried a brand new recipe that really hit the spot and will be a regular for summer sandwiches. And I’ve welcomed the vernal equinox with a sacrifice of animal flesh on the grill, and the gods smiled on it because? Damn, it was good.

Make it. Make it today. This stuff rocks.

First things first. This new recipe, for a quickie banh mi with pickled vegetables. I thought I got that off the Food 52 recipe roster, but I guess not; not sure where it came from, but whoever it’s credited to, sistah, you done good. This thing is a kickass sandwich.

Here, cut and pasted from the recipe I cut and pasted from someone and can’t remember who to credit…Aha! I Googled and Google answered. It was Melissa Clark from the NY Times in her column, A Good Appetite. Belatedly, thank you, Melissa; this stuff rocks.


  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced Persian, Kirby or European cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup shredded daikon radish
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sriracha or other chili sauce, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 6 small hero rolls or 2 baguettes cut into thirds, split
  •  Fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced and seeded, for serving
  • Mint sprigs, for serving
  • Cilantro sprigs, for serving. 

1. To make the pickled vegetables: In a bowl, toss together the carrots, cucumbers, daikon, vinegar, sugar and salt and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the pork. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise,

1 tablespoon scallions and 1 to 2 tablespoons chili sauce, to taste. Cover tightly and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons scallions and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until no longer pink, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon chili sauce and the fish sauce, pepper, salt and sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the basil, lime zest and lime juice. Let cool 5 minutes, then add mayonnaise mixture.

4. Fill bread with pork mixture. Press the jalapeño, mint and cilantro sprigs into the pork. Spoon some pickled vegetables onto the sandwiches and serve any extra alongside.

Yield: 6 servings.

People. This is Sweet Baby Jesus good. I made a few alterations, both to accommodate what I had and didn’t have (witness the flatbread wrap ‘sted of a baguette), and because I thought it would be better with a little grated ginger root in the meat (and that was most excellent). I didn’t have cilantro or mint, yet, the herb garden having just begun to come back from its winter doldrums, so I put some dried basil (I know, I know) and some dried mint (yeah, I know that, too) in the meat when I pulled it off the heat. I didn’t have scallions, so I used a small onion, minced fine, and some chives, which I do have in great abundance in my herb garden.  I didn’t have daikon, so I used regular radishes. And it is marginally possible I may have used a bit more sriracha than called for.

No matter. This stuff is to die for, and makes up in about 30 minutes, so go get you the stuff and make you some.

Meanwhile, that meant I wasn’t all that hungry for pork chops, chicken and salad and mac and cheese, but I did manage half a chop and a spoonful of salad. And I guess because of the Super Moon last night or the equinox assuring me winter is freakin’ OVER, I aced the salad. And I’d best memorialize it while I’m thinking about it.

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can shoe peg corn, drained
  • a half-jar roasted red peppers, diced (I’d guess about 1/3 cup when you dice them. I used what I had in the fridge)
  • About 2-3 tablespoons whatever salsa you have in the fridge (I think mine was Pace Picante Sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp or a little more smoked pimenton

Stir that stuff up and chill it. Don’t know if I’ve been on a roll today or what, but that was some Sweet Baby Jesus stuff. I marinated the chicken breasts in orange juice with some ginger, some garlic, some soy sauce, some rice wine vinegar and some canola oil, and used the marinade to baste them with (Yeah, I know, they say it’s not safe, but I’ve never died from it yet). The pork chops just got salted with Lawry’s and then glazed with Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce the last few minutes on the grill.

I’ll do baking chronicles tomorrow, if I get around to it. Right now, if you and y’mama ‘n ’em will excuse me, I’m gonna have me another beer and relax. Because I am tired and full.


2 Responses to “Catch-up cookery”

  1. Kath the Cook Says:

    OMG – I made the same Banh mi recipe…so good. I didn’t have mint or basil, but did have fresh cilantro. too bad we aren’t in the same area – I think we would have some fun and cook up a storm (I like me some red wine too).

    Anyway, try this recipe below for a party or even just a salad – serve with Tostitos scoops. Easy and very good. take care – kath

    Texas Caviar
    courtesy of Bunny Finney, 2010 BCA Open House at Guava

    1 can (14 oz.) black eyed peas
    1 can black beans
    1 15 oz. can white hominy
    1 med. Tomato chopped (or) 1 can Rotel Original Tomatoes
    4 green onions, chopped
    2 Ears Uncooked Fresh Corn cut off the cob
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup white onion, chopped
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    8 ounce bottle of Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing

    Drain peas, beans and hominy. Mix all remaining ingredients in bowl.

    Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend.

    This recipe holds well for several days and makes a wonderful salsa style dip to serve with any Mexican dish.

    Is that stuff not wonderful? I am enthralled. I make something kinda-sorta similar to the Texas caviar. Will try your version!

  2. cindy trammell Says:

    got it….thanks.

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